As the weather improves and Maryland starts its return to some form of normalcy, you can bet that there will be more people riding electric scooters. Companies like Lime, Jump, Spin, and Bolt offer dockless scooters that can be rented by anyone with simply a smartphone and a credit card.
But as more people start zipping around city streets already filled with cars on the road and pedestrians on the sidewalks, where can these scooters drive, and what happens if they are involved in an accident?
Maryland Law regulates scooters the same as bicycles under MD Code, Transportation, § 11-117.2. This means that scooters must be operated on the road and follow all traffic laws, just like bicycles. These laws include stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic signals, riding in the direction of traffic, the prohibited wearing of headsets or earplugs in both ears, and yielding to other vehicles and pedestrians.
The law says that scooters cannot be operated on sidewalks. If a scooter rider needs to cross a sidewalk, they must dismount and cross on foot. There is an exception in Baltimore City to riding on the sidewalk if the speed limit on the adjacent street is 30 mph or greater.
What does this all mean if a scooter collides with a vehicle or pedestrian?
If a scooter rider hits a pedestrian on a sidewalk and causes an injury, there is a good chance the scooter rider will be on the hook for any personal injury damages caused to the pedestrian since the scooter rider was likely breaking the law by riding on the sidewalk in the first place. However, scooters don’t carry insurance as cars do.
But if the scooter rider is crossing a street at a cross-walk and is hit by a car, then the scooter rider might have a claim against the driver of the car, even though the car driver might argue that a scooter rider shouldn’t have been riding in a cross-walk designed for pedestrians. The law isn’t perfectly clear when it comes to scooters that sometimes operate like vehicles on streets and sometimes operate like skateboards on sidewalks.
The law surrounding scooters and personal injury is relatively new and most issues haven’t been decided by courts yet. If you’ve been injured while riding a scooter, or if you’ve been injured by a scooter as a pedestrian or vehicle driver, it’s important to consult with an attorney about your options.
At Holzman & Associates, we provide free consultations about your personal injury claim options. To make an appointment at our Baltimore office, please call 410-539-4222 or contact us online.
For more than 50 years, Holzman & Associates, LLC has obtained substantial verdicts and settlements for injury victims throughout Maryland. Ask around about us!