After the sudden introduction of Tampa’s pilot program offering grab-and-go share systems like Lime, Bird, Spin, and Jump (Uber) in May, many are still wondering what traffic rules actually apply to this brand new form of local transport. And with so many other types of vehicles already on busy city streets, scooter riders who are not well-informed are at serious risk for an accident or injury if they don’t know how to interact with pedestrians, drivers, bicyclists, and other vehicle operators. In light of this new legislation, here are some important rules and updates to remember before you rent your next e-scooter:
— E-scooters for rent are no longer limited to sidewalk use, and can now be used in bike lanes on streets, under all the same “rights and duties applicable to the rider of a bicycle”
— Under the same rules as bicyclists, scooter riders under 16 years of age should wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards, is properly fitted, and fastened securely to their head
— Those renting a scooter may operate them without a valid driver’s license, insurance requirements, or vehicle registration
— Riders are generally required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including traffic signs, signals, and lane markings
Be sure to wear a helmet and bright, reflective clothing when riding a scooter, even if the law does not require it.