Scooters are fun to ride and typically very convenient. This is particularly true for students riding them to and from class. With a scooter, you don’t have to worry about finding a parking space and you won’t spend much on gas. But, in spite of the obvious attractions, scooters also have their fair share of drawbacks. Not the least of which is the fact that they can be extremely dangerous. Here’s why you must do everything you can to avoid scoot accidents.
Are Scooters Dangerous?
Just about any scooter operator, including experienced riders to amateurs, can get into a scooter accident. Don’t be naive enough to think that it can’t happen to you. The difference between getting into an accident while you’re driving a car versus getting into one while you’re riding a scooter is dramatic.
Most of us have been in fender-benders while driving. It’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, the driver behind you momentarily takes their eyes off traffic, and next thing you know, BAM! Depending on a couple of factors, this may not be too serious if you are in a car. However, there is no such thing as a fender-bender when you’re riding a scooter. At the very least, you’ll end up on the asphalt with road rash, scrapes, and bruises.
How To Protect Yourself
We know scooters can be dangerous. The next thing to understand is that, just like with a car, it is important to take steps to protect yourself.
Always Wear Protective Gear
This means always wear a helmet, a long-sleeve shirt, pants, and closed-toed shoes. Road-rash is no joke and neither are head injuries. Your mom was right, you should always wear a helmet! This is true whether you’re riding a motorcycle, scooter, and even a bicycle.
Always Check Your Bike First Before Riding
You want to give your scooter a quick once-over before hopping on and riding. Check for scratches in the tires that might eventually become holes. It’s much more dangerous to get a flat tire while riding a scooter than it is while driving a car. Make sure your headlights, brake lights, and signals are all working properly.
Use Hand Signals
Some scooters come with turn signals off the line, but many don’t. If your scooter doesn’t have turn signals, make sure to use your hands whenever you’re turning. Don’t assume that just because you’re riding a scooter people are going to give you the right-of-way, or that they can read your mind to know which way you’re planning on going.
What To Do After A Scooter Accident
If you’re ever involved in a scooter accident, once you’ve dealt with all of the immediate concerns like injuries and medical treatment, you’ll probably want to file a claim with your insurance company. Moped or scooter liability insurance is not required in Florida, so there’s a chance you don’t have any. In that case, you would file a third-party claim with the other person’s insurance if they were the ones who caused the accident. It is possible that this avenue will cover the costs of your injuries and other damages to the scooter. However, insurance offers are often not enough to cover all of your medical costs and lost wages.
Florida Scooter Laws
The state of Florida has two categories of scooters: 1) Motorized scooters; and 2) Motorscooters. Motorized scooters are comprised of vehicles that:
- Have three or fewer wheels;
- Cannot go faster than 30 miles per hour;
- Do not have a seat or saddle. If it does have a seat or saddle, the vehicle is considered a “motor scooter.”
Motorized scooters without a seat or saddle are not street-legal and cannot be operated either on the road or on sidewalks. The scooter doesn’t have to be registered with the FLHSMV, and you don’t need to wear a helmet so long as you’re at least sixteen years old; however, it is always recommended.
In Florida, you need a driver’s license to ride a motorized scooter. If, on the other hand, you have a motor scooter which has a seat or saddle, it is street-legal in Florida and can be operated on the road so long as it’s properly registered. You also need to obtain a title for the scooter and attach a license plate. You still cannot ride the scooter on the highway, however, as vehicles need to have at least 5 brake horsepower and the ability to reach 40 miles per hour, which is not the case for most motor scooters with an engine under 50cc. If your motor scooter engine is over 50cc, your scooter would be considered a motorcycle.
You also need to be at least sixteen years old and have a valid driver’s license to ride a motor scooter on the road. While riding, you are held to the same laws as operators of other motor vehicles. For example, if you were intoxicated on your scooter, you could receive a DUI.
Before starting any kind of legal proceeding, you should always consult with an experienced attorney to consider whether or not it’s worth it to legally move forward. If you do decide to move forward, then you should not delay. Move fast because each state has a statute of limitations that determines the amount of time you can wait for an accident before filing a lawsuit. In Florida, the statute of limitations for these types of claims is four (4) years.
If you’ve been injured in a scooter or moped accident in Florida, give Marsalisi Law a call at (727) 800-5052 and remember, Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.