The world of micro-mobility has been expanding since the early 2000s. Having a lightweight personal vehicle is one of the best ways to get around in a big city.
Not all micro-mobility vehicles are defined and regulated the same way. It's important to know the nuances between e-bikes, e-scooters, and mopeds. We'll share what you need to know about using your e-scooter safely by understanding e-scooter law in NYC.
What Is an E-Scooter?
An e-scooter resembles a regular scooter in that it has two wheels, a floorboard, and handlebars for steering. Some models have a seat. However, an e-scooter features an electric, battery-powered motor mounted on either the front or rear wheel.
Most e-scooters can travel between three and 31 miles on a single battery charge and reach a maximum speed of 19 mph. Several models have swappable batteries, so you can charge one while using the other.
While e-bikes and e-scooters have a similar function, they are classified separately by the New York Department of Transportation (NYDOT). E-bikes are divided into three classes depending on their maximum speed capabilities. E-scooters occupy only one category and have a few specific regulations applied.
NYC E-Scooter Laws
A state law passed in November 2020 allowed the use of e-scooters everywhere in New York City except Manhattan. Shortly afterward, the law permitted scooter companies to implement sharing programs to grant micro-mobility access to more citizens.
Licenses and E-Scooters
You do not need a driver's license but must be at least 16-years-old to operate an e-scooter in New York City.
Regulations for E-Scooter Operators
A few other regulations apply to you when operating your e-scooter. You may not exceed a speed of 15 mph. You may ride in bike lanes and on streets where the speed limit is not above 30 mph.
The NYDOT strongly recommends helmets for all riders but requires them for 16 and 17-year-olds.
E-Scooters in NYC Parks
When operating an e-scooter in areas administered by NYC Parks, you must comply with NYC Parks rules. This includes only riding on designated roads, greenways, and parking areas.
When in doubt, abide by the rules posted at the entrance of each park. You can also check the NYC Parks website for more information.
E-Scooter Safety Tips for NYC
It's marvelous to have the freedom to quickly and easily move about the city on your lightweight personal vehicle.
You can enjoy some fresh air and get some exercise. While you must obey traffic lights and signs while in bike lanes and on the street, you get to bypass some of the hassles of regular traffic.
The key to enjoying and reaping maximum benefit from micro-mobility is to follow some basic safety rules alongside the e-scooter laws in NYC.
Always Wear a Helmet
The law only dictates that 16 and 17-year-old e-scooter drivers must wear helmets. However, you are most safe when you wear a helmet no matter your age.
Everyone on an e-scooter is at risk of having an accident at any time. Your helmet can spare you from dangerous head trauma even in minor collisions.
Leave Off Your Headphones
A carefully crafted playlist for your morning commute makes the time enjoyable and gets you in the mindset for your day.
But if you are traveling by e-scooter, it is much safer to have your ears open to the sounds of other vehicles and pedestrians. Having your headphones in your ears with no music or podcast playing can also impede your hearing.
Decelerate Going Downhill
Remember that you may operate your e-scooter at a maximum speed of 15 mph. You can readily gain too much momentum going downhill. Apply your breaks to maintain a safe and legal speed.
Use Bike Lanes
Choosing an e-scooter indeed gives you a kind of freedom that standard motor vehicles don't enjoy. Planning your travel route carefully, though, will maximize your safety and enjoyment.
While you may drive your e-scooter on streets with speed limits under 30 mph, it is best to stick to the streets that provide bike lanes. Google Maps has a feature that shows you bike lanes and bike trails to help you plan your travel route.
Follow Traffic Laws
As stated above, e-scooter drivers are subject to traffic laws on the street. Skirting between sedans and box trucks on a crowded city street is a sure way to cause an accident. Follow all traffic signals and signs.
Like other vehicles, you must yield to pedestrians when on your e-scooter. Doing so keeps everyone safer, especially you, and ensures you don’t run afoul of e-scooter law in NYC.
What To Do if You’ve Been in an E-Scooter Accident
E-scooters are relatively new to the roads, so many cities and municipalities have not yet adopted laws that regulate e-scooter liability. Keep in mind that New York’s car insurance PIP protection does not typically cover 2-wheeled forms of transportation. Given these uncertainties determining and proving liability in a scooter accident can be complex. Contact a personal injury lawyer to review your case and possible next steps.
Brandon J. Broderick Can Help With Your NYC E-Scooter Accident
A vehicle accident of any kind can leave you in pain and feeling frustrated and hopeless. When the accident is due to someone else's lack of care, you may need legal representation to ensure your rights and best interests are protected—in these situations, having someone who is on your side to back you up can be a huge relief.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in compassionate client care and honest, straight-forward approach. When you hire a New York City accident lawyer from our team at Brandon J. Broderick, you pay nothing upfront. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. That means if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Contact us today and let us turn your setback into a comeback.