Excuse me, can I ride my e-scooter here?
The sun is setting, it’s 6:00pm on a Friday night, and you’re wondering where tonight’s merriment will be celebrated without worrying about electric scooter laws. You grab your e-scooter, hoping to soak up the weather, stay out of the car, and experience the freedom of a scooter, like a favorite childhood bike. But wait…traffic’s still bad, it’s getting dark, and where can I actually ride this scooter?
There has been a surge in e-scooter usage over the past few years and ever-increasing traffic on the roads. It’s time to stop guessing how to implement correct and valid laws for e-scooter riding space…or at least attempt to. E-scooters for commuting purposes is relatively new and growing in popularity quickly. According to an article from Grand View Research, the global electric scooters market size was estimated at USD 19.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.6% from 2021 to 2028. If this happens, in theory, it would double the amount of e-scooters on the road in the next 7 years. Of course, this is a global forecast so other countries may actually grow faster than the U.S. Regardless, United States is trying to accommodate e-scooter by streamlining some traffic laws, but we all know how long that could take when state legislatures are involved. For this reason, it might be a bit unclear how to safely and lawfully get to your favorite meet up spot down the street with your e-scooter.
No one can deny having a country that consists of 50 different states and their respective laws can be overwhelming and confusing at times. While the transience of development and communities is rapidly changing in the United States, here are a few examples of how a few more urban places are embracing the rising usage of e-scooters.
Electric Scooter Riding Law Examples
In California, for example, you can ride up to 15 MPH on a bicycle path, trail or bikeway, but not a sidewalk. 15 MPH isn’t super fast, but with California being a pretty bike-friendly place, we’ll take all the space they will allow!
In Georgia you are permitted to ride scooters in bike lanes or in the right lane of the street. While they’re legal on the sidewalks, they’re not allowed on sidewalks in Atlanta, Georgia’s capitol, which is the one place you would want to be on a sidewalk on your e-scooter. Oh well. They’re working on that.
In Texas, for now, you are permitted to ride on sidewalks, as well as roads and bike lanes. That figures Texas would be an exception here.
New York (ironically) allows e-scooters in bike lanes and streets (try not to die in NYC), but not on sidewalks.
Chicago is only now looking at having them return to the city after previous safety concerns.
Pennsylvania and Delaware have decided they’re not allowing electric scooter to be legal on any street or sidewalk.
Florida allows them in bike lanes and “encourages” helmets. It’s Florida, after all. You gotta let your hair down.
So, the list could go on and on, but we’re not going to cover all the states in this article. The main point to be taken home here is – Don’t ride your scooter on the sidewalk.
Tips And Guides
For a more comprehensive, state by state overview of e-scooter laws and regulations in the U.S., take a look at this article on Electric Scooter Guide.
A few key safety considerations to remember when riding any e-scooter:
- Apply the same rules in traffic you would to a car when on your e-scooter.
- Get comfortable with the road and notice your surroundings.
- Keep your eyes on where you’re going, not on the ground in front of you.
- Remember to wear appropriate protection like a helmet and pads.
- Let the wind brush your face and enjoy your newfound transportive freedom.
For all our SR-5S owners, the Shell RIDE team has compiled some common sense and less than common sense safety tips. Take a look here.