Electric scooters, also called e-scooters, are popular in New York City for good reasons. They’re small enough to weave through slow traffic, they’re fun to ride, and they have a sporty appeal. Riders need to know that while e-scooters are not cars they are still subject to regulations for two-wheeled, micro-mobility vehicles. Understanding New York City electric scooter laws is the key to remaining both safe on the streets and ticket-free.
What Are Electric Scooters?
E-scooters look a lot like regular scooters in that they have floorboards, two wheels, and a handlebar. However, instead of being propelled by riders, e-scooters have battery-powered motors. The batteries allow riders to travel up to 31 miles on each charge at speeds of up to 19 MPH. While they are similar in form and function to e-bikes, e-scooters are classified separately in New York City.
Are Electric Scooters Legal in NYC?
E-scooters have been legal for use in New York City since November 2020, and the relevant laws are quite friendly to micro-mobility vehicles. Riders must:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Wear a helmet if under 18
- Travel no faster than 15 MPH
- Avoid roads with speed limits over 30 MPH
- Follow all posted regulations when riding in NYC parks
Do I Need a License to Ride an Electric Scooter?
There’s no need for a license, and these micro-mobility devices don’t need to be registered or inspected.
Safety Tips for Electric Scooter Riders
Scooters offer far less protection in an accident than cars or trucks, so riders often sustain serious injuries. Following a few safety tips can help to prevent accidents while using e-scooters on city streets. To prevent serious injuries, riders should:
- Always wear helmets, even if it’s not required.
- Avoid using headphones while riding.
- Decelerate when going downhill.
- Use bike lanes whenever available for greater protection from cars.
- Follow NYC traffic laws regarding speed limits, intersections, and yielding the right of way.
Driving defensively and following the tips above can help to reduce an e-scooter rider’s chances of getting into an accident with a car or truck, but it won’t reduce the risk to zero.
New York City Electric Scooter Accidents
The first thing any e-scooter rider should do after being hit by any kind of other vehicle is to call 911 to report the accident and get emergency medical care. Even riders who don’t feel as though they’ve been seriously injured need to be checked out by EMTs because they could have concussions or internal damage that requires immediate medical care.
If riders aren’t severely injured, it can help to take pictures of the scene, any injuries, and damage to the scooter. Try to get contact information from any witnesses, and record an account of what happened to keep all of the details straight.
When to Hire a Scooter Lawyer
After filing a police report and seeking medical care, the next thing e-scooter riders who have been involved in accidents should do is contact a lawyer. It may be possible to seek compensation for damages, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and non-economic losses.
If you’ve been injured in an escooter accident in NYC, contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible.