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Electric Scooters and the Law

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Other Legal Information:
  • "Motorized Skateboard"?
  • Model ordinance
  • Reasons for Government to Help
  • CA legalizes E-Scoots
  • One's image makes a big difference to the police. One scooter rider was stopped three times before he started wearing a helmet. Since then, the police either smile/wave or simply ignore him. Safety, of course, is another good reason for wearing a helmet.

    In California, riding electric scooters on the road is legal. Due to similarities in weight and speed, treating electric scooters like bikes makes sense. Unfortunately, the enabling legislation (SB 441) adds extra limitations (minimum age of 16, wear a helmet, etc.). For the actual code sections, see http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/tocd11c1a5.htm

    Electric scooters, being a new technology, are poorly addressed by current laws outside of California. New laws are required. Two California cities (Petaluma and Sebastopol) have already passed a new city ordinance making electric scooters equivalent to bicycles. Other cities are encouraged to adopt the same ordinance. In the meantime, you'll likely avoid police interference if you ride safely and courteously.

    Unfortunately, a few electric scooter riders have been stopped by police. Often, the police cite the "motorized skateboard" provisions of the vehicle code. In addition to common sense and dictionary definitions, three official opinions refute that legal argument.

    Electric scooters have been ruled permissible on local transit, including BART:

    A folding electric scooter may be considered as incidental luggage for the purpose of boarding a BART train provided it is in the folded position and carried by the rider at all times. Riders will be warned or cited when the scooter is not folded. There is a ban on any type of gas operated scooter or bike on BART, folded or not.

    The Washington State law on various electric vehicles is listed (with comments) at www.electric-bike.com/leglWA.html

    New York Scooter Laws: http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmvfaqs.htm#go-ped. That link covers NYS DMV's view on motorized scoots. If you go down just a little further you will see that push scoots are in fact LEGAL, they enjoy the same designation as bikes.

    In other states, the laws may be changing. Check your state laws: http://www.legalonline.com/statute2.htm

    Also, check the "Legal" folder in the LINKS section of the Zappy users group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/zappy/links/

    Learn why scooter riders need Pre-Paid Legal.

    In British Columbia, the law is changing rapidly, but here's where eScoots are today (November, 2000):

    1. They are motorized vehicles under the (Provincial) Motor Vehicles Act. Just like a car or motorbike, they must travel the main roadway and follow the rules of the road.
    2. They must be registered as a motor vehicle (license plate etc.)
    3. They are prohibited from operating on streets, in parks, or in ANY public places in the City of Vancouver
    4. Vancouver Police can seize the scooter and fine you $85.00
    5. Being a motorized vehicle, you can't ride on the sidewalk.
    6. If it had a pedal or crank, other than yourself :) to motivate it, it would be exempt, and would be subject only to Municipal regulations the same as a bicycle.

    Sounds a little contradictory, eh? Stand by for further developments. Documentation cited at http://www.bcnexus.com/bc_law/


    Australian law summary: http://www.scooterman.com.au/legals.htm

    Ireland requires a vehicle registration tax, road tax, and insurance (about $100). When filling out the paperwork, there's a question about what cc equivalent to use. One suggestion uses 10cc as the equivalent cc rating (50cc = 2 hp, Zappy = 1/3 hp). Another rated it at 42cc or 7 Kwatts. How they got that when the Zappy literature indicates 0.2 Kwatts is unknown. The 8-character license plate can be mounted along the side of the scooter over 'ZAPWORLD.COM'.

    Scooter Insurance UK - The UK's most comprehensive directory of scooter insurance companies and associated links.

    U. K. law on scooter stuff in the UK: http://www.go.to/ukgoped. Although first reports were bad, news is getting better. Originally we heard "it is totally illegal to ride on the road/footpath/verge (Building line to building line) because a powered scooter is not in one of the exempted classes of defined vehicles."

    Now, however, this story comes our way:

    From: "wayne kinsman"
    Subject: Re: High court case in UK (January 2001)

    Having talked to the UK department of transport today the situation is this.....

    Motorised scooters (by name), are motor vehicles and riders must have third party insurance and a driving licence. As no insurance company yet offers such insurance the machines are effectively outlawed.

    The UK department of transport has stated that as far as the ruling is concerned the gas-powered scooter description is that of a motorised vehicle, whereas the stock zappy is a power assisted scooter and therefore does not yet fall foul of the ruling. The main problem seems to be the speed of the scooter when used on the public footpaths, obviously at 20 mph this can be quite dangerous. The stock zappy does not fall into this catergory, but the Turbo Z might. Obviously the UK authorities are now on the case. and I think the few stock zappy users here can probably expect a bit more police attention than has been the case. One last thing, if you are over 14 years of age then it is illegal to ride a push bike on the pavements, this would also apply to the zappy, so although the zappy is not yet outlawed the use on a pavement is a police enforcement issue, and you could still get fined.

    People can roller skate, rollerblade, skateboard, or jog, faster than my stock zappy, and all without brakes or protective headgear, yet the zappy user looks set for police attention.....................


    Additional legal information is available at the legal section of: http://yahoogroups.com/group/zappy/links/

    For up-to-date legal information, join the Zappy mailing list at: http://yahoogroups.com/group/zappy/


    Here a youngster outlines the reasons why the age limit for riding motorized scooters should be lowered to 12 or 14 years old.

    Subj: (no subject)
    Date: 12/31/99 6:24:49 PM Pacific Standard Time
    From: Slamhold@aol.com
    To: JDUNN@JOEDUNN.COM
    CC: Slamhold

    DEAR SIR

    MY GRANDMOTHER READ AN ARTICLE IN THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER ABOUT THE NEW SCOOTER LAWS.

    I HAVE TO ASK YOU A QUESTION ABOUT THE LAW FOR SCOOTERS, I THINK IT WOULD BE BETTER IF THE LAW INSTEAD OF BEING THE AGE OF 16 IT SHOULD BE YOUNGER 12-14 AND OF COURSE WITH A HELMET I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT IF I WAS 16 I WOULD WANT A CAR OR MOTORCYCLE NOT A SCOOTER DON'T YOU AGREE ? IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT SCOOTERS ARE A POPULAR THING FOR YOUNG TEENS LIKE ME. IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT BIKES, SKATEBOARDS, SCOOTERS THEY ARE ALL JUST ABOUT THE SAME AND COULD BE JUST AS SAFE OR AS DANGEROUS IF YOU AREN'T CAREFUL.
    I KNOW THAT EVERYONE IS WORRIED ABOUT IT NOT BEING SAFE BUT I FEEL JUST AS SAFE ON MY SCOOTER AS MY BIKE YOU ASK ANYBODY WITH A SCOOTER . I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THE LAW WOULDN'T BE THE SAME FOR BIKES OR SKATEBOARDS AS IT WOULD BE FOR SCOOTERS, YOUR PROBABLY THINKING THE MOTOR IS THE DIFFERENCE. WELL I EXPERIMENTED AND THIS IS WHAT I LEARNED, THAT A BIKE CAN GO FASTER THEN A SCOOTER AND IT WAS A BEACH CRUISER. ASK ANYONE ABOUT GOING DOWN HILL - THE SCOOTERS SPEED IS CONTROLLED JUST LIKE THE BIKE BUT THE SKATEBOARD ISN'T AND YET IT IS CONSIDERED SAFE TO RIDE THEM?? IF YOU WANTED TO KNOW MY WAY TO SCHOOL IT IS TO WALK, MY SCHOOL IS AT LEAST 2 AND A HALF MILES AWAY FROM MY HOUSE AND I KNOW IF YOU CHANGE THIS LAW THEN IT WOULD MAKE IT EASIER ON ME AND MAYBE EVERYONE WHO HAS A SCOOTER IT WOULD PROBABLY BE EASIER ON THE PARENTS IN THE MORNING INSTEAD OF DRIVING THEM TO SCHOOL THEY CAN RIDE THERE SCOOTERS TO SCHOOL. IF YOU CAN CHANGE THIS LAW TO 12 AND UP THEN YOU MAKE A LOT OF KIDS HAPPY AND MEAN A LOT. PLEASE DO THIS FOR ME. THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR

    SINCERELY,

    MICHAEL FIANDACA(13 yrs)
    8062 Coral Bell Way
    Buena Park Ca 90620

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