How Safe are Motor Scooters in Austin?
Motor scooters are not motorcycles, but they are larger than mopeds. A motor scooter or motor-driven cycle in Texas is a two-wheeled vehicle that has an engine between 51ccs and 249ccs. Motor scooter operators must follow all of the same traffic laws, insurance requirements, and registration requirements for a motorcycle in Austin.
What are the Motor Scooter Requirements in Austin, TX?
An owner must register the motor scooter, obtain a motorcycle license, and purchase liability insurance. The liability insurance requirements for a motor scooter are the same as for a motorcycle or car.
Motor scooter riders should have $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance for one person ($60,000 per accident) and property damage insurance in the amount of $25,000. If a motor scooter rider causes an accident, the rider’s liability insurer compensates the accident victims for damages.
Scooter riders must obey the same Texas helmet laws as motorcyclists. If a rider is over the age of 21 years, completes the motorcycle safety course, and provides proof of adequate health insurance coverage, the helmet requirement can be waived.
Causes of Motor Scooter Accidents in Austin
There are many reasons why a motor scooter accident may happen. The size and quiet operation of a motor scooter make it more difficult for drivers to see, which can contribute to the cause of a motor scooter accident.
However, certain driving behaviors also contribute to the cause of accidents involving motor scooters. Motorist driver behaviors that can contribute to the cause of a crash include:
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving and talking on a cell phone
Road conditions and weather conditions can also contribute to the cause of a motor scooter accident. Inexperienced riders may lose control of the scooter in poor weather conditions or when they ride over uneven pavement.
If another driver is responsible for your motor scooter accident, you may sue that driver for compensation of damages just like you would if you were involved in another type of traffic accident. A car accident lawyer can help you prepare the insurance claim and fight for a fair settlement.
Types of Motor Scooter Accidents
Some common types of motor scooter accidents include:
- Rear-End Crashes — A driver may be distracted or speeding and slam into the rear of a motor scooter. This type of accident is frequent at intersections where a motor scooter is stopped or when a rider has slowed down or stopped to make a turn.
- Sideswipe Accidents — Distractions also account for many of the sideswipe accidents involving a motor scooter. The driver of the other vehicle does not see the motor scooter because the driver is not paying attention to the road. However, the small size of the scooter can also make it easier for a driver to miss, especially in heavy traffic.
- Dooring — Dooring occurs when a driver opens a door in front of a motor scooter. This type of accident happens along streets that have parallel parking. A driver or rear passenger opens the car door into a lane of oncoming traffic without checking for vehicles.
Because a motor scooter offers no protection against injuries for a rider, riders involved in accidents tend to sustain severe injuries. The injuries depend on the type of crash and the circumstances related to the crash.
Motor Scooter Accident Injuries
The injuries from a motor scooter accident can impact a person’s life forever. Even though a rider may wear a motorcycle helmet, drive at slower speeds, and wear other protective gear, the rider can sustain severe injuries from a crash.
Common injuries that a rider may receive in a motor scooter accident include:
- Head and brain injuries, including skull fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries
- Multiple broken bones and fractures
- Neck, shoulder, and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Amputation and paralysis
- Scarring, disfigurement, and permanent disabilities
A rider should report a motor scooter accident immediately to the police and wait for the police to arrive to complete a report. Seeking medical treatment as soon as possible benefits the person’s health and helps with an injury claim. It also helps to contact an attorney to discuss your rights and the steps to take to protect your right to fair compensation.
An attorney can help you seek compensation for damages related to a motor scooter accident such as:
- Loss of income if you cannot work after the crash;
- Reimbursement for medical care;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life;
- Permanent disabilities and disfigurement; and,
- Cost of personal care.
Motor scooters can be an excellent alternative form of transportation. However, riders need to understand the risks involved in riding scooters. A safety course can help prepare a rider for the hazards the rider might face on Austin roads.