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Do You Need a License and Insurance to Drive an E-Scooter in New York?



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Navigating around New York can be challenging, and micro-mobility has become more popular than ever in the city. Alongside the cars, you’ll see mopeds, e-bikes, and e-scooters zipping by. But how are these vehicles regulated, and who’s allowed to ride them?

Since an e-scooter is halfway between a motor vehicle and a self-propelled vehicle, do you need a license and insurance to drive one? Read on to learn more about New York e-scooter regulations and how to use one safely.

Do You Need a License and Insurance to Drive an E-Scooter in New York?

What Is an E-Scooter?

There are a lot of motorized vehicles on the road, so what qualifies as an e-scooter in New York?

An electric scooter, or e-scooter, follows the same design elements as a regular scooter – one narrow floorboard, two wheels, and a handlebar to steer with. The only difference is that an e-scooter has a small motor mounted above one wheel.

E-scooters can travel up to 19 miles an hour, and their batteries usually have a range of just over thirty miles. Some e-scooters come equipped with a backup battery that can charge while you’re using the other one, greatly extending their range.

It is important to note that, while e-bikes and e-scooters may seem similar, they’re regulated differently under New York law.

Age and License Regulations

In New York, you don’t need a driver’s license to operate an e-scooter, but there are some age regulations that you have to follow. You have to be at least 16 to operate an e-scooter on the street. While helmets are required for riders over the age of 18, they are required for 16- and 17-year-old riders.

Operation Rules

Although e-scooters can often go as fast as 19 miles per hour, the legal speed limit for these vehicles in New York is 15 miles per hour. Since they are slower, you aren’t allowed to take them on streets with a speed limit higher than 30 miles per hour.

You also can’t ride them on sidewalks and must keep them in bike lanes.

There are some slightly different regulations for riding your e-scooter in a New York park. Each park’s rules are a little different, but they’ll be posted at each entrance. Most parks require you to keep your scooter on the paths and roads and to only park your scooter in designated areas.

E-Scooter Safety Tips

There are several important measures you can take to keep yourself safe while riding an e-scooter in New York.

First and foremost, you should always wear a helmet, even if you’re over 18. If you’re involved in a crash, a helmet can protect you from a traumatic brain injury.

While it can be tempting to wear headphones while you ride, doing so can make it harder to hear squealing tires, honking horns, and other signs of danger around you.

When you go down hills, slow down to avoid spinning out of control.

And wherever you can, stick to bike lanes, which offer you more protection from the cars around you.

What to Do If You’re in an Accident

No matter how careful you are, you may still be involved in an e-scooter accident. If you do get into a crash, the first thing you need to do is get checked out by your doctor. Even if you can’t see any injuries, you could have a concussion or other hidden injury that needs attention.

If you’re not seriously hurt, call the police immediately after the accident and file a report. Take pictures of the scene of the accident and write down as many notes about what happened as you can remember.

All of this may be important later if you have to defend a personal injury claim.

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E-scooters can be a fantastic way to get around New York without the hassle of a car or the crush of public transportation. While you don’t need a license or insurance to drive them, you do have to be at least 16 and follow certain regulations. It’s also a good idea to practice basic scooter safety any time you’re riding.

If you’ve been involved in an e-scooter accident in New York, you could be entitled to compensation. Our lawyers can help you get the money you deserve and defend you from claims that the accident was your fault. Schedule a free consultation with one of our Queens personal injury lawyers to discuss your case.