A recent report has outlined the dangers of scooters in Florida — and presumably elsewhere. In some states, scooters are considered motorcycles, requiring special permits and insurance. Florida is not one of those states.
It is up to drivers of scooters to protect themselves and motorists to keep an eye open. There are scooter accidents every day in Florida, ranging from minor to fatal. This popular form of transportation isn’t going away, so it’s time to take steps to keep everyone safer.
If you plan on getting on a scooter in your hometown or when you are visiting one of our many beautiful cities in South Florida, here are some tips that will help keep you as safe as possible. The more you can follow, the safer you will be.
The clothing you wear on a scooter may not be what you want to wear when you are walking around town, but sacrifice fashion for safety. If you are hopping on top of a scooter, your clothing should be light and reflective, even during the day.
Even though there are no helmet laws in Florida, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have one on. If you are driving or riding on a scooter, you need a helmet on your head. The helmet that you choose should be approved by DOT, ANSI or Snell. These are designed to protect the head and brain in the event of an impact.
If the helmet that you choose does not have a face shield, you should have goggles or sunglasses with plastic lenses. These will help to protect your eyes from wind, rocks, insects, dirt and other particulates in the air. Scratches to and foreign bodies in the eye can be painful and require extensive medical care.
It’s tempting to wear sandals or other open-toed footwear in the warm summer months, but wearing these kinds of shoes on a scooter can be a mistake. If you are going to scoot around town, make sure that you are wearing slip-resistant shoes of the sneaker or boot variety.
Ride with the flow of the traffic. Even if scooters are not considered to be motorcycles in the state, you are still required to travel as any other vehicle would. Obey the speed limit for the stretch of road you are on, know how to use (and do use) your turn signals and use caution at intersections. If the scooter you are driving is not equipped with turn signals, learn hand signals so that other motorists know your intent.
Most scooters are not manufactured with the intent that they be operated at night. If your scooter does not have headlights or tail lights, it is only meant to be driven during the day. Avoid driving during times of low light; you will be less visible to other drivers on the road.
Do not drive over rough surfaces are those that are covered with loose gravel. Scooters are not designed to ride on anything other than smooth, hard surfaces. If you are forced to roll over an obstacle, do so with care. If you can, get off of your scooter and walk it around the obstacle instead of driving over it.
When you park the scooter, make sure you are on a flat, level surface. Do not park in such a way that you block sidewalks, emergency exits or driveways.
Just like a passenger vehicle, your scooter tires need to be filled properly. Check them frequently to ensure that you have proper tire pressure. Low pressure can lead to a blowout or other type of accident, as can high pressure.
When you pump the hand brake, it should not touch the handlebar. If it does, the lever needs to be adjusted. If you find that this is happening with your scooter, have it looked at by a mechanic and have the necessary adjustments or repairs made as soon as possible.
Scooter accidents can be very serious, particularly to the person on the scooter. Without the protection of a vehicle’s exterior, a person can strike the pavement, hit an obstacle, or even roll over and over. Without a helmet, a person can sustain traumatic brain injury, and most scooter accidents involve severe injury to other areas of the body.
If you have been involved in a scooter collision or other type of accident, you may have legal rights to compensation for property damage and injury. Reach out to our team of experienced accident attorneys and let us review the details of your unique incident. We will help you determine not only your legal rights, but the types and amounts of compensation you may be entitled to. Call our office today to schedule your appointment for a free case evaluation.