With so many new means of transportation that we have available now to travel, more and more people are switching to e-scooters. Common misperceptions about where and how to travel often come up. With e-scooters becoming increasingly popular by the minute, we need to make sure we can answer everyone’s questions. One of the most important questions is, where can you safely and legally ride your e-scooter?
Since not every state has the same law, riding an e-scooter on the sidewalk is going to differ from state to state. However, the majority of states treat riding an e-scooter the same they do as riding a bicycle. Since there’s no exact answer when it comes to getting a yes or no, we’ll have to take an in-depth look at the rules that are concerned with using your scooter on the sidewalk.
Can I Push My Scooter on the Sidewalk?
Since e-scooters are economically friendly and quite convenient for some people to get around on, the laws of them aren’t as clear as they are for vehicles that have been around for a while (like cars, bikes, and skateboards).
Right now it feels like we’re living in the wild wild west of the e-scooter world. Most legislatures were adjourned after 2018 so a lot of states don’t have specific regulations when it comes to riding or pushing your e-scooter along the sidewalk. Some cities like Seattle, Washington have outright banned the rental of e-scooters altogether so they can view further research from other states first before deciding on how to regulate this new motorized vehicle fad.
It’s you haven’t had a chance to research state laws when it comes to where to ride your scooter, or maybe you can’t find any state laws in this regard, then the best bet is to ride your scooter on the road, in the bike lane. Sidewalks are smaller pathways that can be traversed and they’re strictly reserved for pedestrians. Roads are much bigger and have a lot more space when it comes to being able to ride around. If you’re going to push your e-scooter, make sure you’re walking it on the sidewalk, not pushing it with your foot.
What happens when bike lanes are no longer used for only bikes? What if you now have people running, skateboarding, skating and scootering their way alongside cars in the bike lane? These are the type of questions that cities are struggling to answer, as they weren’t prepared for the influx of e-scooters that have taken over certain cities by storm since late 2017. They are now in over 120 cities and the legislature is just now trying to catch up. Riding in the bike lane is something considered safe in some states and yet, it’s forbidden in other states like Denver, Colorado, although they could be changing their stance on their laws soon.
Trying to make sense of this new phenomenon and discover how to deal with everything isn’t as easy as it seems. The fact of the matter is that anytime something new comes out that differentiates from what we’re used to, it can cause people to complain and/or panic. This doesn’t have to be the case. Cyclists should see e-scooter riders as a friendly person to share the road with. There is plenty enough space for both of them and when it comes to passing by one another; we should always apply safety first. Make sure you always check behind yourself first looking for any oncoming vehicles before you pass by another person.
Riding on the Street
In most states, riding on the street is allowed if you stick to the bike lanes and the right side of the curb where cars drive. Of course, you’ll want to check your state laws before riding anywhere. As of now, Denver, Colorado considers e-scooters “toy vehicles” and requires them to be used on the sidewalk.
Finding out the laws first is imperative for safe riding. No one wants to get a ticket just because they were trying to find the most convenient route from their house to their workplace.
As a general rule, you should stick to the bike lanes, unless none are available. If you have to take your scooter onto the sidewalk and you aren’t familiar with the local laws, it’s safe to assume you can walk your scooter on the sidewalk and make sure to be mindful of where it is when you’re carrying it around.
Whether you’re riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or anything else of the same liking, you should be careful of the people around you. Riding even somewhat fast can cause unforeseen accidents and can be completely preventable if we practice walking on the sidewalks and riding with caution in the roads.
General Rules About Where to Ride
- E-Motorcycles – E-motorbikes should be ridden on the road only. As fun as it may seem to ride around on the sidewalk and terrorize pedestrians, don’t do it. Some of these electric motorcycles can travel at astonishing speeds and are highly dangerous. You should wear a helmet at all times and drive where other cars drive.
- Kick E-Scooters – There’s a lot of different regulations and laws about where you’re able to ride e-scooters, mostly dependent on what state you’re residing in. The most commonly accepted places to ride e-scooters are going to be on the sidewalk, in bike lanes, as well as on the residential road (20-30 mph / 30-50 km/h).
- Mobility Scooters – Mobility scooters should also stick to roads, bike lanes and the residential road (20-30 mph / 30-50 km/h). Generally speaking, if you’re an older person that uses a mobility scooter to get around, you should probably stick to the sidewalk and stay out off the highway or other roads, even though it’s perfectly legal to do so.
There’s always the chance that you could be riding along on the road and some irritated driver will roll down their window to yell at you about how you should be riding on the sidewalk, but pay no attention to them. Know your state laws and follow the laws and you won’t have to worry about getting into any trouble with law enforcement.
It’s important to note that many accidents are happening due to the negligence of e-scooters and people are become seriously injured because of mishaps. Laying your e-scooter down on the pavement of the sidewalk can cause people to get extremely injured and people have even died due to e-scooter related injuries.
Since the invasion of scooters came to the city, thanks to startup companies like Bird and Lime, people have been becoming more injured and hurt from people running into them and accidentally tripping over scooters alike. You might be wondering what’s being done to prevent people from leaving scooters lying around right now. Well, because this is such a new venture, each state is working on different rules and regulations to limit the negligence of other people leaving scooters on the ground.
If you want to help your community out, both these companies offer programs that will pay individuals to pick up the scooters and charge them overnight at their house and then take them back to certain locations determined by the companies.
How to Check Your Local Laws
Always make sure to do your homework before assuming that you can safely ride your scooter anywhere you want. The best thing you can do is to check your state’s website for the Department of Motor Vehicles. This is because even though your state law might say one thing, the local municipalities could have more rules that you didn’t know about. If you’re unable to find the information online, the next best thing you can do is ask the local police.
Riding around town on electric scooters can be quite a thrill. It’s fun, convenient, and generally safe for the most part. Unfortunately, it’s the most part and also the negligence that stems from careless riders going too fast, not looking where they’re going and leaving e-scooters in the middle of sidewalks and staircases that make these fun little gadgets illegal in certain cities. If you want to have fun and enjoy riding around, be considerate and careful when going on a joyride.
Whether you decide to rent an e-scooter and ride it around for a few minutes to a couple of hours, or you’re more serious and you purchase your own to enjoy. It’s something that you have to be careful about when riding around. Don’t leave your scooter in the middle of sidewalks, pathways, driveways, or anything else that people normally walk along. Scooters should always be parked in the upright position, never lying down. Not everyone has the same opinion or shares the same level of enthusiasm for scooters as you might. If you’re not sure about where to ride your scooter, check out the local laws and make sure you always do your research first before hopping on a scooter and zipping away.
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