When Are Scooters Allowed on Massachusetts Roadways?

Scooters, motorized bicycles (ebikes), and mopeds are becoming increasingly prevalent on Massachusetts streets in both urban and suburban areas.  With gas prices continuing to be at high levels and the cost of used and new cars rising, alternative modes of transportation are now in vogue.  And this is true throughout the Commonwealth.   

Rules and Laws on Scooters in Massachusetts

Although scooters are devices with motors, and sometimes referred to as E-scooters, the RMV does not require that they be registered, however, many operators do not know the laws or are uncertain as to whether they can use their scooters on highways and on certain streets in general and if they need to abide by the motor vehicle code.

Scooters are subject to numerous restrictions when it comes to operating them on our city streets. These are:

  • Cannot be used on state highways or limited access roads
  • May only be used during daylight hours and not after sunset or before sunrise
  • No passengers are allowed
  • You may not exceed 20 miles per hour
  • Operators must be at least 16 years of age and possess either a learner’s permit or valid driver’s license
  • Can only operate the scooter on the right side of the roadway at all times
  • Wear a DOT approved safety helmet at all times
  • Use hand signals when turning or stopping or electronic signals if available
  • Abide by and obey all traffic laws such as stopping at stop signs and red traffic signals

Rules and Laws on Motorized Bicycles and Mopeds

An e-bike or other bicycle that you can ride manually or switch over to a motor has its own rules and regulations.  A motorized bicycle is one with pedals and a motor with a size that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters of cylinder capacity, has an automatic transmission, and does not exceed 30 miles per hour.

These devices are required to be registered by the RMV, which can be done on-line at massmv.com where you will get a decal or sticker indicating it has been registered. Affix the decal to the rear of the bike. The rules and regulations that apply to these vehicles are:

  • May not be operated on roads where bicycles are prohibited such as state highways and limited access roads
  • Your speed cannot exceed 25 miles per hour
  • Use hand signals or available electronic signals
  • May not use on recreational paths but are permitted in bike lanes
  • Operators must be at least 16 years of age and possess a learner’s permit or valid driver’s license
  • Always wear a DOT approved safety helmet
  • No passengers if you only have a learner’s permit
  • May pass other vehicles on the right
  • Must abide by all traffic laws 

If the vehicle no longer has a restrictor plate so that its speed is no longer limited. then it must be registered as a motorcycle, be insured as such, and the user must be in possession of a motorcycle license or designation on their license.  It is considered a limited motorcycle if the vehicle’s speed can exceed 30 miles per hour but not over 40 miles per hour and meets federal standard for a motorcycle. 

What to Do if Involved in a Scooter or Moped Injury Accident

As indicated above, when using a scooter, e-bike, or moped, you must obey all traffic laws.  If you ignore a red traffic signal and collide with another vehicle or pedestrian, you will generally be held liable for your own injuries as well as any you caused.  There are situations, though, where another vehicle may also have violated a traffic law so that your own degree of culpability may be less than that of the other vehicle so that you still may be able to pursue an injury claim. Consult an experienced car accident attorney if this is the case. 

However, scooters, mopeds, and e-bikes are often not easily observed by motorists who may turn in front of one of these vehicles, suddenly change lanes and collide with a scooter or moped or rear-end one and cause serious and catastrophic injuries.  Since you have little to no protection from the roadway other than your DOT safety helmet, being ejected from your vehicle or scooter can expose you to severe road burns, broken limbs, disfigurement, and traumatic brain injuries if you severely strike your head, even when wearing a helmet, on the concrete or paved roadway or some other object. 

Injuries can result in substantial medical bills, long periods or therapy and rehabilitation, lost time from work, a permanent disability that prevents you from engaging in your current employment or any other type of work, diminished enjoyment of life, and chronic pain. 

If you are not incapacitated at the accident scene, here are a few recommendations on preserving your claim for compensation for your injuries:

  1. Get out of the roadway if you are in danger of other motorists not seeing you
  2. Call 911 or have someone at the scene call for you
  3. Do not discuss the accident details with anyone other than police 
  4. Do not refuse medical attention
  5. If able to do so, get contact information, driver’s license, registration and insurance information from the involved motorist
  6. Get contact information from any eyewitnesses
  7. If able to do so, take photos of the accident scene, other vehicle, your damaged scooter, bike, or moped, traffic devices, and your own injuries
  8. Promptly contact your own insurance company 
  9. Do not give any statements to the other party’s insurer or representative
  10. Get medical attention from your own medical provider and do not delay treatment
  11. Call a car accident attorney from Burns and Jain

Retain a Car Accident Attorney from Burns and Jain 

Having a highly experienced car accident attorney representing you as early as possible will ensure that you collect all the benefits you are entitled to, and that your claim is professionally handled so that you can concentrate on recovering.  Call us today at (617) 227-7423 for a free consultation about your injury claim.

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