New Scooter Regulations Attempt to Make Riding Scooters Safer

Panama City Beach is a cornerstone for various types of outdoor equipment rentals. One popular attraction is the rental of scooters. Scooters can be a great way for both residents and tourists to take in the beautiful scenery that Panama City has to offer. Although these vehicles are viewed as slow moving and harmless, like any motorized equipment they can actually result in severe injuries or even wrongful death. As Panama City's leading personal injury firm, we know that scooter accidents are no laughing matter.

Scooters vs. Motorcycles

A scooter may appear to look similar to a motorcycle, but under Florida law, they are treated differently. According to the DMV, to legally drive a motorized scooter a rider must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Have a valid Class E driver's license

On the other hand, the driver of a motorcycle must follow much more stringent requirements:

  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Must have a valid Class E driver license
  • Must complete the Basic Rider Course
  • Must have no traffic convictions for 1 year if under the age of 18
  • Must complete written exam
  • Must pass a driving test on the motorcycle
  • Must pass vision and hearing test

Motorcycles are considered to be dangerous, and therefore these stricter rules are meant to protect injuries and deaths resulting from motorcycle accidents. However, due to an increase in scooter accidents, Panama City has upped the ante in scooter rentals as well.

Panama City Beach Council Discusses Changes in Scooter Rental Regulations

Panama City Beach Council discussed certain regulation changes in scooter rentals on Thursday. According to News Herald, this is in part because the Panama City Beach Police Chief made a statement that scooters often cause accidents and traffic problems. He attributes these problems to the fact that adults and kids view scooters as a form of entertainment and don't abide by traffic rules. This creates a danger to both the person riding the scooter as well as other motorists on the road. Initially, the proposed ordinance for scooters included the following key points:

  • Riders must wear helmets and reflective safety vests
  • Riders must undergo basic scooter training
  • Riders must carry a scooter safety brochure
  • All rental scooters must be registered by the city and the company must carry liability insurance

Some of these changes resulted in an outrage by some scooter rental companies. Their biggest qualm was the liability insurance requirement. The proposed ordinance, in an attempt to mirror the county' liability insurance requirements, would force companies to carry commercial general liability with the following terms:

  • $1 million for each occurrence
  • $1 million general aggregate
  • $1 million products liability
  • $500,000 commercial auto liability policy for bodily injury and property damage

Scooter rental companies feared that this new requirement would drive them out of business. Luckily for them, News Herald confirmed that during the Thursday meeting, the council chose to eliminate the liability insurance requirement. However, riders who fail to wear the vest or do not carry a scooter safety brochure could be fined anywhere between $100 and $500. Our Panama City personal injury firm hopes that these new regulations will make the roads safer for all drivers.

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