Electric Scooters


The surge in popularity of electric scooters has led California and other states to draft laws governing their use. Many cities, including San Diego, have enacted local rules as well. Below are answers to some of the most common questions about electric scooter laws in San Diego

Electric Scooter Laws in San Diego

Where can you ride electric scooters?

A motorized scooter may be operated on a bicycle path, trail or bikeway, but not on a sidewalk.  California Vehicle Code sections 21230 and 21235.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

All persons under 18 years old must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.

Can I get a ticket for speeding?

Yes.  California Vehicle Code section 21235 provides that a motorized scooter may not be operated at a speed in excess of 15 mph on all highways, including bikeways, regardless of a higher speed limit applicable to the highway. As such, you may receive a ticket for speeding if you travel more than 15 mph on an electric scooter.  You may also be held liable for damages if you are involved in an accident while travelling more than 15 mph on an electric scooter.

Am I allowed to carry passengers?

No.  No passengers are allowed on electric scooters.

Do I need a driver’s license to operate an electric scooter?

Yes.  A valid driver’s license or instructional permit is required to operate an electric scooter.  It is illegal to operate an electric scooter without one in California.

Insurance Coverage for Electric Scooter Accidents

Much like car accidents, the at-fault party in a scooter collision is liable for the crash.  Scooters may be involved in collisions with cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, other electric vehicles, pets and stationary objects (such as parked cars).  As such, insurance coverage may vary significantly depending on the specific circumstances of the collision.  This is one reason you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer if you were injured in an electric scooter collision.

Many of the electric scooter companies do not offer insurance when you ride their scooters.  In fact, the user agreements for scooters often require the user to waive any liability the company might have.  Most car insurance policies do not include electric scooter coverage, so do not expect your auto insurance to cover you if you cause an accident while driving an electric scooter.  Likewise, most homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies do not include electric scooter coverage.  As such, electric scooter drivers may be held personally liable for any damages resulting from a crash, including medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. If a scooter is involved in a collision with a car, and the car driver is at fault, the car driver’s auto insurance policy likely covers the collision.  However, insurance liability may vary significantly depending on the nature and circumstances of the accident, and there are a few important steps you must take to protect your legal rights if you were injured in an electric scooter accident through no fault of your own:

What to do after an accident?

  • Get medical treatment for all injuries
  • Take photos of the crash scene and vehicles
  • Obtain a police report of the incident
  • Maintain accurate records of all treatment received
  • Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible