In a pivotal ruling on Tuesday by the New Jersey Supreme Court, accidents involving motorized scooters have been distinctly categorized as not falling under the umbrella of pedestrian accidents In David Goyco v. Progressive Insurance Company, the court held that a LSES (“low-speed electric scooter”) rider does not fall within the definition of “pedestrian” for purposes of the No-Fault Act. Therefore, Goyco, the plaintiff in the case, is not entitled to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. This classification has significant implications for PIP insurance coverage, which traditionally covers medical expenses for injuries incurred in auto accidents regardless of fault.

Case Overview: New Jersey Supreme Court Ruling

Goyco involved an individual injured while operating a motorized scooter who sought to claim PIP benefits under their auto insurance policy. The core legal question was whether a motorized scooter operator should be considered a pedestrian under New Jersey state law.  The court concluded that motorized scooters, due to their powered nature, do not fit the legal definition of a "pedestrian." As a result, individuals involved in motorized scooter accidents are not entitled to PIP benefits.

Definition and Impact of the Ruling

In New Jersey, PIP coverage typically applies to occupants of a car, pedestrians struck by vehicles, and other non-vehicular scenarios envisioned within the broader auto insurance framework.  As New Jersey lawyer Michael J. Epstein points out, “The court's decision underscores a legal interpretation that differentiates between human-powered mobility (such as walking and perhaps cycling) and motorized forms of transport.” In Goyco, the New Jersey Supreme Court noted that motorized scooters entail a different set of risks and traffic dynamics compared to pedestrians. By this classification, scooter riders, while relatively vulnerable in traffic, are considered more akin to vehicle operators and thus are expected to rely on other forms of insurance, such as health insurance or specialized motor vehicle insurance for coverage against accident-related injuries.

Comparative Analysis: Laws in Other States

The categorization of motorized scooters and eligibility for PIP benefits vary significantly across the United States:


In California, for example, electric scooters are classified under the vehicle code, and operators must adhere to similar regulations as bicyclists. While PIP is not mandatory in California, those who opt for it would likely not see it extend to scooter accidents unless explicitly mentioned in the policy.

New York

In New York, motorized scooters are also classified separately from pedestrians. The state does not require mandatory PIP coverage for scooters; instead, liability and health insurance are the primary means of financial protection against injuries.


Florida requires PIP coverage for all owners of motor vehicles, including specific provisions for motorized scooters. However, the application of these provisions can vary, often requiring an additional reading of individual insurance policies to determine the extent of the coverage.

Implications for Scooter Riders and Insurance Policies

The New Jersey Supreme Court's decision prompts a reconsideration of how motorized scooters are insured and regulated. It may lead to calls for legislative updates to better reflect the growing popularity and unique risks associated with this mode of transport. Additionally, it raises awareness among scooter operators about the need for appropriate insurance coverage, which may not be automatically included in standard auto or health insurance plans. From Epstein’s perspective, “Cyclists get PIP, which I think is a good thing. Having handles many of these types of cases, without PIP, the person injured on their scooter has to look to health insurance. Now they should know that if they’re on a scooter and get hurt, health insurance is the option if they have it.”

Moving Forward

The decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court is a crucial legal development in the evolving landscape of urban mobility and insurance. It highlights the necessity for clear regulations and insurance provisions that address the specificities of modern transport methods, such as motorized scooters.  As states grapple with similar issues, this ruling could serve as a precedent, influencing further legal and regulatory frameworks elsewhere. Riders, lawmakers, and insurers alike must adapt to these changes, ensuring both safety and adequate protection for all road users.

About Aron Solomon

A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the chief strategy officer for Amplify. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Newsweek, Fast Company, Fortune, Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, Abogados, Today’s Esquire, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal,, The Boston Globe, and many other leading publications across the globe.