E-Scooter Use and Safety in Florida
An electric kick scooter or e-scooter is a motorized scooter powered by a small electric motor built into the front or rear wheel. As gas prices continue to soar in Florida and everywhere else in the states, more and more people are looking for more affordable modes of transportation, making the E-scooter's popularity rise.
According to a press release from May 25, 2022, the market size for e-scooters currently sits at $626.8 million and is expected to reach $806.3 million over the next decade.
E-scooters have been found to be more affordable than passenger vehicles, convenient to use, park, and store, and are considered a more effective way to supplement public transportation. Considering all these benefits, it is easy to see why people purchase and rent them. However, we can’t forget the safety hazards e-scooters may pose.
Are E-Scooters Legal On Florida's Roads?
Yes. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, legalized statewide electric scooter use in 2019. You need to be licensed to ride a motorized scooter in Florida. However, any kind of driver’s license is accepted.
If the motor scooter comes with a saddle, it is street legal and can be operated on the roadways. However, to operate on the roadways, the scooter must be registered and have a license plate.
New Florida laws also treat E-scooter riders like bicycle riders. Under HB 453, E-scooters have “all rights and duties applicable to the rider of a bicycle,” including on streets and in bike lanes.
Must Follow Florida Traffic Laws
When using an E-scooter, you must follow all Florida traffic laws just as you would if walking, bicycling, or driving a vehicle. The E-scooter must be operated in the same direction as traffic, and you must come to a complete stop when required at all intersections. If your E-scooter has turn signals, you must use them or indicate you are turning using hand signals.
Defensive Driving vs Being Predictable
We have all heard about defensive driving but have you ever heard about being predictable when riding? You need to make sure other motorists sharing the roadway know your intentions. Instead of making sudden stops or turns, make eye contact with the other motorists whenever possible to ensure visibility.
Wear Protective Gear
Whenever you use an E-scooter, you must wear protective safety gear. Choose closed-toe shoes over flip flops, long pants rather than shorts, and avoid wearing skirts. The fabric from longer clothing can ultimately get stuck in the wheels or other machinery of the E-scooter, causing an accident.
As always, you should also wear a good-fitting helmet. This applies when you operate or ride an E-scooter, motorcycle, or bicycle. Helmets have been shown to cut down the risk of fatal head injuries by over 60%.
Keep Away from Children
E-scooters are not designed for children. You must be over the age of eighteen to rent an E-scooter in Florida. All safety recommendations and guidelines should always be followed when operating any kind of motorized vehicle on the roadways and through traffic.
If you choose an E-scooter as your alternative form of transportation, you need to exercise caution when riding on Florida’s roadways, just as you would on a bicycle or a motorcycle.