Many urban residents are learning to appreciate the benefits of Vespas, mopeds, and other gas-powered scooters. They are economical, environmentally friendly, and an excellent alternative for commuting and running errands.

However, there are several hazards associated with scooter riding. For example, cars do not always notice scooters, leading to accidents that severely injure riders.

Call an attorney immediately if you were hurt in a Vespa/motor scooter accident in Houston. A motorcycle crash lawyer could explain your legal alternatives and help you file a claim against the negligent party that caused your accident. If successful, you may be able to collect compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.

What are the Laws Governing Motorized Scooters?

The law defines scooters as self-propelled, low-powered vehicles with no more than three wheels. Their cylinder capacity must be 50cc or less—any bike with a larger engine is a motorcycle under Texas law. Applying this standard, a Vespa could be a scooter or a motorcycle, depending on the engine size of the specific model.

Scooter operators must have a driver’s license but do not need an M-Class license, as motorcycle riders do. Owners must register scooters to operate them on public roads, which requires proof of liability insurance. Additionally, scooter riders under 18 must always wear helmets. However, riders 18 and older must wear helmets unless they can show that they completed an approved motorcycle safety course or have health insurance.

Scooter riders must obey all traffic laws. If traffic is faster than a scooter, the rider must stay as far to the right as possible unless an obstruction or unsafe condition requires them to travel in the traffic lane. That said, riders may not operate scooters on interstate highways. Without knowing these laws, many riders may become victims of severe collisions, so it is crucial to understand the rules and regulations surrounding scooter operation in Houston.

How do Scooter Accidents Occur in Houston?

Motor scooters are small, and typically, riders stay to the far right when operating them. Drivers often focus on cars ahead or behind and often fail to notice a scooter in the lane next to them. A careless or distracted driver could sideswipe a scooter or run it off the road.

Similarly, cars making turns often do not see scooters, cutting them off or colliding with them. In stop-and-go traffic, scooters are vulnerable to being rear-ended by motorists. Their small size makes it easy for scooters to be hidden in larger vehicles’ blind spots, meaning cars could merge into scooters or back into them when exiting a parking spot.

Scooter riders must be proactive to be safe. Wearing bright colors or bold patterns, including reflective stripes or patches, could increase a rider’s visibility. Additionally, all motor scooters and Vespas must use a headlight when operating at night and have rear reflectors. Finally, local riders should drive their scooters defensively, recognizing they could suffer severe injuries in horrific collisions.

How to Claim Damages After a Scooter Accident

Any rider who suffers injuries in a scooter crash that was not their fault should contact a hardworking attorney in Houston immediately. A legal professional could review the accident’s circumstances, identify liable parties, and contact at-fault parties to inform them of the claim. These claims could include an injured person’s demand for damages, including compensation for the following:

  • Property damage
  • Medical costs
  • Future injury-related healthcare expenses
  • Lost income
  • Diminished future earning capacity
  • Mental and emotional suffering
  • Physical pain
  • Inconvenience

Depending on the extent of their injuries, an injured scooter or Vespa operator could also claim damages for scarring, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

Texas Civil Practice Law and Rules §16.003 allows an injured person only two years to bring a lawsuit after a vehicle accident. Although most injury claims do not end up in court, a viable lawsuit threat could help leverage negotiations with the responsible party’s insurance company.

Contact a Houston Attorney After a Vespa or Scooter Accident

Scooters have many practical benefits, but those benefits often come with risks. For example, car and truck drivers are less attuned to scooters on the roads than they are to larger motor vehicles.

If you suffered injuries in a Vespa/motor scooter accident in Houston, get in touch with a local injury lawyer at Roberts Markland LLP as soon as you can. With their help, you could seek compensation from the parties whose carelessness led to your injuries. Call now to speak with a seasoned attorney.