Scooter Accident Lawyers in Austin
In the state of Texas, a scooter is referred to as a moped and is defined as a motor vehicle that:
- Cannot attain a speed more than 30 miles per hour
- Has a motor that is no more than 50 cc's; and
- Does not require the operator to shift gears.
All scooters must be registered with the Texas Department of Public Safety to ride on public roads and be listed on the Certified Moped List to qualify for registration. Lastly, a valid insurance policy that meets the minimum levels for insurance in the state must be provided.
A scooter is not a legal vehicle classification so it must be registered either as a moped or a motorcycle depending on the maximum speed that it can attain. A moped operator’s license is required and the licensee must be at least fifteen years old to apply. While no test involving the actual operation of the scooter is required, a state-approved motorcycle safety course is required before a license can be issued. At a minimum, the applicant must either possess a Class M operator’s license or a Class C learner's permit and have passed a driver's education course before taking the state-approved motorcycle safety course.
A scooter is somewhat of a hybrid vehicle in that it is treated as a motorcycle under the laws of Texas and it can legally drive on public roads, but the driver must also obey all of the laws that apply to bicycles such as lighting, reflectors and braking equipment. It is because of this ability to ride on public roads at speeds that are much slower than a motorcycle, but exceeds a bicycle, that creates the most danger for scooter operators. Other drivers often do not see scooters or they disregard their right to be on a public road.
Motorcycles, and thus scooters, have a much higher rate of accidents and injuries than do cars, and the likelihood of injury during a motorcycle accident is very high. There is also a much higher rate of death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 72.34 motorcycle crashes in 100,000 ended in death; while only 13.1 car crashes in 100,000 resulted in death (these totals include licensed scooters). In addition to the higher rate of fatalities in motorcycle accidents, it was revealed in a study by the Centers for Disease Control that costs are much higher for motorcycle injuries due to an increase in the severity of the injuries. That increase in severity is often attributable to the exposed nature of the person and the lack of helmet laws.
Helmet Laws in Texas
While helmets are not required in Texas, the failure to wear one often results in preventable injuries. Wearing a helmet on a public road is optional as long as the operator is:
- at least 21 years old;
- has successfully completed a motorcycle safety course; or
- is covered by a health insurance plan that provides a minimum of $10,000 in medical benefits coverage specifically intended for injuries that may result from the operation of a scooter or motorcycle
Call Zinda Law Group Today
If you have been injured in a scooter accident, the Austin Personal Injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group can help you. Give us a call today at (800) 863-5312 for a free no fee consultation.