Riding Electric Scooters in the US
Electric scooters have gained immense popularity in recent years, as more cities and towns embracing them as a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to cars and bikes. These scooters offer not only environmental benefits but also improved commuting experience, increased social mobility and cost-saving opportunities.
However, as with any new technology, there are laws and regulations that need to be put in place to ensure safety and compliance. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to electric scooter laws in the United States as of 2023.
It’s important to note that while the laws discussed here are accurate as of January 2023, they may change over time. Therefore, it’s always best to check with local authorities to confirm the most current regulations in your area.
2023 Electric Scooter Laws Overview
The E-Scooter Laws in Categories
The laws regarding the minimum age for riding electric scooters vary by state. Generally, electric scooters are considered “low-speed vehicles” and are subject to the same regulations as bicycles. Most cities and states have set the minimum age for riding electric scooters at 16 or 18 years old. However, some states have specific laws regarding the minimum age for riding electric scooters.
Registration & License
Electric scooters typically do not require registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in most states. However, there are currently three states – North Carolina, Hawaii, and Louisiana – that do require DMV registration for electric scooters. This is in contrast to traditional motorcycle and moped owners, who generally are required to register their vehicles with the DMV in all states. Additionally, nine states have implemented laws that require individuals operating electric scooters to have a driver’s license. However, it is unlikely that this will become the norm, as electric scooters are often viewed as a means of providing affordable transportation options for people who may not be able to afford a car.
Riders under the age of 19 are typically required to wear helmets. There is no official recommendation against wearing a helmet, and riders are expected to make responsible choices regarding their safety and wear a helmet. This is for the rider’s own safety, as electric scooters can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, and a fall or collision can result in serious injury or death. Helmets can be purchased at most bike shops or online, and it is important for riders to wear them at all times while riding an electric scooter.
Electric scooters are generally limited to a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour, although some states have set the limit at 15 miles per hour. It is important for riders to be aware of their state’s speed limit and to abide by it. Additionally, riders should also be aware of posted speed limits on the streets and sidewalks they are riding on, and should always obey traffic laws and signals.
Street & Sidewalks
In most cases, scooters are not allowed on roads with speed limits above 35 mph. However, it is safer for scooter riders to avoid these roads. Electric scooters are safest on roads where cars are traveling at speeds of 25 mph or less. Riding on roads with higher speed traffic increases the risk of accidents and injuries. The states of Pennsylvania and Delaware have a complete ban on scooters on all streets.
Sidewalks are generally not allowed for scooters in urban areas. However, at the state level, sidewalks are illegal for all scooters in 17 states. With the increasing demand for alternatives, it’s important to consider the needs of both scooter riders and pedestrians in order to find a solution that works for everyone.
Electric Scooter Laws and Regulations
As we’ve seen, some states have yet to implement any laws regarding electric scooters, while others have established specific rules and guidelines. To ensure the safety of yourself and others, as well as to fully enjoy the benefits of electric scooters, it is crucial to stay informed about the current laws in your area.