It’s crucial to understand the rules and regulations that govern these nifty vehicles in Georgia. In this article, we’ll delve into the specifics of electric scooter laws in Georgia, covering everything from age restrictions and speed limits to helmet requirements and recent updates.
So, if you’re ready to take on the streets with your electric scooter, buckle up and join us as we explore the intricacies of Georgia’s electric scooter regulations.
Let’s roll into a world of information, rules, and practical advice that will help you ride the wave of electric mobility in the Peach State.
|Key Takeaway||In a Glance|
|Applicability of Bicycle Laws||Updates include permit reduction, roadway usage changes, and clarifications in-laws.|
|Infrastructure Availability||Electric scooters can use bike lanes, walkways, and trails meant for bicycles.|
|House Bill 454 and Local Regulations||Georgia’s electric scooter laws are based on House Bill 454, allowing local regulations.|
|Speed Limits and Brakes||Electric scooters have a maximum speed of 20 mph and must have effective brakes.|
|Lights and Reflectors||Electric scooters need lights and reflectors for visibility in the dark.|
|Age, Helmet, and License Requirements||Users must be at least 15, wear helmets if under 16, and have a valid ID or license.|
|Restrictions on Use and Equipment||Rules against headphones, alcohol/drugs, and specific parking/traffic violations.|
|Recent Updates and Changes||Updates include permit reduction, roadway usage changes, and clarifications in laws.|
What are Electric Scooter Laws in Georgia
Before we dive into the specific electric scooter laws in Georgia, let’s first clarify what we mean by electric scooters.
Electric scooters are defined as
“any device that is designed to allow a person to stand or sit thereon, has no more than three wheels, has handlebars and a floorboard or seat that can be stood or sat upon by the operator, is powered by an electric motor or human power, or both, and has a maximum speed of no more than 20 miles per hour on a paved level surface when powered solely by the electric motor”.
According to Georgian legislation, electric scooters are categorized as personal transportation vehicles (PTVs). This implies that, unless otherwise stated, they must abide by the same laws and standards that apply to bicycles.
The same infrastructure that is available to bicycles, such as bike lanes, walkways, and trails, is also available to electric scooters.
Overview of Current Electric Scooter Laws in Georgia
Every State have their different laws and regulations but current electric scooter laws in Georgia are based on House Bill 454, which was passed in 2019 and took effect in 2020. This bill established a statewide framework for regulating electric scooters and other PTVs and gave local governments the authority to enact their own ordinances and regulations regarding their use.
Some of the key provisions of House Bill 454 are:
- On a level, paved surface, electric scooters shall not be able to travel faster than 20 mph when the electric motor is the only source of power.
- Electric scooters are required to feature brakes that can bring down the vehicle from a speed of 10 mph on dry pavement in less than 15 feet.
- Electric scooters must be equipped with lights and reflectors that can be seen in the dark at least 300 feet in front of and behind the vehicle.
- Electric scooters are required to carry a manufacturer’s label with the vehicle’s top speed on it.
- Drivers, permit holders, and users of electric scooters must be at least 15 years old and in possession of a current form of identification.
- If they are under the age of 16, users of electric scooters must wear helmets.
- The use of more than one person at once is prohibited by electric scooter operators.
- Operators of electric scooters are not permitted to use headphones or any wireless communication device while operating one.
- Drivers of electric scooters must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs when operating one.
- Operators of electric scooters shall not park or leave their vehicles in such a way that they impede traffic, pedestrian access, or emergency services.
Age Restrictions and Licensing Requirements for Electric Scooter Users in Georgia
You do need a valid driver’s license, permit, or identification card to operate an electric scooter in Georgia. This applies to both residents and visitors of the state.
The minimum age requirement for riding an electric scooter in Georgia is 15 years old. This means that anyone under 15 years old is prohibited from operating an electric scooter. However, there is no maximum age limit for riding an electric scooter in Georgia.
If you are under 16 years old, you also need to wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter in Georgia. This is because helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries in case of an accident.
Helmet Rules for Electric Scooter Riders in Georgia
As discussed earlier, for riders under 16 in Georgia, helmets are a must when using electric scooters. But even if you’re over 16, putting on a helmet remains a smart choice for safety.
Remember, DOT-approved helmets that fit right are crucial. Ill-fitting helmets can compromise both safety and comfort.
Your ideal helmet should fit snugly, meet safety standards, and align with your preferences. Whether it’s a short or long ride, young or older, wearing your helmet on electric scooter trips across Georgia is always the wise thing to do.
Speed Limits and Riding Areas for Electric Scooters in Georgia
Electric scooters are required to stick to a top speed of 20 mph on flat surfaces when solely powered by the electric motor. Even downhill or with the potential for more speed, this limit holds.
They’re allowed on roads with speed limits up to 35 mph unless local rules say otherwise.
However, using them on highways with faster minimum speeds isn’t permitted. Electric scooters aren’t meant for high-speed or intricate road situations.
Enforcement and Penalties for Violations
Electric scooter laws in Georgia are enforced by various authorities, such as state troopers, local police officers, code enforcement officers, or park rangers.
Some examples of violations and penalties for electric scooter users in Georgia are:
- driving a motor vehicle or using a permit, card, or scooter without a valid driver’s license or identification: This is a misdemeanor infraction that carries a maximum $1,000 fine and a maximum 12-month jail sentence.
- Operating an electric scooter while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense that carries a maximum $1,000 fine and a maximum 12-month sentence for a first offense, a $5,000 fine and a maximum 12-month sentence for a second offense, and a maximum $10,000 fine and a maximum 12-month sentence for a third or subsequent offense.
- It’s illegal to use an electric scooter in the dark without lights or reflectors; a $150 punishment might be imposed.
- Driving an electric scooter on a sidewalk or crosswalk is a traffic infraction punishable by a $150 fine.
- A $150 fine may be imposed for using an electric scooter on a route where the posted speed limit is more than 35 mph.
- A code infraction that carries a fine of up to $100 or the confiscation of the vehicle is parking or leaving an electric scooter in a way that prevents traffic, pedestrian access, or emergency services.
Recent Updates and Changes to Electric Scooter Laws in Georgia
Since House Bill 454 was passed in 2019 and took effect in 2020, there have been some updates and changes to electric scooter laws in Georgia. Some of these updates and changes are:
In January 2020, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order to reduce the number of electric scooter permits in the city from 12,000 to 8,000, and to require electric scooter companies to relocate their vehicles from areas with high pedestrian traffic or low ridership.
In February 2020, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) announced a new policy that prohibits electric scooters and other PTVs from using state-owned bike paths, such as the Silver Comet Trail and the Stone Mountain Trail. The policy also bans electric scooters and other PTVs from using any roadway where the speed limit is above 35 mph unless there is a designated bike lane or shoulder.
In March 2020, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 1057, which amended House Bill 454 to clarify some definitions and provisions regarding electric scooters and other PTVs. The bill also authorized GDOT to regulate electric scooters and other PTVs on state-owned facilities, such as bridges, tunnels, and rest areas. The bill was signed by Governor Brian Kemp in June 2020 and took effect in July 2020.
In April 2020, the City of Savannah passed an ordinance that allows electric scooters and other PTVs to operate within the city limits, but with some restrictions and regulations. The ordinance limits the number of electric scooter permits to 300 per company, and requires electric scooter companies to pay a $5,000 annual fee and a $0.25 per ride fee to the city.
In May 2020, the City of Athens-Clarke County adopted a moratorium that bans electric scooters and other PTVs from operating within the county until December 31, 2021. The moratorium was enacted to allow the county to study the impacts and benefits of electric scooters and other PTVs, and to develop appropriate regulations and policies for their use.
In Atlanta, electric scooters are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks and crosswalks and must be parked in designated areas or out of the way of pedestrians and vehicles. The city also prohibits electric scooter use between 9:00 pm and 4:00 am, and imposes a speed limit of 15 mph for electric scooters.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are electric scooters allowed on highways or high-speed roads?
No, electric scooters are not allowed on limited access highways or roads with a minimum speed limit above 35 mph. They are not designed for high-speed traffic or complex road conditions.
Are there any restrictions on riding electric scooters on sidewalks?
Specific regulations may vary by locality, but generally, riding electric scooters on sidewalks may be subject to local ordinances. It’s important to be aware of local rules.
Can electric scooter companies operate freely in Georgia cities?
No, many Georgia cities have regulations on the operation of electric scooter sharing services. These regulations may include restrictions on the number of scooters, permit requirements, fees, and designated parking areas.
Is there a recommended age for riding electric scooters in Georgia?
While there isn’t a specific age limit for riding electric scooters in Georgia, regulations like helmet requirements might apply to riders under 16.
Are there any restrictions on where I can park my electric scooter?
Yes, electric scooters should be parked in designated areas to avoid obstructing traffic, pedestrian pathways, or emergency services. Improper parking might result in fines or impoundment.
Electric scooters are a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around the city, but they also come with certain rules and regulations that riders need to be aware of.
In this article, we have explored the electric scooter laws in Georgia, and how they affect the rights and responsibilities of electric scooter users.
We hope that this article has been informative and helpful for you. If you have any questions or comments about electric scooter laws in Georgia, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.