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Electric Scooter Road Rules Explained

The popularity of electric scooters has grown considerably recently, although they were actually invented more than 100 years ago. Today, it is unsurprising to meet a man in a business suit, a housewife, or a student with such a vehicle. Rental electric scooters today can be found in every self-respecting city. But are electric scooters street-legal? The USA is a big country, and the laws may differ in each state. So, my advice is to familiarize yourself with how things work in your area before buying. I will try to outline the situation for 2023 in general terms so that you realize that this issue is not so simple and definitely worth your attention.

Understanding electric scooter laws and regulations

understanding electric scooter laws and regulations

Knowing and understanding the electric scooter laws in the various states will keep you from taking a rash ride or getting a ticket. Believe me, I have experience riding this type of vehicle everywhere. My kids also love my scooters, and it is quite difficult to explain to them that this is a taboo subject for kids. Let’s take a quick look at some of the rules and exceptions in general around the country and some states in particular.

Overview of electric scooter laws

What could be so scary about a board with handlebars and wheels? What makes an electric scooter so different from a bicycle or skateboard? But in most U.S. cities, this type of vehicle is classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), and they are subject to special regulations designed to ensure harmony on the streets.

Well, I couldn’t agree more, as they pose a danger to riders and pedestrians. Riding electric scooters requires some training time, driving experience, and an understanding of the nuances of maneuvering. Electronics can malfunction, wheels can burst, and an overly active rider can create accidents. So, I certainly rely on your awareness, but legal regulation is necessary.

From helmet requirements to age limits, regulations are about balancing respect for the electric scooter user and public safety. It’s not about restricting you from the joy of scooter driving but about creating a shared space where pedestrians, cyclists, and scooter drivers coexist seamlessly.

You probably won’t need registration like you would for a car or motorcycle. On the other hand, a driving license may be required in some states. However, public use (rental) is still an open and unfinished issue.

There are age restrictions. In general, we can say that the use of electric scooters everywhere is allowed from 16 years old. Still, there are states where riding is possible at 14 (Virginia) and even 12 years old (Michigan, Minnesota).

A general helmet rule also exists but differs from region to region. Nevertheless, I insist on wearing one. After all, it is your responsibility, concern, and life.

Differences in electric scooter laws by state

Without going into a lengthy description for each state, suffice it to say that you simply have to research the legal regulations in your area. In addition to those described above, there are differences, such as whether you can ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk or the road. I will say that some states allow riding among pedestrians (New York, Montana, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee, etc.). And some don’t allow it, with speed limits waiting for you on the road as well.

California, the vanguard of innovation, has embraced electric scooters as an environmentally friendly mode of transportation. You don’t have to register your vehicle, but you are required to have a license. If you ride in pedestrian areas, your speed must be no higher than 15 mph, and those under 18 must wear a helmet (no, everyone must wear a helmet – author’s comment).

On the other hand, some states may still be taking a closer look at the idea, adopting stricter regulations or pilot programs. There are even limits on battery capacity and scooter weight, which differ everywhere. Well, the issue is still in development, and I’m sure we’re in for some pleasant and unpleasant changes.

Electric scooter road rules

electric scooter road rules

Where you can and can’t ride electric scooters

Once you’ve dealt with the legal code, the next task is to map out your route on your scooter. Sidewalks, bike lanes, roads – there are different rules for each, as I’ve outlined.

Sidewalks may seem like the obvious choice, but not all cities allow scooters. Bike lanes are a dedicated path for the two-wheeled tribe but are not a universal privilege. And then there’s the open road, where speed is combined with responsibility. Knowing where to point your scooter ensures a smooth journey without fines.

Speed limits and other restrictions for electric scooters on the road

The e-scooter, while exciting, often has speed limits dictated by local laws. Again, this is not about suppressing your need for speed but preventing reckless racing that can turn your easy ride into a legal quagmire. Some states allow you to drive no higher than 15 mph, and in some, 30 mph is not the limit.

In addition to speed limits, other restrictions may determine where and at what speed you can travel. Remember that in trying to save time, you could hurt yourself or another person if you are in a hurry. Be responsible, and do not speed where you may be a danger.

Safety tips for riding electric scooters on the road

Well, after superficially familiarizing yourself with the rules and restrictions of riding an electric scooter in the US, we can highlight some tips for you. Riding an electric scooter is not only about following the rules but also about creating a culture of responsible riding. Think of it as a team effort to make every scooter ride not only fun but accident-free.

Above all, equipment is the key to your body’s integrity in the event of a minor accident. Helmets, knee pads, elbow guards – this is not a tribute to fashion but an integral part of every ride. Visibility is key, so use reflective elements and lights, turning your ride into a mobile light show – stylish and safe.

Driving on the road requires strategic thinking. Be aware of your surroundings, anticipate movements, and, most importantly, respect the road. It’s not just about your ride; it’s about building a scooter community of responsibility on the pavement.



Understanding the laws and rules of the road for electric scooters is not about restricting the free spirit of scooter enthusiasts; it’s about creating a roadmap for a safe and exciting adventure. So get ready, know the rules, obey the laws, and care for yourself and those around you. And don’t forget to enjoy every ride!

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