Motor scooters typically do not exceed 25 miles per hour. Because they are a low-speed vehicle, many people assume that they are safer than a moped or motorcycle.

Unfortunately, that assumption is not correct. Motor scooter riders face the same risks and dangers that motorcyclists and moped riders face when they ride their vehicles on Oklahoma City roads.

What is a Motor Scooter?

Oklahoma statutes have strict definitions for mopeds, motor scooters, and motorcycles. The definitions are important because mopeds and motorcycles both have title, registration, licensing, and insurance requirements.

A motor scooter or motorized scooter is defined as:

  • A vehicle of not more than three wheels;
  • With handlebars, foot support, seat;
  • That has a power source capable of moving the scooter at a maximum speed of no more than 25 mph; and,
  • The combustion engine does not exceed 35cc or 1,000 watts for an electric model.

A motor scooter does not need to be registered, and you do not need a driver’s license to operate a motor scooter. Riders are not required to purchase liability insurance or comply with the state’s financial responsibility laws.

Laws for Operating Motor Scooters in Oklahoma

Motor scooter drivers have a duty to follow all traffic laws just like motorists, moped riders, and bicyclists. Motor scooter riders need to check with local government agencies to determine if local ordinances further restrict the operation of a motor scooter within the city or county limits.

Reasons why motor scooter accidents occur include, but are not limited to:

  • The scooter driver fails to yield the right of way or obey other traffic laws.
  • A motorist turns into the path of the motor scooter.
  • A driver does not see a motor scooter when the driver is changing lanes.
  • The motor scooter driver hits a pothole or other dangerous road condition and loses control of the scooter.
  • A driver or motor scooter rider is operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • A person opens the door of a vehicle into the path of the motor scooter.
  • A driver rear-ends a motor scooter at an intersection or as the rider slows to make a turn.

Even if a city does not have local ordinances for the operation of a motor scooter, riders need to take steps to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries when riding scooters.

What Are Common Injuries Caused by Motor Scooter Accidents?

Even though a motor scooter does not travel fast, that does not mean that accidents involving motor scooters do not result in severe injuries. A motor scooter does not offer the rider any protection from injury during a collision.

A crash with a small vehicle traveling at a slow rate of speed could cause severe injuries for a motor scooter rider. The rider could be thrown from the vehicle, crushed between objects, or pinned under a vehicle.

Common motor scooter accident injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Broken bones
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and skull fractures
  • Road rash, lacerations, and other abrasions
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Shoulder and neck injuries

A victim may sustain severe injuries and significant damages from a motor scooter accident. If the other driver is at fault for the cause of the accident, the injured party may be entitled to compensation for damages, including medical bills, loss of income, and suffering.

How Can a Rider Decrease the Risk of Serious Injuries from Accidents?

A rider cannot control all factors when he is riding a motor scooter. However, there are some things the rider can do to decrease the chance of severe injury or death.

  • Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet when riding a motor scooter. Also, wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Consider motorcycle clothing to provide the best protection.
  • Never assume that a driver sees you. Always drive defensively to avoid crashes.
  • Use hand signals, as well as vehicle signals, to indicate a turn.
  • Choose a brightly colored vehicle, helmet, and clothing to increase visibility to other drivers.
  • Avoid distractions that can prevent you from paying attention to the road.
  • Never operate a motor scooter after consuming alcohol or using drugs that could impair your abilities to operate the scooter safely.

If you are in a motor scooter accident, treat the accident in the same way you would a motorcycle accident or other traffic accident.

Contact 911 to report the crash and request help. Go see your doctor as soon as possible to document your injuries. When you are able, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and the steps you should take to protect your right to compensation for a motor scooter accident claim.