Before you ride an electric scooter in Alabama, it’s important to know the rules that apply according to Alabama electric scooter laws.
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to understand about Alabama electric scooter laws, including the recent updates in 2023,
- Who can ride and whether you need a license,
- Rules about helmets and staying safe,
- Where you’re allowed to ride,
- Guidelines for rented scooters,
- How to share the road with pedestrians and cars?
- What happens if you break the rules,
Electric Scooter Regulations in Alabama
Electric scooters are defined as devices “that have handlebars and an electric motor, are solely powered by an electric motor or human power, and have a maximum speed of no more than 20 mph on a paved level surface when powered solely by the electric motor”.
There’s a law, SB312, that makes rules for electric scooters. It came around in 2019. This law talks about things like those scooter rental services where you can grab one for a short time.
Before these services can start in an area, the county or city there has to say it’s okay. The law also explains words like scooter and shared micro-mobility device.
Key Updates in the 2023 Electric Scooter Laws
In 2023, they changed the Alabama electric scooter laws. Check it out:
- If you’re riding an electric scooter, you need to be at least 16 years old now, instead of 14. So, if you’re younger than 16, you can’t ride one legally.
- Everyone, no matter how old, has to wear a helmet when they’re on an electric scooter in Alabama. Safety first!
- The fastest you can go on an electric scooter is 15 mph now, instead of 20 mph. Gotta take it a bit slower.
- If you break the Alabama electric scooter laws, you’ll have to pay more in fines. The first time you mess up, it’s $50 instead of $25. Second time, it’s $100, not $50. And if you keep on breaking the rules, it’s $200, not $100.
Age and Licensing Requirements in Alabama electric scooter laws
As we talked about earlier, there was a change in 2023. Before, kids as young as 14 could ride electric scooters in Alabama. But now, you need to be 16 to ride one legally. If you’re 16 or older then you’re good to go, You don’t need a driver’s license or any special scooter license.
But here’s the deal: even if you’re 16 or older, you still have to follow the regular traffic rules when you’re on an electric scooter in Alabama. That means stopping at lights and signs, being nice to people walking, staying on the right side of the road, and showing with your hand if you’re turning or stopping.
Oh, and no riding on sidewalks or places you’re not supposed to be.
Alabama electric scooter laws on Helmet and Safety
The helmet has to fit right, and it needs to meet safety standards from places like ANSI, Snell, ASTM, CPSC, DOT, or ECE. Plus, it should have something shiny or a light on the front and back. So, no using damaged or loose helmets that don’t follow these rules.
Not just helmets, though. When you’re riding an electric scooter in Alabama, you need to wear clothes and shoes that make sense. That means no clothes or shoes that mess up your sight, hearing, or control of the scooter.
And definitely, no clothes or shoes that could get stuck in the wheels, chain, or other parts. So, things like super long skirts, baggy pants, sandals, flip-flops, high heels, or headphones are a no-go.
Where to Ride Electic Scooter in Alabama?
Knowing where to ride according to Alabama electric scooter laws is super important. Here’s the scoop:
If the speed limit on a road or street is 25 mph or less, you’re good to go on your electric scooter. So, most neighborhood streets are okay. But if the speed limit is more than 25 mph, you can’t ride there. That means big highways, freeways, and busy roads are a no-no.
If a road with a speed limit over 25 mph has a special lane just for bikes and stuff, you can ride your electric scooter there. But don’t scoot on sidewalks or paths for walkers, unless there’s a sign that says you can.
There are places you can’t ride, no matter what. Don’t zoom around on private property unless the owner says it’s okay. And stay off public spots like parks, schools, or government places unless they give you the green light.
Rental Electric Scooters in Alabama: Rules and Guidelines
So, rental electric scooters are those cool scooters you can rent for a short time from apps like Lime, Bird, Spin, and Veo. They’re all over Alabama and people really like them.
Using these rental scooters follows the same rules as your own scooter. That means you still gotta follow the age rules, wear helmets, and stay in the right spots we talked about earlier.
But for rental scooters, there are a few extra things to remember:
- To ride these scooters, you need to sign up with the app and agree to their rules. That’s how it works.
- You’ll use the app on your smartphone to find and pay for the scooter. So, make sure you have a phone and a way to pay.
- When you’re done, you need to park the scooter where they say you should, not blocking anything important like sidewalks or crosswalks. And you can’t take the scooter too far from where the app works.
Sharing the Road: Interaction with Pedestrians and Vehicles
Sharing the road with pedestrians and vehicles while riding an electric scooter in Alabama can be a bit tricky. Electric scooters are kind of new for many folks, so it’s important to be nice, careful, and watch out for others. Here are some easy tips for getting along:
Be Seen and Predictable: If it’s dark, make sure your scooter has lights and shiny stuff so people can see you. Wear bright clothes, too. When you turn or stop, show your plan with hand signals or your scooter’s indicators. Don’t move around suddenly or strangely, that can confuse everyone.
Be Polite and Kind: Let pedestrians go first, especially on sidewalks and when they’re crossing the street. Don’t zip by too close to people or cars. Don’t beep or yell at folks unless you really need to avoid an accident. And if you accidentally bump into someone or cut them off, say you’re sorry.
Stay Alert and Play It Safe: Keep an eye out for anything that could be a problem – people walking, cars, bikes, and even animals. Guess what others might do and be ready to act. Don’t think everyone can see you or hear you, they might not. And definitely don’t ride if you’ve had a drink or are busy with your phone or music.
Penalties for Violating Alabama Electric Scooter Laws
The enforcement and penalties for violating electric scooter laws in Alabama depend on the type and severity of the violation. Some of the common violations and their corresponding penalties are:
- Riding an electric scooter under 16 years old: $50 fine for the first offense, $100 fine for the second offense, $200 fine for the third or subsequent offense.
- Riding an electric scooter without a helmet: $50 fine for the first offense, $100 fine for the second offense, $200 fine for the third or subsequent offense.
- Riding an electric scooter over 15 mph: $50 fine for the first offense, $100 fine for the second offense, $200 fine for the third or subsequent offense.
- Riding an electric scooter in a prohibited area: $50 fine for the first offense, $100 fine for the second offense, and $200 fine for the third or subsequent offense.
- Riding an electric scooter recklessly or negligently: $100 fine for the first offense, $200 fine for the second offense, $500 fine for the third or subsequent offense.
- Riding an electric scooter under the influence of alcohol or drugs: $500 fine and/or up to six months in jail.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can kids ride electric scooters in Alabama?
No, the minimum age to ride one legally is 16. If you’re younger, you’ll have to wait.
Do I have to wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter in Alabama?
Yes, all riders, regardless of age, must wear a helmet while riding an electric scooter in Alabama.
Can I rent electric scooters in Alabama?
Yes, there are apps like Lime, Bird, Spin, and Veo that allow you to rent electric scooters for short-term use.
What happens if I break the electric scooter laws in Alabama?
Violating the laws can result in fines. For example, the first offense may lead to a $50 fine.
Knowing the Alabama electric scooter laws is super important if you want to ride them safely and within the law. These rules cover things like how old you need to be, how to wear a helmet, how fast you can go, where you’re allowed to ride, and how you should act around people and cars.
They just made some changes in 2023: now you have to be at least 16 years old to ride, everyone has to wear a helmet, and they tweaked how fast you can go on a scooter.
If you break these rules, you might get fined depending on what you did. It’s really crucial to follow these rules so that you and others stay safe while you’re having fun on your electric scooter in Alabama.