Motorized Scooter Accidents in Massachusetts
Massachusetts laws regarding motorized scooters are complex, as is the growing e-scooter industry. If you have been injured while operating a motorized scooter, or if you have been injured by a scooter rider, it is in your best interest to consult a reputable lawyer who can help you determine your legal rights.
Under Massachusetts law, motorized scooters are two-wheeled tandem or three-wheeled devices with handlebars. Riders can sit or stand during operation. Unlike manual push scooters, they are powered by an electric or gas-powered motor. M.G.L. c. 90, § 1. Mopeds, which are motorized bicycles, are excluded from the definition of motorized scooters.
Massachusetts regulates the operation of most motorized scooters under M.G.L. c. 90, § 1E. First, you must have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit. Then, riders have the right to operate on all public ways in Massachusetts, except for limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibit scooters or bicycles. Motorized scooters are permitted to travel up to 20 mph and must remain on the right side of the road at all times.
Finally, motorized scooters must also be equipped with operational stop and turn signals so the operator can keep both hands on the handlebars at all times.
E-Scooter Accidents in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, lawmakers are working to regulate the emerging industry of e-scooters. In 2018, when companies first sent e-scooters to Massachusetts, local and state officials discovered they didn’t comply with the state’s motorized scooter law. The e-scooters did not have operational stop and turn signals. Because of this, the growth of e-scooter rentals has been limited. Brookline and Salem launched pilot projects in 2019, while the City of Boston approved an ordinance and waits for the state to clarify the law.
Scooter Injury Statistics
- The Associated Press reports at least 11 people have been killed on e-scooters since the beginning of 2018.
- Head injuries accounted for 40 percent of all ER visits caused by e-scooter accidents. Another 32 percent of injuries were fractures. (SOURCE: ABC News/JAMA Network Open)
Can I Sue If I Was Injured on A Motorized Scooter in Massachusetts?
Yes, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation. Making a claim against the driver at fault is usually the most straightforward way to recover financial compensation. A driver may be at fault if they struck you. However, a driver may also be liable if they caused you injury without making an impact, such as by committing a marked lane violation which caused you to swerve and crash. There may also be other means of recovering compensation.
Our attorneys can conduct a thorough review of your case and determine all the potential sources. One problem, however, relates to the confusion that surrounds the types of scooters that are insured or insurable. If a scooter has a small engine or motor, it is not subject to registration. There is a chance that neither auto insurance or homeowner’s insurance will be available if there is an accident.
Massachusetts law requires motorized scooters to comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards. After an accident, a scooter must be tested to rule out the possibility that a defective part was to blame. Unfortunately, this cannot always be ruled out. Motorized scooters, particularly e-scooters, are known for safety glitches and have been recalled for acceleration problems and loose parts.
In October 2018, Lime removed 2,000 scooters from service in Los Angeles, San Diego and Lake Tahoe because the scooters posed a risk for smoldering and fires. No one was injured. This recall raised concerns given the high number of scooters in use.
Contact a Motorized Scooter Accident Lawyer For a Free Legal Consultation
Breakstone, White & Gluck provides experienced representation to those injured in motor vehicle accidents in Boston and Massachusetts. When you are injured, we understand you need a lawyer who can guide you toward the best result. We are that law firm, providing aggressive and strategic representation in motor vehicle accidents involving motorized scooters, motorcycles and bicycles.