Scooters are causing confusion across the country. They are not motor vehicles, yet they are not bicycles or motorcycles, either. This makes it difficult for legislatures trying to determine how to regulate them. While this is not a problem for those that ride them, it is a concern for those trying to pass legislation pertaining to the two-wheeled devices.
Most states do not have any laws on scooters right now. This is largely because the popularity of scooters soared after the 2018 legislative session. Currently, only about ten states have scooter laws. That is set to change though, as twelve states prepare to enact rules on these environmentally-friendly modes of transportation.
“There is no doubt that scooters need some regulation,” says Irvine attorney Larry Eisenberg of the Law Offices of Eisenberg & Associates. “Accidents are happening all the time. People are getting hurt because states either do not have laws, or those who are riding scooters are not following the laws set in place. Legislatures know that laws are needed, yet they do not necessarily know what those laws should include.”
Here in California, laws have been on the books for some time. Not only that, but they are continually being updated. The only real law for scooters in The Golden States was once that they had to ride on the streets unless there was a designated bike lane. In September of 2018 though, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown changed that. He signed a bill stating that all scooters must ride on any road that has a speed limit of 25 to 35 miles per hour.
In addition, the new laws mirror those required of bicycle riders. Currently in California, adults 18 and over are not required to wear helmets. Municipal governments have the authority to impose any other rules and regulations pertaining to scooters.
Bird and Lime, two scooter companies operating out of California, are trying to keep their users, and those around them, safe. Each provides users with safety guidelines, with Lime going so far as to require users to read a safety tutorial before using the equipment. Lime also has a pledge users are required to sign, stating that they will use the scooters in a responsible manner.
Still, those that share the sidewalks, roads, and bicycle lanes with scooters wonder if these measures are enough. As legislatures around the country have the same concerns, those that enjoy these electric vehicles may soon find they are faced with stricter regulations.