What Ohio Laws Apply to Scooter Riders?
The popularity of electric scooters has exploded in recent years. If you’ve just purchased your first motorized scooter, understanding the rules and regulations that apply to riders is essential. While an electric scooter accident lawyer like Erney Law Attorneys may be able to help you following an e-scooter accident, prevention is always the best form of protection.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Ohio laws that apply to scooter riders in the Buckeye State.
Is there official legislation for electric scooter riders in Ohio?
All road users including those who ride electric scooters, and even pedestrians, should respect the risks and take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe whether on the roads or on sidewalks. However, those who ride electric scooters in Ohio should know that there are several legal requirements specifically affecting e-scooter riders.
The electric scooter laws in Ohio were drafted by state lawmakers and came into effect on April 15, 2021, after Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 295. Firstly, it covers scooter rental companies, which are now obliged to maintain liability insurance and ensure that all scooters are equipped with suitable lights at the front and reflectors at the rear.
If you plan to purchase one of the increasingly popular products for yourself, though, you must comply with each of the following rules:
- All e-scooter riders must be at least 16 years old;
- Use a front light and rear reflector at night;
- Give way to pedestrians and make a clear audible sign when overtaking them;
- Stay on bike lanes and surface roads while avoiding sidewalks;
- Only ever ride with one person on a scooter.
Failure to comply with these rules can lead to a range of punishments including fines ($150 for riding under the age of 16, for example), confiscation, and riding bans. This is in addition to any general road violations you may incur. When facing a legal case, calling an electric scooter accident lawyer will be vital.
On a side note, you should always keep your scooter standing upright and out of the way when you’re not riding. Otherwise, pedestrians could fall and subsequently make a claim against you.
When does a kick scooter comply with Ohio laws?
Electric scooter riders in Ohio do not need a license to ride a scooter as they are classified differently from moped scooters. Similarly, riders are not legally required to wear helmets. However, with a death toll of 200 on the roads of Ohio each year, in addition to thousands of non-fatal injuries, many riders choose to wear them as a safety precaution.
As for the kick scooter itself, it will be necessary to ensure that it is not capable of exceeding a speed of 20mph. While the state-wide law in one of the country’s most proactive regions provides enough guidance for most e-scooter riders, you must research individual city laws. They even have the power to ban scooter riding completely.
Electric scooters burst onto the scene in Ohio in 2018 and have become very popular among teenagers and young adults who need them for commuting. If you want to be sure that your unit satisfies safety regulations, choosing reputable manufacturers like Bird and Lime will deliver the peace of mind you deserve.
What about traditional motorized scooters?
While electric scooters have dominated the headlines, any scooter accident lawyer will confirm that traditional Ohio electric and motorized scooter laws must be respected. A motor scooter license or endorsement will be needed. Additional requirements include:
- Paying an annual registration fee of $28.50;
- Maintain property liability insurance for $25k per accident;
- Maintain body injury liability insurance for $25k per accident and $50k overall.
Perhaps more importantly, it will be necessary to know how your scooter is legally classified in Ohio. A motor scooter will be capable of exceeding 20mph on a flat ground while having a motor that is 50cc-100cc. It should also have a seat for the driver. Conversely, a moped’s motor will be under 50cc while it must travel at under 20mph.
The specifications of your electric scooter will influence your legal standpoint and a scooter accident lawyer will tailor their services accordingly.
How can you ride your scooter more responsibly?
E-scooter riders are required to adhere to many of the same laws as other vehicle users, even if they do not require a license. For example, you could be hit with a DUI when using an electric scooter. Likewise, running traffic lights and committing other violations can lead to punishments from the relevant law enforcers.
It is probably a smart move to familiarize yourself with basic traffic laws, even if you do not drive a car or ride a motorbike. For further safety on the road or bike lanes, you should:
- Avoid riding in wet or icy conditions where possible;
- Avoid distractions like playing loud music or talking on your smartphone;
- Keep your eyes on the road at all times.
If you have just purchased an e-scooter it is advised that you test it out in a quiet area first. Aside from avoiding an injury, it could help you prevent the potential embarrassment of an accident in a crowded place.
Finally, if you want to keep your scooter in optimal condition, you must not allow others to use it. When combined with regular maintenance, your vehicle will remain in far better health.
What happens when you’re involved in an electric scooter accident?
With more electric scooters on the roads, accidents are bound to happen. Luckily, the lower speeds do reduce the risk of encountering a fatal situation, especially if you come into contact with a pedestrian or cyclist. However, you could potentially face legal repercussions.
It is one of the reasons why you may find that insurance is worthwhile in spite of the fact that it isn’t a legal requirement for electric scooters. Moreover, it’s vital that you have satisfied all of the above regulations that apply to safe operation of electric scooters. Otherwise, it’ll be you who faces the legal damages, even if the accident was technically not your fault.
Assuming you were not in the wrong and have complied with the Ohio electric scooter laws, a scooter accident lawyer can help you claim compensation for an array of injuries while also securing evidence to represent your case. It should also mean that you’re able to focus on your physical and mental recovery.
To learn more about electric scooter laws or what to do following an accident, contact our team of personal injury lawyers in Columbus Ohio for a free consultation today!