California Electric Scooter Laws—An Overview

Fundamental Laws Governing Electric Scooters

California Electric Scooter Laws—An OverviewAs the use of electric scooters continues to explode, both in California and nationwide, more andmore legislatures are taking a close look at their impact, enacting regulations to protect riders, other drivers, and pedestrians. In this blog, we look as some of the basic laws governing the operation of an electric scooter in California.

  • Under the law, electric scooters are motorized vehicles—Except where there are specific laws governing electric scooters, the law governing other motor vehicles applies. For example, you can be charged with drinking and driving if you operate an electric scooter while intoxicated.
  • You must walk an electric scooter through a left-hand turn—A controversial new provision in the California Vehicle Code requires electric scooter operators to get off their bikes on the right-hand side of the road when approaching a left-hand turn and then walk the bike through the turn.
  • The use of bike lanes—The California Vehicle Code requires electric scooter operators to use dedicated bike lanes whenever possible. Some exceptions apply:
    • When making a left-hand turn
    • When avoiding hazards in the bike lane
    • When passing another vehicle or a pedestrian
    • When turning right
  • Prohibited activities—You may not have another passenger on an electric scooter. You may not operate an electric scooter without a valid driver’s license. You may not drive an electric scooter on a sidewalk.
  • Minors must wear helmets—Anyone under the age of 18 may drive an electric scooter only while wearing a helmet. The requirement does not apply to adults.
  • The speed limit for electric scooters is 15 miles per hour—The fines for exceeding the speed limit start at $250.

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