Riders who want to use a Razor 300 or any other such scooter usually need to have a valid driver’s license and wear safety equipment. Scooters can be dangerous for both pedestrians if used on sidewalks, and car drivers and the number of accidents show this reality. That’s why cities such as Miami have had them banned altogether for a while.
Electric scooters are becoming increasingly popular in urban settings since they are a comfortable way to get around crowded cities. After all, who would want to be stuck in traffic, when you can simply swoosh by cars, without worrying that you might not make it to work on time?
Originally seen as a toy for teenagers, scooters have gained a lot of popularity among adults as well, with manufacturers developing more reliable and powerful models that can go for longer distances. However, those who want to give them a try should be aware that many times there are local regulations stating what safety measures need to be met before riding a scooter.
Rules when riding a scooter
Unfortunately, not all riders follow the rules, and this can often result in accidents that are not at all fun, either for the user or for those around him or her. Since these motorized vehicles can attain rather impressive speeds for their construction and size, going around without wearing a helmet is never a good idea.
But many riders feel that using safety equipment is not mandatory, as these are not as dangerous as, say, a car or a motorcycle. However, what you should keep in mind is that when riding an electric scooter, your body is fully exposed in case of an accident. And since they are used in traffic as well, a collision with a car can result in some pretty serious injuries.
As it’s the case in many other aspects of our lives within cities, using a scooter the right way and preventing such situations is a matter of being a responsible rider and of protecting yourself and those around you.
Some argue that scooters should be banned from cities, and it has actually been the case in some, but the truth is that these vehicles do make our lives easier, so they are probably here to stay.
College campuses are definitely a target audience for businesses that promote scooters, but some say that companies renting scooters are taking advantage of a regulatory void in terms of taxes, while not promoting responsible behavior among riders. On the other hand, doctors say that accidents are piling up, blaming businesses for not asking the right questions first.
The comparison made by specialists is with the drones industry since these flying items have the ability to injure passers-by as well. These are not regulated in certain areas either, but businesses continue selling them.
While we need to acknowledge the fact that both scooters and drones are not going to go anywhere from the consumer’s life, handling them in a responsible manner is crucial in order to ensure everyone remains safe at all times.
One of the biggest arguments made against companies that rent scooters is that they don’t take responsibility for any injury, property damage, or death that might result from using their services. While it’s true that companies cannot influence a rider’s behavior, some rules or maybe a ranking system could be used to prevent the more reckless ones from hurting others.
Moreover, if you decide to rent a scooter and ride around the city, you may want to check with your insurance company beforehand and see if any injuries resulted from an accident related to using the vehicle are covered. Some users have had the surprise to discover that they are on their own after suffering accidents while riding scooters.
Meanwhile, doctors are seeing more and more people that come to the ER with injuries such as broken bones and road rash, while certain cases are even more severe. Even though some companies that rent these scooters do require users to be 18 or older, have a driver’s license, wear a helmet, and stay off the sidewalk, many riders ignore these rules.
Car drivers need to become aware of scooters as well, since this is a rather new type of motorized vehicle taking over the cities, and the number of users is increasing. Most probably the local administrations will soon need to come up with solutions as well, if they are not already being put in place, to ensure special street markings for scooters and other such vehicles.
In case you are thinking about using a scooter for your daily commute, you should bear in mind that a human figure riding such a vehicle is less likely to be seen by drivers than a bicyclist. Visual perceptions such as the ones we spot with the peripheral vision can sometimes be inaccurate, and since they are key to staying safe in traffic, they can contribute to accidents.
What about nonriders?
Using a scooter means that you need to be very careful about those who are not on a motorized vehicle as well. Probably sensing that they are more exposed to risks on the road, some riders choose to use the sidewalks instead, going as fast as 15 mph. Of course, this means an increased risk of knocking down baby carriages or pedestrians.
Many cities have local regulations when it comes to e-scooters, and one of them is usually that these vehicles cannot be used on the sidewalks. The bad news is that riders don’t always follow the law. Another concern related to scooters is that users might and sometimes do discard them on the sidewalk, where workers collect them for recharging overnight.
As you can imagine, this increases the risk of accidents, since they can get in the way, while also hindering pedestrians who are not following the same trend. Conversations about these devices have developed in media and politics as well, with some claiming that stronger regulations need to be put in place, and other thinking they should be banned altogether.
The debate is still going strong since the fact remains that when used in a safe and proper way, scooters are an excellent alternative to commuting to work, since they take up less space and are less polluting than other motorized alternatives.
How do cities respond to this?
Miami banned scooters altogether for a while, while San Diego started handing out tickets to those riders who were not wearing a helmet. San Francisco put on the brakes on rental services as well, when certain companies started operating within the city without asking.
While e-scooters are certainly handy, you need to make sure that you follow the local regulations when using one. Some of these rules that are commonly enforced in cities that allow scooters on the streets include wearing a helmet at all times, avoiding the sidewalk in order to protect pedestrians, and owning a driver’s license.
Moreover, you should not transport another person on a motorized vehicle, unless its construction allows it by having a dedicated space to stand on. The solution is in a joint effort of local administrations, riders, and companies that offer scootering-related services, in order to make the streets safe for everyone.
Pedestrians need to be protected as well, while car drivers have to become aware that scooters are part of the traffic. Therefore, bear in mind that in order for everyone to benefit from the presence of these vehicles, being responsible about riding them is the first and most important step.
Of course, children should not be allowed to use e-scooters in crowded cities or outside of them, especially without supervision, while adult riders might need to accessorize their scooters a bit, adding lights and a registration plate, in case this is required by local laws. Avoiding a costly fine is always a better idea, since getting a scooter registered is usually cheaper.