Electric Cars…and Electric Scooters in Arizona
It’s not just electric cars, self-driving cars, and other types of new technology on four wheels in Arizona – now, it’s electric scooters, too. Electric vehicles are hitting the area with a bang because of their affordability, lower impact on the environment, and availability. They are sold in many stores throughout most major cities.
Many commuters are looking for a cross between a bike and a car, and electric scooters seem to meet that need. But this also means more vehicles on our roads and bike paths. And it means drivers need to be even more aware of their surroundings as they operate their vehicles.
Know the Laws for Electric Scooters
If your scooter has a motor with less than 750W of power and travels at less than 20 mph, there are no state laws to abide by. But there are federal laws, which say the scooters can legally travel wherever bikes can, including bike paths and sidewalks. Slower scooters cannot be operated on highways, cannot carry more than one rider, and cannot be driven in traffic lanes.
However, if your scooter runs above 20 mph, Arizona moped laws come into play. These vehicles do need to be insured and have to be registered with the state. You must have a driver’s license and a bill of sale. If you are younger than 18 years of age, you also must wear a helmet.
If your scooter travels faster than 25 mph and has higher horsepower than regular mopeds, it will fall under the same laws that apply to motorcycles. This means you must wear eye protection at all times, and younger drivers 18 and under must wear helmets. Valid licenses and insurance also must be on your person at all times. These faster vehicles may not be driven on sidewalks or in bike lanes, and they can go on highways if they can meet the speed parameters.
What to Know If You’re a Motorist
If you drive a car, it’s important to watch for electric scooters on bike paths just like you would watch for bicyclists. You also must watch for higher-powered scooters on the roads. Obey all traffic and speed laws and double-check your mirrors before making a lane change so you don’t miss spotting these smaller vehicles.
Getting in a crash with an electric scooter can result in serious injury to scooter riders, as they are not as protected as they would be if they were sitting inside a vehicle. Riders can be thrown from their scooters and receive road rash, head injuries, back and neck injuries, and more. And the crashes can be fatal as well. In 2017, a Tucson bus driver smashed into a scooter on a sidewalk at East Speedway near North Kolb Road, killing the woman scooter driver.
Never drive while distracted and keep your eyes on the road. Leave plenty of distance between your car and a scooter, and watch for signals that they are slowing, stopping, turning, or making a lane change. If you’re a scooter rider and you’re injured by a careless motorist, the skilled Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys at Breyer Law Offices, P.C., can help you. For a free consultation, please call us!