You might rent or own a Vespa or motor scooter because you enjoy the smooth engine and cool look. You might also enjoy the experience of defying gravity in the open air as you feel the cool Clearwater Beach breeze during a late-night drive.

As you cruise the city, you might be involved in a collision with a reckless motorist. Unfortunately, Vespa/motor scooter accidents in Clearwater are all too common. Many automobile drivers fail to pay attention to or look out for smaller vehicles on the road. When you or a loved one are involved in this type of wreck, reach out to an experienced motorcycle crash attorney at our firm for help seeking financial recovery.

What Is a Vespa/Motor Scooter?

Florida law does not distinguish between motorcycles and many motor scooters. Its only distinction is engine displacement. If the displacement of a two- or three-wheeled vehicle is more than 50 cubic centimeters, a person must have a motorcycle endorsement to drive the vehicle.

Motor Scooters

Motor scooters feature a step-through body, while mopeds and motorcycles feature a traditional saddle-type over-body seat. Scooters have twist-and-go throttles—rather than an automatic drive train—and hand-activated breaks. Plus, their engines are generally larger than mopeds.


Vespa is a manufacturer. Best known for their scooters, Vespa manufactures a variety of mopeds and scooters. So, knowing the manufacturer does not always provide enough information to people who want to know if they need a motorcycle endorsement to operate that vehicle. Instead, they need to look at engine displacement. The operator needs a motorcycle endorsement if the engine displacement is above 50cc. If not, then the operator does not need the special endorsement.


In contrast, Florida Statutes § 320.01(27) considers a moped a vehicle with less than 50cc engine displacement. They generally have pedals, automatic power drive systems, no more than two brake horsepower, and a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. They must be registered if someone wants to drive them on the street, but they do not require a title like other motor vehicles.

Motorized Scooters

One confusing factor is that there is an entirely different class of motor vehicles known as motorized scooters. Similar to kick-scooters, these vehicles have no seats. The rider stands on them. However, unlike kick-scooters, motorized scooters have a power source that allows the rider to use them without the kick-motion. While these are technically motor vehicles, they do not fall under the category of motor vehicles for scooters or mopeds. Accidents with these vehicles are more similar to pedestrian or bicycle accidents than traditional motor scooter accidents in Clearwater.

Clearwater Vespa and Motor Scooter Laws

As Florida has become more populated, especially in booming areas like Clearwater, residents and tourists have turned to mopeds and motor scooters as a way to navigate traffic and secure parking spaces. These vehicles, like motorcycles, have plenty of advantages over traditional automobiles. They are lighter, less expensive to maintain, and easier to park.

However, many people lean towards these vehicles because they picture themselves nimbly moving in and out of traffic or navigating through traffic jams. Florida law explicitly prohibits these behaviors since it does not allow bikers or moped operators to split lanes, use the shoulder, or use sidewalks to avoid traffic.

Under Florida law, there is no technical difference between most scooters and motorcycles. If the vehicle’s engine displacement is more than 50cc, then the operator needs a motorcycle endorsement, must follow all traffic laws, and must follow any specific requirements for motorcycle operators.

Florida moped riders must register their vehicles at their local tax office but do not have to have a title. They cannot operate the vehicles in bike lanes or on sidewalks. Operators who are under 21 must have a special license plate indicating their age. Moped operators do not have to wear a helmet, but if they have any passengers under the age of 16, the passengers must wear a helmet.

Helmet Laws

Florida has some of the laxest helmet laws in the United States, which apply to scooter and motorcycle drivers. Adult drivers aged 21 or over do not have to wear a helmet. However, if they choose not to wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet, they must carry an insurance policy with at least $10,000 in medical benefits.

Titles and Registration

Motorcycles and scooters must have titles and be registered. If registered to a person under 21 years old, they must have special plates indicating the operator is under 21. They should be in good operating order, including a properly working horn and brakes. Plus, the license plate must be visible during regular operation.

Rules Around Headphones

Motorcycle and scooter operators need to be able to hear the traffic around them, so they cannot wear two earbuds. They can use other Bluetooth devices to listen to music or other sounds, or they can use a single earbud, as long as they leave one ear available to hear their surroundings.

Lane-Sharing Laws

One of the most important things to understand is Florida’s lane-sharing laws. Bikers can choose to share their lane with one other motorcycle or scooter. However, they cannot share a lane with an automobile. The law also explicitly prohibits lane splitting or driving on the shoulder. A person who does either of these things may be held liable in a Clearwater Vespa or scooter accident.

Insurance Requirements

Motorcyclists and scooter riders have different insurance requirements than automobile drivers. Florida law requires that drivers have no-fault insurance policies sufficient to cover minor injuries in the event of an accident. They can purchase supplemental coverage to pay for accident-related injuries, but their automobile insurance policies or required motorcycle liability policies do not provide this coverage.

Beware of Irresponsible Automobile Drivers

Mopeds and scooters are at a high risk of being hit by negligent automobile drivers. Some of the most common causes of Vespa and motor scooter crashes in Clearwater include:

  • Drivers not being cautious when driving through road work
  • Automobile drivers running red lights, failing to yield, and speeding through a crosswalk
  • Inattentive drivers whose minds are focused on texting or scrolling through social media platforms
  • Motorists who consume alcohol and drive above the legal limit or under the influence of illegal narcotics or prescribed pharmaceuticals
  • Motorists aggressively driving inches away from the back end of a Vespa or motor scooter in attempts to make them switch lanes so they can get ahead

The Aftermath of an Accident and Legal Recourse to Make Negligent Drivers Pay

Since scooterists navigate the road in small, open vehicles, a collision with a car can cause them devastating and life-threatening injuries and property damage. Harm such as blunt force trauma, which can:

  • Damage organs
  • Severe appendages
  • Result in a cracked spine
  • Lead to the tearing of back muscles
  • Lead to cognitive issues/memory loss

When you or a loved one are injured in a wreck while riding a Vespa or moped around Clearwater, you may be able to pursue compensation in a personal injury claim for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Long hospital stays and potential rehab
  • Time out of work, as well as mounting debts because of an inability to work

Our dedicated team of legal professionals at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys could help you hold the negligent driver financially accountable for the full extent of your losses.

Establishing Fault and Avoiding Contributory Negligence

One way to get the ball rolling on a negligence claim is to ensure the officer on the scene provides you with a copy detailing that the automobile driver was majority responsible for the accident. Alternatively, your attorney could request police records during the meticulous fact-gathering process. Two common counterclaims negligent auto drivers tend to make is one alleging that the other driver was contributorily negligent or is the one who is more at fault for the accident (FL. Stat. 768.81(6)).

After a motor scooter collision, it is best not to share too much information with the other driver. Once you are ready to take legal action, you should connect with a seasoned Vespa/scooter accident lawyer in Clearwater.

Contact a Clearwater Vespa/Motor Scooter Accident Attorney

Do not share more information than what is required to both the officer on the scene and hospital staff to avoid any potential admissions on your part. You can call, chat, or email to get in touch with one of our experienced attorneys. They have experience handling Vespa/motor scooter accidents in Clearwater and can do the talking for you and work to get you the fair compensation you need to recover. Schedule your free consultation now.

Perenich Law injury Attorneys

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