You might begin to notice more and more people cruising around St. Petersburg on scooters and motorized bikes this year. The city passed an ordinance to allow e-scooters on St. Pete streets, starting with a one-year pilot program with various vendors beginning in 2020. This form of transportation is a great way to combat rising gas prices and environmental concerns, so it’s no wonder that the public’s interest in them has peaked.
One thing to keep in mind is that Florida law views scooters and motorized bikes differently than it does motorcycles. Motorized bicycles and scooters have a separate classification and set of laws all their own. If you’re thinking about renting or buying a scooter or motorized bike, read on to learn more about how Florida views this mode of transportation.
What Are the Scooter Laws in Florida?
Under Florida law, there are two separate categories of scooters: motorized scooters and motor scooters. The primary difference between the two is that motor scooters have seats, while motorized scooters do not. One key to look for is whether the rider must sit or stand. If the rider is sitting – then it’s usually a motor scooter. Seated, motor scooters are street-legal in Florida, while standing, motorized scooters are not. To be classified as a motorized scooter, it must meet the following specifications and must:
- Have three wheels or less;
- Not exceed 30 mph;
- Not have seats or a saddle.
While Florida does not allow motorized scooters to be ridden on the streets or sidewalks, state law permits individual cities and counties to set their own regulations.
Motorized Scooter Laws in St. Petersburg
In St. Petersburg, motorized scooters are not allowed to ride on sidewalks due to their high-speed capability; but they can be operated in bicycle lanes and streets that are 30 mph or under.
Certain areas are off-limits for riding a motorized scooter. They include Pinellas Trail west of 34th Street, all waterfront trails on the North Bay Trail from Demeans Landing to Coffee Pot Park, and the densely populated Pier District.
Like pedal bicycles, motorized scooters must also be parked at designated corrals. If there are no designated corrals insight, riders must be careful not to park in an area that blocks any building entryways or pedestrian walkways.
Riders must possess a valid driver’s license to ride a motorized scooter in St. Pete. It’s not required to wear a helmet, but it’s strongly advised that you wear one anyway. Even at 15 mph, falling off a motorized scooter can result in severe injuries. If you decide to cruise on a motorized scooter in St. Pete, be sure to follow the rules of the road that every motor vehicle driver must follow.
St. Pete has also set a curfew of 10 p.m. for motorized scooters. That time frame goes hand in hand with current noise ordinances that prohibit loud noise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
What Are Motorized Bicycle Laws in Florida?
Motorized bicycles are pedal bikes with a small gas engine attached. Like motorized scooters, they’re legal to ride in Florida except on streets and sidewalks according to local laws. To be classified as a motorized bicycle, it must meet the following specifications:
- Must have two wheels;
- Must be operated by both human and motorized powers;
- Must not exceed 20 mph;
- The seat must reach 26 inches minimum off the ground when extended.
Unlike motorized scooters, motorized bicycles do not require a driver’s license, but riders must be at least 16 years old. Florida views motorized bicycles the same way it sees pedal bicycles – they’re considered vehicles and must obey the rules of the road. That means motorized bicycle riders must stop for stop signs and obey traffic signals and other traffic laws. One difference from motorized scooters is that St. Petersburg laws are no different than Florida state laws.
Professional Scooter Attorney in St. Pete Who You Can Trust
Cruising on a motorized bicycle or scooter can be a lot of fun. But accidents do happe. If you find yourself hurt while riding one because of the negligence of another driver, you should be compensated for your injuries. That’s when you call Marsalisi Law.
Attorney Frank P. Masalisi has spent more than a decade helping victims with their personal injury cases and has the knowledge and skill to help you too. Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal. To speak with Frank about your accident, fill out an online contact form or call anytime at (727) 800-5052 to get started with your free consultation.
Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.