Electric Scooter Safety for Beginners: Things to consider
As cliche as it might sound, safety should be a number one priority while riding an electric scooter. Electric scooters can reach high speeds and various accidents can happen. So, you should always wear an appropriate protective gear and be ready for unexpected accidents. Especially if you are just starting out and have never ridden an electric scooter before. So, in this article I’ll share my own electric scooter safety tips:
- What are the most common hazards?
- Do you need to wear a helmet?
- Do you need any other protective gear?
If you have any other question, unrelated with safety, you can check frequently asked questions about electric scooters.
So, without any further ado, let’s get to the first question.
What are the most common hazards driving an electric scooter?
The most common hazards that happen with the use of electric scooters are as follows:
- Many times, riders apply excessive throttle from dead stops. This leads to the scooter getting accelerated a bit too quickly, leading to quick movement of the vehicle. However, inertia keeps your body at rest and this leads to sudden jerks in the riding experience. This mistake usually happens when the throttle and the controller are not dialed in properly and therefore, the throttle is not twitchy. You must always remember not to apply throttle before you start moving. Moreover, avoid any chances of a wheelie by leaning forward on the handles. Many people commit a mistake of not having a switch that has multiple levels of power to be selected.
- Some scooter owners also twist the throttle even when the scooter is parked. What happens is that the owner is prepared for the scooter to move, and yet it accelerates. This leads to accidents and the problem gets aggravated because the scooters are usually silent in nature. So, you won’t even get to know when the scooter is turned on and when off. Still, since the scooter does not move at too high speeds, the kind of injuries resulting from such an error is less severe in nature. Ensure that you turn off your scooter whenever it’s not in use. You should also try buying such electric scooters that don’t get power until you reach 5 mph.
- Mistreatment of the batteries can also lead to accidents. The lithium batteries are highly combustible and such fire accidents related to batteries happens when the scooter is being charged. You must take utmost caution while charging your scooter and keep it away from other highly combustible items. Therefore, you must not overcharge your batteries and must not build your own battery pack. Get a reliable battery from a reputed seller.
- High speed on the roads can often lead to accidents. The other drivers on the road may not have a correct assessment of your speed and may even underestimate an electric scooter. But if you happen to overtake them at high speed, it can make them panic when they see you approaching and the result may be a collision. Many riders do the mistake of not having a bell or horn on their scooters. It is always advisable to honk before you overtake anyone.
- Many riders of electric scooters don’t even understand that gravity can play a spoilsport. Descending at high speeds downhill is bound to lead to accidents as the scooters go out of control.
Is electric scooter legal on sidewalks?
Many riders of electric scooters have a knack of riding on the sidewalks. While it may sound and look quite exciting, yet rules are rules. Sidewalks are reserved for walking purpose and are not intended for anything with wheels. The scooters come in the category of bikes and therefore, are not permitted to be present on the sidewalks. Unless, there is a designated track for bicycles.
If you ride on the pavements, there are high chances that you will hit someone on the way. Moreover, even the pedestrians won’t anticipate an electric scooter coming right in front of them. People usually walk in both directions on a sidewalk. This makes it quite difficult to maneuver an electric scooter on the pathways. Do remember, if you hit someone on the sidewalk, the penalties that you will have to pay and the repercussions that you will face are numerous and severe.
However, you are free to ride your electric scooter on a bicycle track if there is one. The problem arises because of the presence of a motor inside the scooter. The non-motorized scooters which are human propelled are allowed to on the sidewalks. This is because the non-motorized vehicles are not counted in the same category as the motorized ones and this makes them exempted. The electric scooters however, are included in the regulations. Transit code section 7.2.13 in California restricts usage of electric scooters on the pathways. Some people may find it uneasy as the motorized wheelchairs are allowed on sidewalks and are certainly exempted from these sections.
You can dock your electric scooter anywhere where it is safe. It can be near your home, at shops or even in the neighborhood. The scooters go up to a speed of 15-25 mph, and therefore, it is extremely important that you handle them with care on the roads. Keep the scooter away from the handicapped people plying on wheelchairs and away from strollers. Many parents take the strollers on the sidewalks. Safety requirements need that you stay away from strollers as a single collision is enough to make matters worse. Therefore, sidewalks may not be your best friends if you have an electric scooter.
Do I have to wear a helmet on an electric scooter?
There are many people who refrain from wearing a helmet while riding an electric scooter. However, they don’t understand that an electric scooter is just like another bike. No wonder, it goes at moderate speed and does not have too high of the momentum, yet it is still a vehicle. It is counted as a motorized vehicle under the traffic laws. This makes it quite necessary for people to wear helmet when riding an electric scooter. People usually associate helmets with vehicles that run on fuel. Since the electric scooters don’t run on gas, people usually perceive them as less risky and less accident prone. This makes them avoid helmets.
Yes, you have to wear a helmet riding an electric scooter. Even though it is not always required by the law. The “low speed” make people believe that even if they collide with anything, they won’t get hurt. And yet, there have been numerous instances where people have got injured badly because of the collisions that their electric scooter had with other vehicles or pedestrians. (If they are riding on the sidewalks by mistake)
Take it in writing from me, helmets are highly advisable for electric scooter safety. Even the bicycle riders wear helmets, then why cannot the electric scooter riders? You must choose a helmet very carefully. It must be quite sturdy and must be able to bear the impact of collisions. Your head’s safety depends on the reliability of the helmet. The problem is with the traffic police who does not penalize the electric scooter riders if they don’t wear helmets. But still for your own safety, make helmets regular part of your rides and get others to wear them too.
How to choose the right helmet for an electric scooter?
You must keep the following factors in mind while selecting a helmet for your safety.
- The helmet must fit correctly on your head and it must be a full-face helmet. An ill-fitting helmet is certain to be flung away during a collision, leaving your head exposed to injuries.
- Try a flip-front model if you wear pair of glasses. These are a bit heavier but quite convenient for people with glasses. Avoid open-face helmets, even if they look cool. They don’t do much justice.
- Try buying a helmet from a good brand. The company’s reputation matters a lot. Moreover, you must be sure of the reviews that the company has got in the past for its products. You can talk to other fellow riders and take their opinion on it too.
Do I need elbow or knees protection?
Yes. Your electric scooter goes at almost the same speed as your bicycle. All kinds of protection that you need for your bicycle are required for your electric scooters too. If you ever fall while riding an electric scooter, you may end up bruising your hands and legs. This can also lead to severe injuries if you fall on a relatively hard surface.
Moreover, your legs and knees can also get badly injured. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to protect your limbs and wear protection on knees and elbows. Get good quality knee pads and elbow pads to get your body protected. A little bit of safety precaution can mean a world of difference to your life and wellness.
I hope you find those electric scooter safety tips useful. Having an electric scooter can be a bliss, especially when you know how to be safe with it’s usage. Electric scooter safety should be your number one priority. Protect not only yourself but people who are around you. Alway be alert and ready for an unexpected to happen. I wish you a happy and safe experience! See you around.