In big college towns such as Gainesville, Ocala and Jacksonville, scooters are the preferred method of transportation around campus. Warm weather and rising gas prices make mopeds and scooters a great way to get around, but increasing numbers of scooters on the road mean more scooter accidents. These accidents statistically have a greater incidence of serious injury or fatality.
It is critically important that scooter accidents be investigated completely. Driving conditions, visibility, and distractions all play a part. Unfortunately, just as with motorcycles, scooters are just not visible to other drivers.
Fault – Who is Liable?
An accident involving a scooter will certainly include property damage, but when there is an injury the other driver frequently tried to blame the scooter driver. Sometimes a scooter driver is injured because he or she is not following the traffic laws, and another vehicle is unable to avoid impact. Other accidents happen because someone in a car or truck is distracted and not looking out for the smaller, less visible scooters and mopeds.
It is important to know that the law can be tough to interpret. Was the scooter driver wearing a helmet? What is the age of the scooter driver? Who had the right of way? What distractions might have been involved for both drivers? There are many considerations that will have a bearing on liability, all of which should be investigated by an expert immediately.
Injuries and Fatalities
In most cases, serious scooter accidents change lives. Because the scooter driver is unprotected, a collision almost always results in a serious injury, and sadly often death occurs.
No one wants to suffer the loss of someone who was killed while riding a scooter,and no driver wants to inflict that kind of loss, either. Everyone loses in this kind of accident.
Because the scooter driver is most often the most seriously injured party, it is even more important to have legal representation to deal with hospital bills, wage loss, and other insurance issues.
The best advice for auto drivers is to eliminate distractions when driving near schools, universities, or other areas around campus where scooters are popular. Scooter drivers are equally responsible for their driving habits.
- Put the phone down. If driving a car while on the phone is dangerous, driving a scooter while on the phone is even more dangerous! Auto and scooter drivers alike should be focused on the road.
- Wear the proper headgear. While current Florida law requires helmets, some campuses do not. Even though the law is not strictly enforced everywhere you may drive, be your own safety cop and wear your helmet anyway!
- Obey stop signs, lights, and basic traffic laws. Cutting in front of a driver, not stopping at a stop sign, or skirting around traffic is unsafe. Worse yet, if you are injured in an accident, you may be cited as the responsible party.
When to Call a Lawyer
- If you were driving a scooter and were struck by another vehicle;
- If you were a pedestrian and involved in an incident involving a scooter;
University of Florida Scooter Rules
Requirements for motorcycles & scooters under 50cc, less than 2 brake horsepower and not capable of traveling more than 30 mph
- No motorcycle endorsement is necessary, only a valid driver’s license.
- No helmet is required for the driver.
- No eye protection is required for the driver.
Requirements for motorcycles & scooters over 50cc or more than 2 brake horsepower and capable of traveling more than 30 mph
- Both a regular driver’s license and a motor- cycle endorsement are required.
- Completion of a motorcycle safety course for drivers under the age of 21 is required.
- A helmet is required unless you are over 21 and meet specific insurance requirements – minimim of $10,000 insurance coverage.
- The driver must wear eye protection. Goggles, face shields, eyeglasses, and sunglasses are acceptable. Contact lenses do not qualify.
In the event of an accident, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. Call right away for a legal consultation to make sure you are informed about your rights, and to ensure that the investigation into your scooter accident is thorough. Don’t wait to get a skilled attorney on your side.