Electric Scooters

Significant Gap in Legal Awareness Revealed: Only 24.5% Familiar with E-Scooter Laws

A recent survey conducted among 1000 U.S. electric scooter riders has uncovered a significant gap in legal awareness. Only 24.5% of riders consider themselves 'very familiar' with local laws.

Girl from ERideHero riding an electric scooter in the rain wearing a helmet to comply with local laws
Founder & EV Reviewer
We earn commissions from links on our site, enabling us to deliver independent reviews. See our editorial policy. for more details.

Cities are transforming with the rise of micromobility. As electric scooters gain momentum, states respond with new laws. But the critical question remains: how effective are they?

Our comprehensive survey of 1,000 U.S. electric scooter riders offers a unique window into the real-world impact of these laws, revealing how riders adapt and where the gaps lie in legislation, enforcement, and public awareness.

The survey also sheds light on helmet usage habits and riders' perceived safety, offering a holistic view of urban scooter use in the United States.

Key Findings from the Survey

Here is a summary of the main takeaways from our survey of 1,000 electric scooter owners/renters across the US.

  • Only 24.5% are 'very familiar' with local laws, revealing a significant gap in legal awareness. The informational gap increases with rider age. Males are generally more familiar with local law.
  • Almost half (47.4%) admit to occasional non-compliance with laws.
  • Renters (57.4%) are more likely to follow laws than owners (47.8%).
  • The primary reasons for non-compliance are:
    • Lack of knowledge (37.1%)
    • Convenience and time-saving (25.1%)
    • Laws viewed as unnecessary or overly restrictive (17.9%)
  • Half (49.1%) always use a helmet when riding. 29.6% do sometimes, while 21.3% never do.
  • Almost half (41.9%) report feeling 'somewhat safe' using an electric scooter, indicating a general sense of safety but with room for improvement. Perceived safety is higher in males and helmet users but decreases with age.

About the Survey

We surveyed 1,000 U.S. electric scooter riders, both owners and renters, about their knowledge of local laws, adherence to them, and reasons for occasional non-compliance.

Additionally, we gathered data on their helmet usage habits and feelings of safety for a comprehensive understanding.

Respondent data showed a balanced split between owners (50.2%) and renters (49.8%) of electric scooters, indicating equal popularity for both ownership and rental options. Respondents answering "None of the above" were excluded from the survey.

Pie chart depicting survey results on electric scooter ownership verses rental, with two slices representing the percentage of respondents who own and those who rent scooters
AnswersAnswers (%)Count
Own an e-scooter50.2%502
Rent an e-scooter49.8%498

Males are slightly more likely to own an e-scooter (53.2%), whereas females are more likely to rent (52.8%).

Only 24.5% Are Very Familiar With the Law

Bar chart depicting how familiar electric scooter riders in the US are with local laws, based on a survey by ERideHero with 1000 participants
AnswersAnswers (%)Count
Very familiar24.5%245
somewhat familiar54.8%548
Not familiar20.7%207

Irrespective of whether they own or rent, only a quarter of our surveyed riders, precisely 24.5%, reported being 'Very familiar' with the local laws governing electric scooter use.

This statistic highlights a significant gap in legal knowledge among scooter users. The majority of riders either possess only partial knowledge or are entirely unaware of the legal framework they are expected to navigate.

This lack of awareness underscores city authorities' and scooter companies' need for more effective communication strategies to ensure safer riding practices.

Ownership vs. rental: There is no notable difference in legal knowledge between electric scooter owners and renters.

Gender knowledge disparity: 29.7% of male riders report being 'very familiar' with scooter laws, higher than the 19.3% among female riders.

Age-related knowledge gap: 28.9% of riders aged 16-44 are 'very familiar' with scooter laws, compared to just 15.9% among those over 45.

Nearly 50% Admit to Occasional Law-Breaking

Bar chart depicting whether electric scooter riders in the US adhere to local laws and regulations
AnswersAnswers (%)Count

Our survey revealed a surprising trend: nearly half of the electric scooter riders confess to occasionally breaking the law while using their scooters.

This statistic reflects a significant compliance issue within the electric scooter community. Despite the majority showing some level of adherence, a substantial proportion of riders admit to deviating from legislation in place from time to time.

Compliance by ownership: 57.4% of renters consistently follow scooter laws, higher than 47.8% of owners, despite similar legal familiarity.

Age and compliance correlation: Higher law adherence with age; 47.2% of 16-44 year-olds always adhere, compared to 58% of those above 45.

Lack of Knowledge Is the Primary Reason Riders Break the Law

To understand why respondents break the law, we asked them to identify their primary reason for not adhering to the rules.

Bar chart depicting the primary reasons as to why surveyed electric scooter riders do not always adhere to local laws
AnswersAnswers (%)Count
Lack of knowledge about the laws37.1%176
Believe the laws are unnecessary or overly restrictive17.9%85
Convenience or time-saving25.1%119
Rarely or never encounter law enforcement15.8%75

As revealed by the responses, the predominant reason riders do not always adhere to the law is a lack of knowledge (37.1%). A significant portion of riders are not fully aware of the local regulations, leading them to violate these rules inadvertently.

This further underscores the urgent need for better education efforts by city authorities and scooter companies. Effective communication of legal requirements has the potential to decrease inadvertent law-breaking and contribute to safer, more responsible scooter use.

Owners and renters chose a 'Lack of knowledge about the laws' at 35.5% and 39.2%, respectively. This suggests that owners are not being adequately informed about local laws when purchasing an electric scooter.

One in four survey respondents (25.1%) selected 'Convenience and time-saving' as their main reason for occasionally disregarding local electric scooter laws. This trend suggests riders are willing to bend regulations for quicker commutes. Key factors influencing this choice include:

  • High top speeds: Their ability to exceed legal speed limits may tempt users to prioritize speed over compliance.
  • Inadequate infrastructure: A lack of bike lanes may lead riders to use sidewalks or shortcuts.
  • Low Risk Perception: Riders may underestimate the risks of accidents and legal repercussions (as 15.8% report to be their primary reason for bending the rules).

17.9% report that current 'laws are unnecessary or overly restrictive' as their primary reason. There is likely a perception that these regulations hinder scooters' practical and efficient use. They might see these laws as outdated or not aligned with the evolving nature of micromobility.

Gender perception of laws: 23% of male riders view scooter laws as unnecessary or overly restrictive, compared to 12.5% of female riders.

Law enforcement impact by age: 22.5% of riders over 45 cite infrequent law enforcement as their main reason for non-compliance, higher than the reported 13% among younger riders aged 16-44.

Half Sometimes Skip the Helmet

Bar chart depicting whether electric scooter riders use helmets
AnswersAnswers (%)Count
Yes, always49.1%491
No, never21.3%213

Safety gear is crucial for electric scooter riders, yet our survey uncovers a concerning trend. Nearly half of the respondents (49.1%) consistently prioritize their safety by always wearing a helmet. However, a significant proportion, 29.6%, admit to only sometimes using a helmet, indicating a casual approach to safety among many riders.

More alarmingly, 21.3% of riders report never wearing a helmet. This choice exposes them to higher risks of injury in case of accidents. The reasons behind this varied helmet usage could range from convenience and comfort to a perception of low risk, especially for short or familiar routes.

These findings highlight a need for increased awareness and possibly stricter enforcement of safety gear usage. Educational campaigns focusing on the risks of riding without helmets could be key in changing these attitudes and behaviors, ultimately leading to safer riding practices.

Helmet use by age: 45.9% of riders aged 16-34 always wear a helmet, increasing to 51.1% among those aged 35 and older.

Helmet use renters vs. owners: 53.6% of renters always wear a helmet, compared to 44.6% of owners.

Most Riders feel Somewhat Safe

Bar chart depicting how safe electric scooter riders feel from a scale of 1 to 5
AnswersAnswers (%)Count
1 (very unsafe)3.7%37
2 (somewhat unsafe)8.4%84
3 (neutral)24.9%249
4 (somewhat safe)41.9%419
5 (very safe)21.1%211

A significant number of riders feel safe to some degree. 41.9% feel "Somewhat safe," and 21.1% feel "Very safe," totaling 63% who positively perceive electric scooter safety.

A considerable 24.9% of respondents maintain a neutral view on safety, indicating neither strong feelings of safety nor significant concerns.

A smaller yet significant group expresses apprehensions, with 8.40% feeling "Somewhat unsafe" and 3.70% feeling "Very unsafe."

Helmet usage and safety perception: Helmet usage correlates with increased safety perception. 66.8% of consistent helmet users feel positive about safety, compared to 51.2% of non-helmet users.

Perceived safety by gender: 14.5% of female riders feel more or less unsafe, higher than 9.8% among male riders.

Safety perception by age: Perceived safety decreases with age. 8.9% of riders aged 16-44 feel more or less unsafe, compared to 18.3% of those aged 45 and older.

Want access to the full data? Reach us at contact@eridehero.com

Was this helpful?

Rasmus is the founder of ERideHero. Through half a decade, he has tested more than 110 electric rides across more than 6,400 miles. He handles the review process, content creation, and all things web and video.