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New Jersey, like much of the country, is part of the electric scooter craze. The devices are legal on streets, highways and bicycle paths. Whether they are legal on sidewalks is up to local municipalities and counties.

Scooters are popular because they are inexpensive and convenient. They allow people to navigate roadways without owning and maintaining a motor vehicle. Like other vehicles, though, they can be dangerous.

Scooter tragedy

Recently in Elizabeth, a 16-year-old boy lost his life weeks after the city started its scooter share program. A tow truck making a right turn hit the boy. The driver will not face charges.

The city council, in the wake of the accident, discontinued the program. One councilor said that the accident, “was our worst possible nightmare.” Officials noted that the boy was under the city’s age limit of 18, but that getting around the law is simple.

Even experienced riders risk head injuries, lacerations and concussions in a scooter accident. Other common injuries include those to the arms, knees, face, neck, hands and spine.

Scooter safety

Common sense plays the largest role in preventing scooter accidents and injuries. Here are a few tips for protecting yourself:

  • Wear protective gear (helmet, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, and close-toed shoes). 
  • Learn how to operate a scooter by testing the accelerator and braking tabs. 
  • Pay close attention to traffic and pedestrians. 
  • Focus on riding – no phone calls, eating or drinking. 
  • Do not wear headphones or earbuds. 
  • Do not ride a scooter if you have been drinking alcohol. 

Scooter awareness

Scooters are not going away. They are popular for several reasons, and they are dangerous for several reasons.

You can take some steps to protect yourself, but you can only do so much. The small vehicles are difficult to see in traffic. Other motorists are not accustomed to sharing the road with them.

The risk is high, so prepare before an accident. You can protect yourself after an accident, too.