Are Electric Scooters Street Legal in California?

Are Electric Scooters Street Legal in California?

As with most legal questions, the answer to “are electric scooters street legal in California” is “it depends.” There are several limitations on your ability to operate an electric scooter on California roadways, but on the whole, you will have some options in traveling.  

Your ability to operate on the road depends on a few important factors. First and foremost is the speed limit. Any road with a speed limit above 35 miles per hour is off-limits to electric scooters. The rules vary at speeds below 35. The good news is that many areas provide bikeways or special ordinances that increase your ability to travel via electric scooter.  

No amount of regulation can entirely prevent accidents between scooters and motorists, however. If you are injured in a crash while riding, it is in your best interest to speak with a Los Angeles e-scooter lawyer right away.  

Speed limits and electric scooters 

Your ability to ride a motor scooter on a California street is directly tied to the speed limit. For starters, it is legal to operate a motor scooter on any street with a limit of 25 miles per hour or below. This limit only applies to cars, however, as the maximum speed the scooter may travel is 15 miles per hour.  

There are additional allowances for motor scooters on roads with higher speed limits. However, this is only an option when a city or town allows it through the use of an ordinance. In these situations, a city or town has the right to allow motor scooters on roadways with a speed limit of up to 35 miles per hour. Without an ordinance allowing scooters in this situation, the 25 mile-per-hour limit remains in place. It is important to note that the maximum speed the motorized scooter can travel is 15 miles per hour even when allowed to travel in a 35 mile-per-hour zone.  

There are strict prohibitions on operating a motorized scooter on any roads with a speed limit above 35. What’s more, these methods of transportation are barred from state and federal highways. The only potential options available on these high-speed roads include appropriate bikeways. 

Bikeway rules for electric scooters 

The good news for electric scooter riders is that California has gone to great lengths to provide opportunities for cyclists and scooter riders to travel by road. One of the best options allowed under state law is through the use of bikeways. Bikeways are lanes or paths specifically intended for cyclists. These bikeways come in a number of classes, each with different rules that apply. Both Class II and Class IV bikeways allow for the use of electric scooters, with some restrictions. In both of these bikeways, scooter operators must travel no faster than 15 miles per hour.  

A Class II bikeway is more commonly known as a bike lane in most jurisdictions. It is essentially a strip of shoulder or roadway marked with a solid paint line. While physically part of the road, these bikeways are intended only for cyclists and motor scooter riders.  

A Class IV bikeway offers a physical barrier between the road and the bike path. This separation can involve the use of cones, rails, posts, walls, or other objects that separates scooters from larger vehicles. The lanes can involve one-way or two-way travel depending on the width of the bikeway. Motor scooters are allowed on Class IV bikeways as long as they do not exceed 15 miles per hour.  

Speak with an attorney about your motor scooter accident 

It is possible that you can comply with every aspect of California motorized scooter laws and still suffer an injury in a collision with a motorist. When drivers and scooter operators collide, the potential for injury is significant. If this happened to you, you have the right to seek monetary compensation from the negligent driver.  

At Ellis Injury Law, we are prepared to guide you through every step of your personal injury claim. We are experienced in taking on cases involving negligent motorists striking cyclists, pedestrians, or scooter operators. To learn how an Los Angeles e-scooter accident lawyer can help you with your claim, schedule a free consultation immediately.