If you wish to ride a scooter in Connecticut, you must first understand the state and municipal laws that apply to these vehicles. Otherwise, you could get into trouble for riding in the wrong location or breaking a relevant traffic law. Obeying Connecticut’s scooter laws can reduce your risk of getting into an accident, as well, as it can keep your actions and behaviors predictable to other drivers while riding a scooter.
An ordinary scooter is a vehicle with two wheels, no seat and no motor. It is a human-propelled standup vehicle. It is not necessary to obtain any type of license and there is no minimum age requirement to operate this type of scooter in Connecticut. However, this type of scooter generally cannot be operated on a public road or highway. Nonmotorized scooters are restricted to sidewalks and private roads.
A motor scooter, on the other hand, is classified as a motor vehicle in Connecticut. It is in the same class as motorcycles and mopeds – known as “motor driven cycles.” A motor scooter has an engine that is either electric or gas-powered. If the engine of a motor scooter is 50 cubic centimeters or less, it does not have to be registered. Motor scooters with larger engines, however, must be registered in Connecticut.
An e-scooter, or electric scooter, uses an electric motor. E-scooters have become much more popular in Connecticut due to rentable dockless e-scooters available from companies such as Bird and Lime. Electric scooters are legal in Connecticut as of October 1, 2019, as long as they do not exceed 20 mph and are not operated on public sidewalks. Anyone who wishes to ride an e-scooter or motor scooter in Connecticut must do so on the road or in a bicycle lane.
The answer to this depends on the type of scooter. A standard operator’s license is not required to operate a nonmotorized scooter in Connecticut. Before you can drive a motor scooter or e-scooter, however, you must obtain a driver’s license. Any two-wheeled vehicle with at least a helper motor requires a driver’s license for operation. If you wish to rent an e-scooter using a company’s app, for example, you must show proof of a valid operator’s license by uploading a photo of it to the app first. You do not need to have an M endorsement on your license, however, as you would to operate a vehicle classified as a motorcycle.
Anyone under the age of 18 who is operating or riding on a motor scooter as a passenger must wear a helmet in Connecticut. You do not need a helmet, however, if you are over the age of 18 or operating a nonmotorized scooter. The penalty for failing to wear a helmet when Connecticut law requires you to do so is a fine of at least $90.
No person in Connecticut may operate any type of scooter on a limited access state highway or sidewalk. When operating a motor scooter or e-scooter in Connecticut, you must keep as close as possible to the right-hand side of the road as you can except when turning left. Scooter operators must obey all relevant traffic laws and road signs, including speed limits and traffic lights. If the operator of a scooter violates a law, he or she can be held financially responsible for a related collision.
If, however, a motor vehicle accident occurs, where the driver collides with a scooter after breaking a traffic law or behaving negligently, such as by texting and driving, the driver may have to pay for the accident with his or her insurance. Connecticut is a “fault” state, meaning the party at fault for an accident is who must pay. The injured victim must prove fault, however, before obtaining financial compensation for injuries, medical bills and property repairs.
If you get injured in a scooter accident in Connecticut, protect your rights by contacting an attorney as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.