The rise of electric scooters has resulted in a crazy patchwork of scooter laws. These sometimes goofy regulations vary not just from country to country and state to state, but often from city to city.
Sadly, lawmakers really haven’t gotten a good handle on scooters yet, so whether you’re allowed to go 15 mph or 20, or where you are allowed to ride is a giant dice game. Even something as simple as a helmet requirement is a mystery requiring local research.
Here, then, are some of the world’s strangest interpretations of scooter law:
1. Where in Delaware?
You can ride a scooter in Delaware anywhere you like as long as it’s not on a street, sidewalk, highway or right-of-way. Just stay in your driveway and have all the fun you want! (What you’re allowed to do if there is no bike lane where you live: Driveway donuts.) Pennsylvania seems to be similar.
2. Everything but a Scooter at the Beach
Along beach pathways in Santa Monica, California are signs prohibiting electric scooters completely. You can skate, skateboard, bike and ebike all you like and there’s a dedicated bike lane, but no e-scooters, period the end. Since bike lanes seem to be the very definition of “put your e-scooter here”, perhaps this is reverse-reverse discrimination?
3. Euro Bizarro
For all we know these are made up internet fluff, but European countries are rumored to have some truly bizarre ideas for regulating rides. According to Pretty Cool Site, French riders must donate 1 Euro after each full charge for restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral. In Belgium scooters need to be equipped with 12 inch LCD displays that show a cookie consent warning at each street corner, and in the U.K. an odd legal loophole allows scooter riding if you consider yourself a homosexual baboon. We’re naturally skeptical, we got these Euro tidbits from another story and to be safe we’ll just add “further citations needed”.
4. Swedish and Italian Scooter Perks
There’s a very real perk for going electric in Sweden, though, as the country has gone all in (at least for e-bikes) with a 25% subsidy. That’s right, Sweden will help you buy cheap electric transportation, and just maybe they’ll extend that to e-scooters one day. (It’s similar in Italy, too, by the way, as the government pays 30% toward electric two-wheelers.)
5. You Better Put a Pedal on It
Arizona classifies low power and low speed electric scooters as electric bicycles… except that Arizona has no state laws about e-bikes so they revert to federal law. And here’s what’s really fun about Arizona: Your scooter has to have pedals. Legally true, because scooters are classed as e-bikes and e-bikes must have ‘em. Enjoy figuring out how to put pedals on that thing and let us know how it goes, OK?
6. Welcome to the Slow State
Statewide in California, you are allowed to ride e-scooters on roads with a 25 mph speed limit, which sounds awesome until you find out that the speed limit is 15 for you, pal. You juiced up that scooter just so you could keep up with traffic but it turns out all you really accomplished was another way to get a ticket. Welcome to the West Coast. (In Georgia you can zip on down the road at 35 mph if there isn’t a bike lane available. Geographic discrimination.)
7. Not in My Bike Lane
Since we’ve kind of settled on the idea that bike lanes are a great place for e-scooters, we’d like to point out that in Indianapolis you are specifically required *not* to ride in them. (North Dakota, Vermont and Washington State think the ‘not in a bike lane’ thing is a great idea, too.) You will be required to ride your e-scooter in full road traffic in normal traffic lanes and you must behave as though you’re driving a car. We’re not joking but at least you don’t need a helmet… (Maybe it’s something in the water.)
8. Scooter Riders are Drivers in Kansas
Most places allow scooter riding without a license, but Kansas thinks you’re a driver. You need a driver’s license to ride, but you don’t need a helmet. (Once again, keep it in the street and good luck finding a bike lane.)
9. The Slowest Highway in America
If you always thought Louisiana was special, you’d be correct: You’re allowed to ride e-scooters on highways there. Amazing but true. We also must advise that the speed limit has to be 25 mph or less, but go ahead, have a blast!
10. Grow Up to Ride in Nevada
The super-fun state of Nevada requires riders of e-scooters to be at least 16. (Would an underage scooter rider get a ticket in their own driveway? It could happen. Isn’t Vegas supposed to be wild?) By contrast, though, you can have an off road dirt bike at any age you like; go nuts, catch 20-foot air and go as fast as you want. (This begs the question; since you’re only risking yourself, dirt bike insanity is therefore O.K.?)
In Albuquerque, New Mexico you *can* ride on the sidewalk. Totally the opposite of pretty much everywhere else in the known universe, except;
Welcome to Rhode Island! It’s totally OK to ride one of “those things” on the sidewalk (!). The Rhode Island point of interest is that the cops can say “pull over” and “let’s see your driver’s license, kid”. That’s right, just like Kansas you need to get a driver’s license, then you can go ape – or you can get a nice traffic ticket.
Do you yearn for a place that’s free? Wide open spaces, unrestricted e-scooter fun? As far as we know, Wyoming is it. We didn’t find any laws at all governing e-scooters there. The obvious downside is that you have to move to Wyoming just to have some unfettered fun!