Are Electric Scooters Street Legal in Georgia?
July 16, 2023
In Georgia, electric scooters are legal for use on public streets. Keep in mind there are clear regulations and stipulations regarding e-scooter use. If you plan to use an electric scooter, a license is not required to operate one, and you must pay to use the scooter. The attorneys at Pendergrass Law Firm are equipped to litigate accidents involving electric scooters.
Who Can Use an E-Scooter?
Electric scooter use is allowed by almost anyone over the age of 15 in Georgia. Georgia law requires that anyone under 16 years of age use a helmet anytime while operating a Spin, Lime, or Bird scooter. Remember that motorized scooters are intended for use by a single person. It is against the law to have a passenger ride on any scooter with you. It can hold only one rider, and therefore it is a safety risk to have anyone on with you.
Where Can Electric Scooters Be Operated?
Electric scooters are only allowed to be used in three types of locations. These are:
- Roadways that have maximum speeds of up to 35 mph
- Bike paths
- Bike lanes near roadways
You are prohibited from using a scooter anywhere but in these places. Electric scooters have a driving speed of up to 30 mph. Therefore, they cannot drive on sidewalks. It is hazardous for scooter operators to weave in and out of pedestrians at that high rate of speed.
Do Scooters Adhere to Georgia Traffic Rules and Regulations?
There is a common misunderstanding that if you are riding an electric scooter, you will not have to follow the explicit traffic rules and regulations in GA. Many riders fail to obey traffic lights, refuse to stop at traffic lights and stop signs, yield when entering intersections, yield to pedestrians who have the right of way, or pull aside for emergency personnel vehicles.
Failure to follow these strict traffic regulations while riding an E-scooter could lead to a ticket from the police or an accident.
Are You Allowed to Use a Cell Phone On an E-Scooter?
Georgia’s distracted driving laws prohibit handheld cell phone use, including text messaging, while driving a scooter. Cell phone use, including calling, texting, looking for directions, or checking your social media accounts, is strictly prohibited.
In fact, the companies who own these electric scooters do not want their users to be on their cellular devices while the scooter is in motion. Lime, Spin, and Bird explicitly state on their website that any phone use is strictly prohibited.
Driving an E-Scooter While Intoxicated
Unfortunately, many E-scooter operators believe that after they have spent the evening drinking, using an E-scooter is a legal or safer option for getting home safely. While operating any motorized vehicle or E-bike, it is against the law to be drunk or under the influence of drugs.
There are severe DUI penalties and charges you can face when using a Bird, Spin, or Lime scooter if you have been consuming drugs or drinking. The DUI penalties can include:
- Extensive fines
- License suspension
- Intervention classes
- Jail or prison time
These penalties and charges do not apply only to electric scooters. DUI laws also pertain to all motor and electric vehicles, bikes, and skateboards.
The legal ramifications of using a motorized vehicle after you have been drinking are not worth dealing with any of the punishments listed, nor risking your or anyone else’s life. Your best bet is to call for a ride.
Are the Laws for Parking Electric Scooters the Same as Cars?
As the rider, it is your responsibility to park correctly. It is best to leave it in a place that makes for easier access to the next user, and you can leave it in many public places.
There are, however, some limitations to this rule. You can not park your scooter in any of the following locations:
- Loading zones
- School bus or public transportation stops
- Any parking spot that is for cars
- In the middle of a roadway
- Over a utility hole cover
- In a marked bike lane
- Where it could interfere with the infrastructure of emergency services
- Where it could interfere with stop signs or traffic lights.
- Where it could hinder handicapped access to a building.
Though you may be tempted to leave your electric scooter on a sidewalk, you should avoid doing so, as parking in any prohibited area is subject to the penalties and fines of the city.
Comparing E-Bikes and E-Scooters
Electric scooters and bicycles that run on a rideshare program are similar to renting a motorized scooter from a rental company. The same driving rules apply to electric bikes, and they may only be used on bike paths, bike lanes that are beside the roadway, and on roads that have a maximum speed of 35 mph or less. To operate the bike, you must be 15 years or older.
Similar to e-scooters, when riding on an electric bicycle, you must adhere to Georgia’s traffic rules and regulations. You must obey road signs and traffic lights, yield to pedestrians, pull aside for police and ambulances, and avoid the use of your cellular device while riding. In addition, you can receive DUI charges if you are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The most crucial difference between electric bikes and electric scooters is the location where they can be parked. Electric bikes in a rideshare program can be parked in specific stations. If you are in an e-scooter accident, do not hesitate to contact an electric scooter accident lawyer at The Pendergrass Law Firm for a free consultation and find out what steps you must take to hold the at-fault party. You can reach us through our quick contact form or by phone to get started today.