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Clearwater Scooter Driver In Critical Condition After March 29th Crash

On March 29, 2016, a 26-year-old Clearwater man was critically injured[1] in a morning crash on Belcher Road.  According to the Clearwater Police Department, the 26-year-old was heading northbound on Belcher Road on his scooter when an SUV driven by a 48-year-old woman attempted to exit a store parking lot to head southbound. The two vehicles collided.  The scooter driver, who was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, according to police. He was in critical condition as of Tuesday afternoon.

Florida Scooters Constitutes Motor Vehicles

Under section 322.01(26) of Florida law, a motor vehicle is defined as:

“any self-propelled vehicle, including a motor vehicle combination, not operated upon rails or guideway, excluding vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs, and motorized bicycles as defined in s. 316.003.”

Similarly, the definition of “motor vehicle” for purposes of Chapter 320, Florida Statutes, includes “[a]n automobile, motorcycle, truck, trailer, semitrailer, truck tractor and semitrailer combination, or any other vehicle operated on the roads of this state, used to transport persons or property, and propelled by power other than muscular power, but the term does not include traction engines, road rollers, such vehicles as run only upon a track, bicycles, or mopeds.” According to the Florida Attorney General’s[2] office, this definition appears to include motorized scooters.

Are Scooters Allowed on Pinellas County Roads?

Although Clearwater gopeds, mopeds and motorized scooters fall within the legal definition of “Motor Vehicle” under Florida law, those same vehicles cannot be operated on a public street or highway.  This is because motorized scooters and mopeds cannot be lawfully registered and assigned a tag under section 320.02(9) of the Florida statute and the manufacturing safety standards of the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act.  As a result, gopeds and scooters can only be lawfully operated on private property.  Specifically, section 316.003[3] of the Florida statute provides:

“MOTORIZED SCOOTER.–Any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.”

This differs from Florida motor scooters which are not defined specifically in sections 319 or 320 of the Florida Statutes and are therefore considered motorcycles. A motor scooter is, therefore, subject to the same registration and insurance laws and requires a license to operate.

Clearwater Helmet Law

Because Florida does not require scooter or motorcycle riders to wear helmets, any type of collision can easily lead to significant and life-threatening head and brain injuries. In a case involving brain injuries or other damages, it is important to choose a Clearwater lawyer who is highly familiar with the applicable laws. For instance, the scooter’s engine size determines the corresponding insurance policy. The attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA understand the details of these policies and how to pursue maximum compensation for you or your loved one.

Scooter Versus Vehicle Clearwater Collision

If you or someone you love was hit by a car while riding your motor scooter, like the Clearwater man on March 29th, you may be entitled to compensation from the driver that hit you even if you were not wearing a helmet or did not have a valid license. There are very specific laws about moped and scooter accidents and compensation for injuries in the State of Florida. There are also specific regulations under Florida No-fault/ Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP) laws that pertain specifically to mopeds and scooters. The personal injury lawyers at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA understand these laws and regulations and can apply them to your case in order to protect your rights.

Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney

When you are involved in a collision with a vehicle while riding a moped or motor scooter, it is likely that you sustained very serious injuries. In many instances, a vehicle/scooter collision results in brain injury, lacerations, broken bones and even permanent disabilities on the part of the scooter driver.  You will need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help investigate the facts of your case and to walk you through the process of determining if the vehicle driver is liable for your injuries and damages. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900



[1] http://patch.com/florida/clearwater/serious-crash-causing-belcher-road-delays-0?utm_source=newsletter-daily&utm_medium=email&utm_term=police%20%26%20fire&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=article-topstories
[2] http://www.myfloridalegal.com/ago.nsf/Opinions/72FF3C2F02DCFF6B85256DAC005CCF33
[3] http://www.flhsmv.gov/courts/latestinfo/ScootersSegwaysMopedsandElectricBicycles.pdf