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Gov. Brown loosens electric scooter rules

Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday changing several regulations about the electric scooters purveyed by SF-based startups like Bird and Spin and doing away with some others, including allowing adults to scoot sans helmet.

The bill, AB 2989, would have once permitted scooter use on sidewalks as well, but the final version did away with that element.

In part, the legislation reads:

This bill would permit a local authority to authorize the operation of a motorized scooter on a highway with a speed limit of up to 35 miles per hour and would additionally allow for operation of a motorized scooter on a highway with a higher speed limit if the motorized scooter is operated within a Class IV bikeway.

[…] The bill would require the operator of a motorized scooter to wear a helmet only if the operator is under 18 years of age.

Simple observation reveals that few e-scooter users in SF bothered with the helmets anyway, so presumably even fewer will notice the rule change.

For the record, a February 2018 study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Surgical Research examined 3,080 cases of patients treated for cycling related injuries and found that patients who wore a helmet were significantly less likely to suffer traumatic brain injury.

Curbed LA notes that the new law doesn’t go into effect until January 1.

Along with the previous sidewalk shenanigans, AB 2989 also once would have required a driver’s license for scooter use, but that bit got the axe too.

San Joaquin Valley representative Heath Flora (R) introduced AB 2989 in February. It passed 33-2 in the State Senate in August, and unanimously in its final Assembly vote a week later.

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