Scooter Laws in Minnesota
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Scooter Laws in Minnesota
In Minnesota, scooters make it easier for the locals to navigate human and vehicular traffic, especially in urban areas. However, recent studies have shown that scooter accident rates have risen in Minnesota and throughout the county. To put things into perspective, one study found that there were only 4,582 scooter injuries in 2014 nationwide. However, four years later, the number rose to 14,651.
The rising cases of scooter injuries are one of the reasons the Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently released a set of new laws and regulations for the use of scooters in the state. These laws have been drafted to help ensure the safety of both riders and pedestrians and clarify the legal responsibility associated with using a scooter. That's also one of the reasons Morgan & Morgan scooter accident lawyers are here to help if you or your beloved has been injured in such an accident.
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What Are Some Minnesota Scooter Laws I Should Know?
Motorized scooters, commonly referred to as "scooters" or "Vespas" (after their popular manufacturer), have become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative form of transportation. Scooters are generally smaller than motorcycles and have two wheels. They are also powered by either an electric motor or a gasoline engine.
In Minnesota, scooter laws are governed by the same statutes that apply to motorcycles. As such, scooters must be registered with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and operated per all state traffic laws.
The following is an overview of important Minnesota scooter laws you should know:
Registration: All scooters operating in Minnesota must be registered with the DPS. As of February 2024, the registration fee is $10 per year.
Insurance: Scooter operators in Minnesota must carry liability insurance of up to $25,000 in the event they cause injury or property damage to others while operating their vehicle. In addition, proof of insurance must be carried at all times while operating the scooter.
Operator's license: A valid driver's license with a two-wheeled vehicle endorsement is required to operate a scooter on public roads in Minnesota.
Safety: All scooter operators aged 18 and over must wear helmets while operating the vehicle.
Roadworthiness: The scooter must also have front and rear lights and brakes. In addition, you can operate the scooter on streets but not sidewalks, except when turning into a property.
These are just general laws that may apply in most areas in Minnesota. That said, some cities, counties, and municipalities have unique laws that may apply to their residents. For instance, in Bloomington, scooters with a 25 cc engine or less and a maximum speed of 20 mph are prohibited from sidewalks, public lands such as schools and parks and can only be operated from 8 am to 10 pm.
What Is the Legal Definition of a Scooter in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, a scooter is legally defined as a two-wheeled vehicle with an engine size of 50 cc or less, 2 horsepower, and a maximum speed of 30 mph.
What Are Some Scooter Safety Requirements in Minnesota?
As mentioned earlier, in Minnesota, scooters are treated the same way as motorcycles. For this reason, they must abide by all state traffic laws, including safety requirements.
Speaking of safety, here are a few things you should know about riding a scooter in The North Star State:
To operate a motorized scooter on public roads in Minnesota, you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license or instruction permit. You must also wear a helmet that complies with federal and state safety standards.
You must obey all traffic laws and regulations when operating a motorized scooter. In addition, you should ride in the direction of traffic and yield to pedestrians.
When crossing an intersection, you must yield to oncoming traffic. Use hand signals when turning or stopping and always be aware of your surroundings.
Additionally, motorized scooters in Minnesota:
- may not be operated on sidewalks or crosswalks;
- may not exceed 30 mph on level ground;
- must be equipped with headlamps and tail lamps; and
- must have a horn or other warning device.
Do Scooter Laws in Minnesota Apply on Private Property?
No, the scooter laws in Minnesota do not usually apply on private property. However, these laws will apply if the scooter ventures onto roads, streets, or even alleys.
What Are the Different Types of Scooter Accidents?
Some of the most common types of scooter accidents in Minnesota include the following:
Collisions with other vehicles: When a scooter collides with another vehicle, the other vehicle's driver is usually at fault. However, this rule has some exceptions, such as if the scooter was speeding or weaving in and out of traffic.
Single-vehicle accidents: These types of accidents are usually the result of operator error, such as loss of control or speeding. Sometimes, these accidents occur due to mechanical problems with the scooter.
Pedestrian collisions: These accidents often occur when a scooter rider fails to yield to a pedestrian or hits a pedestrian while riding on the sidewalk or other public spaces.
Property damage: This accident can occur when a scooter rider damages property, such as a parked car or a store window.
What Are Some Common Injuries Caused by Scooter Accidents?
Some examples of common injuries caused by scooter accidents include the following:
Broken bones: When you fall off a scooter, you can easily break bones in your arms, legs, or spine.
Head injuries: Even if you're wearing a helmet, you can still sustain a concussion or other types of brain injuries if you hit your head on the pavement.
Spinal cord injuries: These injuries can occur when the impact of a fall damages the vertebrae in your spine, sometimes leading to partial or total paralysis.
What Happens if You Get Hit by a Car While on a Scooter?
Suppose you're hit by a car while on a scooter. You have the same rights as any other pedestrian or bicyclist. This means that the car's driver or their insurer may be responsible for your medical expenses and any property damage caused by the accident.
In addition, if the driver of the car that hit you does not stop or exchange information with you, they can be charged with a felony or misdemeanor per the state's hit-and-run laws.
It is also important to note that even if the driver of the car that hit you stopped and exchanged information with you, they may still be liable for your injuries if they were at fault for the accident. In other words, you can sue them in civil court to get compensation for your medical expenses and other damages.
What Should I Do if Hit by a Scooter in Minnesota?
Sometimes, scooter accidents occur due to the operator's negligence. And given that the laws surrounding scooter operations in the state are not as strict, it is not uncommon to encounter scooter drivers who are not skilled enough to operate these vehicles or familiar with traffic laws.
That said, if you have been hit by a scooter, you should:
- Seek medical attention immediately (or no later than 72 hours), even if you don't think you're seriously injured.
- Call the police to file a report.
- Get the contact information of the scooter rider, including their name, phone number, and insurance information.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident and your injuries.
- Keep any receipts for medical treatment or repairs to damages caused due to the accident.
- Contact an experienced scooter accident attorney for a case evaluation.
What Damages Can I Recover From a Scooter Accident Claim?
As explained below, you may be entitled to different damages if you have been involved in a scooter accident in Minnesota.
Economic damages refer to the financial losses you suffered from the accident. They mostly cover medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Non-economic damages cover things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Because these types of damages are harder to quantify and vary from case to case, they often require the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to get the total compensation you deserve.
In rare cases, the court may award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party for particularly reckless or dangerous behavior. This 'punishment' also helps deter other parties in similar situations from exhibiting such behavior.
How Can a Scooter Accident Lawyer Help?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a scooter accident, a scooter accident lawyer can assist you through this difficult time and help you get the compensation you deserve. To better understand how such an attorney can help, let's discuss the Morgan & Morgan process.
This process begins by assessing your case to determine who is at fault for the accident and whether you have legal grounds to file a claim. That is why we offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation when you contact us about your case.
If you have a valid case against the other party, we will gather evidence to support your claim and advise you on what to do or avoid throughout the claims process. If required, we will help you get the treatment you need after the accident.
After collecting all the necessary evidence, we will file a claim with the other party's insurance company and begin negotiations for a favorable settlement. If they refuse to cooperate, your lawyer will take your case to trial.
This is just the general claims process after a scooter accident. Keep in mind that each accident is unique and may require a personalized approach. However, with the help of a Morgan & Morgan attorney, you can rest easy knowing that we have your best interests at heart when fighting for your rights.
Who Compensates the Injured After Scooter Accident?
After a scooter accident, the at-fault driver is typically responsible for paying for the damages. Also, it is worth noting that Minnesota is a modified comparative negligence state for car accidents. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for an accident, your recovery for damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. However, you will be barred from recovery if found to be 50% or more at fault.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Scooter Accident Attorneys in Minnesota
One thing scooter accident laws in Minnesota and throughout the country share in common is that they are complicated. In Minnesota, for example, these laws may vary depending on the county or city where the accident occurred. Then there's also the federal factor, especially in matters concerning scooter safety.
And given that these laws are complex and sometimes subject to further interpretation, insurance companies often take advantage of scooter accident victims. Specifically, they deny claims unlawfully and sometimes pressure the injured to accept lowball settlements.
But that should not be the case, especially when you have a powerful legal team by your side.
That's where Morgan & Morgan, the nation's largest injury firm, comes in. With over three decades of experience fighting for the injured and over $15 billion already recovered, our electric scooter accident attorneys can help fight for you or your loved one injured in such an accident.
In addition, we understand that the aftermath of a scooter accident can be overwhelming both physically, emotionally, and financially. That is why we offer free consultations and will not charge you anything unless we win your case.
Not sure if you have a valid case? Fill out our free case evaluation form to learn more about your legal options.