Safety and Scooters: All You Need to Know to Ride Safely

Scooter Safety

Why Do People Get Hurt When Riding a Scooter?

Scooter Accidents

Let's stop the e-scooter for a moment. Is everything alright? Are we driving correctly? Are we using any protective gear? Road accidents caused by scooters have multiplied in recent years - this could simply be down to the increased number of electric scooters on the roads. More and more people recognize that electric scooters are an excellent means of transportation, but their overcrowding has brought new problems for people who use them and for road safety in general. But why are more people who ride electric scooters being injured and what are the safety concerns?

In big cities, electric scooters are becoming a standard, recognized means of transport. This circumstance has also passed to rural and mountainous areas, where scooters have become a solution, as well as a sport. But do they represent a risk to personal safety? Are accidents the fault of the electric scooters or their riders? What factors influence accidents? What are the possible solutions to reduce the chance of you having an accident? Find out in this article.

What Defines a Safe Trip on a Scooter?

We need to make this clear, we are not talking about a bicycle (electric or not) or a motorcycle/moped. Scooters deserve special attention to understand their challenges, problems but also benefits. Therefore, the first thing to know when talking about your safety is that riding an electric scooter is not the same as another means of transportation. One of the main failures when driving electric scooters, is that people assume that they know how to handle one because they already use a motorcycle or bicycle or because they used a kickbike when they were kids. Got our point across? They’re not the same!

Safe Scooter Ride

First, for an electric scooter to be safe, it needs to have each and every one of its components in good working condition. From there, the highest burden of responsibility falls on the rider. Speed is the other significant factor, as many exceed the speed limit without realizing it. So when these riders have appalling accidents, is it the fault of the electric scooter or the rider? Then, there are the drivers who use their scooters on the sidewalks, causing crashes and accidents into pedestrians or cars when they swerve back on the road to avoid a pedestrian. All these situations have a solution if those who drive the scooters become aware and learn from others (or sometimes their own) mistakes, then the world of electric scooters will become a safer place. However, there are other elements to consider.

What are the Main Injuries Which Occur in Scooter Accidents?

Main Scooter Injuries

Injuries can occur on a daily basis, even from walking, running, cycling and driving. Therefore accidents can happen on electric scooters all the same. Broken bones, head injuries, bruises and lacerations are some of the most common scooter-related injuries. There is a rise in the number of accidents occurred on or by an electric scooter however this correlates with the increased number of them on the roads - this same correlation occurred with cars. The most common broken bones are the nose, skull, neck. This data is the conclusion of the study conducted by different university departments and otolaryngology specialists. This investigation collected data from a sample of American hospitals and from there, made an estimate at the federal level.

As with any serious injuries, they are exacerbated if the victim is a vulnerable person, such as a child or an elderly. Also, recovery can be complicated if more than one injury occurs. Many scooter users are children and they sometimes think that e-scooters are a game, and therefore can have more spectacular accidents. With more federal control and new legislation that mandates helmet use and other safety features, it will be more likely to avoid scooter-related injuries among those who use electric scooters.

Not So Fast: Does Riding a Scooter Seem Slow?

Scooter Ride Seems Slow?

Have you ridden an electric scooter with the feeling that you were going very slow and therefore, decided to accelerate? That has several explanations. When you ride a bicycle, you apply significant physical effort to gain speed, less effort, slower speeds. That makes you have a sense of danger directly linked to the effort you are exerting. Due to the fact that electric scooters have a motor, not as much physical energy is needed to gain fast speeds therefore your body does not always make the association with danger.

Wanting to go faster and faster is an innate desire for most of us but we always recommended scooter riders to stick within the speed limit and to take safety precautions were possible in order to avoid scooter-related injuries.

What is the Relationship Between Safety and if a Scooter is Rented or Purchased?

If the problem of electric scooter safety correlates with its rider, then what is the link when it comes to the difference between buying or renting an electric scooter? Scooter users relationship with the scooter greatly influences possible accidents. For many people, electric scooters are a means of transportation for a particular reason or season. if it is is not your own e-scooter, you tend to be less careful. As I'm sure some of you will be very aware, when someone borrows something of yours, they don't always treat it with the same respect you would.

Rented Or Purchased

Rented electric scooters may not be given the respect they deserve, especially when there is no collection/drop-off point. They are left, by the side of the road, or in a bike lane, wherever the scooter rider decided they no longer needed it. The next person will pick it up to ride, or a ‘charger’ will come and collect it to charge it overnight. This does not always leave them in the best of conditions.

People who are new to electric scooting and potentially never ridden one before, are more likely to be on a rented e-scooter than a purchased one. This increases the number of accidents, with a majority of happens on rented e-scooters resulting in injured riders.

These rental electric scooters use apps for the riders to be able to unlock them and ride away. We believe that before an e-scooter can be unlocked (especially by first-time riders) a short educational video on safety concerns should be compulsory. This can include instructions, the importance of helmet use, elbow pads, and driving techniques as well as emergency protocols should you find yourself in a hairy situation on your motorized e-scooter. Scooter users who purchase their own electric scooters have a manual that covers such topics. Do you think this would help make rental electric scooters safer?

What are the Advantages of Buying a Scooter?

Benefits of Buying Electric Scooter

There is no feeling quite like the sense of belonging when you know your hard-earned cash has allowed you to get a treat for yourself of what you always wanted. Having an electric scooter in the home garage, or easily stored in your apartment hallway, is a great feeling for many. We all know that electric scooters are becoming the daily means of ecological transport for millions of scooter users. Although maintenance and electricity costs can be higher than say walking, having your own e-scooter has many advantages.

Reliability for one. As previously mentioned, as there are no specified collection or drop-off points for rental e-scooters, having one close by when you need it, is not always a viable option. This is increasingly important when considering using an electric scooter as part of your commute - you need to know you can get to work on time. See our article that focuses on commuting and different transport methods here: Best Electric Scooters for Commute Vs Everything else

Conscientious e-scooter riders can detect any minimal failure on their electric scooter in a very short time. Just like anything electric, over time parts wear and faults may occur, however, the responsibility of keeping the electric scooter in optimal condition, thus minimizing the risk of scooter injuries, lands on the shoulders of the scooter riders. The most crucial aspect that a rider of a purchased e-scooter needs to consider, is to allow for practice and in so, require more skills as well as develop safety awareness. You know what they say, you don’t know how to drive a car fully until you’ve passed your test. This is the same for electric scooters, driving/riding is a matter of practice. If there are many riders who do not have these skills while driving an electric scooter, there is an increased risk for scooter accidents to occur.

What are the Good Things About Renting a Scooter?

Scooter Renting Benefits

There is no doubt they save time, especially when the other option is walking or using a less speedy or reliable means of public transport. A rental e-scooter really comes into their own when you are visiting a new city and can explore it on an electric scooter, ensuring you can fit it all in and see all the sights. You also get peace of mind, any damage or maintenance costs will not be coming out of your pocket, even if you are the one to cause the damage.

As we’ve said, purchasing your own electric scooter may not always be an option, however, good to bear in mind that there are financing options out there. Therefore, renting an electric scooter is a good alternative, still allowing you a solution, especially when you’re running late!

We don’t want you reading this thinking that rental electric scooters and their riders cause accidents and cause the roads to be an unsafe place - this is not the case. There are so many circumstances in which a rental scooter is perfect - those short, impromptu and occasional journeys.

So, Renting a Scooter is it More Dangerous?

Renting A Scooter

Pat Borgan visited the city of San Diego, to better spend her vacation, she decided to rent an electric scooter with her husband. When they were on a descent, her scooter lost the brakes, and she was injured. The cases of electric scooter accidents in the United States have increased and already caused at least two deaths, in addition to other people who were left with a disability. Many of them had obtained scooters by way of renting.

The other big problem you have when renting an electric scooter corresponds to the terms and conditions presented to customers, which as we know, are not always read thoroughly. For example, companies such as Lime leave users responsible for anything, even those who cause scooter injuries beyond their control. That is to say, the company is not responsible for equipment failures or abuse of the vehicle.

One thing to bear in mind is that electric scooters are not suitable for every country or city. For backpacker Audry, it simply was not possible to rent a scooter in Southeast Asia. Due to the sheer amount of traffic on the roads from various motor vehicles in addition to notoriously reckless drivers, adding an electric scooter into that mix - especially rentals would not be safe.

What is The Status of Scooter Rental Companies?

Scooter Rental Companies

As riding an electric scooter without the appropriate knowledge and skills has become a relatively dangerous practice, resulting in many scooter-related injuries, as reported in a  new study made by CDC and Public Health and Transportation in may 2019, many cities have banned rental scooter companies.  This is not to say that purchased electric scooters are also banned, as the assumption is they are used on a regular basis and are therefore safer. Two major cities that have banned rental scooter companies are Portland, Oregon and Nashville, Tennessee. However, this has not been the only solution that municipal governments have found.

The same has been proposed in the city of Los Angeles in California. In fact, the Los Angeles City Council passed a motion to suspend electric scooter rental companies. It seems that the ultimate goal is the regulation of rental scooter companies. The problem is that they have not yet achieved this, and the process has had several bureaucratic obstacles. Better to be safe than sorry though.

Companies, such as Bird and Limes, introductory strategy of dockless electric scooters has not helped matters. They have arrived in cities in California, as well as in countries such as France and Israel, without there being existing municipal legislation on electric scooters. They appeared to arrive overnight and spread their e-scooters all over the cities. This has led to local governments playing catch-up and having to work to regulate them, whilst they’re already on the streets.

However, keep in mind that companies that rent e-scooters are a fundamental pillar of this business. To think that they can be banned at the federal level and that no one can rent an electric scooter is potentially naive. Therefore, the key is to achieve regulations that allow for the safe use of rental electric scooters into society.

Roads or Sidewalks? Where Should I Ride My Scooter?

Where to ride scooter

Again with regulation and taking safety concerns into account, each area will eventually be specified where an electric scooter should be ridden. For now, this is often the road or on a bike lane, but not on the pavement or sidewalk. Not only is riding on the sidewalks sometimes illegal, it can be incredibly dangerous to both the scooter rider and other pedestrians. It is essential to familiarise yourself with where it is permitted to ride your e-scooter in your town or city, not only for your own benefit but for anyone else who is out and about.

In the United States, laws are different between states. In California, an electric scooter can only be driven on the pavement and in the bicycle lane. In Texas, you can also ride on the sidewalk, but there are specific urban segments where this is prohibited. Colorado, in contrast, considers electric scooters a toy and therefore, only allows them to be ridden on sidewalks. However, regulations such as the ones in the city of Paris, which has announced the ban on driving electric scooters on sidewalks, mark the way forward.

Crashes are the main problem if you ride the scooter on a sidewalk. John Meleuman in Washington DC was run over, and his knee broke into four pieces. He died months later when a metastatic cancer was discovered. Cases such as that have generated alarm in cities such as New York and San Diego, where scooter accidents have become prevalent and dangerous. For Jonathan Freeman, founder of Safe Walkways, the electric scooter is a 200-pound projectile traveling at least eight mph on a sidewalk. The victim can be anyone, but the elderly are especially vulnerable as they may not be able to move out of the way fast enough. Driving on the road is the answer, although it is true that the given conditions are not always there.

What Rules Should I Respect When Riding a Scooter?

Traffic rules for scooter riding

Traffic rules often apply in many laws for electric scooters. As you well know, these rules usually change between states and countries. However, any rule at the time of using an e-scooter is a combination of the mandatory regulations established by governments of different types and your own common sense. This happens because, in many cases, the rules are not entirely clear, but common sense allows you to determine what the safest option is.

The first task you really have to do is to familiarise yourself with the rules of the road and respect them. And remember, scooters are designed to be driven by one person only, no passengers, please!

Some areas have specified parking areas for electric scooters and don’t appreciate riders leaving them in doorways or in the middle of the sidewalk. Get to know where these areas are.

You are responsible when scooting along and therefore any rule, law or recommendation should be adhered to along with respecting other drivers and pedestrians. From there, your experience with electric scooters will be much simpler and more manageable, since driving an e-scooter is easy, but it must be done wisely.

What Should I Use to Protect Myself?

Stay Safe When Riding A Scooter

Unfortunately, in countries such as the United States, there are no clear laws that oblige people who ride e-scooters or electric skateboards to use certain accessories that could guarantee their safety and help making electric scooters safe. For example, a law that makes helmet use mandatory. In most areas, wearing a helmet is voluntary for scooter users, as well as for similar vehicles such as motorcycles and bicycles. The problem is that falls and crashes can occur at any time, whether or not they are caused by you, someone else or is a genuine accident. In any case, your head must be protected since brain injuries are common when falling off anything moving at speed, if not wearing protective gear such as a helmet.

Many scooter companies require the use of a helmet when riding one of their vehicles, even if it is not mandatory. Also, if you feel comfortable, you can wear some knee pads and elbow pads. Another option is to wear clothes that cover your entire body, similar to what motorcyclists do. In any case, the important thing is that your body is as fully protected as possible, against any eventual impact you may suffer on your e-scooter, through yours or someone else's fault.

Electric Scooters aren’t just for Christmas, you know, They’re a Responsibility.

Seeing e-scooters in the street is a fun thing. Many people have decided to buy e-scooters because they find it a quick, easy, fun way to get around the city. We do not deny that, in effect, it is a beautiful activity, but you have to be totally and completely aware that it is no game, and you can end up very quickly in the emergency room. Nobody is saying that riding e-scooters is difficult, but you have to know how to do it, in the same way as to ride a bike on the street, you need to have the skills and knowledge to ride them safely.

An electric scooter is an object which has an engine. That completely changes the characteristics with which you have to assume responsibilities. Safety concern is paramount. There must be an owner, and the e-scooter must also meet necessary conditions so that it can circulate through the city, and not represent a danger to other drivers or pedestrians. Therefore, you must ensure that your electric scooter is always in good condition, does not have any mechanical failures or faults that could contribute to or be the cause of an accident. With all of the above taken into consideration, it is a given, that responsible driving saves lives, the e-scooter will no longer be perceived as a fun means of transport and will become a useful, fast and safe means of transportation.

How to Learn to Ride a Scooter Safely?

Learn to ride electric scooter safely

As a child, you undoubtedly learned to ride a bicycle. To do it right, you most likely had to fall several times until you could control your balance. If you spent many years without using a bicycle, you may have had to practice again to regain confidence. Then, when your adolescence ended, you probably started learning how to drive a car. Learning not only the act of driving, but how to drive safely, were both a part of you gaining your knowledge and confidence.

To learn to ride an electric scooter, what you need is time. There is no way you can start driving an electric scooter around professionally right away. You have to start learning how this vehicle works, and what its properties are, to be able to drive it safely. Through practice, you can acquire a lot of skills in driving an e-scooter, and that way, you will avoid the spectacular scooter accidents caused by the inexperienced or the irresponsible scooter drivers.

How to ride electric scooter

To learn how to ride an e-scooter, some methods can be adapted. Although most of the initiatives are self-taught and are based on the previous knowledge of drivers who have driven cars and bicycles, this is not always the case. On the internet, there are many tutorial blogs and videos which can help you, as well as complete guides that can clarify your doubts. In large cities, there are different personalized services, so you can become the safest scooter driver and eventually be a pro behind the handlebars.

Scooters are beautiful, practical and efficient. Their design is safe, but recently they have become the subject of a number of serious scooter accidents. That can't keep happening. The responsibility lies with the riders, who do not have the skills to be able to drive a scooter well and, consequently, cause accidents. Scooter companies which rent electric scooters without checking the knowledge of the user, but still allow anybody to hire them, also have a great responsibility, as they assume drivers know how to drive a scooter, and they are often wrong.

However, in these accidents, there is also a responsibility on the part of the state, which must demand helmet use and new safety measures to protect scooter riders and their entire environment. Scooter safety is a pending task, but with responsibility and wisdom, an e-scooter can be the answer to your prayers.

Best Electric Scooters