Motor scooters are becoming popular forms of transportation. They are smaller, energy-efficient, and less costly than a car or motorcycle. Motor scooters can be a very efficient form of travel in large, urban cities like Atlanta.

However, motor scooters do pose some risks of injury because of the vehicle’s design. With that in mind, motor scooter owners should take extra precautions to avoid motor scooter accidents.

Georgia Licensing and Registration Requirements for Motor Scooters

Motor scooters are two-wheeled vehicles, generally designed to carry a single person. According to Georgia licensing requirements, a motor vehicle that has a seat for a rider, is controlled by handlebars, has two wheels, and an engine size of 51cc or greater requires a Class M driver’s license (motorcycle license). Scooter owners may now participate in the Basic and Experienced rider education courses to earn a license waiver.

Typically, individuals must be at least 17 years of age, pass a knowledge test, pass a road skills test (or have a waiver), and pass a vision test to obtain a driver’s license to operate a motor scooter.

In addition to registering the motor scooter and obtaining a motorcycle license, motor scooter owners must also obtain the same liability insurance that motorcyclists carry. Liability insurance requirements for motor scooters in Georgia are bodily injury liability insurance of $25,000 per person ($50,000 per accident) and property damage liability insurance of $25,000 per accident.

Common Accidents Involving Motor Scooters

Like motorcycles, motor scooters can be more difficult to see on the road because of the smaller size of the vehicle. Therefore, other motorists may not see a motor scooter in time to avoid a collision. In other cases, a driver may be distracted or impaired, which can lead to a motor scooter accident.

Some common types of motor scooter accidents include:

  • Sideswipe Accidents — Motor scooters are often sideswiped by vehicles passing the motor scooter. A driver may not notice the motor scooter because of its small size and quiet operation.
  • Loss of Control — A motor scooter operator may lose control of the vehicle. With a high center of gravity and smaller wheels, poor weather conditions or uneven road conditions can cause an accident.
  • Rear-end Crashes — The size of the scooter is a factor in rear-end crashes too. A motorist may be distracted or not notice a scooter stopped at an intersection or slowing to make a turn until it is too late to prevent a crash.
  • Door Strikes — Motor scooter riders have the same problem that many bicyclists have when riding along urban streets. Drivers who are parked on the side of the road open their door directly in the path of a motor scooter causing an accident.
  • Rider Inexperience — Motor scooters require a particular skill set to operate. Operators need to spend time learning how to ride a motor scooter before riding in heavy traffic.
  • Driver Errors — Other motorists are one of the most common dangers to motor scooters. Drunk driving, speeding, drowsy driving, distracted driving, tailgating, and other traffic infractions could be the cause of a motor scooter accident.

If another driver is responsible for a car accident involving a motor scooter, the driver of the vehicle can be held liable for damages caused by the accident.

Severity of Motor Scooter Accident Injuries

Because of the lack of protection for the rider, motor scooter accidents tend to result in catastrophic injuries. The rider of the motor scooter is often thrown from the vehicle or crushed beneath the other vehicle.

Common injuries sustained in motor scooter accidents include:

  • Crushing injuries, including damage to internal organs
  • Spinal cord injuries and back injuries, including paralysis
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), skull fractures, bleeding in the brain, and other head injuries
  • Multiple fractures and broken bones
  • Amputations

Even with a motorcycle helmet and other protective gear, a motor scooter rider still sustains life-threatening injuries and permanent disabilities.

Ways to Protect Yourself From a Motor Scooter Accident

If you ride a motor scooter in Atlanta, know the traffic rules and obey them all. Wear a brightly colored helmet and clothing when riding your motor scooter. Add reflective stickers and lights to the motor scooter to increase visibility.

When driving near parked vehicles, be extra cautious for driver opening car doors. Avoid driving at night or in poor weather conditions when visibility is lower. Always avoid distractions when you are riding your motor scooter and never operating your motor scooter under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you are injured in a motor scooter accident, call 911 to report the accident and wait for emergency assistance. Seek medical treatment to document your injuries and contact a personal injury lawyer near you for help filing a claim against the party responsible for the accident.