Are Electric Scooters Allowed in Bike Lanes?

Toby Bell15 Apr 2022

If you live or visit a major city now and then, by now, you've most likely seen an electric scooter zipping by on the sidewalk, the road, or even in a bicycle lane. Regardless of whether you believe electric scooters are a novelty or a revolution, the topic of their safety may have slipped your mind at some point.

Do electric scooters have a place next to people walking, bicycling, or driving on the road? How safe could they be on the roads at all? Since electric scooters are a relatively new sort of technology, there is a reasonable misunderstanding about their place on the road. However, should people automatically raise a finger and declare these automobiles unfit for the road merely because they are new? 

What’s an Electric Scooter?

As a kid, you might have had memories of riding a scooter. A pair of two-wheeled, rickety scooters that offered you the freedom of riding before you got your hands on a bike is what childhood dreams are made of. For many years, people had the impression that a scooter was nothing but a child's toy. But for the past few years, companies like Bird and LimeBike are trying to change that reputation with their innovative e-scooters. These companies are placing a lot of faith in the idea that an electric scooter that is both small and portable could be a practical mode of individual transportation. 

Just like the Razor kick scooter of the '90s, these e-scooters have two wheels, a base known as a deck, and handles to control the vehicle. The inclusion of a battery, electronics, larger and typically air-filled tires, and an electric motor makes them distinct from the unmotorized kick scooters of the 1990s.  While most scooters are designed to be ridden standing up, certain scooters can be turned into seated electric scooters with the addition of optional attachments.

Scooter sharing has raised awareness of micro-mobility among the general public and fueled the personal market's expansion. Many various brands and kinds of electric scooters have been imported into the United States as a result of the rise of the need for e-scooters.

Why Use an Electric Scooter?

Electric scooters make commuting to work a cinch. Many cities are testing e-scooter sharing programs, which is expanding their popularity, with some governments offering incentives for citizens to swap in their automobiles for electric vehicles like e-scooters. But why use an e-scooter?

It's Portable

There are numerous folding electric scooters on the market, which would be useful when carrying an e-scooter upstairs or into public transit. Unlike bikes, which must be locked outside, an e-scooter could be pushed into a building and folded. Those who leave their bikes on the street risk having them stolen, but e-scooters could be conveniently hidden under a desk.

It's Secure

When studying different models, the safety aspects of an electric scooter should be a primary concern. Since they can go at significantly faster speeds, they feature superb brakes and lighting. E-scooters often include front and rear brakes, including tires with a strong grip, allowing the rider to brake more quickly and with more stability. Some e-scooters even incorporate LED illumination to ensure the rider's visibility in the dark.

It's Speedy

An e-scooter has a strong motor, and some electric scooters can achieve speeds of up to 50 km/h. If you're searching for a faster e-scooter, you should consider not just the engine power but also the range. It's fantastic to have a speedy electric scooter, but if it only has a range of 10 kilometers, you'll have to recharge it frequently.

It's Comfy

Looking for a fun way to go to work? The rider of an e-scooter is required to do very little. You just need to operate the throttle on an e-scooter. As a result, cycling to work is a pleasurable experience. If you want to reduce the stress on your body when riding over road bumps, you just need to opt for an e-scooter with high-quality tires and suspension.

Can E-Scooters Use Cycle Lanes?

Despite electric scooters being available since 1996, they have just lately begun to grow in several major American cities. And the figures are rather amazing. Bird, the market leader in the e-scooter rental, offers scooters in multiple cities worth an estimated $2 billion.

But where can you ride the e-scooter? Should you ride your e-scooter on the sidewalk, in a bike lane, or regular traffic? A rather easy question, with an equally clear solution, right? Regrettably, the answer isn't so simple. 

  • In California, electric scooters can only be used in a bike lane or on the right side of the road, beside the curb. A sidewalk is not a safe place to ride an e-scooter. In addition, when crossing an intersection, you should walk the scooter over.
  • Riding an e-scooter on the sidewalk is mandated in Colorado. Since the legislation regards an electric scooter to be a toy, they aren't permitted to be ridden in a bike lane or regular traffic.
  • Texas offers e-scooter riders various options. You can ride an e-scooter on the road alongside traffic, in a bike lane, or on the sidewalk. Biking on the street or in a bike lane is better than riding on the sidewalk. However, in Austin, Texas, some lengths of the sidewalk are off-limits to scooters, so it's best to do your research first.
  • Riding an electric scooter on a sidewalk in Washington, DC is banned when a bike lane is accessible. You could, however, ride an e-scooter on any sidewalk monitored by the National Park Service.

With such a jumble of laws and regulations associated with riding an electric scooter, it's important to consult your state's Department of Motor Vehicles website first to see if you should ride your e-scooter in a bike lane, sidewalk, or the road. You could obtain information not just about state legislation but also about local towns there. If you can't find such information online, contact your local police department.

Vespas and non-motorized scooters like Razors have been around for a long time, but the emergence of companies like Bird has made electric scooters a familiar sight on city streets. But before you decide to ride your e-scooter on a bike lane, on-street walks, or on the road, make sure to check your state's local rules and regulations regarding e-scooters first. Or else you'll find yourself enjoying a breezy commute to work on your electric scooter, only to be stopped short and given a citation.

Toby Bell

Toby Bell

Toby, a skating fanatic, has recently switched his skateboarding passion into an e-everything passion. E-skateboards, and e-scooters are his new love, and he wanted to share that love with anyone interested.

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