30 Apr

Are Scooters Safer Than Motorcycles?

Motorcycle Accidents

Are Scooters Safer Than Motorcycles?

For residents and tourists in Florida, the beautiful year-round weather and traffic congestion problems mean that taking another form of transportation (as opposed to driving a car) is a highly desirable option for getting to your destination. Walking, riding a bicycle, riding a motorcycle, and now riding electric (motorized) scooters are all popular alternatives! 

However, they are also dangerous alternatives; Florida is one of the most dangerous states in the nation for all four of the transportation methods mentioned above. 

Because electric/motorized scooters, also known as e-scooters, are the newest form of transportation in metro areas like Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and other cities in Florida, some people are lulled into a false sense of security by thinking they are “at least safer than motorcycles”, but is this really true? 

Are scooters safer than motorcycles? Here’s what you need to know before you hop on either! 

What’s The Difference Between Scooters And Motorcycles?

E-scooters were introduced to the U.S. in 2017, when they entered major cities like San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.; in 2019, Florida adopted a bill that allowed e-scooters to share bike lanes and roads across the state. Currently, the e-scooter industry is valued at $23.7 billion (2023).

Scooters are popular options because they are light, economical, and they run on a lithium battery rather than an internal combustion engine like a motorcycle, meaning they do not require gas. Additionally, they are smaller than motorcycles and don’t reach the same high speeds, which contributes to the perception of scooters as the safer option. They also require less maintenance, and they are cheaper to buy and maintain! For these reasons, scooters are considered by some to be the more versatile, practical option compared to motorcycles. But does that perception actually tally with reality?

Dangers Posed By Scooters

Although scooters have benefits in the realm of economic (and even environmental) impact, it does not necessarily follow that scooters are safer than motorcycles. As with any vehicle, there are risks inherent in being on the road. When it comes to scooters, there are substantial safety concerns, including: 

  • Visibility: “Look twice, save a life” is the safe driver mantra when it comes to motorcycle safety. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and prone to getting lost in blind spots. The danger is increased in the case of scooters, which are even smaller than motorcycles. Though portability is a desirable feature for many scooter owners, the small stature of these vehicles makes them not only less visible, but more dangerous in the event of an accident. 

  • Lack of training and regulation: In order to drive a motorcycle on the road, you have to pass a test. However, driving a scooter does not require you to demonstrate that you know road laws and safety regulations, meaning that you might find yourself in traffic without the necessary practical knowledge.

  • No safety features: Scooters do not possess safety features such as airbags or seatbelts, which means that if a scooter is struck by an obstacle or another vehicle, there is little to shield the driver from danger. 

  • Road hazards: Similar to the issue of the scooter’s small stature, road hazards such as potholes, debris, cracks, and inclement weather can pose a bigger threat to a scooter than they would to motorcycles or other vehicles. 

There are other dangers inherent in the design of e-scooters, though it depends entirely on the brand. For some scooters, you might encounter issues with insufficient lighting, which makes driving at night dangerous, as well as defects in brake and battery quality. 

One other essential factor to keep in mind while driving an e-scooter or interacting with them on the road is that e-scooters do need insurance like a motorcycle or other vehicle. If you are involved in an accident as an e-scooter driver, not only could it be physically dangerous, it could be costly in other ways as well!

Dangers Posed By Motorcycles

As opposed to cars, motorcycles pose a greater danger: motorcyclists are exposed to the elements, they are driving a vehicle that has more limited visibility, their vehicle offers them few safety features and structural protection, and they can be threatened by hazards in the road. It’s fair to say that most of the dangers posed by motorcycles are also present with electric scooters. 

The only safety issue with motorcycles not present with scooters is the motorcycle’s ability to travel at higher speeds. If a motorcycle is going at a speed that is greater than the speed achievable by a scooter, injuries to the driver in the event of a crash are likely to be greater due to velocity. However, even the slower speeds of the e-scooter can constitute their own dangers; if you are driving on highways with vehicles going at accelerated speeds, driving on a scooter that cannot keep up with the flow of traffic can cause an accident. 

Keep in mind also that when you are driving a motorcycle, you are protected by more than just your helmet or defensive driving tactics. You are licensed to drive your motorcycle and covered by the proper insurance in the event of an accident. The oversight on motorcycles offers an extra layer of protection when you are out on the road.

Staying Safe While Driving A Scooter Or Motorcycle

Whether you are driving a scooter or a motorcycle, the same safety tips are applicable. It’s important to practice defensive driving and always follow the laws of the road. Additionally, you can use these measures to help keep yourself safe while you are operating your scooter or motorcycle:

  • Wear your helmet and other safety gear
  • Wear visible clothing like bright colors
  • Do not drive your scooter or motorcycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Don’t drive in bad weather
  • Keep your motorcycle or scooter serviced and up-to-date
  • Do not ride with more than one person on your scooter

Finally, always remember to follow instructions from your manufacturer, test your vehicle for any defects, and stay aware of the hazards that the roads can present for your vehicle. 

Collision With A Scooter? Involved In A Motorcycle Accident? Talk To A Lawyer First!

If you have been injured as a driver of a scooter or motorcycle, you need to speak with a lawyer to know your rights. If you’ve been involved in an accident with another party on a scooter or motorcycle, a lawyer can help you know what to do next.

Since 1984, The Florida Law Group has recovered over $1 billion dollars for our clients. If you have concerns about cost, we will not charge you anything until we have won you the compensation that you are owed. Call today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options.