Do You Need a License to Drive a Motorized Scooter in California?

-Posted On January 10, 2022 In Motorcycle Accidents-

It is no secret that motor vehicle drivers need a license to operate a car in California. However, many people do not realize that licensing requirements apply to other motorized vehicles as well. For people who ride motorized scooters, it is necessary to have a driver’s license in order to operate the vehicle.

Failure to comply with this law can not only result in penalties, but it could also impact a person’s ability to recover compensation after a collision. If you drive a motorized scooter, it is important to obtain the appropriate license.

Do You Need a License to Drive a Scooter?

In compliance with California’s Vehicle Code (CVC) §21235, possession of a valid driver’s license is mandatory for the operation of an e-scooter, irrespective of the license class, provided it is legally obtained. Additionally, California permits individuals aged 16 years and older with a learner’s permit to lawfully operate e-scooters.

What Is a Motorized Scooter?

Various types of motorized vehicles are classified in different ways. An electric scooter is very different from a moped or motorcycle, which carry their own sets of licensing and insurance requirements.

Under California law, a motorized scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle with an electric motor. A user stands on a floorboard and uses handlebars to navigate the scooter. People can operate motorized scooters at a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.

California Licensing Requirements for Motorized Scooters

According to the California Vehicle Code, everyone who operates a motorized scooter must carry a driver’s license. If you drive one of these vehicles, you can obtain a driver’s license in any class to comply with this requirement. If you are over the age of 16 and have a learner’s permit, you can legally operate a motorized scooter as well.

Unlike other types of motorized vehicles, you do not need to obtain a vehicle registration for an electric scooter. You do not need to maintain special insurance or get license plates either. You will simply need to obtain a driver’s license.

What Happens If You Drive a Scooter without a License?

Driving a motorized vehicle without the proper license is illegal in California. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the violation, you could face infraction or misdemeanor penalties. If you receive an infraction, you could face a fine up to $250.

For misdemeanor charges, you could face up to six months in county jail or a fine of up to $1,000. Courts typically levy this charge if you have multiple offenses on your record.

Can a Failure to Hold a License Impact an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit?

California is a fault state, meaning that negligent drivers are financially responsible for any accidents that they cause. Other drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers of motorized vehicles, including scooters, have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the negligent driver.

If you are hit by a car while riding a motorized scooter, you have the right to pursue legal action, even if you do not have a license. However, it is important to keep in mind that insurance companies may use this information as a way to limit the award that you receive. In some cases, the company may try to deny your award altogether.

In these situations, you need an advocate on your side who can fight for your highest possible award. A San Francisco personal injury attorney can represent you in an insurance claim or lawsuit and defend you against unfair assumptions or stereotypes. Contact your lawyer as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.

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