Motor scooters are becoming an increasingly popular and fun way to get around. But, keep in mind that operating these vehicles can be dangerous and put you at an increased risk for serious injuries.
In fact, there are thousands of motor scooter accidents in Florida each year. However, there are steps you can take to help you stay safe out there.
What is a Motor Scooter?
Now, you may have heard the term motor scooter being loosely applied to several different types of two or three-wheeled vehicles. But, be aware that certain rules and regulations come into play depending on how a scooter is classified under Florida law.
With that in mind, the characteristics of the scooter determine how it is classified. There are three main categories: motorized scooter, moped, and motorcycle. Let’s take a look at each one.
Motorized scooter: these vehicles are defined as having no seat or saddle, no more than three wheels, and a maximum speed of 30 MPH. Motorized scooters cannot be titled or registered in this state, and you are not allowed to operate them on roadways or sidewalks unless the city specifically allows it by ordinance. No license is required to drive these vehicles.
Keep in mind that there are some additional rules for riders in Miami. The ordinance requires that drivers be at least 18 years old, and are limited to riding only in certain parts of the city.
Moped: these vehicles are defined as being 50cc or less, having a seat or saddle, pedals propelled by human power, no more than three wheels, and a maximum speed of 30 MPH.
State law requires that mopeds be registered. However, no title is required, but the operator does need a registration. These vehicles can be ridden without insurance and with only a standard driver’s license.
Motorcycle: these are vehicles that don’t fall into one of the other two categories. They must have three wheels or less and a saddle or seat. Registration and a title are required. Motorcycles can only be operated on roadways, and the rider needs a license with a motorcycle endorsement.
Staying Safe on a Motor Scooter
Regardless of how your vehicle is classified, it’s important to take basic safety precautions in order to minimize the risk of riding a motor scooter. These steps include:
- Wearing safety equipment – including a helmet, eye protection, and gloves
- Wearing bright color clothing to increase visibility
- Not using alcohol or drugs before riding
- Keeping your speed down
- Only riding when weather conditions are good; and
- Driving defensively.
Keep in mind that urban locations are more dangerous for riders. It’s also safer to avoid highways and traveling during high traffic times. Further, while insurance is not required for vehicles under 50cc, it can be beneficial for you to have coverage. This is because you may be personally liable for any damage or injuries that result from an accident that you caused.
What To Do If You Are Injured in a Motor Scooter Accident
Remember, motor scooter accidents are quite common in Florida and can be serious. If you are involved in a collision, the first step is to seek medical attention right away. This is true even if your injuries seem only minor.
Next, do your best to document the scene of the accident. This would include taking photos of any damage that was caused, collecting the contact information of any witnesses and others involved, and writing down your own recollection of the events. It’s important to do this soon after the accident when your memory is fresh.
Keep in mind that you should exercise caution when speaking to others about the accident. What you say can be used as evidence of fault by another driver or his or her insurance company. This can make it more difficult for you to file a successful claim.
If another driver is at fault and you are contacted by an insurance company representative, you may be offered a settlement. Note that you don’t need to accept this offer. It’s best to reach out to an attorney that can evaluate your case and explain the options you have.
Finally, after a motor vehicle accident, you are generally entitled to more than just payment for your medical bills. Typical forms of compensation available to injured motorists include lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. For that reason, having a qualified attorney involved in your case can help make sure that you get the full amount of the compensation you are owed.