Scooters are no longer powered only by the rider’s legwork. Many scooters have electric motors that allow riders to move much faster, but they must abide by safety and traffic regulations.
Although an electric scooter, also called an e-scooter, is powered by an electric motor, they are not necessarily considered motor vehicles. Instead, laws regard e-scooters as if they were bicycles. You can ride an electric scooter in many of the same places you would normally ride a bicycle, but you are also restricted from riding in places where a bike is normally prohibited. As long as your electric scooter is not powerful enough to be considered a motor vehicle, you do not need a license to operate it. If you are hurt in an accident on your e-scooter, the driver who hit you may be held liable in a lawsuit.
To schedule a case assessment free of charge, call our Baltimore scooter accident attorneys today at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
Is an Electric Scooter Considered a Motor Vehicle in Maryland?
According to recent legislation in Maryland, electric scooters are the legal equivalent of bicycles. More specifically, the law holds that low-speed electric scooters that are not motorized minibikes, motor scooters, or motor vehicles are considered the same as bicycles.
A low-speed electric scooter is defined under Md. Code, Transportation Art., § 11-117.2(a). To be considered a low-speed electric scooter that is not a motor vehicle, the scooter must meet the following criteria:
- The scooter must be designed to transport only the person riding it (i.e., no passengers),
- Weigh less than 100 pounds,
- Have single wheels in tandem or a combination of one to two wheels at the front and back,
- Have handlebars and a platform to stand on while riding,
- Be solely powered by an electric motor and human power, and
- Be capable of operating at speeds no higher than 20 mph.
If your e-scooter meets these criteria, it is not a motor vehicle and falls under the same laws as standard bicycles. Although your e-scooter is not a motor vehicle, it is still subject to traffic laws and safety regulations. You must comply with these laws and regulations to avoid getting in hot water with the authorities.
Where Can I Ride an Electric Scooter in Maryland?
Since electric scooters may be deemed the same as bicycles, at least legally, they are often treated the same way by the traffic code. This means the laws regulating where bicycles are permitted may also apply to electric scooters. If you are ever unsure where you should or should not be riding your e-scooter, ask yourself if you could ride a bicycle in the same place. If the answer is yes, you can probably ride your e-scooter there.
E-scooters are usually permitted on roads as if they were bicycles. As long as you ride with the normal flow of traffic and abide by the same traffic laws, you should be fine. This means you must stop at stop signs and red lights, obey traffic signs and signals, and signal turns and lane changes. You can generally not ride an e-scooter on sidewalks or crosswalks. If one is available, a bike lane may be used instead of normal traffic lanes.
Do I Need a Driver’s License for an Electric Scooter in Maryland?
You usually do not need a driver’s license to operate an electric scooter. Since e-scooters are legally treated the same as bikes, things like licenses, registration, or titles are unnecessary. However, if your e-scooter is too powerful or does not meet the criteria mentioned above, it might be considered a motor vehicle, and a driver’s license might be important.
If your electric scooter is capable of going faster than 20mph, it may no longer be considered the same as a bicycle and might be looked at more like a motor vehicle. Often, people with powerful e-scooters do not realize their scooter is actually a moped or something similar.
Check with our Baltimore personal injury attorneys about local ordinances or regulations in your town or county. Different cities might impose different regulations and rules about e-scooters. For example, many places do not allow e-scooters on sidewalks, but others do under certain circumstances.
What Happens After an Accident Involving an Electric Scooter in Maryland?
If you are injured in a crash while riding your electric scooter, you may seek compensation from the negligent driver. However, you should be wary of how your own behavior during the accident might affect the outcome of your case.
An accident might happen because a driver was negligent and hit you while you were on your e-scooter. Drivers often disregard non-motor vehicles like bikes and scooters, and people on e-scooters are no exception.
Accidents are more likely to happen when e-scooters are used in the same lanes of traffic as cars, usually because there is no bike lane. Contrary to what a negligent driver might assume, people on e-scooters have the right to use the road. If you are deemed partially at-fault for the accident, such as by recklessly using your e-scooter or failing to take important safety precautions, your compensation might be reduced.
You can file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance. When doing so, you need to show the insurance company how the driver is at fault. Evidence like photos, details about your injuries, and a police report may be very helpful.
If an insurance claim does not work out or is insufficient, you can sue the driver for additional damages. This is often necessary in cases involving severe injuries where the limits of the defendant’s insurance policy do not cover all your needs.
Contact Our Maryland Scooter Accident Lawyers for Assistance
To schedule a case evaluation for free, call our Maryland personal injury attorneys today at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.