If you’re looking to get something new for one of your family members or wish to get an electric scooter for yourself, we recently wrote an article about the best models out there, so make sure to check it out here.
Electric scooters can be more dangerous than they seem, especially when you use one to go from your home to your workplace every day. The longer you use a scooter, the higher the chances of getting involved in an accident. Most of the times, a helmet makes a real difference, saving your life in the case of a crash. Let’s find out together if you need to wear a helmet while riding your scooter.
What does the law say?
Each state and city within states has its own laws regarding electric scooters and that is because these means of transport have become popular recently. That is why, before buying a scooter, you must check your local law and first make sure that you are allowed to ride one.
When discussing the issue of wearing a helmet or not, states have different laws too. In New York State, for example, you aren’t required to wear a helmet while riding a motorized scooter unless you are under 14, but the reality is that you aren’t allowed to ride an e-scooter on public roads or bicycle lanes. So this regulation is a bit misleading.
The situation is somewhat similar in Washington DC, where you aren’t required to wear any kind of headgear while riding a scooter. However, the state also says that you can’t ride one unless you’re 16 or older.
California is known for its slightly lighter laws when it comes to transportation methods, and it allows you to ride an electric scooter; however, it requires you to wear a bicycle helmet that’s properly fastened and fitted.
Because electric scooters are a recent thing, most states don’t have the laws ready for them and you will have to do a lot of research to find out if your state allows you to ride a scooter and if it requires you to wear a helmet or not. Furthermore, cities also have the possibility to pass regulations that can force you to wear a helmet.
The best thing to do is get informed on the law in your area. The police will usually not stop you when riding an e-scooter, but it’s better to wear a helmet just to be sure.
Reports say you should
In a study conducted in Austin, Texas over a period of 87 days, researchers found out that there were 271 accidents involving a person that was riding an electric scooter. Taking into account that this was the first study of this kind, these numbers don’t mean much; however, what’s more important is the information that was gathered in those 87 days.
What was really interesting in this investigation was the fact that about 45% of the people involved in accidents had head injuries. Astonishingly, only 1% of them were wearing helmets. You can thus start to realize that helmets can prove to be really important when riding a scooter.
15% of those that suffered from head injuries had traumatic brain injuries, and that is really alarming. The study also found out that for every 100,000 trips, there were 20 injuries. This means that the longer you ride your scooter, the higher the chances are of you getting involved in an accident and possibly suffering from some sort of injury.
A big factor that affected the prevalence of injuries was the fact that those involved in the accidents had little experience with riding a scooter or something similar. Many people associate this device with a toy, but in reality, this is like a mini-motorcycle that is part of the traffic.
Many of the scooter riders that were interviewed said they only did some practice runs in their yard or in front of their home, or just checked the in-app safety guidelines. Good preparation and some solid training will help those that have never ridden such a vehicle.
Fortunately, cars and other large vehicles that take part in the traffic are involved in only 16% of the accidents where scooterists suffer injuries. That is good news. The bad part is that most accidents were caused by poor infrastructure, things like potholes or pavement cracks, that are hard to avoid when you’re inexperienced and you move on a hard-to-steer scooter.
Being safe is cool
So what can we learn from all of this? Well, although wearing a helmet might not be a requirement in your state, it’s best that you do it if you want to keep yourself safe. Furthermore, taking into account that 45% of the accidents resulted in a person having head injuries, it’s safe to say that a helmet will reduce the risk of you getting injured considerably.
Although advertising companies don’t portray scooter riders wearing helmets, it’s better to be safe than look cool, yet risk being injured. Sure, the helmet will probably mess your hair, or you might feel stupid wearing it, but being safe is the right thing to do.
That is especially true if you ride your scooter a lot and you know you go through packed traffic. When moving alongside bigger and faster vehicles, wearing a helmet will make you feel a lot better. Learning how to ride the scooter first is a must, but even when you’re an expert, you may still have to face the unexpected and a helmet will help you in those nasty moments.
You might be used with going at speeds that are way faster than 15 mph, but on a scooter, where you have nothing to protect you, crashing at that speed will most likely result in a form of injury. That is especially true when considering that you will be going on hard asphalt most of the time.
Furthermore, helmets aren’t expensive and you can find one meeting requirements without any problem. You can also make that helmet look the way you want if you really care about looks that much.
Going the extra mile
Riding an electric scooter is very similar to riding a bike. That is why the protective equipment that will keep you safe on a bike can also be used when riding the scooter. Head injuries are serious issues; however, they are not the only kind of injuries that you can suffer while riding.
Fracturing a leg or a kneecap is also something that people want to avoid at all costs. That is why you can consider getting a pair of knee pads. Protecting your elbows is a great idea too and you can buy a pair of pads for them as well.
These are great accessories if you want to protect yourself in case of falls. Remember, 45% of accidents result in a head concussion, but the rest may result in a broken bone. Furthermore, the protective gear isn’t that uncomfortable.
Although the law is not ready yet to pass decisions regarding the use of a helmet, we strongly suggest that you keep yourself and others safe, you learn how to ride the scooter and most importantly, you wear protective gear.