Electric scooters, also called e-scooters, seem like a fun way to get around the city. After all, they are inexpensive to rent, easy to locate using an app on your phone, and require very little effort to move longer distances. Rental programs for these e-scooters are popping up in cities across California, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and others. Before you rent an electric scooter, there are some things to consider regarding liability and insurance in the event of an e-scooter accident.
California Electronic Scooter Laws
- Having two wheels;
- A place for the operator to stand, often referred to as the floorboard;
- Handlebars; and
- The scooter is powered by a motor, rather than one’s own feet.
This definition is important, because in California, you don’t need a special license to ride a scooter. However, you are required to have a valid driver’s license to ride one.
E-Scooter Regulations In California
- No passengers are allowed on the scooter
- Scooters cannot be operated on sidewalks
- Scooters cannot be operated on public roadways where speed limit is over 25 miles per hour
- Some cities require a helmet for E-Scooter operation
- Note: Some California cities have additional regulations and ordinances for electric scooter operation, such as helmet requirements. Make sure to review local ordinances before operating a motorized scooter.
Do You Need Insurance to Ride a Scooter In California?
The short answer is “no.” However, you should consider purchasing electric scooter insurance. Most scooters do not go faster than 15 miles per hour. However, in California make sure to check city regulations for insurance requirements and compliance prior to operation. Laws and regulations for e-scooters continue to be implemented and updated as motorized scooters’ popularity continues to grow across the state.
This is not the first time technology has expanded faster than the rest of the world. Insurance companies are currently working to make decisions about how to handle E-scooter accidents, injuries and the like. If you own a personal E- scooter, you may be able to purchase a plan as part of a bundle of insurance products. However, buying insurance for rented E-scooter use is not currently a common industry product.
Scooter Rental Insurance
Scooter rental insurance is a good idea. But, do you already have it? In some California cities, the scooter company is required to carry insurance on their E- scooters. However, coverage it is not automatic. Not all cities require the scooter company to include insurance coverage on their scooters.
In fact, a careful reading of most user agreements will reveal language such as “The company warrants they have the insurance coverage provided by applicable law.” This means, unless there is a law requiring them to provide insurance coverage, they most likely aren’t providing coverage.
Who Pays for Injuries Caused on E-Scooters?
In some cases, injuries caused by electric scooters are covered by insurance. For example, if you are riding a scooter and are hit by a car, the driver’s car insurance will generally cover your injuries. Hospitals report an increase in injuries after these scooters are introduced in a new city.
As the driver of a scooter, it is also possible that you may cause injury to another person. This is not the time to learn your auto insurance doesn’t cover e-scooters (which most don’t). Nor, is it the time to discover your homeowner’s insurance does not cover injuries caused by an e-scooter (which most don’t).
If you have a personal liability umbrella policy (PLUP), you may be covered. A PLUP policy may cover any damage you cause to cars, as well as injury to others. Your health insurance policy may be your only coverage if you get hurt while using a motorized scooter.
What To Do If You Are Hurt While Riding An Electric Scooter?
You should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be eligible to recover for your injuries through the defendant driver’s auto insurance policy. There are also situations where the defective design or negligent maintenance of the electric scooter may have caused or contributed to your scooter accident injuries. In those cases, there may be a claim against the e-scooter manufacturer and/or the e-scooter rental company, such as Bird, Uber or Lime-S.
If you or a loved one has been injured while riding an electric scooter, contact Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers today by calling 1-800-718-4658 for a free and confidential consultation. We handle electric scooter accident cases throughout California.