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There’s More Than One Way To Ride On Two Wheels


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Florida’s got a lot of laws in place to handle what happens when there are vehicular accidents, but there’s a pretty strict line of division between the legal consequences of these accidents based on the class of vehicle. When cars get into accidents with other cars, or even trucks, that’s one type of vehicular accident. Even people on motorcycles, when they get into accidents with cars and trucks, fall into this same class of vehicular accidents, although the injuries differ a lot.

However, when motor vehicles get into accidents with people who are walking, or even people who are on bicycles, these are classed as pedestrian accidents. Despite the fact that a person on a bicycle is on a two wheeled vehicle that looks similar to a motorcycle, a bicycle is not legally considered in the same class of vehicle. The lack of a motor is an obvious distinction, but also the fact that anyone, even children are allowed to use bicy-cles, whereas a motorcycle requires the owner to pass testing certification and be issued a license before being allowed to use that vehicle.

But the world of two-wheeled vehicles doesn’t end there. Beyond motorcycles, which have motors, and bicycles, which don’t, there’s a spectrum of vehicles that fall somewhere between the two. And where, on the legal spectrum do these vehicles sit?

Motorcycles As A Class

The motorcycle fits a very specific class of two wheeled vehicle, and any vehicle that meets these criteria will be classified as such and require a license. In general, if a two or three wheeled vehicle has a seat, a motor, and that motor is at least 51cc or greater in power, and can travel faster than 30 mph, it is generally considered a motorcycle, and is subject to the same laws and license requirements as a car or a truck.

Mopeds

These vehicles differ slightly in class. A moped is a two or three wheeled vehicle with a seat, and a motor. However, the motor is under 50cc or less in power, and the vehicle has a maximum speed of 30 mph on level ground, usually less than that. These vehicles however, do not always require motor power, and have pedals to accommodate normal human locomotion.

These vehicles require a class E, or “motorcycles only” license, and need to be registered with the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. However, they do not require insurance, nor is it mandatory to wear a helmet on them, though if you have children on board as passengers, those children are required to wear helmets.

Motor Scooters

Also known as “mobility scooters”, motor scooters are a common sight in Florida, and many other parts of the country. These are much slower versions of mopeds, and often go 20 mph or less on level ground. They do not require a license to be used, nor do they require helmets, but, unlike mopeds and motorcycles, they are generally not allowed on highways.

Motor scooters are a popular vehicular choice for the elderly, who can no longer walk the same distances or speeds that they used to. If you want to operate your motor scooter on the road, you can do so, but that would require a license plate and a license.

Motorized Scooters

We may see more of these someday in Florida, as they are gaining popularity in places like California as a new form of ride sharing, but for now, technically these are illegal here! Motorized scooters are scooters with about the same performance characteristics of motor scooters, however, they have no seat.

Right now, a motorized, three or two wheeled vehicle with no sea is illegal. That doesn’t mean that you can’t own one, however, you can be fined if you are seen traveling on roads and highways with one. The non-motorized version is, obviously, still allowed, even on sidewalks, as we see children using them all the time.

However, for adults, motorized scooters are still a contentious vehicle here in Florida. Personal assistive electric mobility devices like the “Segway,” “hover board” and similar devices are legal, with no need for a license or special classification, but things may eventually change for the motorized scooter. If the popularity of motor-ized scooters continues to rise in other states, we may yet see these vehicles make a legal appearance here in Florida.

This opens up new legal situations. With so many different kinds of motorized vehicles on the street, or even the sidewalk, this means that both cars and pedestrians are exposed to a certain amount of risk. If you find yourself injured by one of these vehicles, you should contact a bicycle accident attorney and see what your next legal move should be. Always make sure you get experienced, knowledgeable, legal advice.

Daniel Murphy's passionate belief in upholding the Florida justice system by defending the rights of the public against corporate interests, has lead him to become one of Florida's most effective young attorneys. Daniel Murphy carries his enthusiasm for fighting for the rights of the injured outside the courtroom by staying involved in legal and community organizations.

There’s More Than One Way To Ride On Two Wheels

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh




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