Alabama does not have the same strict regulations on motor scooters as some other states. However, that does not mean that individuals and parents should not treat these motor-driven vehicles any differently than they would treat a motorcycle. Some motor scooters can travel at higher speeds, making them more dangerous.

What is a Motor Scooter?

Alabama includes motorcycles, motor scooters, and mopeds as motor-driven cycles in its definition of a motor-driven cycle. The vehicle cannot have a motor that exceeds 150 ccs or five brake horsepower.

Motor-driven vehicles must also weigh less than 300 pounds when fully equipped. All bicycles with a motor attached are considered motor-driven cycles.

Safety Concerns for Motor Scooters

Because a motor scooter shares many of the same characteristics of a motorcycle, many of the safety concerns for motor scooters are the same as motorcycles.

Motor scooters are small vehicles. They can be difficult to see in congested traffic. Also, many drivers do not pay close attention to the road, so many drivers do not “see” a motor scooter until it is too late to avoid a collision.

Riders can improve visibility by wearing brightly colored clothing and helmets, but that does not prevent all motor scooter accidents.

The design of a motor scooter poses another risk for riders. As with motorcycles, a motor scooter does not provide a rider any protection against injuries in a crash.

When another vehicle collides with a motor scooter, the rider can be thrown from the scooter. The rider may strike another object before hitting the ground. Being thrown from a motor scooter can increase the chance of severe injuries in an accident.

The rider may also be crushed between the other vehicle and another object, or the other vehicle may roll over the rider. Crushing and rollover injuries are often catastrophic and increase the risk of death.

Alabama has a universal helmet law for all motorcycles and motor-driven vehicles. Motorcycle helmets should meet or exceed the national standards for helmets. Even though motorcycle helmets can reduce the risk of death and severe head injuries, some riders still sustain traumatic brain injuries in motor scooter accidents.

Common Causes of Motor Scooter Accidents in Mobile

Most motor scooter accidents are preventable. Poor driving behaviors and human error account for a large number of motor scooter accidents. Common driving behaviors that can cause a motor scooter accident include:

When another driver is responsible for causing the motor scooter accident, that driver is liable for the damages and injuries caused by the accident. The amount of damages depends on the severity of the injuries and the financial losses incurred by the rider.

Common Injuries in Mobile Motor Scooter Accidents

A scooter rider can sustain multiple injuries in an accident. Examples of injuries in motor scooter crashes include:

  • Head and Brain Injuries
  • Whiplash and Neck Injuries
  • Amputations and Loss of Limb
  • Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Scarring and Disfigurement
  • Back Injuries
  • Fractures and Broken Bones

If you are in a motor scooter accident, see a doctor as soon as possible. Your injuries could worsen without medical treatment. Also, you need to document your physical injuries for a personal injury claim.

You must prove that the crash resulted in your injuries, as well as proving the other driver caused the accident, to recover compensation for motor scooter injuries.

Recovering Damages for a Motor Scooter Accident

If the other driver crashed into your motor scooter or caused an accident, that driver could be financially responsible for your injuries and other damages. In many cases, the driver’s insurance company pays the claim.

Damages that might be included in a motor scooter claim are:

  • Medical Bills and Expenses
  • Past and Future Lost Wages and Benefits
  • Personal Care Costs
  • Loss of Earning Potential
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Loss of Quality of Life
  • Other Financial Losses and Out-of-Pocket Expenses

The amount you might receive for a motor scooter accident claim varies, depending on the facts in your case. Before settling your claim with the insurance provider, it may be helpful to have an attorney review the case. An attorney can tell you if you are receiving a fair settlement for a motor scooter accident claim.

Note that Alabama has strict contributory negligence rules, which means that sharing any degree of responsibility for your motor scooter accident will bar a financial recovery. So, it’s a really good rule of thumb to consult an attorney after a crash.

Safety Tips for Motor Scooter Riders

Motor scooter riders cannot control the actions of other drivers. However, they can take steps to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.

Safety tips for motor scooter riders include:

  • Wear brightly colored clothing when riding your scooter
  • Always wear a motorcycle helmet. Bright colors can help with visibility issues
  • Use hand signals in addition to the vehicle’s turn signals
  • Allow extra room between you and other vehicles
  • Do not drive at excessive speeds
  • Be extra cautious at intersections

For more information about motor scooter safety, visit the AAA Exchange or NHTSA websites.