Yes, electric scooters are street-legal in Georgia. However, there are specific stipulations and regulations regarding operating a street scooter. The two most important things to know when planning on using an electric scooter are: you must pay to use it and you do not need a license of any sort to operate one. John Foy & Associates are prepared to litigate and negotiate on your behalf regarding electric scooter accidents.
Who Is Allowed to Use an Electric Scooter?
Almost anyone is allowed to use an electric scooter in the state of Georgia. The big exception is anyone under the age of 15 because they are prohibited from operating an e-scooter.
People under the age of 16 are required by Georgia state law to wear a helmet when they are driving either a bird, lime, or spin scooter. These helmets must be approved by the standards put forth by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Some people who rent out motorized scooters will try having their friends hop on and ride with them. This is strictly prohibited, as Georgia law states that it is only one person per scooter. This is all because of safety reasons. It would be extremely dangerous for multiple people to be riding on one scooter when it is only designed to hold one person.
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Where Can You Operate the Electric Scooters?
There are a total of three different places where you are allowed to operate an e-scooter. These include:
- Bike paths
- Bike lanes near roads
- Roads with a speed limit of 35mph or less
You are only allowed to use the scooters on these pathways and nowhere else. Some people believe that they are allowed to drive these scooters on sidewalks. This is not true because it would be extremely dangerous for someone to be bobbing and weaving through pedestrians while going 15 to 30mph.
Do You Still Have to Follow the Rules of the Road?
A common misconception about riding on a motorized scooter is that you do not have to strictly follow the rules of the road. Some riders fail to stop at stop signs, obey traffic lights, yield at certain intersections, pull over for emergency vehicles, and yield to pedestrians.
It is imperative to know that even on a scooter you must still follow all these traffic laws and all other rules of the road. Failure to do so can result in the police pulling you over or getting seriously hurt from an accident you caused.
Can You Text While Riding an E-Scooter?
Not only is it prohibited to text on your smartphone while driving a motorized scooter, but it is also prohibited to use your cell phone at all. This means no texting, calling, checking social media, or looking up directions. Some cities within the peach state may vary in their level of strictness on these laws.
The electric scooter companies themselves (like Lime, Bird, or Spin) do want their riders to be using their phones in motion so most cities act in accordance with them. For example, the city of Atlanta claims that no person shall use a telecommunications device of any sort while operating the e-scooter, according to Atlanta City Council Ordinance 18-0-1322.
Can You Be Drunk While Riding an E-Scooter?
After a night out of drinking some people believe that it is a safer and more legal option to hop on an electric scooter to get home rather than driving a car. However, this is not true. It is still illegal to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a motorized scooter. This is because it is still extremely dangerous to be on the roads while intoxicated in any capacity
Driving a Bird, Lime, or Spin scooter, after you have been drinking alcohol can land you a serious DUI charge. Some of the penalties for this DUI charge include:
- Hefty fines
- Suspension of your license
- DUI driver intervention classes
- Jail/prison time
Of course, e-scooters and cars are not the only vehicles that have DUI Laws pertaining to them. A full list of these vehicles would include:
- Passenger cars
It is not worth risking facing any of these punishments. Do not even think about hopping on a motorized scooter after you and your friends have had a long night out drinking.
What Are the Parking Laws for Electric Scooters?
Even though the scooter is not technically yours, you are still responsible for where you leave it once you are finished with your ride. You are allowed to leave it in most public places due to the fact that it makes it easier for other people to access it.
Although, there are a select few places where you are not allowed to park your scooter once you are finished with it. These include:
- At a bus stop
- In traditional parking spots for cars
- On vegetation like a garden
- In a loading zone
- In someone’s driveway
- Over a grate or manhole cover
- In a bike lane
- In the middle of the road
- Within 5 feet of a bike-share location
- Where it can interfere with handicapped access to buildings
- Where it can interfere with traffic lights and stop signs
- Where it can interfere with emergency service infrastructure
Most times you are going to want to park your motorized scooter simply on the sidewalk. Parking the scooter in any one of the prohibited areas makes you subject to certain penalties like fines.
How Do E-Scooters Compare to E-Bikes?
Electric bicycles in rideshare programs work very similarly to electric scooters in that you can rent out the e-bike for a short time to help you get from point A to point B. You must be 15 or older to operate the bike. You must use the bikes on either bike lanes adjacent to the road, on bike paths in parks, or on roads with a speed limit of 35mph or less.
You are still required to follow the rules of the road when riding on a motorized rideshare bicycle, similar to e-scooters. You have to yield to pedestrians, obey traffic lights, not text on your phone while in motion, and yield to emergency service vehicles. You can also receive a DUI charge if you are under the influence of alcohol.
One key difference between e-scooters and e-bikes is where you can park them. E-bikes are a part of rideshare programs which means they have specific stations for you to park them at. You are not allowed to just leave them on a sidewalk like with electric scooters. Doing this with electric bicycles can come with consequences like paying a fine.