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California State Laws and Regulations Impacting E-scooters in 2024

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

In California, e-scooters fall under the classification of motor vehicles, regardless of their motor size or top speed, making them subject to the same traffic laws as cars.

This distinguishes them from e-bikes, which are categorized as bicycles and must adhere to bicycle traffic laws.

As a legal attorney well-versed in Los Angeles regulations, I will provide you with comprehensive insights regarding the current regulations in Los Angeles for E-Scooters.

Quick Summary

  • E-scooter regulations in Los Angeles include helmet requirements, a minimum age of 16, designated parking, a ban on sidewalks, and a no-riding-under-the-influence policy requiring a valid license to ride.
  • E-scooters are allowed on roadways, bike lanes, and bicycle paths but not on sidewalks, with a preference for Class II bike lanes, subject to exceptions.
  • California state laws set helmet requirements, a 15 mph speed limit, and driver's license or permit rules, and advise on liability and insurance considerations for e-scooter riders.

What Are the Current Regulations in Los Angeles for E-scooters?

A man riding an e-scooterThe current regulations for e-scooters in Los Angeles involve several key points, such as speed limits, and helmet requirements for all riders.

A minimum age of 16 to operate e-scooters, designated parking areas, a ban on sidewalk riding, permitted operating hours from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM, no double riding, and a strict no-riding-under-the-influence policy [1].

A valid driver's license or instruction permit is required to ride an e-scooter in California legally, and minors under 18 must wear a helmet.

Scooters are also expected to be parked safely to prevent scooter accidents and ensure sidewalks are clear for pedestrians.

Los Angeles Regulations on E-Scooters

Los Angeles has implemented specific e-scooter regulations that cover the following areas:

  • Riding locations
  • Parking
  • Passengers
  • Scooter sharing businesses

These regulations are in place to ensure safe and responsible use of this innovative mode of transportation.

Riding Locations

Two people riding an e-scooter at the sidewalkIn Los Angeles, e-scooters can be ridden on roadways, bike lanes, and bicycle paths, but not on sidewalks. Bicycle lanes, including Class II bicycle lanes, are the preferred option for e-scooter riders, as mandated by CVC 21229 [2]. 

A Class II bicycle lane is a designated lane along the right side of a street with a solid white line on each side, typically featuring a bicycle symbol inside the white borders for one-way riding.

There are, however, some exceptions to riding in a Class II bike lane. Knowing these rules is pivotal to avoiding penalties and safely navigating through street intersections.

These restrictions apply to all electric scooters, also known as e-scooters or motorized scooters, with electric motors, ensuring the safety of riders and pedestrians alike.

Parking Regulations

Proper parking of e-scooters is key to preserving pedestrian safety and accessibility in Los Angeles.

E-scooters must be parked in designated areas, such as bike racks, so they do not obstruct sidewalks or public access.

Improperly parked scooters pose a hazard to pedestrians and may lead to accidents.

Being a responsible rider entails the following:

  • Parking your e-scooter safely and thoughtfully to prevent hindering pedestrians, particularly those with mobility impairments
  • Abiding by parking regulations
  • Taking simple yet critical steps in preventing scooter accidents
  • Ensuring a hassle-free experience for all

California State Laws Impacting E-Scooters

Lawyers discussing California state laws

California state laws play a significant role in shaping e-scooter regulations in Los Angeles.

These laws cover various aspects, such as helmet requirements, maximum speed limits, and driver's license and permit rules, ensuring that e-scooters are used safely and responsibly across the state [3].

Helmet Requirements

The role of helmets in ensuring the safety of e-scooter riders is of utmost importance. In California, minors under the age of 18 are required to wear a bicycle helmet that fits securely and is properly fastened while riding an e-scooter.

While adults are not legally obligated to wear a helmet, it is highly recommended for safety reasons, such as lowering the risk of head injuries.

Remember, wearing a helmet not only abides by California electric scooter laws but also helps prevent scooter accidents and keeps everyone safer on the roads.

Maximum Speed and Traffic Rules

A man riding an e-scooter at the sidewalkE-scooters must adhere to a maximum speed limit of 15 mph in California. This speed limit is in place to ensure the safety of riders, pedestrians, and motorists alike.

Going over the speed limit can result in a traffic ticket, so it's essential to keep an eye on your speed while riding an e-scooter.

Additionally, e-scooters are subject to many of the same traffic rules as motor vehicles, including obeying traffic signals, following the flow of traffic, and yielding to pedestrians.

Compliance with these traffic rules helps prevent scooter accidents and ensures a safe and enjoyable riding experience for everyone.

"Scooters cannot generally be ridden on highways or other roads with speed limits that exceed 25 mph and that lack a bike lane."
- C.R. MCREYNOLDS, Founding Partner at McReynolds | Vardanyan LLP

Driver's License Must Be Valid

To operate an e-scooter in California, riders must possess a valid driver's license or instruction permit.

This requirement is in place to ensure that only qualified individuals can ride e-scooters and minimize the risk of accidents caused by inexperienced or unlicensed riders.

Permit Requirements

While e-scooters do not require registration or license plates in California, rental businesses must obtain permits to operate.

This requirement ensures that e-scooter rental businesses comply with local regulations and provide a safe and regulated environment for riders and pedestrians alike.

Liability and Insurance Considerations

Two people talking about liability and insurance considerationsLiability and insurance considerations are vital for e-scooter riders. While insurance is not mandatory for e-scooter riders in California, it is highly recommended for coverage in the event of potential damages and injuries.

Accidents involving e-scooters can result in physical injury, property damage, and medical expenses.

In the event of an accident involving an e-scooter, various parties may be held liable for damages, including the rider, the e-scooter manufacturer, or other involved motorists.

It's essential to be aware of the potential liability risks associated with e-scooter use and consider obtaining insurance coverage to protect yourself in the event of an accident.

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Are Electric Scooters Legal in Los Angeles?

Yes, electric scooters are legal in Los Angeles, but they must adhere to specific regulations outlined by the city.

Can You Ride Electric Scooters on the Sidewalk in Los Angeles?

No, you cannot ride on the sidewalks in Los Angeles. They should be ridden in designated bike lanes or on the road, following traffic laws.

Do You Need a License to Drive a Scooter in Los Angeles?

No, you don't need a driver's license to drive a scooter in Los Angeles. However, riders must be at least 16 years old to use e-scooters legally.

Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today.

If you have experienced an e-scooter accident, promptly reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss your case and explore potential compensation. 

An experienced lawyer at Schmidt & Clark, LLP can help you navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding e-scooter accidents, understand your rights, and seek the compensation you deserve.