Do you have to wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter?

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You see people on electric scooters whizzing down Broadway. Is it legal to ride an electric scooter without a helmet? Governor Jerry Brown says yes.

A law approved by Gov. Brown in September, which went into effect January 1, says e-scooter riders are not required to wear helmets. But just because it's legal doesn't mean it's safe.

A Canadian studyfound that bicyclists who don't wear a helmet triple their risk of dying from a head injury. A helmet might not protect you from a concussion in a collision with a vehicle, but it will more than likely keep you alive.

Electric scooter riders travel anywhere from 7.5 mph to up to 15 mph-the max speed for many new scooters. Los Angeles recently imposed a 12 mph speed limit for electric scooters, which is about the same speed as an average bike commuter. If bicyclists are more likely to die from head injuries when they don't wear helmets, wouldn't the same rule apply to electric scooter riders?

Some electric scooter companies think so. Scoot and Skip, two electric scooter companies approved by the City of San Francisco currently, are giving away helmets. Skip imposes a helmet requirement and is giving away50,000 helmets. Scoot also allows users to order a free helmet.

Bird, on the other hand, sponsored the bill to get rid of scooter helmet laws, according to SF Weekly. And Lime, after a recall issue, is giving away 250,000 helmets.

Whether you wear a helmet or not when riding an electric scooter is your choice. But consider this: if you're riding in a bike lane, with traffic, at nearly the same speed as most bikes, shouldn't you follow the same safety practices?

Also note that riding electric scooters on sidewalks is illegal. It's also illegal to toss them on the sidewalk in the way of pedestrian traffic. You're also not allowed to let a passenger hop on, to ride with no hands, or to ride without a driver's license or instruction permit.

If you've suffered an injury on an electric scooter, or collided with an electric scooter rider, contact a personal injury attorney right away. An experienced lawyer will provide a free consultation to review your case and help you understand your rights.

Photo courtesy of Diane Yee, Flickr

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David G. Smith, Attorney At Law
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