How Safe Are Motor Scooters in Florida?

The use of e-bikes and motor scooters has increased around the country over the last few years as scooter-sharing companies like Bird and Lime have flooded dozens of cities with motor scooters. As recently as 2018, the National Association of City Transportation Officials estimated that 84 million trips were taken annually on both shared bikes and scooters. Those numbers will most likely continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

In a state like Florida, where the weather is warm year-round, shared bikes and motor scooters are especially popular. They are a great way for Floridians and tourists to head to the beach, pick up a few items from the grocery store, and some even use them as a primary mode of transportation to and from work.

But just because shared bikes and motor scooters are convenient, doesn’t mean they are safe. Another 2018 study, this one conducted by the Austin Department of Health (in conjunction with the CDC) revealed that on average 20 individuals per 100,000 scooter trips suffered some form of injury.

The severity of the injuries suffered by those who use motor scooters can range from relatively light all the way through life-altering. One crucial factor that can indicate whether or not the injuries suffered in a motor scooter accident are severe is the use of a helmet. Generally, if a motor scooter user is wearing a helmet, their injuries will be less severe.

Florida Motor Scooter Laws

As with cars and motorcycles, the state of Florida has numerous laws regulating the use of shared bikes and motor scooters. These laws are intended to keep users and others safe and minimize the risk of serious injury.

Some of the laws include:

  • In order to operate a motor scooter (whether privately owned or from a scooter-share company like Lime or Bird) a person needs to have a valid driver or motorcycle license. This means that a user needs to be at least 16-years old.
  • Those under the age of 16 who ride on a motor scooter (as a passenger) must wear a helmet.
  • Motor scooter users need to follow all relevant traffic laws i.e. stopping at stoplights, yielding the right of way when necessary, etc.

Unlike drivers of cars and motorcycles, however, motor scooter users do not need to have motor scooter insurance. Finally, it is illegal to ride a motor scooter on a sidewalk in most cities in Florida.

Note that in addition to helping maintain your safety, following the applicable laws will also help to limit your liability should an accident occur. What’s more, is that if you don’t follow state laws and city ordinances pertaining to motor scooter usage and you are in an accident, it could bar you from recovering damages to help pay for things like medical bills and lost wages.

What to Do If in a Motor Scooter Accident

If you are injured in a motor scooter accident, after seeking the appropriate medical attention, it might be wise to consult a personal injury lawyer. Even if you don’t think another party was at fault in your case, a good lawyer might be able to hone in on a detail you have overlooked. 

Poorly maintained roads could mean the municipality where the accident occurred is at fault while a malfunctioning scooter might make the manufacturer or scooter-share company liable. Finally, in many cases, another driver or even a pedestrian might be at fault for the injuries you sustained. 

No matter who is to blame, you should not be stuck paying for your own medical bills or bearing the burden of missing work on your own. With the help of a quality personal injury lawyer, you can maximize your recovery and get your life back to normal after a motor scooter accident.