NJ Scooter Laws
This page provides an overview of New Jersey’s newest electric scooter laws, and what to do if you’re involved in a scooter accident.
Electric scooters are popping up in cities everywhere across the United States. As of May 13, 2019, the state of New Jersey has jumped on the bandwagon and officially legalized the use of e-scooters. Governor Phil Murphy signed the law that clarifies the rules associated with “low-speed electric bikes and scooters”, which ultimately is aimed to help New Jersey commuters get around their local municipalities without using cars.
There’s no doubt about it that both motorized and electric scooters will continue to play a vital role in helping urban residents who don’t want or need to own a car throughout their daily lives, and a lot of people simply just enjoy the thrill of riding scooters because they provide an adrenaline rush without the dangers associated with full-sized motorcycles.
On this page, we’re going to discuss the details involved with New Jersey’s scooter laws, and as always feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation if you or a loved one was involved in an electric or motorized scooter accident of any kind.
How Does New Jersey Define Scooter Laws?
The term “scooter” refers to an entire array of different vehicles, so it’s very important for New Jersey residents involved in a scooter accident to verify the exact type of scooter they were operating at the time of their crash.
Motorized scooters typically fall under the definition of a motorcycle, but an electric scooter is much different. The following is what New Jersey Law defines a scooter as: a “motorized scooter” means a miniature motor vehicle and includes, but is not limited to, pocket bikes, super pocket bikes, scooters, mini-scooters, sport scooters, mini choppers, mini motorcycles, motorized skateboards, and other vehicles with motors that are not manufactured in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and which have no permanent Federal Safety Certification stickers affixed to the vehicle by the original manufacturer.
The law that was established last May defines “low-speed electric scooters” as: a scooter with a floorboard that can be stood upon by the operator, with handlebars, and an electric motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion at a maximum speed of less than 19 miles per hour.”
Scooter Laws in New Jersey
E-scooters are required to follow all of New Jersey’s bike laws, which also means that e-scooter riders must follow the same laws as vehicles. This includes following the flow and general direction of traffic and obeying traffic signals. E-scooters may be parked on sidewalks, but they aren’t allowed to block the access of pedestrians. The use of e-scooters on sidewalks and other trails has been left up to local municipalities.
The following are some of the main laws associated with electric scooters:
- Max speeds of 19 mph
- Cannot block pedestrian traffic when parked on sidewalks
- No registration, license or insurance is required for using e-scooters
- Helmets are required for anyone under 17
- Riders must follow all bicycle laws
- Municipalities decide sidewalk/trail riding rules
If you’re going to use a motorized scooter in New Jersey, you should fully know and follow all the rules in order to avoid tickets and potential confiscations. The following is a brief overview of the motor scooter laws in New Jersey. Note that this list is an overview and is not exhaustive:
- If the motorized scooter is 50cc or less, then it’s not considered a motorcycle. (Note: “cc” stands for “cubic centimeters,” often used as a measurement of engine size).
- Motorized scooters are considered motor vehicles, so you must be at least 16 years old and hold a Class E driver’s license, or a motorcycle-only license. Learner’s permit holders are not allowed to operate motorized scooters.
- If the scooter is under 50cc or cannot exceed 30 mph on flat ground, then the operator is not required to wear a helmet. But, passengers under 16 are always required to wear a helmet.
- The law doesn’t require moped or motorized scooter owners to carry insurance, but for the most part, it’s always best to have some type of coverage.
- Scooters under 50cc are not allowed on highways or interstates (which isn’t safe regardless of how powerful the scooter!)
- It’s against the law to lane split or rides on yellow lines to pass through stopped traffic.
- If a scooter is on a roadway and operating under the normal flow of traffic, then the operator must stay close to the right side edge of the road, except when turning left.
- Motorized scooters are not allowed to use bike or pedestrian lanes.
What does this new scooter laws mean for New Jersey?
The new scooter laws in New Jersey mean that it will likely become easier for people to purchase both e-scooters and e-bikes for personal use, and rental scooter and bike companies are likely to continue to emerge throughout municipalities all across the state. These companies, like Lime, Bird, and Jump, have grown in popularity all over urban areas across the country, and now the e-scooter craze is expanding in New Jersey.
What To Do If Someone Injures You While You Are Riding a Motorscooter
The trend toward motor scooter use in urban areas has many benefits, including an inexpensive alternative to vehicles or public transportation, a more “green” transportation option, and a fun way to tour a city or simply enjoy the ride. However, injury cases involving motor scooter riders continue to increase. Because of their prevalence in dense urban areas, motor scooter riders are at risk from traffic, other pedestrians, and plain bad luck. Bustling cities see increased accidents of all types, and motor scooters provide no exception.
Often, motorists fail to yield the right of way to scooter riders or cause an accident through some other form of careless vehicle operation. When inattentive or reckless drivers strike scooter riders, major injuries often result. Abrasions, broken bones, and concussions are common. Some unfortunate accident victims need surgery, and tragically, wrongful death occurs because of vehicle-to-scooter accidents, just as they do when cars and trucks collide with bicyclists.
When riding, obey all motor scooter laws in New Jersey. As with bicycles, helmets offer substantial protection against head injuries, a leading cause of severe scooter-related injuries and deaths.
If you are injured in a scooter accident, take the following steps:
Document Your Injuries to Establish a Claim Under Motor Scooter Laws in New Jersey
To bring a personal injury action under motor scooter laws in New Jersey, you need evidence of the harm you suffered in the form of medical records. These documents both establish your cause of action (harm sustained) and the value of the claim (severity and needed treatment). In addition, if you lose income due to the injury and experience pain and suffering, medical records establish the extent the accident contributed to these losses and difficulties.
Be sure to visit a doctor or hospital as soon as possible after the accident. In addition to the need to create documentation, your health is at stake. Prompt treatment often makes the difference between an injury that heals quickly and one that becomes chronic.
For example, if you sprain your ankle and ignore the problem, it may worsen over time, causing recurrent pain and difficulty walking or performing other weight-bearing activities. However, immediate treatment and physical therapy may prevent the sprain from turning into a long-lasting problem. Additionally, seeking prompt medical intervention shows that you have mitigated your damages, and any lasting impacts do not result from your choice to postpone or decline care.
Make a List of All Possible Responsible Parties
In some cases, more than one party contributed to your accident according to motor scooter laws in New Jersey. For example, a driver may have failed to yield the right of way, making him or her culpable for your injuries. In addition, if you were riding a rental scooter, the leasing company may also bear responsibility. For example, the company may have failed to maintain the scooter, ignored safety requirements, or neglected to advise you on safely using the machine.
Imagine you were lawfully riding your scooter through a crosswalk, and an inattentive driver pulled directly in front of you. You tried to brake and steer to avoid the car, but the scooter company gave you a poorly maintained unit, so you were unable to take evasive action.
In such a case, the careless driver violates traffic laws and is clearly responsible. However, the rental company also has liability because it rented you a mechanically unsound unit. Therefore, your personal injury attorney would likely pursue both parties in a claim.
Take photos with your cell phone unless you are too seriously injured. Include your visible injuries, damage to the vehicle that hit you, and any other property destruction resulting from the accident. Also, take an overview picture of the scene that includes stop signs or traffic signals the driver missed or disobeyed.
How Do Insurance Policies Apply to Motor Scooter Accidents
Several insurance policies carried by the defendant(s) may come into play. For the injured party, this is good news. Unless the person who hit you is wealthy (in which case they are almost always well-insured), collecting from an individual is dicey. Since there is no cash register at the back of the courthouse, you must collect directly from the defendant. If he or she has few or no assets, you may never secure the judgment.
However, at least one insurer has an obligation to pay the claim in most cases. The following types of insurance policies frequently bear the responsibility for motor scooter accidents:
When a driver hits a motor scooter, that person’s auto insurance acquires responsibility for the claim.
Umbrella insurance is additional coverage added to auto- or home policies. Often carried by wealthy individuals, umbrella insurance extends liability limits to over $1 million. In cases where injuries are so severe that damages exceed standard limits, umbrella insurance pays the difference.
The scooter company’s liability insurance comes into play if they are at fault for the accident. In addition, if another business, such as a delivery service, caused your injury, their liability policy applies.
Homeowners insurance policies have liability provisions that extend to the policyholder even when not at home. For example, if a cyclist caused your accident, auto insurance would not apply, but his or her homeowners policy may cover the damages.
What You Should Do If You’re Injured in a Scooter Accident
Both motorized and electric scooters pose serious threats of injuries no matter how careful you are while operating them. If you’re in a scooter accident it may be wise to treat the situation like how you would with car accidents. This means you should call an attorney immediately and get medical attention no matter how minor your injuries may initially seem to be. Often more serious injuries can only be determined by a physician or medical personnel.
If another person’s negligence caused your scooter accident, then you may be eligible for compensation for an array of damages. Some of these damages include medical bills, lost wages, loss of quality of life, pain, and suffering and much more.
Our team is here to help scooter accident victims of all types when it comes to figuring out their best course for legal action and then fighting to obtain the maximum amount of compensation in the case.
Contact us today for a free consultation so we can begin the initial steps of helping you.
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