These new electric scooters are cheap, easy, and fun. Many people are enjoying their use, however, with an increase in scooter riders, we are seeing a heavy increase in electric scooter accidents as some people on scooters are getting hit by cars. Utah has joined the many states allowing e-Scooter traffic. Although it permits these app-controlled scooters on its roadways, Utah does not have specific laws governing electric scooters, and every Utah city has varied, contradicting laws governing scooters. So what laws apply to you in your city? How can you avoid a citation? What to do if you are in a scooter accident?
For these questions, McMullin Injury Law has you covered. Let's start with the basics: Utah has an over-arching law that is the default for scooters. Utah Traffic Code § 41-6a-1115. This law can be altered by city ordinances but it is the place to start to understand the best way to protect yourself when it comes to scooters. Here are the things to know:
1. To ride a scooter, there is no requirement to have a driver’s license or driver’s permit. But, there are age restrictions. Anyone under 15 years old must be in the direct supervision of a parent or guardian. There are no exceptions. This is probably the most frequently violated law concerning scooters.
Also, although you may feel like a child when you are on these scooters, actual children under 8 years old are not allowed to ride the scooters on public property. This includes sidewalks, pathways, and roadways. Do not let your children under 8 ride these scooters. If you do, you could be ticketed.
2. There are restrictions on where you can ride your scooter as well. You may feel as free as a “bird” (pun intended) while riding these scooters, but you are not free to go wherever you want. A person may not operate a motor assisted scooter (electric scooter) in the following areas:
3. in a public parking structure;
4. on public property posted as an area prohibiting skateboards;
5. on a highway consisting of a total of four or more lanes designated for regular vehicular traffic;
6. on a highway with a posted speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour;
Did you catch that last one? Out of these areas, it is the most patrolled restriction. You cannot drive on roadways that have a speed limit greater than 25mph. But what do you do when the roads conflict and change in speed limits?
A great example of two conflicting streets is in St. George - The main street that runs through the city, where the majority of the scooters are located, is called St. George Boulevard. That road has the speed limit of 30mph and runs east to west. However, actual Main Street in St. George, which has hundreds of storefronts, has a speed limit of 25mph. Main Street runs north to south and crosses with St. George Boulevard. So, if you are looking to ride a scooter in St. George, you may find yourself picking up your scooter on the Boulevard and dropping it off on Main Street. That means that you should start off riding on the sidewalk when on St. George Blvd, then switch to riding on the roadway when on Main St. This can be confusing and different laws apply for sidewalk travel vs. roadway travel. To add to the confusion, some cities do not allow scooters to ride on the sidewalks at all.
For these confusing and conflicting laws remember this: If you ride the battery-powered scooter on the roadway, you should comply with the laws that govern the travel of motorcycles and cars. (Of course, do not ride on the roadway if the speed limit is over 25mph.) For the complete traffic code, click here. This means that you must signal when turning, stop at stop lights, stop at crosswalks, and stop behind traffic.
If you ride the electric scooter on the sidewalk, you must comply with pedestrian laws. Primarily, this means that you cannot travel at an unreasonable speed. You should slow down when coming to an intersection, groups of people, and parking lots. This also means that you can only cross the street when the pedestrian “walk” sign is lit, you must stop at stop signs, and you should only cross at crosswalks.
Overall, there are a lot of pit-falls and loop-holes when dealing with these electric scooters. If you have been in a scooter accident, don’t rely on opinion alone. Find a personal injury attorney that knows the law on electric scooters.