MOTOR SCOOTER SAFETY IN FLORIDA
Motor scooters have increased in popularity as an economical and casual form of transportation. They are ideal for getting around locally running to the store, riding through a park or taking to school. When getting into fast or heavy traffic situations the chances of an accident happening increase significantly.
MOTOR SCOOTER DEFINITIONS
A motor scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle with a step-through frame designed to carry a single person. They are not to be confused with motorized scooters which have no seat, or mobility scooters that have three or four wheels. Neither the motorized scooter nor the mobility scooter is permitted on roads or highways in Florida – the only exception being to avoid an impasse on the sidewalk.
Motor scooters are not defined specifically in sections 319 or 320 of the Florida Statutes and are therefore considered motorcycles. They are subject to the same registration and insurance laws and require a license to operate. Due to the fact that most motor scooters are less than 50cc in engine displacement and travel at a maximum speed of less than 30 MPH, a motorcycle endorsement is not required for their operation.
COMMON MOTOR SCOOTER AND MOPED ACCIDENTS
Motor scooters are subject to the same rules of the road as any other motor vehicle. As with any two-wheeled vehicle, there are inherent dangers in the operation when sharing the road with larger vehicles. The accidents that occur with motor scooters, however, are not consistent with those of larger and faster motorcycles, due to their small size and slow speeds. Typical motor scooter accidents are:
- Rear end collisions – A motor scooter traveling below the speed limit in a traffic lane may not be seen in time for an approaching driver to slow down. Because they are motor vehicles scooter are not permitted in bike lanes forcing them to ride in the faster car lanes regardless of how high the speed limit.
- Loss of control – Because of their lightweight, small tires, and the high center of gravity of the rider, a sudden maneuver or poor road surface can cause a spill.
- Door strikes – Scooters often ride close to parked cars on urban streets to avoid blocking fast traffic making them susceptible to opening car doors.
- Sideswipes – Riders of motor scooters traveling between lanes of slowed or stopped traffic is at risk of being struck by a vehicle changing lanes. Drivers may not be aware of a scooter in slow or normal traffic due to their small size and quiet operation. To be safe, riders of motor scooters should drive as if no one can see them.
MOTOR SCOOTER SAFETY
A rider of motor scooters best defense, against serious injuries due to an accident, is using common sense. Using the scooter for the type of transportation for which it is designed will avoid many dangerous situations. To increase safety and reduce the chance of injury some good tips are:
- Stay on local and lightly traveled streets
- Avoid roads where speed limits greatly exceed the top speed of the scooter
- Do not travel between lanes of slow traffic which is called lane-splitting or close to parked cars
- Avoid riding on wet weather if possible
- Wear a helmet – If you are over 21 and have the proper personal injury insurance, a helmet is optional in Florida. Wearing one could prevent a serious traumatic brain injury.
- Wear bright clothing for increased visibility.
Riders of motor scooters face many of the same risks as bicycle riders do. The one differentiating factor is they do not have the advantage of designated space and must share the roads with much larger and faster vehicles. Many of these vehicles are being driven by drivers who are distracted that will not see them.
SO ARE MOTOR SCOOTERS IN FLORIDA SAFE?
Overall, a motor scooter can be considered less safe than a truck or car yet safer than a motorcycle. Riders are left exposed yet they typically travel at fairly slow speeds. Still, that doesn’t mean the other cars on the road will be traveling as slow. As long as moped and motor scooter riders remember how to drive defensively and take all the proper safety precautions, they should have a much lower chance of getting into an accident than motorcyclists.
SEEK A SKILLED FLORIDA MOTOR SCOOTER ACCIDENT LAWYER
If you were injured or someone you know was injured or even lost their lives while riding a motor scooter, or any other two or three-wheeled vehicle, you need to speak to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. There may be compensation available due to the negligence of another party. The Dolman Law Group has successfully won large cash awards for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering and even wrongful death in the case involving motorcycle accidents. Reach out to a skilled motorcycle accident attorney at Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation by either calling our Clearwater office at 727-451-6900 or submitting a contact form online.