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How to Safely and Legally Use Electric Scooters in San Francisco


Scooter Accident Lawyer Explains California Regulations

Electric scooters are a new form of transportation that is exploding in popularity across the United States, especially here in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the safety risks electric scooters pose. Electric, or “dockless”, scooters are responsible for accidents across the country. Furthermore, many people are using electric scooters illegally by riding them on sidewalks. There are ways to safely and legally use electric scooters in San Francisco.

Do Not Ride Electric Scooters on Sidewalks

One of the most pervasive complaints about electric scooters is that people are riding them illegally on sidewalks. However, it is against transportation codes to ride bicycles and scooters on sidewalks under most circumstances.

You can ride electric scooters on certain streets as long as you are following traffic laws. Keep in mind, that you generally cannot ride a scooter on a street with a posted speed limit of greater than 25 miles per hour. You must be in a certain type of bike lane to ride on a street with a posted speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour. Depending on where you are, the rules may vary. You must ride in the bicycle lane if there is one. You can also generally ride electric scooters on bike paths, trails and bikeways.

Helmets and Electric Scooters

New state legislation allows adults to forgo helmets while riding electric scooters. This does not mean you should ride an electric scooter without a helmet, as it would be extremely dangerous. While helmets may not necessarily prevent a concussion in all cases, they can reduce the chance of more serious brain injuries or even death. However, it is widely accepted that proper-fitting helmets can reduce the risk of suffering a brain injury.

Minors (under 18) must use helmets while riding an electric scooter. The bicycle helmet must fit properly and meet state requirements.

Using Electric Scooters in California and San Francisco

There are a few other state regulations for motorized (including electric) scooters. California law requires you to have a driver’s license or instruction permit to operate an electric scooter. You cannot leave scooters on sidewalks in a fashion that blocks the normal flow of pedestrian traffic. San Francisco has multiple regulations for parking electric scooters.

There are also rules that forbid you from riding an electric scooter with passengers and carrying objects that prevent you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars. New legislation detailed requirements for brakes on electric scooters.

How Can I Safely Ride an Electric Scooter in San Francisco?

Electric scooters are dangerous when used incorrectly. You should follow municipal and state regulations at all times when riding and parking electric scooters. Be sure to check local regulations before using a scooter.

Although current state laws do not require adults to use helmets, there are major risks involved with not using one while riding. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be fatal or lead to life-changing disabilities. Simply put, it is not worth the risk of suffering a permanent disability when helmets are cheap and easily accessible to the general public.

Consider purchasing and using additional protective gear. Elbow guards, wrist guards and close-toed shoes can reduce the risk of a serious injury.

You should never wear headphones while riding an electric scooter or bicycle. It is critical that you are aware of your surroundings at all times, or you could fail to respond to hazards that may lead to accidents. Never use your phone while riding an electric scooter. It’s dangerous enough to use one while driving a car, but especially dangerous while riding an electric scooter or bicycle. You have no protection, maybe with the exception of a helmet, if you end up in an accident. The risk of suffering a fatal or life-altering injury is much higher.

Try to avoid riding scooters while there are poor lighting conditions. Many electric scooter accidents occur during the hours of 6 pm and 6am. Some areas of the city may have poor lighting in general, so this is another safety risk you should consider giving your full attention.

Finally, you should ensure that your scooter is in proper working order. If the scooter appears to have damage or suffers from mobility issues, then you should find another scooter. Consider testing the brakes in a safe area before riding long distances.

Contact a Scooter Accident Lawyer at Our San Francisco Personal Injury Law Firm

Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. is a San Francisco personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling traffic accident lawsuits. Our attorneys can help injured scooter accident survivors or grieving family members determine whether there are legal options to file a lawsuit.

You may contact us for a free consultation by dialing (415) 433-4440 or by using our online case review form. For more information about our successful verdicts and settlements, continue exploring our website.

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