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Six California E-Scooter Laws Every Rider, Pedestrian, and Motorist Should Know

Couple of two good friend are chilling with their scooters

E-scooters have gained national popularity and are often found in big-city, metropolitan areas. These quick-dodging vehicles are defined as having an electric motor, a floorboard, and handlebars and are known for reaching fast speeds with the press of a button.

The California Vehicle Code (CVC) establishes clear guidance on how E-scooters are legally allowed to be operated throughout the state. The CVC addresses who may ride an E-scooter, where an E-scooter may be ridden, and other safety precautions that must be followed to prevent serious injury or harm to riders, pedestrians, and other motorists on the road.

If you are riding an E-scooter around California, it’s important to know these regulations in order to stay safe and avoid hefty fines.

  1. Wear a Helmet

  2. It is important to wear a helmet whenever you are on an E-scooter. CVC §21235 was designed specifically to address minors who ride E-scooters. As of 2019, under the California code, any minors under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet when they are using an E-scooter. The helmet must fit properly, and it must be securely fastened. While the most popular brands of E-scooters including Lime and Bird strongly recommend using the scooter with a helmet, riders over the age of 18 do not have to wear a helmet by law.

    When riders violate the helmet rule, they face a citation of about $200. Since the implementation of the law, a majority of E-scooters citations are because riders are not wearing helmets when they are supposed to.

  3. Follow the Legal Speed Limits

  4. Electric scooters like Bird scooters can reach speeds of up to 17 mph. According to California vehicle code CVC §22411, riders can only legally go up to 15 miles an hour. While public ride-sharing scooters like Bird and Lime have put limits on how fast their scooters can go, going down a hill can significantly increase their speeds. Riders who violate the legal speed limit can face fines of up to $250.

  5. Ride On Designated Roads

  6. According to CVC §21229, E-scooter riders can only use E-scooters on designated roadways. This includes bikeways, bike paths, and other bicycle paths. According to this California law, Class II bicycle lanes are specifically highlighted as being accessible to E-scooter riders under specific circumstances.

    Class II bicycle lanes are defined as being on the right edge of a street, facilitating a one-way riding direction, and are marked by a solid white line. Often, these lanes will also have a symbol of a bicycle as well. There are only four exceptions for when an e-scooter can be used outside a Class II bicycle lane. They include:

    • When a rider is trying to pass a pedestrian or a vehicle
    • When completing a left-hand turn
    • When a rider is trying to avoid debris or hazardous objects on the bike lane
    • When turning right
  7. Do Not Ride On Sidewalks

  8. E-scooter riders are prohibited from riding on sidewalks. According to CVC §21235, E-scooter riders are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk, ride with another passenger or a “tandem rider,” and must not use an E-scooter without having a valid driver’s license. A rider may have a valid learner’s permit, however.

    Riders are allowed to get on a sidewalk only if they intend to park the scooter or if they want to use a scooter and move it from the sidewalk to the street.

    Under CVC §275, crosswalks are also identified as part of a sidewalk. Because of this, it is illegal to ride an E-scooter on a crosswalk. Instead, riders must dismount and walk their scooter across a crosswalk.

    Riders who use the scooter on sidewalks or in other forbidden areas face a traffic ticket that carries a fine of about $200.

  9. Walking for Left-Hand Turns

  10. It can be especially dangerous for scooter riders to make left-hand turns because of traffic patterns, restricted vision, and overall speed. Because of this, CVC §21228 puts strict measures on riders when they are making left-hand turns. The law requires that riders stop, dismount, and cross the roadway on foot in the crosswalk when making a left-hand turn. In doing so, riders are more likely to avoid an accident that might be brought on by pedestrians, other riders, or vehicles.

  11. Follow Motor Vehicle Rules

  12. In California, E-Scooters are treated as motor vehicles and must follow the rules of motor vehicles when on the road. CVC §21221 stipulates that riders of E-scooters have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. Under this code, the law addresses riders who operate E-scooters under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Violations of this code section can lead to a traffic ticket and a fine of about $350.

Have You Suffered an Injury Involving an E-Scooter?

Riders who do not adhere to California’s E-scooter rules and regulations not only face hefty fines, but they cause serious injury or harm to pedestrians, motorists, and other riders. If you have been the victim of a serious injury brought on by an E-scooter, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to one of our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers today to discuss your options.

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