Regulations on the Use of Motorized Scooters
Scooters offer a fun and unique way to travel around town. Recently, E-Scooter companies such as Bird and Spin have made motorized scooter rentals available in Tampa. Hundreds of motorized scooters now share the streets and sidewalks with pedestrians and vehicles. It is important to adhere to safety laws and advice to protect yourself from accidents and serious injuries.
Tampa’s new ordinance creating a pilot program for shared motorized scooters allows operators to use their scooters on sidewalks within the city limits of Tampa. Scooters are limited to a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour. They also happen to have the same rights and duties as pedestrians. Scooter operators over the age of sixteen are not required to wear helmets. However, if you are in an accident while operating a scooter without a helmet or other protective gear, you run the serious risk of suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
You are not required to carry insurance for a motorized scooter, but the same laws apply if you are involved in an accident while operating one. This means that you could be held financially responsible if you cause an accident resulting in property damage or personal injury while operating a scooter. This also means that you may not be fully covered for your own injuries if you have no insurance policy providing coverage. Some motor vehicle or homeowner policies may provide coverage for accidents occurring while operating a motorized scooter, but many will not. It’s important to review your insurance policies or consider purchasing insurance before deciding to rent or operate a motorized scooter.
Injury Risks for Motorized Scooters
As more people choose to use motorized scooters in and around the busy streets of Tampa, accidents between these scooters, vehicles, and pedestrians will become more likely. Crosswalks and intersections will particularly become more dangerous. So, it’s important to remember that while motorized scooter operators may have the same rights as pedestrians, they must also yield the right of way to pedestrians. They also must give audible signals before overtaking or passing pedestrians. Be advised, these scooters are specifically prohibited from operating on 7th Avenue, Bayshore Boulevard, and the Tampa Riverwalk.
If you happen to be in an accident while operating a motorized scooter, it’s a good idea to have photographs taken of the scooter. This is important to document any damage as well as the scooter’s serial number for your records. It could end up becoming important evidence your attorney may need in the event of a lawsuit against a negligent driver. There may also be situations where the scooter you rented suffers from mechanical problems during operation which cause or contribute to an accident. If this happens, be sure to document any irregularities or problems and notify the scooter rental company immediately. When you rent a scooter, you will likely agree to a series of terms and conditions contained in a Rental Agreement. If you are in an accident and suffer injuries due to a malfunctioning or defective scooter, you may have claims against the rental company for failing to properly maintain the scooter. Review the terms of the Rental Agreement for information about notifying the company of a problematic scooter and bring the agreement to your attorney for them to review.
To learn more about the legal implications involved with motorized scooters, call Harmon Parker, P.A. today or contact us online to consult one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.