Electric scooters, often referred to as e-scooters, have transformed commuting in California. While they offer an eco-friendly and convenient mode of transport, it's essential for riders and pedestrians to be aware of specific laws governing their use. In this article, we outline crucial traffic laws that pertain to e-scooter usage in California.
Defining an Electric Scooter
In California, an electric scooter is characterized as a two-wheeled motorized device with a floorboard designed for standing and handlebars for steering. Intriguingly, there's no need to register them with the DMV, and any class of driver's license suffices for their operation.
Key Traffic Laws Every E-Scooter Rider Should Know
Helmets Are Mandatory for Minors:
Minors under the age of 18 are legally obligated to wear a fitting and securely fastened bicycle helmet when riding an e-scooter as per CVC §21235(c). For adults, while not a legal requirement, wearing a helmet is advised for safety.
Maximum Speed of 15 MPH:
E-scooters shouldn't exceed a speed of 15 miles per hour, according to CVC §22411. Exceeding this limit could result in penalties.
Use Designated Bike Lanes:
E-scooters must be ridden in Class II bicycle lanes where available, as directed by CVC §21229. There are specific exceptions, including overtaking, left turns, avoiding obstacles, and making right turns.
Tandem Rides Are Prohibited:
CVC §21235 details several conditions including:
No riding with a passenger on a single scooter.
Sidewalk usage is restricted, excluding parking scenarios.
A valid driver's license or learner’s permit is a prerequisite.
Left Turns Require Dismounting:
For left turns, e-scooter riders must first halt at the right curb post intersection, disembark, and then proceed on foot, as outlined in CVC §21228.
Crosswalks Are Off-Limits:
E-scooters cannot be ridden in intersections classified as crosswalks by CVC §275 since they're seen as sidewalk extensions based on CVC §21235(g).
E-Scooters Follow Motor Vehicle Rules:
E-scooters are treated similarly to motor vehicles in terms of rights and responsibilities as set by CVC §21221. Operating under the influence can result in DUI charges.
While these are the state-wide laws, riders should also be vigilant of any municipal regulations that might differ or add to these rules. As e-scooters become an integral part of urban commuting, adhering to these regulations not only ensures safety but also fosters a harmonious coexistence with other road users.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an e-scooter accident, contact Phillips & Associates for a free consultation today. You will immediately be put in touch with John Phillips or Patrick DiFilippo, who can help determine whether you have a case and advise you on the best course of action moving forward.