If you have been anywhere around recently, you have probably seen electric scooters seemingly stranded on sidewalks, bike racks, roads, fields, everywhere. The truth is, they are not stranded at all–they are waiting to be rented by anyone who needs a ride.
These “dockless” scooters allow a rider to check-out a scooter, ride it to their destination, and then leave it for another rider to use later. When the scooters get low on battery, designated “chargers” come around and collect the scooters to take them home and charge them. Then, they re-release the scooters back into the wild for continued scooting.
Whether it’s good or bad, the “scooter-share” phenomenon seems to be here to stay. Because of this, our lawyers have been getting a ton of questions about Georgia’s electric scooter laws. Given that the “scooter-craze” is such a new concept, it is normal for people to have questions about scooter laws.
In this article, I will provide an overview of Georgia electric scooter laws so that you can not only scoot safely, but also scoot in compliance with Georgia scooter laws.
If you’ve been injured in an electric scooter accident, read this post on what you need to know.
Riding on Sidewalks
When it comes to scooters laws, sidewalks are off limits. In Atlanta, scooters are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks and crosswalks. However, a rider is permitted to dismount the scooter and walk on a sidewalk or through a crosswalk.
When walking the scooter, you are considered a pedestrian and not a rider. Therefore, you can use the sidewalks and crosswalks when walking the scooter.
After all, they are called “sidewalks” not “sidescoots”.
Multiple Riders on One Scooter
As fun as it may seem, grabbing a friend and sharing a scooter is also in violation of scooter laws. Under city ordinance, electric scooters shall not be operated by more than one person at a time.
This scooter law certainly makes sense. If you have ever ridden one, you know how unstable the scooters can be. So, tell your friend to get their own scooter–it will be more fun anyway.
Following the Rules of the Road
When riding a scooter on the roadway, a rider is required to obey traffic laws. This includes stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic lights, and following all rules that apply to cars on the road.
Additionally, scooter riders must follow the flow of traffic and yield to pedestrians.
This is the same law that applies to cyclists. If you are operating an electric scooter on the roadway, follow the rules of the road or you might see the blue lights pulling you over.
Texting While Scooting
It is also against scooter laws to use a cell phone while on an electric scooter. City of Atlanta ordinance states that “no individual shall physically hold a wireless telecommunications device, including cell phones” while operating an electric scooter (Ordinance 18-0-1322).
This is one that is very important. As we all know, using a phone and driving (anything) can be very dangerous. Add in the fact that a scooter has a serious balance component to riding, then taking a hand off the handlebars to send a text can be a one way ticket straight to the pavement.
Electric Scooters Follow Local Parking Laws
This is one of the biggest questions we get all the time. The idea of riding something and then leaving it behind forever and forgetting about it is a new concept. For example, until now we are accustomed to keeping track of our own belongings. This is not the case with electric scooters. There is something about abandoning a motorized vehicle that riders really like.
In fact, this is one of the most attractive features of the electric scooter craze: you can ride straight to your destination and forget about the scooter.
However, you are not allowed to drop the scooter at the entrance to the coffee shop you scooted to and walk right in. City ordinance does not allow a scooter user to park a scooter in any of the following places:
- On vegetation
- Over a grate or manhole cover
- In a loading zone, driveway, vehicle travel lane, bike lane, or shared use path
- Where they obstruct vehicle parking
- Where they obstruct pedestrian or wheelchair access to buildings
- In a bus stop
- Within 5 feet of a bikeshare location
- Where it may obstruct traffic or regulatory signs
- Where it may obstruct emergency service infrastructure (fire hydrants, etc.)
Further, electric scooters are required to be parked upright at all times. So, kick out that kick-stand and make sure you leave the scooter standing.
Always scoot safely
The above scooter laws are in place to keep people safe and having fun. There is no doubt that the electric scooter launch has brought more transportation options for people. However, they have also introduced some safety concerns that need to be kept in mind.
Be sure to always wear a helmet while riding and follow scooter laws to stay safe and secure while scooting!
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