California E-Scooter Laws 

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E-scooters are now a regular sight in various cities around California. These modes of transportation have gained popularity as quick ways to get around a city, but there are some drawbacks. This is particularly true when it comes to accidents and injuries. It is crucial for any person using an electric scooter to understand the laws surrounding these vehicles. The reality is that every jurisdiction is allowed to set its own regulations on E-scooter usage, so please refer to your local laws when looking more in-depth at how these vehicles are regulated.

Wear a Helmet

As of 2019, when E-scooters began to become mainstream in many cities across California, any minor under the age of 18 is required to wear a helmet on these vehicles. The helmet must fit appropriately and be properly secured on the head.

However, individuals 18 years of age and older do not have to wear a helmet when operating any scooter. The most popular E-scooter companies do recommend that individuals wear a helmet at all times, particularly companies that rent these E-scooters out around cities. 

Follow the Speed Limit

Electric scooters operated by companies like Bird and Lime can reach a speed of up to 17 mph. However, under California vehicle code, riders are only allowed to travel up to 15 mph. Major ride-sharing scooter companies have placed limitations on how fast their scooters can go, but going down a hill can increase a person’s speed. Individual riders who violate local speed laws could face a fine of up to $250.

Ride in the Correct Areas

It is important for east scooter riders to only operate in areas where their use is allowed. Under California law, this includes bikeways, bike paths, or any other areas where bicycles are allowed. Class II bicycle lanes are specifically highlighted under California law as being accessible to E-scooter riders and specific circumstances.

A Class II bicycle lane is defined as a lane on the right edge of the roadway that facilitates one-way riding direction of bicycles and electric scooters. These lanes are marked by a solid white line. Typically, these lanes will have a symbol of a bicycle periodically along the route. There are only four exceptions written into the law when any scooter operator can ride outside of these Class II bicycle lanes, including when:

  1. The rider is trying to pass a vehicle or pedestrian
  2. Attempting to complete a left-hand turn
  3. Trying to avoid debris or other hazardous objects in the bike path
  4. Turning right

Do not Ride on Sidewalks

E-scooter riders are prohibited from operating these vehicles on sidewalks in the state of California. However, riders are allowed to cross a sidewalk if they intend to park the E-scooter or if they need to use the E-scooter and move it from the sidewalk area to the street. Under California law, pedestrian crosswalks are also identified as sidewalks, meaning E-scooter riders cannot ride in a crosswalk.

Follow Traffic Laws

E-scooter operators must obey all traffic laws. Just like bicycles, E-scooters are treated as motor vehicles for the purpose of rules of the roadway. This means they have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Additionally, E-scooter operators are not allowed to ride on these vehicles when impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you are injured by an e-scooter, or while riding one, you may be able to recover compensation, contact the Long Beach personal injury lawyers at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP for more information.