Electric scooters are a great way of getting around. Fact. With a decent reach in mileage per charge and quick charge time, the electric scooter for commuting is an increasingly popular choice for many inner city workers.
However, as with any form of transport, accidents can occur. To keep you safe, we’ve put together a helpful list of things to remember when out and about on an electric scooter.
#1 Practice makes perfect
Quick and simple suggestion – when your new scooter arrives, unpack it and take it for a short spin to get used to it, preferably where you can’t run into people or objects. Practice braking, stopping sharply, get the feel of it when you corner and how much of a lean it will take before you have to take a foot off. The better you know your scooter before you take to the crowded city pavements, the safer you’ll be.
#2 You are sharing the pavement
London’s pavements are busy throughout the day but with increased foot traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, the small strip of pavement is rammed from kerb edge to wall.
Harmony amongst all pavement users, pedestrians and electric scooter riders included, is key to free-flowing city pavements. Riding with this in mind means you scoot along with no problems at all.
If it’s busy, get off.
Don’t zip in and out of pedestrians – the pavement is not your personal slalom track.
#3 Be heard and seen
Lights on your scooter are perfect for darker mornings and evenings, giving other pavement and road users more chance of seeing you. A bell, should be used to warn other pavement users you are there, so someone stepping out of a doorway, looking down at their phone would, we’re sure, prefer the gentle ring of a bell than colliding with a scooter.
#4 Make sure YOU are seen
Ok, let’s be honest– the idea of a high-viz waistcoat fluttering in the breeze as you scoot to work may not be your idea of the best fashion accessory.
We understand your reluctance. The high-viz vest is not the most fashionable item of outer wear but there are other choices, you’ll be pleased to hear.
Riding in light coloured clothing and in a way that gives everyone – pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers, bus drivers etc.- a chance of seeing you in good time.
In the depths of winter, a high-viz vest is a wise investment and certainly worth the four or five pounds that it will set you back. That said, there are come quite stylish waterproof ‘visible’ jackets on the market that look nothing like a workman’s jacket, worth a second look we would have thought.
#5 The basic rules of the road still apply to you
It’s just basic ‘rules of the road’ stuff…
Walk across the road rather than scoot.
Do the same at both pelican and zebra crossing.
Ride with caution - that is, looking ahead, taking action in good time to avoid street furniture as well as other pavement users.
#6 Respect the terrain
The likelihood is that most of the terrain on your commute is relatively flat and with a solid surface. Most electric scooters for commuting can handle a hill or two with no problem. But where electric scooters are not so good is uneven ground.
Forget off-roading – this is not what your scooter was built for – and take care with potholes in pavements and uneven surfaces.
#7 Consider a helmet
Aside from motorcyclists and their passengers, wearing a helmet on an electric scooter or bike is not compulsory. Yet.
It makes sense though, don’t you think, to protect the most important organ of the body with a helmet?
You may argue that you “won’t be going that fast” – touché – but flying off the scooter at its top speed of 28 kph (or 17mph) will do you some damage. And even at slow speeds, banging your head against a hard pavement is not recommended.
#8 Look after your scooter
Essentially, electric scooters for commuting are simple, efficient machines. Lightweight and foldable, they have the latest breaking technology that makes them a safe riding option, no matter your age or agility. With very few moving or mechanical parts, the risk of serious mechanical breakdown is minimal.
But, if you a. rely on the scooter to get you to and from work and back again and b. travel on busy city pavements, it makes sense to keep the electric scooter well-maintained. Check the tyres for wear and tear on a frequent basis, get it serviced (you’ll find that’s part of what we do) and if it doesn’t feel right/not riding as well as it used to, get it serviced.
#9 Have fun (responsibly)!
Electric scooters are for commuting and pleasure. The way we get around busy cities, whether that is San Francisco with its electric scooter share programme or the busy pavements of London, has to change.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the most harmful pollutant gases, irritating the lungs and nasal passages. As we walk or cycle through London, for example, we are exposing our bodies to this harmful gas. London is not the only UK city struggling to deal with the effects of pollution and so maintaining the status quo is simply not an option. Electric scooters for commuting is part of the answer.
And then there is the fun element. Whizzing along a quiet pavement, hearing the wind singing in your ears, just like when you were a kid… there is no better way of commuting through the hustle and bustle of the city.