Micromobility took on new importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering a viable and accessible alternative to other public transportation and seeing the overall sector grow as a result.
However, there are still plenty of electric scooter laws and regulations for electric scooters to keep in mind surrounding the use of e-scooters and other micromobility vehicles.
Let’s take a deep dive into these laws and regulations, most of them aimed at ensuring the safety of riders and others around them, to help you start your own micromobility operation off on the right foot – or wheel.
US Micromobility Laws and Regulations for E-Scooters
It may surprise you to know that there are no current federal laws or regulations to help define a street-legal e-scooter. However, as of January of last year, states have begun to take matters into their own hands.
These new state-level laws and regulations help distinguish electric scooters from mopeds and other vehicles, which require registration and insurance.
Right now, e-scooters are street-legal in more than 35 states, though they often must be ridden in bike lanes whenever one has been made available, and many states require e-scooters to be ridden as close to the right-hand curb as possible.
The laws and regulations surrounding e-scooters can be as different in each state as one state is to another. For example, in Texas, electric scooters can’t travel more than 35 mph. In Kansas, they’re classified as motorcycles, and in South Carolina, no statewide e-scooter law has been enacted at all. But most states set their e-scooter speed limit at 20 mph, 7 states going for below 20mph (Arkansas (15), California (15), DC (10), Minnesota (15), New Jersey (19), Utah (15), Washington (15)).
Some states also have age limits for e-scooter operation, with states like Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida and others enforcing a minimum age requirement of 16 years. Helmet regulations are also complex and often based on age – for example, in Rhode Island, a helmet isn’t required if a rider is older than 21 and has had their driver’s license for more than two years.
You can avoid penalties by checking in with comprehensive lists of regulations, such as this one, though best practice is always to check with your local municipality and state to ensure you’re aware of potential penalties and more before embarking on your micromobility business journey.
Finally, some states have also mandated safety regulations for the scooters, themselves. California’s CVC §21228 mandates that e-scooters must have a lamp emitting white light that illuminates the road and is visible from 300 feet, a red reflector on the rear visible from 500 feet, and side and front reflectors visible from 200 feet. Effective brakes are also mandatory.
European Micromobility Laws and Regulations for E-Scooters
Many European countries have implemented robust e-scooter laws and regulations both nationally and locally.
While they can differ significantly from place to place, most seek to provide clarity on the following issues:
- Where e-scooters can be ridden (roads, bike lanes, sidewalks, pedestrian areas, etc.)
- Safety rules that scooters and riders must comply with
- Age and licensing requirements for riders
- A need to reflect competencies of local governments in how micromobility vehicles are managed
Here’s a brief look at some of the laws and regulations in a few of Europe’s larger and more impactful countries:
France added electric scooters to the nation’s traffic law by enacting a minimum age (8) and guidelines on where they can be ridden. Sidewalks are prohibited, and a speed limit of 20 km/hr is enforced on roads. Helmets must be worn by those 12 and younger.
Local authorities wield the power to limit the number of vehicles and operators in their jurisdiction and are free to implement and enforce additional requirements on maintenance, noise and pollution.
In Germany, a license for use of e-scooters on public roads can be obtained if:
- Max speed cannot exceed 20 km/hour
- Front lights and side reflectors are present
- Two independent brakes are used
- The scooter features a bell or other device to warn others
Italy’s Transportation Ministry published new rules for e-scooters in 2020, which are very popular in Milan, Turin and Rimini.
The minimum age for use is 14, and helmets are mandatory for those under 18.
E-scooters can operate at a maximum speed of 25 km/hour where bicycles are allowed and 6 km/hour in pedestrian areas.
Belgian riders can ride e-scooters on public roads under a speed limit of 25 km/hour – the same speed limit applied to e-bikes.
The UK government is currently running trials for electric scooter use in many locations, which could inform future laws and regulations surrounding their use.
- E-scooters must operate at a maximum speed of 15.5 mph
- Riders must have the category Q entitlement on their driver’s license
- Helmets are not a legal requirement.
- Trial e-scooters can operate on roads (except motorways) and in cycle lanes, but not on sidewalks.
Choosing Segway Commercial to Ensure Your Micromobility Operation Is Ready to Roll
If this sounds a little overwhelming, it’s because it is – but Segway Commercial has a solution.
By choosing our e-scooters, you can take advantage of customizable features and specifications to meet various international regulations, such as Germany’s eKFV. These customizations include reflectors, VIN plates, insurance plate brackets and more. Please contact us or visit b2b.segway.com for more details.