View Full Version : Scooters in bike lanes?

07-14-2011, 08:26 AM
I was wondering if it's legal for motor scooters to use bike lanes. There was a guy in a gas-powered scooter cruising the bike lane on 4th street NE this morning. I told him he didn't belong.

On one hand, I'm sure scooter riders get bullied by cars and trucks as much as bikes. So I have a little bit of sympathy. On the other hand, we have so little infrastructure set aside for bike use that I'd rather not see start to see scooters, and then motorcycles, and then smart cars, and then pretty much every body squeezing out what little semi-protected space we have. Besides, his gas engine fumes stunk.

07-14-2011, 09:32 AM
There was an incongruous scooter chained to the bike parking at vienna metro the other day. I guess some people are confused about whether they're riding a bike.

07-14-2011, 11:08 AM
Don't get me started on scooters. In Arlingotn, on my bike, I've had encounters with them ni bike lanes and on the Custis Trail. (As a pedestrian, I've had to dodge one on a sidewalk, too.)

07-14-2011, 01:50 PM
IIRC it's legal in DC if your motor is under 49cc. Segways are also allowed. I see this all the time on the Hill, in fact one of my neighbors is a Segway commuter.

07-14-2011, 02:50 PM
Thanks DaveK. I may owe a scooter rider an apology (at least if his motor was small enough). I guess that means electric scooters are OK regardless?

07-14-2011, 04:59 PM
I would think so, I think the rule is written as motorized vehicles "under 50cc or not capable of more than 35mph". Segways are actually called out separately in the statues. I can't find a link to it but I know I've read through it a couple of times.

07-14-2011, 05:56 PM
Virginia law states that mopeds are allowed on bike lanes:

- A bike lane is defined as that portion of a roadway designated by signs and/or pavement markings for the preferential use of bicycles, electric power-assisted bicycles, and mopeds.

- A shared use path is defined as a bikeway that is physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or barrier and is located either within the highway right-of-way or within a separate right-of way. Shared use paths may also be used by pedestrians, skaters, users of wheel chair conveyances, joggers, and other nonmotorized users.

"Moped" means every vehicle that travels on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground that has (i) a seat that is no less than 24 inches in height, measured from the middle of the seat perpendicular to the ground and (ii) gasoline, electric, or hybrid motor that displaces less than 50 cubic centimeters. Moped operators must be at least 16 years old and must carry some form of identification that includes name, address, and date of birth. A moped is considered a vehicle while operated on a highway. Mopeds can not be ridden on sidewalks or bike paths. Some localities in Northern Virginia may impose restrictions on the operation of mopeds. Localities can require additional safety equipment for moped operation.

07-14-2011, 06:23 PM
Does this mean that a jet-powered motorcycle or Tesla-cycle is a moped since they have no displacement?

07-14-2011, 10:50 PM
I saw some clueless guy riding a moped on the MVT near Gravelly Point last year, heading south toward the airport. I told him that he wasn't supposed to be on the trail with a motorized vehicle. He just sped off in the other direction and ignored me.

07-15-2011, 07:33 AM
Some localities in Northern Virginia may impose restrictions on the operation of mopeds. Localities can require additional safety equipment for moped operation.

This is an important qualifier - I'm not sure what other measures Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, etc have imposed, if any. Anyone know?