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E-scooters are everywhere throughout California. All you need is a smartphone and a credit card to ride. And a valid driver’s license, actually, a detail that many hoping to ride one may not know. That’s why some law enforcement agencies in Sacramento are reportedly trying to educate riders more on, and reminding them of the rules of the road.
In California, state law says that when riding these scooters, the speed limit is 15 miles per hour and anyone under 18 is required to wear a helmet. But as aforementioned, the biggest legal surprise for many is the fact that a Class C driver’s license is needed to operate them, which is the same that’s needed to drive a car.
A local rider told CBS Sacramento he had no idea. When he rents a scooter, he said the apps never ask for his license. “It’s literally putting your debit information in and you’re good to go,” he said. He believes it may be why he’s seen more underage riders around town.
This is leading the City of Sacramento to look at their own local laws next month, in an attempt to curb underage riding. Some of the possible additions to the current ordinance may include requiring regular driver’s license audits or scans, as well as increased outreach and awareness through push notifications. The city could also consider asking for penalties for riders who allow others to use their account. It would be up to the Sacramento Police Department to enforce.
In Los Angeles, a big problem when it comes to e-scooters is its use in sidewalks. Sidewalk riding is a rampant issue across Los Angeles as it increases the risk of e-scooters colliding with pedestrians — not to mention it is also illegal. The only time a person is allowed to ride an e-scooter on the sidewalk is to park the scooter or get a parked scooter onto the street.
And because this regulation is challenging to enforce, the micromobility company Spin is working on a pilot program with the city of Santa Monica involving new technology to curtail e-scooter use in sidewalks. The technology will detect when riders are driving onto a sidewalk and produce a response. The sidewalk detection tech is set to rollout in July.
Pedestrians who are hit by e-scooter drivers have a right to file a claim and/or lawsuit against the person who hit them. Violating any traffic laws and rules is a form of negligence, which can cause accidents. California is a fault state, meaning that somebody has to be found liable for causing an accident. It is also a comparative negligence state, meaning that more than one person can be found at fault for causing an accident. Scooter riders can be found liable for an accident if they are unlawfully riding on the sidewalk and hit a pedestrian or when scooter riders are riding on the street and don’t obey traffic laws, which result in hitting a pedestrian.
Recently, a 91-year-old man was killed after being struck by a rented e-scooter in Venice, California. The vehicle was driven by a man with a passenger on board on a sidewalk. Police arrested the man driving on suspicion of DUI. The victim was walking on the sidewalk when he was struck. He died at the scene after his head hit the pavement. The man and woman riding the scooter were both ejected from the vehicle because of the crash and suffered minor injuries. California law also says only one person can be on board an e-scooter.