2023 Guide to Electric Scooter Laws in NYC
Increasingly, electric scooters are becoming more and more popular in New York City. As a rider, you should learn the laws surrounding these devices and how they apply to you.
Since electric scooters are now permitted in New York City, it is important for riders to be aware of the various rules surrounding these devices. Only those 16 and older can ride an electric scooter in New York City. If you are under 18, you must wear a helmet when operating your device. You don’t need to register or insure your electric scooter, and you can only ride it on bike lanes or roads with speed limits of less than 30 mph. People riding electric scooters must follow all normal New York City traffic laws. If you are injured by a negligent party while operating your device, you may be able to file a lawsuit and recover compensation with help from our New York City electric scooter lawyers.
To schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with the New York City personal injury lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm, call us today at (718) 841-0083.
Can You Ride an Electric Scooter in NYC?
Once prohibited in New York City, electric scooters were made legal throughout the state in 2020. So, now people in New York City are allowed to ride electric scooters, provided they follow the necessary guidelines.
Prior to 2020, electric scooters were not allowed in New York City. Known for its high volume of traffic, New York City prohibited the use of electric scooters as they are often incapable of moving with the flow of traffic and might present dangers to riders and pedestrians. When New York confirmed its stance on electric scooters in 2020 as these devices grew in popularity, New York City was made to do the same.
According to V.A.T. Law § 114-E, an electric scooter is a device that weighs less than 100 pounds, has handlebars, a floorboard or seat, and electric motors. To be considered an electric scooter, a device may be powered by its electric motor or human power. While electric scooters have the capacity to operate at speeds of up to 20 mph, they may not be ridden at speeds of over 15 mph, according to V.A.T. Law § 1282(6).
Although New York City now permits electric scooters, it’s not without limitations or requirements. Suppose you plan on purchasing and riding an electric scooter as an alternative mode of transportation. In that case, it’s important to stay up to date on New York City’s safety guidelines and other requirements. If you are injured while riding on one of these devices, speak with our Manhattan personal injury lawyers to learn about your options for compensation.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride an Electric Scooter in NYC?
Not just anyone can ride an electric scooter in New York City. You have to be a certain age in order to legally ride one of these devices on the streets of New York City and throughout the rest of the state.
Only those 16 or older can ride an electric scooter in New York City, according to V.A.T. Law § 1282(4). Anyone under the age of 16 is not allowed to operate one of these devices. This is mostly because of the dangers electric scooters present, the little safety they provide, and the fact that electric scooters are typically ridden alongside other vehicles, such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
While only people 16 years old and older can operate an electric scooter in New York City, no specific license, driver’s license or other special permission, is required to ride one of these devices. This differs from New York’s licensing requirements for similar devices, like mopeds.
Although anyone over the age of 16 can ride an electric scooter in New York City, regardless of whether or not they have a driver’s license, it is important for all riders to be careful. Like motorcycles, bicycles, and other devices, electric scooters offer very little protection to riders. While they can only be ridden at speeds of up to 15 mph, electric scooters cannot protect riders from negligent drivers or other dangers on the road. It is important to heed all normal traffic laws while riding one of these devices and contact our Queens personal injury lawyers if you are injured in an accident.
Do You Need to Wear a Helmet While Riding an Electric Scooter in NYC?
When riding an electric scooter in New York City, it is important to stay mindful of your proximity to cars and other vehicles and to protect yourself. While only certain riders are required to wear a helmet while operating electric scooters, all riders should wear protective headgear, regardless of their age.
According to V.A.T. Law § 1286(1), only riders under 18 are required to wear helmets while operating electric scooters in New York City. This does not mean that riders over the age of 18 should forgo helmets. Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries are common among electric scooter riders struck by cars. These types of injuries are often expensive to treat and can be life-altering for victims in many ways. As our New York City electric scooter lawyers know, wearing a helmet can help you avoid sustaining such serious injuries if you are hit by a vehicle while operating your device.
So, while only certain people have to wear a helmet while riding an electric scooter in New York City, everyone should. Wearing other protective gear, like goggles and well-fitting jackets, pants, and shoes, can also help you avoid certain injuries if you are struck by a negligent driver while riding an electric scooter in New York City.
Do You Need to Register or Insure Your Electric Scooter in NYC?
Electric scooters can be hard to classify. Are they more closely related to bikes, cars, or motorcycles? Do riders have to register electric scooters or get insurance for them? Learning the answers to these questions is important so that you can ride your electric scooter in New York City without concern.
Electric scooters aren’t considered vehicles in New York City, meaning you don’t need to register your device or get a license plate. This is reinforced by the fact that riders don’t need a license to operate electric scooters as they do for other popular alternative modes of transportation, like mopeds and motorcycles.
Because electric scooters have only become legal in New York City recently, the issue of how riders are protected is a bit confusing. If you drive a car in New York City, you must get personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This insurance covers you if you are injured in an accident as a pedestrian, bicyclist, driver, or passenger, regardless of who caused your collision. That said, PIP doesn’t typically extend to other modes of transportation. Notably, those injured in motorcycle or moped accidents are not covered by their personal injury protection insurance in New York. Because of that, your PIP insurance may not cover your damages if you are struck while riding your electric scooter in New York City. Additionally, you are not required to get insurance for your device.
Because this subject is complicated, it is important for riders to contact our Brooklyn personal injury lawyers if they are injured in an accident. Since it is unlikely for riders’ injuries to be covered by their PIP insurance, our attorneys are prepared to help victims pursue other paths to compensation.
Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Sidewalk in NYC?
New York City streets are congested and full of cars, trucks, and other vehicles. If you’ve recently purchased an electric scooter and plan on using it to get around the city, you may wonder if you can further avoid the traffic by riding your device on the sidewalk. That’s not allowed in New York City.
Though you might want to use your electric scooter to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City streets, you can’t. Often, the sidewalks of New York City are just as, if not more, crowded than the streets. And, because electric scooters can operate at higher speeds than people can walk, riding an electric scooter on a sidewalk presents dangers to pedestrians and riders alike. So, the bottom line is you can’t ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk in New York City.
So, where can you ride your device? In New York City, people can ride electric scooters in bike lanes. These lanes are typically reserved for bicyclists, meaning riding in them can help you avoid riding in lanes with cars and other vehicles. That’s not to say that bike lanes aren’t populated, so it’s important to keep an eye out for bicyclists around you.
Electric scooter riders in New York City can also operate their devices on any road in the city with a maximum speed limit of 30 mph. If you’re sharing a lane with cars, trucks, or other vehicles, be sure to keep a safe distance. If you can’t keep up with the flow of traffic, stick with the bike lane while operating your electric scooter in New York City. As a best practice, our Bronx personal injury lawyers advise riders to avoid car lanes altogether. Remain aware of car doors opening, pedestrians jaywalking, and other circumstances that might result in an accident while riding your electric scooter in a bike lane in New York City.
What NYC Traffic Laws Do You Have to Follow While Riding an Electric Scooter?
Just because your electric scooter is not considered a motor vehicle in the same way that cars, trucks, and motorcycles are, does not mean you can ignore traffic laws. In fact, riders of electric scooters must adhere to all normal New York City traffic laws when operating their devices.
The same traffic laws that apply to drivers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists apply to you when riding your electric scooter in New York City. You must follow the speed limit if you are riding your device in a car lane. Lane splitting also prohibited for electric scooter riders in New York City, like it is for motorcyclists.
You must also give the right of way to pedestrians and signal when necessary while operating your electric scooter. In New York City, it is illegal to ride an electric scooter while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Failing to follow traffic laws might equate to comparative fault if you are injured in an electric scooter accident and file a lawsuit for compensation in New York City.
Can You Sue for Injury if Hurt While Riding an Electric Scooter in NYC?
If you are injured while riding an electric scooter in New York City, you can most likely file a lawsuit for compensation. While New York does have a serious injury threshold for many vehicle accident cases, it may not apply to your situation.
New York is a no-fault state for most vehicle accidents, meaning victims must often file a claim with their personal injury protection insurance to recover compensation. Only in cases of serious injury or when victims incur a basic economic loss of $50,000 can victims file a lawsuit for compensation. Because PIP insurance typically does not extend to electric scooter accidents in the same way it does not extend to motorcycle accidents, victims may not have to abide by this rule.
Suppose your personal injury protection insurance does not apply to injuries sustained in an electric scooter accident. In that case, you don’t have to meet the serious injury threshold in order to file a lawsuit. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, our New York City electric scooter lawyers can help you bring a case against a negligent driver for compensation.
After sustaining injuries in an electric scooter accident in New York City, you will have three years to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver. Immediately after a collision, contact our attorneys. Our Staten Island personal injury lawyers can help you build a strong case against a defendant to recover the economic and non-economic damages you deserve after an accident.
Call Our NYC Attorneys About Your Electric Scooter Accident Today
To schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with the Long Island personal injury lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm, call us today at (718) 841-0083.