Electric scooters have grown quite popular over the past years, but so did the risk of getting injured while riding them. Using one of the best scooter helmets to protect you while commuting with your electric scooter is a great idea. However, there are plenty of other things you should take into account if you want to avoid an accident. Here are some tips to help you ride your electric scooter safely and avoid getting injured or hurting someone else.
Don’t ignore the importance of wearing a helmet
Many people tend to leave their helmet at home or don’t even buy one for their electric scooter. There are many different reasons behind this behavior and one of them is the fact that electric scooters are generally perceived as innocuous.
One of the factors that trigger this behavior is their relatively limited speed, in comparison with motorcycles or cars. Moreover, many persons simply use scooters for casual rides, which further increases the idea of safety. Finally, for many, the idea of wearing a helmet is simply not fashionable or comfortable.
Despite these multiple justifications, there is one good reason to always wear a helmet – namely, making sure you stay safe while riding. A helmet can protect you against head injuries, which are the most severe types of injuries you might get in an accident.
Unlike a broken arm or leg that will require some time to heal but doesn’t pose serious health risks, a head injury can be fatal or can cause permanent and irreversible damage. Even a plain stumble and fall accident that causes a head injury can mean weeks off work, pain, and a slow and frustrating recovery.
All these reasons are more than enough to make you want to get and wear a helmet if you are not doing this already. Moreover, electric scooter helmets are lightweight and fairly comfortable and once you wear one a couple of times, you will get used to having it on whenever you ride.
Use the scooter’s headlight or avoid low-light conditions
If you are using your scooter as a preferred transport means, you most likely have to ride in the morning and in the afternoon when you get back from work. This means that, at least in early spring and late autumn, you are going to ride in low-light conditions in the afternoon and evening.
Just like when you are driving a vehicle, it is necessary to make sure you are easily seen when you are riding a scooter in low-light conditions. Most electric scooters should be equipped with LED headlights so that you can increase your visibility in the evening. However, if your scooter doesn’t have this feature, it might be better to use it only during the day.
Riding without a headlight in the evening, even more so at night, is risky especially if you are venturing in areas that are not very well lit, such as country roads or city outskirts. The danger is also significant on busy roads where there is a lot of traffic and you could hurt someone or get hurt because you can’t be noticed in time.
Moreover, if you are riding on the cycling lane, you can easily get hit by a cyclist who can’t see you in the dark. Strangely enough, although you see people around on their electric scooter throughout the day, year-round, many don’t use headlights, which is one of the leading causes of evening-time scooter accidents.
Avoid tandem rides
Just like bicycles, electric scooters are by definition designed to be used by one individual only. Nonetheless, it is practically possible to ride together with someone else and you have probably seen parents carrying children on their scooter these days. No matter how fun or practical this solution may seem, remember that it is not very safe.
These products are intended for one person only and putting too much weight on them can cause different types of damage. You can even break your scooter if you repeatedly ride it with another person on board. Nonetheless, the biggest problem with this habit is that it is not safe.
When you ride in tandem, only one can basically be in charge of the scooter while the other person should simply allow themselves to be carried. This is difficult because each person has different instincts and senses the bumps on the road and the curves differently.
You can’t ride in perfect tune and you risk causing an accident if one of you moves suddenly or instinctively puts their foot down without warning. It is difficult to maintain your balance during a long ride when you’re in two and, especially if it’s your kid that you want to help commute this way, so you should consider their safety first and avoid making this type of ride a habit.
Check your scooter regularly
Electric scooters can break down too, just like any other vehicle. This means you have to repair them before you set off again. Many ignore the importance of regular revision and maintenance, but scooters do need this. Charging them and riding them continuously will probably cause some type of failure at a certain point.
The moment you feel your scooter is no longer functioning properly, you should head home, put it in the garage, and start inspecting it. If you are not quite skilled in these technical matters, don’t worry, many people aren’t.
In this case, you can find someone who can fix your scooter for you, just like you take your care to the service. Also, check your scooter’s warranty because the repairs might even come for free if it hasn’t expired.
Based on a CDC study, as many as 19% of scooter owners who have been involved in an accident said that the cause was a technical flaw. To avoid joining this group, you should make sure that you don’t ride while the scooter is experiencing malfunctioning.
There are a few easy steps to take to assess that your favorite vehicle is working properly. First of all, take it on a short test run to see if everything is functioning well. If there is no strange noise and everything runs smoothly, you are safe to go.
Make sure you check that the throttle is working correctly so that you are able to accelerate. The same goes for the braking system that ensures a crucial function of your scooter.
A common sign that might show you that the machine is malfunctioning is feeling an odd vibration as you ride. No matter what malfunctioning symptoms your scooter shows, you shouldn’t venture out there before a specialist checks it and fixes the issue.
Respect the laws
Depending on the city where you live, different laws may apply when it comes to the areas where you are allowed to ride. Unless there are cycling lanes you can share with those who ride bikes, you will have to ride on the street.
Take into account that sidewalks are dedicated to pedestrians and, even if there are no authorities to enforce laws or give fines for those who ride on the sidewalk, doing this increases the risk of accidents.
The same goes for parks or other areas that are reserved for pedestrians. Riding your electric scooter in these places, even at a low speed, can prove dangerous as you could hit a child or adult who simply didn’t hear or see you coming and blocked your way.
Avoid sudden stops
Sometimes, you might be tempted to halt for different reasons; something got into your eye, you are feeling something is wrong with your scooter and you want to check it, or you simply remembered that urgent call you forgot to make.
Regardless of the reason, stopping your scooter all of a sudden can be dangerous because somebody else might be riding behind you. Unlike cars, scooters can’t signal their intention to stop.
This means that if you stop without checking the surroundings and making sure you are at a safe distance from anybody or any vehicle that’s behind or in front of you, the risk of accident increases.
Colliding with a car, bike, another scooter, or a pedestrian, is always something you want to avoid. So, make sure you follow the safety tips listed above before you rush to grab your scooter and reach your destination. Safe riding!