Motor scooters are an inexpensive, low-emission form of transportation in California. But, like bicycles, scooters offer little protection to riders. Even when the rider is wearing a helmet, scooter accidents can cause severe injuries.
If you have been injured in a scooter accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you should consult an experienced San Jose scooter and bicycle accident lawyer at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP.
What Constitutes a Motor Scooter in California
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has a range of licensing and registration requirements for motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, mopeds, motorized bicycles and motor scooters. According to the DMV:
- A motorcycle has an engine bigger than 150 cc, and no more than three wheels. A motorcycle must be registered, and the driver must have an M1 motorcycle license.
- A motor-driven cycle has a 149 cc or smaller engine. It has to be registered, and the driver must have an M1 motorcycle license.
- A moped is a two- or three-wheeled vehicle that can go no faster than 30 mph. The driver must have an M1 or M2 motorcycle license.
- A motorized bicycle is a vehicle with pedals and an electric motor of not more than 1,000 watts, which can go no faster than 20 mph. To operate a motorized bicycle, you must be 16 or older and wear a bicycle helmet. Motorized bicycles are exempt from motor vehicle financial responsibility, driver license and license plate requirements. A motorized bicycle is issued a special license plate and identification card, which requires a one-time fee. No renewal is required.
- A motor scooter, which the DMV calls a motorized scooter, is a two-wheeled vehicle with a motor, handlebars, and a floorboard designed to be stood on when riding. A motor scooter does not have to be registered. It may be driven with a driver license of any class.
Common Causes of Motor Scooter Accidents
Scooter crashes, like auto accidents, have a variety of causes, including defective parts and poorly maintained roadways. Other common contributors to scooter accidents include:
- Motorist error: Operating a low-profile vehicle such as a bicycle, scooter or motorcycle is inherently dangerous. Drivers often do not see scooters in traffic. Because of the greater maneuverability of a scooter, automobile drivers lose track of where the scooter is in relation to their car. On any California street, scooter riders must assume they are unseen by car drivers.
- Visibility: Any time visibility is reduced — at dusk, in heavy traffic, in obstructed settings — a scooter accident is more likely to occur.
- Impaired drivers: Because of the vulnerability of scooter drivers, being sideswiped by a drunk driver can be deadly. Wear a helmet and reflective or bright clothing, and always remain alert for erratic drivers when riding a scooter.
If you are involved in a scooter accident, our personal injury lawyers can help. We make a rapid and thorough investigation of the accident scene, and we work hard to win compensation for you.
Our California Scooter Accident Lawyers Can Help
The San Jose scooter accident lawyers at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP provide experienced counsel to clients injured in scooter, motorcycle, bike and auto accidents in California.
Our lawyers are available for weekend and evening meetings. We handle injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you pay us nothing unless you recover compensation.