Guide to the Laws about Riding Scooters in the Los Angeles area
In general, a person using a motorized electric scooters (like Bird, Lime, etc) has many of the same rules and rights as car drivers in California. Here are some specific rules you should know for riding these scooters.1Vehicle Code 21220 – 21235
What happens if I get into an accident on or with a scooter?
It’s essentially the same as a car accident.
Are electric scooters banned anywhere?
Electric scooters are generally allowed in cities where they have not been specifically banned. So, in cities like Los Angeles and Santa Monica it is legal to rent and ride an electric scooter (but you must follow the rules below). Here are some specific regulations in various cities:
Los Angeles has officially legalized electric scooters, with certain rules. Riders must not go more than 15 miles per hour (mph), and must leave scooters parked upright, on the outer edge of the sidewalk, near bus benches, parking meters and advertising kiosks.
As of July 2018, Beverly Hills banned all motorized scooters from streets and sidewalks for 6 months.
West Hollywood prohibits companies from operating their shared or rented electric scooters within city limits. However, you can still ride an electric scooter if you own the scooter or rented it from another city.
Newport Beach and Huntington Beach and most recently Unincorporated Los Angeles County (where is unincorporated Los Angeles county?) have also placed temporary bans on the scooters.
Do I need to wear a helmet while riding an electric scooter?
Yes.2Vehicle Code 21235
Is it illegal to be drunk or high while riding an electric scooter?
Yes you can get a DUI for being drunk on a scooter or high on a scooter.3Vehicle Code Sec 21221.5 The penalty is up to $250 fine.
Are there any streets I can’t ride on?
You can’t ride on any streets where the speed limit is over 25 miles per hour.4Vehicle Code Sec 21235
Am I allowed to ride a scooter on a sidewalk?
No.5Vehicle Code Sec 21235
Can I ride a scooter in a bike lane?
Yes.6Vehicle Code 21229
Do I need a license to operate a motor scooter?
Yes, you need a valid drivers license or an instruction permit.7CA Vehicle Code Sec 21235
Am I allowed to have passengers on my scooter?
No.8Vehicle Code Sec 21235
Is it legal to leave a scooter on a sidewalk?
Not if it blocks pedestrian traffic.9Vehicle Code Sec 21235
Am I allowed to ride on a scooter while being towed by another vehicle?
Nope.10Vehicle Code Sec 21235
Can children ride electric scooters?
You must be at least 16 years old to ride an electric scooter.11Vehicle Code
Is the government collecting data on scooter trips?
The city of Los Angeles will soon require scooter and bike share companies to send them data about each trip, although not including identifying information.
See options for getting legal help regarding scooters.