Hundreds of thousands of new electric scooter riders have hit the streets around the country in the last few years due to several companies releasing a massive amount of dockless rentable e-scooters. Electric scooters, or e-scooters, use motors that enable them to reach about 15 miles per hour maximum, on average. Unfortunately, the debut of rentable e-scooters has led to a significant increase in related accidents, injuries, and deaths. Learn Texas’ current e-scooter laws to protect yourself and reduce your odds of getting into a collision.
Are Electric Scooters Legal on Streets in Texas?
Yes, it is legal to operate an electric scooter on streets in Texas. E-scooters are only legal on roads with speed limits at or below 35 miles per hour, however. It is generally more dangerous to operate an e-scooter on the sidewalk, as this can threaten the safety of pedestrians. Texas technically does not have any laws against riding an e-scooter on a sidewalk, although municipalities have the right to enforce such laws. State lawmakers have yet to pass Senate Bill 549, which would place a statewide ban on sidewalk use and enact several other e-scooter laws. Until this law or a similar one passes, e-scooter riders can operate on sidewalks in Texas where city laws do not prohibit doing so.
Do Scooter Riders Have to Obey Traffic Laws?
Under Texas law, e-scooters riders must follow all the same traffic laws as motor vehicle drivers. They must follow traffic signs, stop at lights, pay attention to rights-of-way and ride following the same direction as traffic. Riders should always obey speed limits and should not ride faster than is safe and prudent for roadway conditions. E-scooter operators cannot take their vehicles on highways in Texas. Obeying the law and staying predictable to other motorists on an e-scooter could help you avoid a collision.
Do You Need a License to Drive an Electric Scooter in Texas?
You currently do not need a driver’s license to operate an e-scooter in Texas. Texas Transportation Code 551.352 currently does not have an age requirement on e-scooter operation. SB 549 would enforce a minimum age limit of at least 16 years old, as well as make it mandatory for the rider to have a valid driver’s license. For now, however, those under 16 may operate electric scooters. That being said, most e-scooter rental companies require riders to scan their driver’s licenses before unlocking the vehicle. Without a valid ID, a rider will not be able to rent an e-scooter from most companies. E-scooters can be extremely dangerous for children. Do not use your driver’s license to unlock an e-scooter for someone under 16.
Do You Have to Wear a Helmet?
Although rentable e-scooter companies promote the use of helmets – some will even send riders free helmets – they are not a legal requirement in the State of Texas. The state’s e-scooter law currently does not have a provision enacting a universal helmet law for riders. You may lawfully operate an electric scooter without wearing a helmet unless your city has a municipal law saying otherwise. Failure to wear a helmet, however, could substantially increase your risk of a serious or fatal brain injury in an e-scooter accident.
Who Is Liable for an E-Scooter Accident?
If you get into an e-scooter accident in Texas, call 911 and report what happened. Asking the police to visit the scene could help you document the collision and collect important evidence, such as the contact information of any eyewitnesses. The police may be able to help you determine fault as well, such as by issuing the driver a ticket for breaking a roadway rule or driving recklessly.
The motor vehicle driver might be liable for your injuries and damages if he or she was negligent or reckless and this caused your collision. If you broke an e-scooter law or were operating your scooter carelessly, however, you could be at fault for the collision instead. Contact an e-scooter accident attorney for assistance filing and negotiating your case.