Motor scooters tend to have less powerful engines and lower top speeds than motorcycles. Given these differences, riding a motor scooter might seem safer. However, scooters are subject to many of the same dangers faced by motorcyclists.
At the Whitley Law Firm, we understand the unique circumstances involved in motor scooter accidents. Our lawyers can review your case for free and advise you of your options for recovering compensation.
Know the Dangers of Motor Scooters
Legally, motor scooters are treated the same as motorcycles in North Carolina. Riders must hold a valid driver license, register the vehicle with the state, carry the mandatory liability insurance (30/60/25), and wear a helmet while riding.
Unfortunately, no matter how closely you follow the rules and how careful you are on the road, motorcyclists and the riders of motor scooters alike are at a high risk of accidents due to the following factors:
Lack of Safety Features
Passenger vehicles have seat belts, airbags, and a sturdy metal frame to absorb the force of a collision. Motor scooters, however, have none of these features, leaving riders fully exposed in the event of an accident.
Serious injuries may occur whether the scooter is struck by a vehicle or the rider is forced to crash by a careless driver. The slower speeds at which motor scooters typically travel don’t help, as massive trauma can occur at nearly any speed.
Susceptibility to Unsafe Roads
One of the major factors in motorcycle accidents that riders commonly overlook is the role played by unsafe and defective roads. Seemingly minor hazards like potholes, gravel, uneven lanes, and more can cause riders to crash.
The compact design of motor scooters makes them more unstable than motorcycles. As a result, scooters are even more likely to crash when they encounter poor road conditions or a hazard on the roadway.
Reduced Visibility in Traffic
A common cause of collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles is the failure of a driver to see the bike. This danger is more pronounced with motor scooters due to their smaller size.
Riders of motor scooters must use extra caution around other vehicles in traffic. This includes staying out of drivers’ blind spots, clearly signaling turns, and avoiding lane splitting (although legal in North Carolina, riders are at significant risk of an accident when they travel in between two lanes of vehicles).
Visibility at intersections is particularly problematic for motor scooters. Drivers who are turning left frequently fail to see motorcycles before moving into the intersection. Motor scooters are even more difficult for careless drivers to see, increasing the risk of an accident.
Taking a corner on a motor scooter requires you to lean in the direction you are turning. Motorcyclists must make the same maneuver, although the smaller wheels and narrower shape of scooters leave less room for errors.
It is crucial to manage your speed and tilt in the correct direction to navigate a turn safely while riding a scooter. Excess speed and other errors can cause the rider to lose control.
Before operating a motorcycle or a motor scooter, riders must have a motorcycle endorsement. This involves passing a written exam as well as a skills test.
Riding a motor scooter safely comes with time and experience. Unfortunately, many riders feel overly confident on scooters – often because they are smaller than motorcycles and don’t go as fast. Even if they wear a helmet, riders on motor scooters may ignore other safety and preventative measures such as wearing a heavy jacket, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants.
Inexperience and overconfidence are especially dangerous among those riding mopeds. According to North Carolina law, a moped is a vehicle with “a motor that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement and cannot propel the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on a level surface.”
Unlike with motor scooters, North Carolina does not require a motorcycle endorsement or even a driver’s license to operate a moped. As long as the rider is at least 16 years old and wears a helmet, a moped can be ridden on public roads and highways throughout North Carolina.
Many businesses rent out mopeds and scooters, especially in tourist areas. Although these vehicles may be a fun way to explore a beachfront or destination community, inexperienced riders are a danger to themselves and others.
Contact a Motor Scooter Accident Lawyer Today
The injuries sustained by riders in motor scooter accidents can be immense. You and your family may be facing significant medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
If someone else’s negligence resulted in the crash, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Whitley Law Firm, we focus on helping injury victims get what they deserve for their losses.
Please contact the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today for a free consultation. Our attorneys serve the victims of motor scooter accidents in Raleigh, Kinston, New Bern, and all of North Carolina.