Electronic scooters (or e-scooters) are a hot transportation trend around Florida.
They are considered to be a convenient, fast, fun, and environmentally friendly way to get around.
But what about the law governing e-scooters? Are they legal? And what are some of the liability issues pertaining to e-scooters?
Unraveling e-scooters, the law and liability in Florida is what we are about to do.
So let’s get to it.
E-scooters and the Law
Electronic scooters use a small electric motor to provide power to the scooter. Because they are electronic, they require regular charging. Most e-scooters use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries—which are considered to be very eco-friendly— for this purpose.
E-scooters have brakes, of course, and the speed of is controlled by the handlebars—either by twisting them or by using a button. In fact, e-scooters are pretty fast. They can get up to speeds of 20 miles per hour.
As of 2019, e-scooters became legal in Florida. The law treats e-scooters the same as bicycles. You do have to be at least 16 years old, but you do not need a license to drive one. Nor do you need insurance. Plus, you can ride an e-scooter in the bike lane.
Importantly, the Florida law legalizing electronic scooters allows local cities throughout Florida to regulate the use of e-scooters on their local roadways and sidewalks. What this means, then, is that it is important to check your local ordinance to determine what is legal in your city. And if you are involved in an accident with an e-scooter, be sure to consult with a Florida personal injury attorney who can help you.
E-scooters and Liability
Unfortunately, as the popularity of e-scooters has grown, so has the accident rate related to them. According to USA Today, in the four-year period that e-scooters have been around, the injury rate related to them climbed to 40,000 accidents—and dozens of deaths— nationwide.
Well, there are a number of safety issues with e-scooters.
First, as mentioned above, they can get up to speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. Riders don’t need to be older than 16, and they are not required to wear a helmet. Like motorcycles and bicycles, there is nothing to protect the rider if he falls—increasing the risk of serious injury.
Plus, most e-scooters are being ridden in pedestrian-heavy areas—including, in some cities, sidewalks.
In addition, they are often just tossed aside when the rider is done, causing trip hazards for pedestrians.
Since e-scooters are so new, not everyone knows how to properly ride one. They don’t have turn signals and riders can ride in the streets or on the sidewalk—making their presence unpredictable.
If you have been injured in an accident involving an electric scooter – either as a pedestrian, rider, driver, or cyclist – you may be entitled to seek financial compensation.
All of this leads to accidents and injuries. For both scooter drivers and pedestrians.
Liability when it comes to e-scooter accidents depends entirely on the facts of the individual case.
That said, there are some generalizations that can be made.
For example, if an e-scooter driver hits and injures a pedestrian, (absent a pedestrian who intentionally causes the accident) the scooter driver will generally be at fault.
In a car vs. e-scooter accident, liability is frequently placed on the car driver.
Liability for e-scooter accidents caused by defects in the scooter itself may be shared by the rental company, or scooter manufacturer.
In other cases, when an accident is caused by a defect in the sidewalk, for example, the city may be liable.
Determining liability for an e-scooter accident can be complicated and difficult to do.
Because Florida does not require Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage for e-scooter riders, receiving compensation for your injuries can also be challenging. Which is why, if you are injured, you should always consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
In an Accident? We Are Here to Help.
Our team of personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping those who are injured through the negligence of another. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, contact us or call the firm at 777-JOHN. Our main office is in Orange Park, but we serve clients throughout Florida. We have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.