Are Electric Scooters Street Legal?

Toby Bell17 Apr 2022

Electric scooters are getting increasingly popular, and it is not rare to see one on the street these days. But is it legal to ride an electric scooter on open streets in the U. S.?

As one of the world's fastest-growing sectors, the micromobility industry offers a greener planet, more enjoyable commutes, and more upward economic mobility, as well as saving time and money. And with this incredible pace of technology, there is a challenge for regulations to keep up.

There are 38 states in the United States where electric scooters are permitted to be ridden on the streets and 10 more where they are not. Although electric scooters are permitted to run on open streets in most states, certain states have enacted extra regulations on where and how they can be used. The fact that most scooters cannot travel at speeds fast enough to keep up with traffic has led to bans on scooter use on highways, expressways, and limited-access roads in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New York. As a result of the new regulations introduced in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, and Virginia, scooters must be ridden on the right side of the road at all times.

The Rise of Electric Scooters

There has been a dramatic rise in the popularity of electric scooters in recent years, and they can now be found on the streets and pavements of cities across the world Micromobility solutions, such as e-bikes and e-scooters, are becoming increasingly popular as innovative, environmentally-friendly means of transportation for short-term use. 

Scooter rental companies compete for market dominance all over the world, fueled by venture capital. Investors are keeping an eye on companies like Lime and Bird in the United States, as well as Voi, Circ, Flash, and Tier in Europe, to see whether another Uber is on the way.

Riding Electric Scooters on US Streets

In practically all circumstances, scooters are not permitted on high-speed streets. These are streets with speed limits over 35 mph, yet few scooterists might want to do this anyhow. Only Pennsylvania and Delaware prohibit scooters from being used on public streets. You might be shocked to learn that interesting specialized communities are emerging for really fast scooters, and the vast majority of the people will feel comfortable while arriving somewhere quickly and having fun at 15 or 20 mph.

Electric scooters are legal on public streets in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California (except freeways or expressways)
  • Colorado (except interstate or limited-access roads)
  • Connecticut (must stay to the right)
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana(must stay to the right)
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine (must stay to the right)
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts (except interstate or limited-access roads; must stay to the right)
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York (except interstate or limited-access roads)
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Utah
  • Virginia (must stay to the right)
  • West Virginia

Electric scooters are forbidden on public streets in the following states:

  • Wisconsin
  • New Jersey
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Florida
  • Kentucky
  • Washington

Electric scooters are legal in the streets of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York, but they are not allowed on the interstate or limited-access roads.

Riding Electric Scooters on the Streets of Europe

Electric scooters, also known as e-scooters, are a rapidly growing mode of transportation, but their legality is still up in the air. In the wake of government-backed rental trials around the UK, can you legally ride a scooter on the streets?

Currently, electric scooters are prohibited from being used on public roads and pavements as well as in cycle lanes and pedestrian-only zones in the UK. Electric scooters should only be used on a privately owned property with the consent of the landowner.

Riding Electric Scooters on the Streets of Canada

It is a federal law in Canada that oversees motorized bicycles and scooters. However, every province and municipality could impose small adjustments to these laws, such as adjusting the minimum age for their use or limiting the locations in which they could be used.

There are no restrictions on the use of electric scooters in Canada. The rules for electric scooters are quite similar to those that apply to traditional bicycles. It doesn't require plates, licenses, and insurance to own or use an e-scooter.

Electric scooter regulations in Canada differ by province. E-scooters are not classified as motor vehicles in Alberta, British Columbia, or Ontario, and should only be used on private land. Calgary, on the other hand, is in the midst of a two-year trial program to legalize electric scooters on city streets. Quebec is also in the midst of a trial program, but with very rigorous training, age, and safety restrictions, as well as heavy fines for breaking the rules.

Riding Electric Scooters on the Streets of Australia and New Zealand

On Brisbane's bustling riverfront bikeway, it's rush hour. Among some of the riders is a slew of commuters on electric scooters, dressed professionally and carrying satchels. It appears to be enjoyable, commuting in the fresh air, clear from traffic congestion, overcrowded trains and buses, and the inconvenience of a hot and sweaty ride up to Brisbane's hills. The international use of e-scooters is exploding. They're billed as a "last mile" solution that's inexpensive, effective, and eco-friendly, and are hoping to inspire more people to use micromobility instead of driving gas-powered vehicles.

Electric scooters are legal in Queensland and New Zealand, however, only children over the age of 12 can ride them with their parents' supervision, and adolescents over the age of 16 can ride them alone. The good news is that over the age of 16, you do not need a license. A street-authorized scooter's peak speed is 25 mph, and night trips require a helmet and lights. However, you are not permitted to ride it on the road or bike lanes; only on the trails are you permitted to ride it.

In New South Wales, e-scooters are currently forbidden on the street, although they can be used on private property. This is subject to change soon. It's the only place in Australia where electric road scooters are banned.

Because Victoria has a similar narrative to Queensland, e-scooters could be seen in Melbourne traffic. The only distinction is that if you wish to ride on the street, any e-scooter with a peak speed of more than 10mph must be registered.

Electric scooters are a more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable mode of transportation for getting around the city and contributing to a cleaner environment. But, as more take up the micromobility mode of transportation, it is becoming increasingly necessary to understand the laws that must be followed when riding an e-scooter on the streets.

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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