Electric Scooters & The Law

Published on July 18th, 2023

Electric scooters (e-scooters) have become more and more popular over the past few years. The convenience of being able to store your vehicle nearly anywhere along with relaxed driving regulations (in some jurisdictions) are just a few of the reasons why.

With the increased use of e-scooters and other forms of micromoblity, many legal questions regarding how the law applies to these vehicles have come up. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about electric scooters and the law.

What is an Electric Scooter (Legally)?

The legal definition of an electric scooter will vary depending on the jurisdiction, laws, and regulations. In general terms, however, an electric scooter refers to a small, lightweight vehicle propelled by an electric motor. Electric scooters are primarily designed for personal transportation and are powered by a rechargeable battery.

Common features of electric scooters are often legally characterized by some of the following:

Electric Motor

Electric scooters are propelled by an electric motor rather than a conventional internal combustion engine.


They are powered by a rechargeable battery, usually lithium-ion, that provides the energy to run the electric motor.

Compact and Lightweight

Electric scooters are designed to be compact and lightweight, making them convenient for short-distance travel and easy to maneuver and park.

Stand-Up Design

Most electric scooters feature a stand-up design, where the rider stands on a platform or deck and operates the vehicle using handlebars for steering and control.

Handlebar Controls

Electric scooters typically have handlebars equipped with controls, such as throttle and brake, allowing the rider to control acceleration and braking.

Limited Speed and Range

Electric scooters generally have a limited top speed, typically around 15-20 miles per hour (24-32 kilometers per hour), and a range of around 15-30 miles (24-48 kilometers) on a single charge.

Note: Local laws and regulations may define electric scooters more specifically, including details such as weight limits, required safety features, licensing requirements, or restrictions on where and how they can be operated. To understand the precise legal definition of an electric scooter in your area, it’s advisable to consult the specific legislation or regulations applicable to your jurisdiction.

Common Electric Scooter Lawsuits

Electric scooters are involved in many accidents each year–just like any other form of vehicle transportation. While an individual situation will always differ from a ‘common lawsuit,’ there are general cases that show up more than others. Some of the most common lawsuits involving e-scooters typically revolve around several issues:

Personal Injury Claims

E-scooter accidents can result in personal injury claims. These lawsuits may involve injuries suffered by riders, pedestrians, or other motorists involved in collisions with e-scooters. Injured parties may seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident.

Product Liability Claims

If a defect in the e-scooter’s design or manufacturing caused the accident or contributed to the injuries, product liability lawsuits may arise. These claims can involve allegations of faulty brakes, defective batteries, or other malfunctions that led to the accident.

Negligence Claims

Negligence claims can arise when an e-scooter rider or another party involved in the accident acted negligently, leading to injuries. For example, a rider failing to yield to pedestrians, operating the e-scooter recklessly, or a motorist driving negligently and colliding with an e-scooter could result in a negligence claim.

Premises Liability Claims

E-scooter accidents can occur due to hazardous conditions on sidewalks or other public spaces, such as uneven pavement, potholes, or obstructions. In such cases, injured parties may pursue premises liability claims against property owners or municipalities responsible for maintaining safe conditions.

Insurance Disputes

Insurance disputes can arise when e-scooter riders are involved in accidents and seek coverage for their injuries or damages. Disputes may involve issues such as coverage limits, liability determinations, or the coordination of insurance coverage between multiple parties involved in the accident.

Municipal and Regulatory Issues

E-scooter companies often face legal challenges related to permits, licensing, and compliance with local regulations. These lawsuits can involve disputes with municipalities over operating permits, violations of local ordinances, or disagreements regarding the responsibilities of e-scooter companies in maintaining safe operations.

Consulting with a legal professional familiar with the laws in your area will provide the most accurate guidance if you are facing or considering legal action related to electric scooters.

What to Know Before Using an Electric Scooter

Electric scooters and other forms of micromobility can be extremely convenient and environmentally friendly. This makes them attractive modes of transportation for many people, especially those who live in urban areas.

Before driving or even purchasing an electric scooter, there are several questions you should have answers for.

Are Electric Scooters Legal in My Area? 

Some jurisdictions have bans on electric scooters–make sure the vehicle you are planning to use is legal in your area! Contacting your local law enforcement agency or a traffic lawyer is the best way to get a quick & concise answer to this question in specific circumstances.

Do I Need a License to Drive an Electric Scooter?

Many jurisdictions have specific requirements regarding licenses for operating electric scooters. Riders want to know if they need a driver’s license, a special license, or any other permits to legally ride an electric scooter.

Are There Age Restrictions for Riding Electric Scooters?

Some regions have age limitations for operating electric scooters. The minimum age requirements to ensure compliance with local regulations varies by jurisdiction. Make sure you know about any age restrictions in your area before operating an electric scooter.

Can I Ride an Electric Scooter on the Sidewalk?

The legality of riding electric scooters on sidewalks varies by jurisdiction. This should be one of the first things you look up before investing in micromobility. 

Do I Need to Wear Safety Gear?

Riders always want to ensure they are complying with the necessary safety requirements. While every area is different, you should always wear a helmet while operating any exposed vehicle (including e-scooters).

Can I Park Anywhere I Want?

Regulations surrounding parking electric scooters differ between cities. The easiest way to answer this question for cities is by browsing a given city’s police page, specifically for any e-scooter or micromobility laws.

Are There Special Liability Issues in Accidents Involving Electric Scooters? 

Understanding the legal responsibility of riders, other motorists, pedestrians, or even the electric scooter company in the event of a collision or injury is important. Every jurisdiction has different laws and regulations regarding accident liability in e-scooter cases. Speaking to your insurance provider is a great start to finding a concrete answer. Calling an attorney who specializes in traffic or personal injury law may also help.

What Insurance Coverage Do I Need for an Electric Scooter?

Do you need to obtain separate personal liability coverage or does your existing insurance policy provide coverage for accidents involving electric scooters? This question can only be answered by your insurance provider. Speaking to your insurance provider should clear up any questions regarding insurance coverage and additional charges (if applicable).

Can I Get a DUI While Driving an Electric Scooter?

The regulations regarding operating an electric scooter while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can vary depending on the jurisdiction. It is possible to be charged with a DUI while operating an electric scooter in some jurisdictions while in others, the specific laws may not explicitly address this situation.

In jurisdictions where the DUI laws encompass more than just motor vehicles, it is possible for individuals to be charged with a DUI while operating an electric scooter if they are impaired by alcohol or drugs. This is because DUI laws generally focus on impaired operation of any vehicle or conveyance that poses a risk to public safety, rather than exclusively targeting motor vehicles.

Note: It is strongly encouraged to never operate a motor vehicle (gas or electric) while under the influence of any substances. If you have to take a medication that may impair your driving ability, try to seek out other methods of transportation. If you don’t have another choice, please talk to an attorney before attempting to drive while on your medication.

Contact an Illinois Electric Scooter Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in an e-scooter or micromobility accident, our experienced attorneys can help you receive compensation for the damages you have suffered. There is no fee unless we obtain compensation for you.

Get a free case review by calling 866-699-3339 ‌or‌ ‌complete‌ ‌the‌‌ ‌case‌ ‌request‌ ‌form‌.‌

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