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Will the powered scooter program affect cyclists?

Over the last year, powered scooters have grown in popularity across the nation. The number of commuters opting for a scooter is increasing.

However, with that change comes several safety concerns, spurring new regulations. In particular, the new scooter programs may affect many cyclists.

The programs

California's motorized scooter law provides certain regulations for scooter drivers. These rules include:

  • Driver must have a license or permit.
  • Driver cannot have passengers.
  • Drivers cannot carry items that prevent him or her from keeping a hand on the handlebar.
  • Drivers under 18 years old must have a helmet.
  • Drivers are not to exceed 25 miles per hour on the highway.

Along with these state regulations, various local legislators are working to create new regulations in their areas to promote safety for scooter drivers and those who share the roads with them. Some legislators believe that having scooter drivers share the biker-designated lanes could help. In fact, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency now has a Powered Scooter Share Permit Program in place that regulates scooter drivers to the biker lanes at a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour, unless the road has a speed limit of 25 miles per hour.

Possible effects

These regulations will hopefully limit the number of scooter and auto accidents. However, it may increase injuries for cyclists, especially if sharing the lane with an aggressive scooter driver. Different types of vehicles sharing a transportation lane tends to create conflict. As the new issues arise, further legislation may become necessary.

While the intent of the new regulations is to promote greater safety, only time will tell the final outcome. In the meantime, cyclists should continue to employ measures to remain safe on the road.

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