Electric scooters are a great way to travel, and when they are ridden correctly they are also a very safe method of transport. According to a recent report, it is safer to do short journeys in urban areas on an electric scooter than by car or motorcycle, and the risk of an A&E visit for an escooter rider is similar to that for cyclists.
To make sure every escooter journey is all fun and no fuss, we have put together some hints and tips on how to stay safe as you travel.
Before you hit the road
1. Read the manual
We know, it’s not as exciting as just jumping straight on your escooter and heading off on your first adventure, but it’s really important to familiarise yourself with how your new electric scooter works. Everything you need to know will be in the manufacturer’s instructions and trust us, investing a few minutes to read it will make your first experience smoother, easier and safer.
2. Wear protective equipment
Before you set foot on your new electric scooter, you need to invest in some high quality protective gear. Electric scooters move fast, which make them brilliant fun but also mean you need to take precautions to effectively protect yourself in the event of a slip or fall.
The most essential piece of protective equipment you will need is a helmet. This is obviously important if you’re going to be anywhere with traffic, but is equally important for off road adventures.
As you will be travelling at speeds of up to 15mph, we strongly recommend that you invest in the best helmet you can afford, for complete head protection you can rely on – this really isn’t the area to save money.
While the most recent research suggests that a good quality bicycle helmet offers enough protection for low-speed electric scooter journeys, riders undertaking high speed journeys and escootering in urban areas should look at motorbike or moped helmets for increased protection.
This Pank Urban Helmet is a great mid-range choice, which is comfortable, lightweight and keeps your head nicely ventilated.
The Bell Custom 500 is a popular high-end choice. Lightweight and open faced, this helmet has impressive EPS shock absorption in the event of an accident. It looks really good too.
Why not choose a convenient folding cycle helmet to complement your folding escooter? The Closca Bike & Scooter Helmet folds down flat to fit in a backpack, locker or desk drawer.
Want lights, Bluetooth and SOS capabilities built in to your helmet? Choose this Livall Helmet – use a simple handlebar control to let other road users know where you’re going!
Whichever helmet you choose, owning it isn’t enough, you need to wear it even on short journeys, so make sure you pick one that you like and look good in. Other protective equipment worth considering includes elbow and knee pads – especially important for high speed journeys – and gloves which improve handlebar grip.
3. Check your escooter
Tyres:Are they well inflated? Under-inflated tyres change how your electric scooter handles and can affect the mileage you can achieve in each journey. They can also leave you stranded with a flat tyre far from home. Are the tyres free from wear and tear? Is there plenty of tread?
Battery:This sounds obvious, but does your escooter have enough charge to get you to your destination? And home again? Don’t risk running out of power and finding yourself stuck at the side of the road.
Brakes & Throttle:It’s important to check that these are both working efficiently before you leave the house – discovering your throttle is sticking when you’re half way to work is far from ideal.
Frame:Check that your escooter is fully unfolded and secured into the correct position to ride. It’s also worth carrying out a quick visual check to make sure there’s no damage or obvious wear and tear.
4. Get plenty of practise
Electric scooters have incredibly intuitive controls, and are easy for riders of any age to get to grips with relatively quickly.
When you first ride your new electric scooter – take it slow! Get used to the accelerator and brakes at low speeds to begin with until you get used to how the escooter handles. Once you’re comfortable with stopping and starting in an open space, practise accelerating and braking, turning and manoeuvring around obstacles. Make sure you spend time practising on a range of different surfaces too – the way your electric scooter handles will be different on smooth road surfaces compared to forest tracks. Take the opportunity to go over ridges and bumps to get to know how your escooter responds.
When you're out and about
5. Road conditions
As a beginner, it’s probably best to avoid riding your electric scooter on wet or icy roads. During and immediately after downpours, the road surface becomes slippery, no matter how good your tyres are. If you’re caught out in the rain, take it slow and steady for the rest of your journey, take any turns slowly and brake well in advance to avoid slipping.
Along with slippery roads and poor visibility, riding in torrential rain or heavy snow can cause damage to your electric scooter, so should be avoided if possible. It’s also a bad idea to use your escooter during thunder and lightning storms.
6. Night riding
If you’re riding your electric scooter in the dark, make sure your lights are clearly visible to other road users. This is also really important in low light situations and poor weather. While most electric scooters have both front and back lights, if you are doing a lot of riding after dark it may be worth adding some reflectors to your escooter so you can be seen more easily.
As well as making sure the scooter is visible, it is a good idea to wear some reflective clothing when you’re out after dark. Reflective jackets no longer have to be luminous yellow – this Reflective Silver Jacket is hard to miss! There are also some brilliant LED reflective belts that can be charged by USB. As mentioned above, it’s also worth considering a helmet with lights to keep you well illuminated.
7. Road awareness
Grates and manhole covers:Remember that your electric scooter has small tyres, which makes riding over grates harder, and metal covers can be slippery – try to give yourself space to go around them.
Potholes:Uneven surfaces and holes in the road are uncomfortable enough in cars – they really should be avoided on an electric scooter, as they may cause you to lose control.
Puddles:How deep is that puddle? Are you sure? Puddles can hide potholes – see above!
Rocks and stones:Whether they are flying up at you or jamming your wheels, avoid rocks and stones as you ride wherever possible.
By keeping your eyes and ears open, you will soon learn to fit in with the flow of people and vehicles, keeping you safe and protected from unnecessary accidents.
8. Riding responsibly
Knowing that your scooter is in perfect working order, and that you have it under full control will make every ride more enjoyable. By following these safety tips, we hope that every journey you make on your electric scooter will be a great adventure, for all the right reasons!