The internal combustion engines in our vehicles emit harmful gases which pollute our atmosphere. These gases are dangerous to our health and can cause many dreadful diseases. Apart from this, the gases also harm our ozone layer, which protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Maintaining a clean and green environment is a growing challenge all over the world. If you are looking for a more environmentally-friendly form of transportation, an electric scooter is a great option that can help reduce your carbon footprint. Electric scooters run on reusable batteries and produce far fewer emissions than gas-powered transportation. With a growth in sales and improvements in technology, electric scooters are becoming more affordable as well.
Unfortunately, while the world has moved quickly towards electric modes of transportation, our laws have not kept pace. People are often confused about driving their electric scooters because many states have avoided setting regulations for them. One question that people ask me a lot is: “Can you ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk?”
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. I cannot give you a simple yes or no answer because whether you can drive your electric scooter on the sidewalk depends entirely on the rules and regulations of where you live. In this article, I will discuss the laws and regulations of several states in the U.S. and whether you are permitted to drive your electric scooter on the sidewalk.
Are Electric Scooters Legal on Sidewalks in Texas?
Yes, it is legal to drive an electric scooter on sidewalks in Texas. There is no separate law in Texas regarding electric scooters on sidewalks, but the municipalities in your area have the right to enforce their own laws on the subject.
However, driving an electric scooter on sidewalks may be dangerous to pedestrians. There is a high chance of collision between someone on an electric scooter and other people on the sidewalk, which may seriously injure everyone involved.
Scooter accidents can cause severe injuries like breaking a bone, spraining your muscles, or injuring your head. The government of Texas will soon pass Senate Bill 549, which will ban electric scooters on sidewalks.
You can legally drive your electric scooter on Texas roads if you maintain a speed limit below 35 mph. The motor in your electric scooter should not exceed 900 W. The rider has to follow all traffic rules and signs.
Remember, you cannot take your electric scooter on highways in Texas.
Are Electric Scooters Legal on Sidewalks in Colorado?
It is illegal to drive an electric scooter on sidewalks in Colorado. It was recently excluded from the set of “toy vehicles” under the new ruling HB19-1221, making it legal to drive electric scooters on streets but not on sidewalks.
The law also put some restrictions on street usage for electric scooters. If you are driving on the road, your speed limit should be 30 mph or less. You should obey all the rules and regulations of the road while driving your electric scooter on the streets.
Sometimes you don’t have the option to drive on-road and are compelled to drive on sidewalks. At that time, your speed limit should not exceed 6 mph.
Are Electric Scooters Legal on Sidewalks in New York?
No, it’s illegal to drive your electric scooters on sidewalks in New York. In August 2020, the state of New York legalized electric scooters for the road.
You can drive on the road at a maximum speed limit of 30 mph. You must be 16 years old to drive an electric scooter on the street. If you are younger than 18, you must wear a helmet at the time of riding.
Are Electric Scooters Legal on Sidewalks in Georgia?
No, you can’t drive your electric scooter on sidewalks in Georgia.
You can drive your electric scooter on bike paths at a maximum speed of 35 mph. If you are 16 or younger, it’s mandatory to wear a helmet while riding in Georgia.
Are Electric Scooters Legal on Sidewalks in Florida?
You cannot drive your electric scooter on sidewalks in Florida. If the authorities see you driving on the sidewalks, they may take action against you.
You can drive your electric scooter on the road, but you must be at least 16 years old, and the top speed of your scooter must not exceed 15 mph.
Are Electric Scooters Legal on Sidewalks in California?
You cannot drive an electric scooter on the sidewalks of California. However, if you have parked your scooter and want to get the parked scooter from the sideway to the streets, the authorities allow you to temporarily ride on sidewalks. Please don’t park your electric scooter sideways blocking the walkers’ path or disturbing foot traffic. You can ride your electric scooter on bikeways, bike lanes and trails.
You are allowed to drive your electric scooter on the streets of California. The speed limit of your electric vehicle should not be above 25 mph. You can use bike paths or bike lanes for safely driving your electric scooter.
You should wear a helmet at the time of driving. You should keep your driving license with you at all times. Insurance and license plates are not mandatory.
Remember that the laws can often change. so you should be aware of all the rules that govern riding your electric scooter.
Are Electric Scooters Safer on Sidewalks or Streets?
Electric scooters have many benefits, butwhen you drive them on sidewalks they put other pedestrians at risk.
Electric scooters are lightweight so that they can travel quickly. Walkers don’t expect a speeding vehicle on sidewalks. That is why accidents can be quite common.
Studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway studies suggest three out of five electric scooter riders are injured because of driving on the sidewalk. This might surprise you, but it’s safer to ride e-scooters on the street than it is on the sidewalk.
As I have already discussed above, most states have already legalized electric scooters on bike paths and roads but banned them from sidewalks.
General Laws for Electric Scooters
The electric scooter rules and regulations vary from one state to another in the United States, but there are some common laws that apply across all states.
You must be aware of and follow these regulations if you are driving an electric scooter on the roads of the United States. The general guidelines for electric scooters are as follows.
#1. Traffic Lights
You should be aware of traffic lights and follow them while driving on the road. Obeying traffic lights can protect you from unexpected accidents.
A helmet is a protective accessory. It will protect your head and face from injury. You must wear a helmet when driving if you are under 16, and it’s mandatory to wear a helmet at any age in almost all states.
You should always use bike paths when driving your electric scooter. Bike paths are safe because you will avoid motorists, so there are fewer chances for accidents.
#4. You Should be Visible
Try to use lights on electric scooters in the early morning and at night. If the lights are not sufficient, try installing additional lights on your electric scooter for safety purposes and better visibility.
Your electric scooter should have reflective material on the sides and a good tail light. Try to wear a reflective jacket if possible. You should be adequately visible to motorists and other riders while riding your electric scooter on the road.
#5. Speed Limit
If you are driving on the road, then your speed limit should not be above 25 mph. Driving at speeds over 25 mph can be dangerous for you. Your electric scooter may collide with motorists, and you can get severely injured. There may also be potholes and drains on the street, which can cause damage to your electric scooter if you go over them too fast. The tires are small on an electric vehicle, so you need to handle them with care.
#6. Road Crossings
You should try to step off and walk your electric scooter if you are crossing the road.
#7. Be Alert
You should be alert while driving your electric scooter on the road. There are stores close to the street where a customer can immediately appear, which can be dangerous. Bus stops and schools are also prone to sudden traffic.
Be cautious while driving. You can even download various applications that will show you the best path for an electric scooter on the road.
#8. Be Polite to Pedestrians
You should always try to drive your electric scooter on the street, but if you are by chance driving on the sidewalk, you should try not to cause any inconvenience to walkers.
#9. Protect Yourself
No matter how careful you are, there may be unexpected accidents. You may hit an unexpected bump that causes you to accidentally fall. So, to protect yourself, you should wear knee pads, elbow pads, and other essential accessories that protect you from injuries.
#10. Electric and Hand Signals
Whenever you are driving on the streets, you should indicate lane changes and turns to other riders on the road. These are for your and others’ safety. You should mount taillights and turn signals on your electric vehicle.
They look pretty similar to the turn signals on a motorcycle or other vehicles. Some electric scooters don’t have the option to install a turn signal; in this case you need to use your hand to indicate turns.
When you want to turn right, you need to extend your right arm to communicate with other riders. Similarly, if you’re going to take a left turn, raise your left hand. Proper signaling will prevent accidents from happening.
Electric scooters are portable, lightweight, and are environmentally friendly. You need to obey all the rules and regulations while driving an electric scooter on the streets. Try to avoid riding on sidewalks or pavements for your own safety and the safety of those around you.