Welcome to our in-depth look into Maryland Electric Scooter Laws! As the popularity of electric scooters grows, it’s critical to understand the Maryland legislation that regulates their use.
Understanding the legal environment is critical whether you are a local citizen or a guest wishing to explore the state on an electric scooter.
In this post, we’ll go over the essentials of Maryland’s electric scooter legislation, including scooter legality, age limitations, licensing requirements, helmet rules, permissible riding locations, speed limits, and potential fines for noncompliance.
Key Takeaways from the Maryland Electric Scooter Laws:
|Legality of Electric Scooters||Electric scooters are considered equivalent to bicycles in Maryland, subject to the same rights and responsibilities.|
|Age Requirements||There is no minimum age requirement for riding electric scooters in Maryland, but rental services may have age policies.|
|Licensing Requirements||No driver’s license or moped permit is needed to operate an electric scooter in Maryland.|
|Helmet Laws||Maryland doesn’t have a statewide helmet law, but some local jurisdictions may require helmets, especially for minors.|
|Speed Limits and Roadway Rules||The maximum speed limit for electric scooters in Maryland is 20 mph. They are allowed on certain streets and bike lanes.|
|Riding on Sidewalks vs. Bike Lanes||Maryland doesn’t have a statewide law on sidewalk use, but some cities may have their own rules.|
|Local Regulations||Different cities or counties may have their own electric scooter ordinances that need to be followed.|
|Penalties for Violations||Violating electric scooter laws may result in fines, citations, or legal action, depending on the severity.|
|Staying Updated||Laws may change, so stay informed through official sources like Maryland Department of Transportation.|
Navigating the Legal Landscape
Legality of Electric Scooters in Maryland Laws
Maryland adopted HB 748 in April 2019, which established that a low-speed electric scooter is similar to a bicycle under Maryland Vehicle Law. This implies that, unless otherwise indicated, electric scooters have the same rights and obligations as bicycles.
According to the law, an electric low-speed scooter is defined as a vehicle that:
- Is just intended to convey the operator.
- It is less than 100 pounds.
- The vehicle has single wheels in tandem or a mix of one or two wheels in the front and back.
- Is outfitted with handlebars and a platform that may be stepped on while riding.
- Is powered purely by an electric motor and human effort.
- Is capable of reaching speeds of up to 20 miles per hour on a flat, level surface when operated by a 175-pound operator.
An electric low-speed scooter does not include:
- An electric personal assistive mobility device
- An electric wheelchair or other mobility aid used by a disabled individual
An electric low-speed scooter is also not considered to be a motorized minibike, a motor scooter, or a motor vehicle under the Maryland Vehicle Law. These categories have different definitions and regulations that do not apply to electric scooters.
There is no minimum age requirement for riding an electric scooter in Maryland.
However, some rental services may have their own age policies that you need to follow. For example, Lime requires riders to be at least 18 years old and Bird requires riders to be at least 21 years old.
You do not need a driver’s license or a moped permit to operate an electric scooter in Maryland. But you do need to follow the traffic laws and signals that apply to bicycles.
Helmet Laws for Electric Scooter Riders
Electric scooter users in Maryland are not required to wear helmets. Some local authorities, however, may have their own helmet rules that you must follow.
Montgomery County, for example, mandates all motorcyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding on public grounds.
Regardless of the law, wearing a helmet is always a good idea for your safety and protection. According to a study by the University of California San Francisco, severe eye injuries are among the most common types of injuries seen in e-scooter emergency room visits.
Safe Riding Practices
Speed Limits and Roadway Restrictions
The maximum speed limit for electric scooters in Maryland is 20 miles per hour. Yet, you may need to adjust your speed according to the traffic conditions and the posted speed limits of the roads you are riding on.
You can use electric scooters on streets with a speed limit of less than 25 miles per hour. You must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when:
- Passing another vehicle moving in the same direction
- Preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway
- Avoiding pedestrians or road hazards
- Riding on a one-way street where you may ride as near as practicable to either curb or edge of the roadway
You cannot use electric scooters on highways or expressways unless there is a designated bike lane or shoulder.
Riding on Sidewalks vs. Bike Lanes
In Maryland, there is no statewide law prohibiting the usage of electric scooters on sidewalks. Some municipalities may have their own rules that you must follow. Electric scooters, for example, are not permitted on public sidewalks in Baltimore’s downtown business district.
Instead of sidewalks, bike lanes or walkways should be utilized whenever practical. This protects both you and pedestrians who have the right of way on sidewalks. If you ride your bike on the sidewalk, you must comply with the following rules:
- Yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing them
- Exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person or object
- Obey all traffic signals and signs at intersections and crosswalks
Special Areas and Considerations
Electric Scooter Laws in Specific Cities or Counties
Maryland electric scooter laws apply statewide, but some cities or counties may have their own ordinances or regulations that are more restrictive or specific. Some examples of local electric scooter laws are:
- Baltimore City: Electric scooters are allowed on sidewalks outside the central business district, but riders must yield to pedestrians and obey traffic signals. Electric scooters are also allowed on bike lanes and streets with speed limits of 30 mph or less. Riders must wear helmets and have front and rear lights when riding at night. Electric scooters must be parked upright and out of the way of traffic and pedestrians.
- Montgomery County: Electric scooters are allowed on sidewalks, bike lanes, and streets with speed limits of 30 mph or less. Riders under 18 years old must wear helmets. Electric scooters must have front and rear lights when riding at night. Electric scooters must be parked in designated areas or bike racks.
- Prince George’s County: Electric scooters are allowed on sidewalks, bike lanes, and streets with speed limits of 25 mph or less. Riders under 18 years old must wear helmets. Electric scooters must have front and rear lights when riding at night. Electric scooters must be parked in designated areas or bike racks.
Electric Scooter Laws for Rental Services
If you are using an electric scooter from a rental service, such as Lime or Bird, you need to follow their terms and conditions as well as the Maryland electric scooter laws. Some common rules for rental services are:
- You must be at least 18 or 21 years old to use the service
- You must have a valid credit card or payment method to use the service
- You must scan the QR code on the electric scooter to unlock it and start your ride
- You must pay a fee per minute for using the electric scooter
- You must end your ride within the service area and park your electric scooter properly
- You must report any damage, accident, or injury involving the electric scooter
- You must not tamper with, modify, or vandalize the electric scooter
You should read the rental service’s user agreement carefully before using their electric scooters. You should also check their app or website for updates on availability, pricing, promotions, and safety tips.
Penalties for Violating Electric Scooter Laws
If you violate any of the Maryland electric scooter laws or the local ordinances, you may face fines, penalties, or legal action. The exact consequences depend on the nature and severity of the violation, as well as the discretion of the law enforcement officer or the court.
Some examples of possible penalties are:
- A fine of up to $500 for operating an electric scooter without a helmet in Montgomery County
- A fine of up to $100 for parking an electric scooter in an improper location in Baltimore City
- A fine of up to $70 for failing to obey a traffic signal while riding an electric scooter in Maryland
- A civil citation for causing property damage or injury while riding an electric scooter negligently in Maryland
You may also be liable for any damages or injuries that you cause while riding an electric scooter. You should carry adequate insurance coverage to protect yourself from potential claims.
Updates on Maryland Electric Scooter Laws
Maryland electric scooter laws are subject to change as new legislation is passed or new regulations are issued. You should stay informed of any updates or amendments that may affect your rights and responsibilities as an electric scooter rider.
You can find the current Maryland Vehicle Law online at this link.
You can also check the websites of the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, and the local authorities for any updates or announcements.
You can also contact a qualified attorney if you have any questions or concerns about Maryland electric scooter laws or if you need legal representation in case of an accident or injury involving an electric scooter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need a driver’s license to operate an electric scooter in Maryland?
No, you do not need a driver’s license or a moped permit to operate an electric scooter in Maryland. However, you do need to follow the traffic laws and signals that apply to bicycles.
Where can I legally ride electric scooters in Maryland?
You can legally ride electric scooters on streets with a speed limit of less than 25 miles per hour, bike lanes, and sidewalks (unless prohibited by local ordinances).
Do you need a license to drive a 150cc scooter in Maryland?
Yes, you do need a license to drive a 150cc scooter in Maryland according to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.
Does Baltimore have electric scooters?
Yes, Baltimore does have electric scooters. In fact, there are several companies that offer e-scooter rental services in the city, such as Lime, Bird, Spin, and LINK.
Electric scooters are a great way to get around Maryland, but you need to know Maryland electric scooter laws and regulations that apply to them.
By following this guide, you can enjoy riding your electric scooter safely and legally in Maryland.