When most people think about traffic laws, what comes to mind are those that apply to cars — wearing seatbelts, driving within the speed limit, and staying within designated lanes, to name a few. Yet, there are also specific rules for truck drivers, as well as for individuals who ride bicycles within the state of Florida. So, what about motor scooters? Are there laws that apply exclusively to this mode of transportation? If so, what are they?
What You Need to Know About Motor Scooter Accident Laws
In order to know which laws apply to your mode of transportation, it’s crucial to understand the differences between them. Florida Statutes Section 320.01 provides the following definitions.
A motorcycle is any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground. Motorcycles are required to be titled and registered to operate on Florida roads.
A moped is any vehicle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power on not more than three wheels, with a motor rated not in excess of two brake horsepower and not capable of traveling at more than 30 miles per hour. Florida requires mopeds to be registered, but title is not required.
A motor scooter is defined by Florida Statutes Section 316.003 as any vehicle or micro-mobility device not having a seat or saddle, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of traveling at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour. Motor scooters are not permitted to be operated on the roadways or sidewalks in Florida.
Florida Statutes Section 316.2085 establishes the legal responsibilities of motorists riding on motorcycles or mopeds. These include the following:
- Be 16 years of age or older. No one under the age of 16 is permitted to operate a scooter that has a motor with more than 150 cubic centimeters displacement. In addition, no one under 16 years of age is allowed to rent a motorized scooter.
- Ride on the seat. Anyone operating a motor scooter can only ride it while sitting on the regular seat attached to the scooter. You are not allowed to carry a passenger, unless your moped is designed to carry more than one person.
- Use proper form. You must ride it while sitting astride on the attached seat, with both wheels on the ground at all times, facing forward. The only exception is when circumstances beyond your control — such as road surface — cause the wheels to briefly lose contact with the road.
- Have a license plate. The license plate should be permanently affixed to the moped. Ensure that it’s placed horizontally to the ground and that it remains clearly visible from the rear of the scooter at all times. Any attempt to conceal or obscure its legibility is prohibited by law.
- Keep your hands on the handlebars. If you have to carry anything, wear a backpack. You are not permitted to ride your moped while carrying a package or any article that would prevent you from keeping both hands on the handlebars at all times.
Do you need to buy insurance for a scooter in Florida?
Florida requires all motor vehicles with at least four wheels to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This means that motorcycles, mopeds, and motorized scooters are not required to comply with such law. However, if you are involved in an accident while riding your scooter, and you are found liable — or partially liable — for the accident, you will still be held financially responsible for the damage caused. Therefore, it would be beneficial to voluntarily obtain an insurance policy.
In addition to providing a safety net — in case you cause harm to someone else — purchasing a PIP policy for your motor scooter also benefits you. Florida is a no-fault jurisdiction. This means that if you get into an accident, you can file a PIP claim with your own insurance company regardless of who was at fault for the accident. The insurance would then proceed to cover up to $10,000 in damages, including up to 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages. These benefits are available to the following individuals:
- The named insured
- Persons operating the insured motor vehicle
- Any passengers on the insured vehicle
- Family members residing in the same household
- Anyone who was injured in the accident
Call Clark Law for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.