With so many strange Louisiana laws, many people don’t know the road rules for mobility scooters. Some assume they must follow pedestrian laws, while others consider them more like a car, small motorcycle, or bicycle. Due to this general lack of knowledge about their public use, mobility scooters are often traffic hazards.
These motorized vehicles are a common sight on sidewalks, streets, and bike lanes in Louisiana. Yet, many of Louisiana’s sidewalks and streets are pitted, potholed, uneven, and narrow, with parking along both sides. Combine this with a high population of seniors and people living with disabilities, and it is no surprise that accidents can happen.
How does Louisiana Law Classify Mobility Scooters?
Louisiana has plenty of strange laws, including special regulations for mobility scooters. For example, the state has two definitions that apply to these scooters under La. R.S. 32:1:
- “(45) “Mobility aid” means a device used by individuals to ambulate independently and that is human or electric-powered and used in- or outdoors.”
(47) “Motor-driven cycle” means every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor of not to exceed five horsepower.”
In many cases, the statutes pertaining directly to mobility aids waive the requirements for using a motor-driven cycle. For example, La. R.S. 32:206 makes it so that users do not need to wear a helmet, register their scooter, or have insurance to operate their devices.
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In General, Louisiana Law Treats Scooter Users as Pedestrians
When it comes to sharing the roads and sidewalks, Louisiana law generally treats mobility scooters as pedestrians. Those who need this equipment to get around use it as an extension of their body and have the same rights as someone using a cane, operating a manual wheelchair, or walking unaided.
While using the sidewalk is preferred, some circumstances force mobility scooter users into the road or street. Under La. R.S. 32:206, this is allowable in residential subdivisions and when:
- The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or below.
- There is a marked bicycle path or lane to keep them out of vehicle traffic.
- Curbs, lack of ramps, poor sidewalk maintenance, or other obstacles pose a hazard or make using the sidewalk impossible.
The statute specifies that these road rules for mobility scooters apply only during daylight hours in Louisiana.
Mobility Scooter Users Also Share Pedestrian Responsibilities
Since those who use mobility scooters have all the rights of pedestrians, they also have the same responsibilities. These include:
- Only crossing the road at intersections or marked crosswalks
- Making themselves very visible if operating at night
- Abiding by traffic signals
If you use a mobility scooter, you must understand your rights and responsibilities. However, accidents can happen even when you follow all of the rules. For example, a driver in the French Quarter could fail to ensure an intersection is clear before turning or get too close when passing in your own neighborhood.
Like pedestrian accidents, the driver is often liable for any injuries that occur. Drivers have an added obligation to keep other road users safe, meaning they must act in a way that limits the risk of harm.
Recovering Compensation Based on a Mobility Scooter Accident in Louisiana
Depending on the circumstances, a motorist or a scooter user could recover compensation after a collision. For example, if you were driving down a street alongside a mobility scooter and the scooter user suddenly darted out in front of you, you might have a case against them for your damages.
In other cases, though, the motorist is responsible for injuring the scooter user. With evidence, you could develop a claim and demand that the driver’s insurance provider pay for damages. These may include:
- Medical care related to their injuries
- Lost wages if they missed work
- Property damage, including scooter replacement
- Pain and suffering damages
There is no need to seek these damages alone. If you or a loved one was in a mobility scooter accident in Louisiana, our firm has the time and resources to build your compensation case.
An Attorney Can Build and Guide Your Mobility Scooter Accident Case
If you were involved in this type of collision, you can hire a personal injury attorney from our firm to represent you. Evidence can disappear quickly, and you will need a strong case to recover compensation based on what you experienced. When we represent you, one of our lawyers will:
- Investigate the incident to gather evidence
- Build a compelling case against the liable party
- Calculate the level of compensation to seek
- Represent you in all communications, negotiations, and hearings
Our comprehensive legal services require no upfront payment, and the first consultation is free.
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Contact Us for Car Accidents Involving Mobility Scooters
If you were in a car accident with or while operating a mobility scooter, connect with the personal injury attorneys at the Morris Bart law office today. We offer a free case review to all prospective clients. We can review the details of your case and explain how our firm can help you seek compensation for your accident injuries.
Call (800) 537-8185 to get started today.
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