by William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (June 30, 2021)(CNBNewsnet)--Have you noticed the E-bikes, E-scooters and E-skateboards buzzing throughout the city of Gloucester City and elsewhere over the past year or two. The Governor of NJ signed a law in 2019 making them legal to ride on the street. The law states you must be 16 or older to drive one but we have seen youngsters that look no older than 10 or 11 riding them down the street and sidewalks. Most of these kids are not wearing a helmet. These electric scooters are not toys and they can reach speeds as high as 20mph.
The scooters are not permitted to be driven on sidewalks but be forewarn these youngsters we are seeing are not obeying the law. Pedestrians need to stay alert as the scooters are so quiet you can't hear them until they are right next to you. A brief internet search warns of the dangerous things that can happen if you hit something at that top speed with a scooter. In May a 41-year-old man driving a scooter at night was struck by a Dodge Caravan and died two days later.
According to a USA article, dated January 9, 2020, electric scooter injuries have surged over the past four years totally 40,000. Those injuries include cuts and bruises, broken bones, skull fractures, and other head injuries. The scooter injury rate among the general U.S. population climbed from 6 per 100,000 to 19 per 100,000. Most occurred in riders aged 18 to 34, and most injured riders weren’t hospitalized. Media reports have linked the stand-up electric scooters with more than a dozen U.S. deaths within the past few years.
The Dubofflaw Group Law Firm has the following warnings about those dangers on its website.
There aren’t any official reports on the general increase of injuries caused by electric scooters on a grand scale, but doctors and emergency room employees everywhere have reported a dramatic increase in scooter-related injuries. Most electric scooters are capable of traveling up to around 20 mph, which is by far enough speed to cause serious injuries when an accident occurs.
There are a lot of inherent risks involved with electric scooters for riders, other pedestrians and drivers out on the road. The most noticeable risk involved with electric scooters is the fact that they are small and relatively quiet, which makes it more difficult for other car drivers to see and hear nearby riders.
The scooters also have very small wheels, which makes them much less stable than a bicycle. Any type of small bump in the road can cause a scooter to be thrown off its course and make the rider lose their balance and fall.
There isn’t any kind of required training or specialized license to rent and operate these scooters, so there is a whole array of injuries that can result simply from lack of experience and improper use. CONTINUE TO READ
video courtesy of The Washington Post
Governor Murphy signed the electric scooter law on May 13, 2019.
According to https://bicyclecoalition.org/ the law specifically addressed Class 1 (pedal assist) and Class 2 (throttle assist) E-Bikes. E-Scooters are allowed with a top speed of 19 mph. The vehicles are allowed on shared-use paths but are not permitted on natural surface trails unless that trail is authorized by the government agency with jurisdiction.
The original version of this legislation proposed banning bikes on sidewalks statewide. While that is understandable in large urban centers with lots of pedestrians most sidewalks in the state serve as a refuge from high-speed traffic on many suburban arterial roads in the state. Municipalities already have the option of restricting bikes on sidewalks.
Just because those types of vehicles are small and are powered by electric doesn't mean you can't die if you are in a traffic accident. Especially if the accident involves a two-ton motor vehicle. On May 27, 2021 a man who was critically injured when his scooter collided with a civilian vehicle in Hamilton, Mercer County, died in the hospital. The decedent was Francis De La Cruz Abad, 21, of Trenton.
The accident occurred just after 9 p.m. on May 25 near the intersection of Route 33 and Whitehorse-Mercerville Road. A police officer who saw De La Cruz operating his scooter without a helmet tried to stop him, but Mr. De La Cruz Abad continued traveling westbound on Route 33 and collided with a Dodge Caravan, whose driver was attempting to turn left into the Mercerville Shopping Center from Route 33 eastbound. Mr. De La Cruz Abad was thrown from the scooter and struck the windshield of the van. He was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he died at approximately 3 p.m. on May 27.
NEW JERSEY REGULATIONS FOR THESE VEHICLES
Gloucester City Police Lt. Jason Flood was asked by CNBNews to outline the traffic laws pertaining to these vehicles.
- If the motorized scooter is 50cc or less, then it’s not considered a motorcycle. (Note: “cc” stands for “cubic centimeters,” often used as a measurement of engine size).
- Motorized scooters are considered motor vehicles, so you must be at least 16 years old and hold a Class E driver’s license, or a motorcycle-only license. Learner’s permit holders are not allowed to operate motorized scooters.
- If the scooter is under 50cc or cannot exceed 30 mph on flat ground, then the operator is not required to wear a helmet. But, passengers under 16 are always required to wear a helmet.
- The law doesn’t require moped or motorized scooter owners to carry insurance, but for the most part, it’s always best to have some type of coverage.
- Scooters under 50cc are not allowed on highways or interstates (which isn’t safe regardless of how powerful the scooter!)
- It’s against the law to lane split or rides on yellow lines to pass through stopped traffic.
- If a scooter is on a roadway and operating under the normal flow of traffic, then the operator must stay close to the right side edge of the road, except when turning left.
- Motorized scooters are not allowed on pedestrian lanes.
To read the entire New Jersey law click here
*A press release provided the information for the fatal traffic accident mentioned above