Electric scooters, both private and rental, are becoming more popular around Colorado Springs. However, this popularity also comes with dangers on the road, especially if you come into contact with careless drivers. Here’s what you need to know about riding a low-power scooter and the various laws that apply to this trending form of transportation. If you have any questions, a Colorado Springs electric scooter accident lawyer at McCormick & Murphy, P.C. can help.
Although scooters and motorcycles have some things in common, Colorado considers them two separate categories.
According to the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a low-power scooter is any self-propelled vehicle with:
This usually includes any private vehicles and rentable public scooters from Lime or Veo. The state considers any scooter with a more powerful engine a motorcycle, which requires a special license to operate.
However, keep in mind that these attributes don’t apply to toys, bicycles, wheelchairs, or mobility assistive devices.
Even though a low-power scooter isn’t considered a motorcycle, there are still some basic rules you must follow.
For example, all scooters must be registered with the DMV every three years.
To receive a registration for a low-power scooter, you must have motor vehicle insurance coverage or a certificate of self-insurance. In addition, you need to have a valid driver’s license. However, the registration only costs $5.85.
There are also laws regarding safety when operating a low-power scooter. Under CRS § 42-4-220(1), a scooter must have a lamp on the front that emits visible white light at least 500 feet in front of the vehicle. The scooter must also have a red reflector on the back visible from 50 to 300 feet. This is to help protect the rider from accidents during the evening. Finally, the scooter must have a bell, horn, or other audible signaling device as well as a brake.
Like motorcyclists, riders of low-power scooters above the age of 18 aren’t required to wear a helmet. However, all drivers and passengers under 18 years of age have to wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards.
Look for helmets with the following markings and characteristics:
Even though helmets aren’t legally required for adult riders, we highly recommend wearing one just in case. If you do get into a crash, a helmet can protect you from serious or fatal traumatic brain injuries.
Just don’t forget to contact a Colorado Springs scooter accident lawyer, since not wearing a helmet doesn’t disqualify you from pursuing compensation.
Due to their size and quiet exhausts, scooters aren’t as noticeable as other types of vehicles. For this reason, they are at a greater risk of getting into an accident if another motorist doesn’t see them.
Here are a few tips from our scooter accident lawyers in Colorado Springs to keep you safe while riding on the road.
While it may seem convenient, lane splitting is illegal in Colorado under CRS § 42-4-1503. Many drivers don’t check for low-power scooters or other small vehicles between lanes. This means that if they decide to switch lanes, it’ll increase the risk of a serious accident. In addition, if you lane split on your scooter and get into an accident, you’ll most likely be considered at fault.
To maximize your visibility on a road, try to ride your scooter in the bike lane or as far right as possible. Be sure to stay off of the sidewalk, since Colorado doesn’t allow low-power scooters to ride on pedestrian ways.
It also helps to stay out of other vehicles’ blind spots. Riding just behind or in front of a vehicle is always better than next to one. Never ride on a highway or interstate, as this is illegal in most areas.
If you sustain an injury riding a low-power scooter due to another’s negligence, call McCormick & Murphy. We have over 50 years of combined experience representing victims of motor vehicle accidents throughout Colorado.