Electric Scooter Laws in Florida
While state law regarding scooters has yet to be enacted, many cities in Florida are taking their own measures to restrict or promote use of the devices. The lack of uniformity can frequently lead to confusion about what is and is not legal in the Sunshine State.
In September 2003, then-Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist wrote in an advisory legal opinion that he believed that the operator of any motor vehicle, including motorized scooters, on the public roadways is required to have a driver’s license. He also said motorized scooters constituted “vehicles” as defined in Chapter 320 despite being excluded from the definition of “motor vehicle” for purposes of Chapter 316, and were therefore prohibited from being operated on sidewalks. Crist wrote that his office had previously suggested that the Legislature readdress these issues and clarify its intent regarding the operation of motorized scooters in Florida.
More than a decade and a half later, Fort Lauderdale city commissioners elected not to ban the increasingly popular dockless electric scooters. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that Commissioners said they were hopeful that the state Legislature will change state law to allow scooters in bike lanes on roadways.
Here is the Florida Statute:
316.2128 Micromobility devices, motorized scooters, and miniature motorcycles; requirements.—
(1) The operator of a motorized scooter or micromobility device has all of the rights and duties applicable to the rider of a bicycle under s. 316.2065, except the duties imposed by s. 316.2065(2), (3)(b), and (3)(c), which by their nature do not apply. However, this section may not be construed to prevent a local government, through the exercise of its powers under s. 316.008, from adopting an ordinance governing the operation of micromobility devices and motorized scooters on streets, highways, sidewalks, and sidewalk areas under the local government’s jurisdiction.
(3) A person is not required to have a driver license to operate a motorized scooter or micromobility device.
(4) A person who offers motorized scooters or micromobility devices for hire is responsible for securing all such devices located in any area of the state where an active tropical storm or hurricane warning has been issued by the National Weather Service.
(5) A person who engages in the business of, serves in the capacity of, or acts as a commercial seller of miniature motorcycles in this state must prominently display at his or her place of business a notice that such vehicles are not legal to operate on public roads, may not be registered as motor vehicles, and may not be operated on sidewalks unless authorized by an ordinance enacted pursuant to s. 316.008(7)(a) or s. 316.212(8). The required notice must also appear in all forms of advertising offering miniature motorcycles for sale. The notice and a copy of this section must also be provided to a consumer prior to the consumer’s purchasing or becoming obligated to purchase a miniature motorcycle.
(6) Any person selling or offering a miniature motorcycle for sale in violation of this section commits an unfair and deceptive trade practice as defined in part II of chapter 501.
History.—s. 16, ch. 2006-290; s. 27, ch. 2009-21; s. 47, ch. 2010-223; s. 11, ch. 2017-150; s. 3, ch. 2019-109.
Did you suffer severe injuries as a rider, pedestrian, or motorist in a dockless scooter accident in the greater Fort Lauderdale area? Be sure to hire an attorney to assist you in determining fault and pursuing compensation from those responsible for the crash.
The legal team at Rosen & Ohr, P.A., represents clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay us only if we win your case. Call us or contact us online now to set up a free consultation.
What Are Dockless Scooters?
A dockless scooter has GPS tracking and a self-locking mechanism so a user can leave a scooter at a location other than a designated service station after they finish riding. Four of the major players in the dockless scooter market in Florida are Bird, Spin, Lime, and Bolt.
Bird, Lime, and Bolt scooters all cost $1 to unlock and then $0.15 per minute with top speeds of 15 mph. Spin charges $1 for every 30 minutes.
Electric Scooter Laws in Florida
Florida Statute § 316.003 defines a motorized scooter as any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, has no more than three wheels, and having a maximum speed of 30 mph. Attorney General Crist wrote in his 2003 advisory legal opinion that several court decisions had concluded motorized scooters constituted motor vehicles.
On March 20, 2019, WTVJ-TV reported that Fort Lauderdale was banning electric scooters from streets, roadways, and sidewalks within city limits and prohibiting the sale, rental, and leasing of scooters. Miami Beach banned electric scooters in May 2018, but city commissioners reversed that ban in January 2019.
In February 2019, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that Spin, JUMP, and Bird were the three vendors selected for the city’s one-year pilot program expected to begin April 1 and supply 1,800 scooters. That same month, pilot programs with Spin and Bird were being extended in Coral Gables, according to Miami Today News. Two months later, a six-month pilot program was announced that would let Bird, Spin, Lime, and Bolt deploy 50 scooters each in downtown Miami, Brickell, Coconut Grove, and Edgewater, according to the Miami New Times.
Who Could Be Liable for a Scooter Accident in Florida?
Scooter accidents can involve a number of different parties, and different kinds of accidents can involve different kinds of liability. The scooter rider could also be liable for damages when they cause an accident with a pedestrian or motorist that results in injuries.
When the scooter user is struck by a car, the driver could be at fault for the crash. Some scooter accidents may be the result of unsafe city streets or other hazards that should have been corrected by the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the roadway.
Scooter operators could be injured because of defective or malfunctioning scooters. When a rented scooter was not properly maintained, the rental company may be liable. If the issue was a defective scooter part, the manufacturer could be responsible.
Electric Scooter Safety
When you first get on a dockless scooter, get a feel for how the device operates before increasing your speed. Many people are surprised by how quickly the scooters can move. You want to be comfortable riding at low speed before taking the vehicle out in a busy area.
Try to ride only on smooth, paved surfaces. Dockless scooters are not suited to be ridden on gravel or other rough surfaces.
Make sure you know all of the local traffic laws for the area where you are operating a dockless scooter. Also be mindful of city limits, as you may run the risk in some areas of crossing over into another jurisdiction in which scooters may be prohibited.
Scooter users are generally discouraged from riding on sidewalks. It is important to always be mindful of pedestrians who are some of the most frequent causes of collisions. You should always wear a helmet as a basic safety measure to reduce your chances of suffering a serious head injury.
Do not try to do anything foolish while operating a scooter. Limit rides to one person at a time, avoid trying dangerous tricks, and be respectful when interacting with motor vehicle traffic.
How Can Electric Scooter Accident Attorneys at Rosen & Ohr Help Me?
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a dockless scooter accident in Fort Lauderdale or a surrounding area of South Florida, act quickly to seek justice. After securing medical treatment, make your first phone call to Rosen & Ohr, P.A.
Our firm has recovered numerous multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients. We can assess all of your legal options when you call us or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.