Getting a Razor Ecosmart Metro electric scooter is probably one of the best ways to travel around Florida’s crowded cities. However, while electric scooters are legal to use in the sun-kissed state, they have to obey certain laws and regulations which are obviously very important to know.
What Is an Electric Scooter?
It’s a known fact that nowadays people tend to want to get everywhere as fast and as efficiently as possible. The world has evolved in such a way that we no longer have enough time to simply get by and, as a consequence, our means of transportation have also evolved.
This is the reason why electric scooters, the new-age nephew of old-school mopeds and manual scooters has become such a common occurrence these days, especially in the big cities of the world. If you don’t like being stuck in a car in rush hour traffic and the destination is close enough, an electric scooter will seem like a wonderful idea.
Technically speaking, an electric scooter is a plug-in electric vehicle which can have two or three wheels. The electricity is stored in a type of rechargeable battery which is able to drive one or more electric motors. Keeping the tradition of their electricity-less uncle, these new scooters also have the patented step-through frame.
How Do They Charge?
As of this year, most of the electric scooters out there are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, even though some of the earlier and less advanced models used nickel-metal hydride ones.
A company called EGen is promoting a new type of lithium-ion battery which apparently is lighter and can offer better performance than traditional ones. This technology reached the US in 2017 where the first one to use it was a scooter called The Expresso.
Studies have shown that by using this, a battery can be completely charged in less than ten minutes and will withstand the equivalent of seventy years of daily charges, really adding something to the money-for-value ratio.
The actual process of charging is very simple: the electric scooters are recharged by plugging them into ordinary wall outlets just like any other electric device and usually take anywhere between four to eight hours to get up to full capacity again.
Some manufacturers have designed in, included, or even offer as an added accessory a high-power charger which can get your scoot up to 95% battery in just one hour of idle time near an outlet.
Taking Over The Country
When it comes to the USA, electric scooters are becoming more and more common in cities all across the country. They are one of the most used forms of shared transportation and, for this precise reason, they also anger pedestrians who must share the roads and sidewalks with them.
The scooters have lately become even more popular than the already-very-popular station-based bicycles, probably because the bikes must be left at specific locations when you’re done using them.
A report by the National Association of City Transportation Officials shows that in 2018, Americans took about 38.5 million trips on shared electric scooters, by comparison to the 36.5 million trips on shared, station-based bicycles.
Therefore, we are seeing a new leader take over the modern transportation sector and it will likely become even more unbalanced as time passes by and as people hurry more and more and spaces become more and more of a problem.
What Problems Has This Caused?
If this article makes you raise your eyebrow because it seems as if electric scooters appeared simply overnight in America, well, that’s because they did. Unfortunately, several companies distributed them through cities across the country without first obtaining permission or permits to do so.
However, in good-old American fashion, most of these places have adapted and U.S. cities are now requiring that scooter companies share their location data to be able to function from a legal standpoint. This data shows where the scooters are at any point in time and which routes their riders are taking.
While this information can, of course, be valuable for things like planning bike routes and docking stations or even understanding traffic patterns, it has also raised many questions about user privacy. Some people are extremely concerned about companies using their GPS data to locate them or gather certain specific information about their routes and activities.
Another concern with this electric scooter takeover is the growing number of head injuries it seems to have caused. This is because, apparently, it is becoming a trend for people to get on a shared scooter in order to get home, without wearing a helmet, after a night of drinking alcohol.
You may want to be careful about this because scooters really do have tiny wheels and it doesn’t take much to make even a sober rider fly off into the distance. If a head hits a concrete surface at 20 miles per hour without wearing a helmet, bad things may happen.
Some industry analysts have long been observing this trend trying to predict how long it will last and which direction it might go toward. While people from the automobile industry believe and hope the entire electric scooter business is nothing more than a fad, it is quite possible that electric means of transportation are here to stay.
Electric Scooters in Florida
When the weather allows it, scooters are a very popular way to get around in Florida. Electric scooters are fuel-efficient, quite fast, and certainly more eco-friendly than cars so more and more Floridians opt to use them instead of typical passenger vehicles.
However, the risk of personal injuries is, therefore, increasing so reviewing the state’s scooter laws can help keep the riders safe and sound from any physical or legal trouble that might occur.
Due to the number of two-wheeled vehicles available it can sometimes be hard to determine exactly which laws apply where. According to state law, an electric scooter is a vehicle without a seat or saddle which travels on a maximum of three wheels and at a top speed of no more than 30 miles per hour.
This definition encompasses everything from personal electric scooters to popular rideshare ones such as Lime and Bird. What it does not include are the motor scooters, which are defined as a two-wheeled vehicle that carries a single person and may include a saddle for seating. Therefore, you should be very careful when researching the appropriate laws for your vehicle.
Outside of the definition, however, Florida law does not differentiate between the two types of scooters, the formalities for the longer-tenured motor ones extending to also apply to their newer, electric cousins.
However, all Floridians should keep in mind that the state does not permit motorized scooters on roads or sidewalks but it does permit motor and electric ones. Even more, most of the rules for standard passenger vehicles and motorcycles also apply to scooters so you should know that riding one comes with the responsibility of obeying all applicable local and state laws.
Let’s List Some Requirements
To give you an overall view of the applicable regulations and help you avoid traffic infractions or liability for a collision, let’s list some of the more important ones:
You have to be at least 16 years of age to operate a motor or electric scooter in Florida and you also need a valid driver’s or motorcycle’s license, even though you are exempt of carrying scooter insurance.
Any riders under 16 are required to wear a helmet at all times while those who are older do not have to obey this law as long as the scooter cannot exceed 30 miles per hour.
Riding on sidewalks is strictly forbidden as riders cannot operate either scooters or mopeds on sidewalks or bicycle paths in the entire state of Florida. Instead, they are required to ride in the roadway with any other vehicles and obey standard traffic laws just like everybody else.
However, scooter riders have to stay as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible except when making a left turn because they are not allowed to ride abreast regular passenger vehicles or dash in and out between the lanes.
If you remember all these rules and do a little more in-depth research depending on where exactly you want to get, you should have no problems obeying the spirit of the law, just like any good Floridian and American would do.