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California Electric Scooter Laws: Requirements for Riding

As electric scooters increase in popularity, more people are wondering about the specific requirements for riding in California. In this article, we'll break down the essentials like age, licensing, and equipment requirements, as well as local laws you need to be aware of.

Age and Licensing Requirements

According to California's Vehicle Code Section 407.5, electric scooters (e-scooters) are defined as devices with two or three wheels, an electric motor, and a floorboard designed to stand on while riding. Generally, California law requires riders to be at least 16 years old and possess a valid driver's license or a learner's permit to operate an e-scooter legally.

Equipment Requirements

To ride your e-scooter safely, you'll need to make sure it's correctly outfitted with the required equipment. This includes a working headlight and reflectors for nighttime riding, as well as functional brakes. Additionally, e-scooters must not exceed a maximum speed of 15 mph on level ground.

Helmet Requirements

California law mandates that e-scooter riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while riding. Though adults are not legally required to wear helmets, it's highly recommended for your personal safety.

Local Laws and Guidelines

While California state law sets the overall guidelines for e-scooter use, local municipalities may enforce additional restrictions or vary some requirements. Be sure to check the local regulations in the city where you plan to ride to ensure you're in compliance.

Riding Guidelines

E-scooters should generally be ridden on bike lanes or multi-use paths when available. When bike lanes are not available, riders must ride as close to the right side of the roadway as possible while still maintaining a safe distance from parked cars or other obstacles. It's essential to remember that riding e-scooters on sidewalks is illegal.

Parking and Storage

Lastly, be aware of the rules for parking and storing your e-scooter. They should not block pedestrian traffic or access to buildings. The best practice is to lock your scooter securely to a bike rack or designated scooter parking area.

By having a clear understanding of the requirements for electric scooters in California, you can stay safe and legal while enjoying the convenience and fun of this exciting mode of transportation!

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