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San Francisco Electric Scooter Laws

Officer Standing Near The Man On Electric Scooter

Electric scooters have become a regular presence around downtown areas, tourist spots, shopping centers, beachfronts, and other areas that experience heavy foot traffic. While scooters can offer a cheap, easy alternative to walking or driving a car, they also create additional dangers to riders and everyone else on the roads and sidewalks around the Bay Area. Many people are unclear as to the safety regulations that pertain to electric scooters, which have been modified in recent years. Continue reading to learn about the laws that apply to electric scooter riders in San Francisco and across the State of California. If you’ve been hurt in an electric scooter accident, call a seasoned San Francisco personal injury and traffic accident attorney to find out if you’re entitled to money damages.

California E-Scooter Regulations

As electric scooter rental companies such as Lime and Bird became more prominent, riders were left wondering whether e-scooters were more like bicycles or motorcycles in terms of regulations and restrictions. In 2018, California passed regulations specifically pertaining to electric scooters in order to clarify rider, passenger, and motorist responsibilities. The most pertinent rules are as follows:

  • Helmets: Minors under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter. Adults aged 18 and over can ride without a helmet.
  • Driver’s License: Electric scooter riders must have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit.
  • Passengers: E-scooter riders cannot carry passengers. Only one rider per scooter is allowed.
  • Where to Ride: E-scooters must be ridden on the road, like bicycles and mopeds, other than when leaving or entering adjacent property. Riding on the sidewalk is not permitted. Riders should stick to bike lanes where available. Scooters are generally prohibited on roads, highways, and freeways with speed limits that exceed 25mph, although local authorities can permit scooters on roads with speed limits up to 35mph.
  • Speed Limits: Scooters cannot be ridden in excess of 15mph.
  • Parking: Scooters cannot be left on their side on a sidewalk and cannot be parked on a sidewalk at all if doing so obstructs the flow of foot traffic. E-scooter companies must clear scooters from sidewalks where doing so is necessary to avoid creating a hazard.

Electric Scooter Accidents on the Rise

Although the number of scooters on the road has dropped as people are locked indoors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the rise of electric scooters has posed a greater danger than many realize to riders, pedestrians, and motorists. From 2014 through 2018, nearly 40,000 people visited emergency rooms across the country for injuries sustained in electric scooter accidents. The rate of electric scooter injuries skyrocketed from six per 100,000 population to 19 per 100,000 in that time frame. If you were injured while riding an electric scooter, or if you were involved in an accident caused by an electric scooter or its rider, you have the right to recover damages for the harm you have suffered.

If you have been injured in an accident involving an electric scooter in San Francisco, contact William E. Weiss for a free consultation at 415-362-6765 ext. 157 or preferably my cell at 415-235-7060. You can email me at william.weiss@gmail.com.

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