How Safe Are Motor Scooters in Houston?
Brian White | May 22, 2020 | Motorcycle Accidents
As in many other parts of the country, motor scooters have become increasingly popular in the urban areas of Texas. The small vehicles would seem to be ideal for zipping through big city traffic.
Houston might seem like an ideal place for motor scooters because of a climate that would make using them enjoyable year-round.
Unfortunately, many motor scooter riders experience some of the same dangerous issues faced by those riding motorcycles.
What Is A Motor Scooter?
In Texas, a motor scooter is defined as a two-wheeled vehicle with seating for one rider, a gas or electric motor that doesn’t exceed 40CCs, and at least two wheels on the ground.
In order to legally drive one in Texas, you must:
- Have a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license or have a separate scooter license
- Be at least 15
- Register your scooter with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
- Have it inspected annually
Also, all motor scooter riders under 21 must wear a helmet when riding.
What Are the Dangers of Motor Scooters?
Here are some of the most commonly reported dangers of motor scooters:
- Because motor scooters are small, car and truck drivers have difficulty seeing them on the road.
- Road debris, potholes, uneven sidewalks, etc. can easily cause motor scooter accidents.
- The instability of motor scooters can make it easy for inexperienced riders to lose their balance.
- Many motor scooter riders take high-risk chances, such as riding on sidewalks. Pedestrians not expecting the fast-moving scooters are left with little time to take defensive actions.
What Are Common Injuries From Motor Scooter Accidents?
Because there’s little-to-no protection offered by the motor scooters themselves, riders are incredibly vulnerable to serious injuries if there’s an accident.
Injuries that are associated with motor scooter accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spine and neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Injuries to the face
- Ankle and leg injuries
Of course, the potential injuries involving motor scooters could be far worse, and may even lead to loss of life.
What Can I Do to Make My Motor Scooter More Safe?
If you ride a motor scooter, here are a few proactive steps you can take to reduce the chances of being involved in an accident.
- Make sure you know how to operate the scooter correctly. While the simplicity of their design can easily lull you into a false sense of security, keep in mind that your scooter is made of either titanium, steel, or aluminum…and it has a motor. Before riding on the streets of Houston, familiarize yourself with the brakes and other controls.
- Wear the right safety gear. Because the smallest of bumps in the road are more than enough to throw a motor scooter off course, you should always wear a helmet while riding one. You may even want to consider wearing additional protective gear, like knee pads.
- Stay on the street. When driving your scooter on the streets of Houston, you’re expected to follow the traffic laws. If you’re traveling slower than the surrounding traffic, you should ride as far to the right side of the road as possible. You’re not allowed to ride your motor scooter on the sidewalks of Houston.
- One rider at a time. Because the added weight of another person can easily cause you to lose your balance, you should limit your motor scooter to one rider at a time.
By taking these simple steps, you can drastically reduce the chances of being involved in an accident with your motor scooter.
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Motor Scooter Accident?
Because they can happen seemingly in the blink of an eye, you need to know the steps to take after a motor scooter accident.
- Move your scooter to a safe area. If you’re able, do your best to move your scooter to a safe location. The longer you stay in the road, the greater your chances are of being injured in a second accident.
- Check on the safety of everyone involved in the accident. If you or anyone involved in the accident is seriously injured, call 911 for emergency help.
- Call the police. Even if you think the accident was a minor fender bender, it’s important you call the police to the scene so they can document everything.
- Document as much as you can. If you have a smartphone or camera with you, take photos of the accident scene. Be sure to photograph all damage done to all vehicles, road conditions, location of traffic signals and signs, etc. Also, get the names and contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident.
- Be seen by a doctor. If you don’t need to be treated at the scene, a licensed medical doctor should examine you as quickly as possible. Some injuries can take a while to make themselves known.
- See a personal injury attorney. Since motor scooters are still fairly new to our society, many are unaware of their rights in terms of liability after a crash. After speaking with a personal injury attorney, you should have a better understanding of whether you have a legal claim for your accident.
As motor scooters increasingly become a part of the Houston lifestyle, it’s in everyone’s best interest to learn how to use them as safely as possible.