Visit almost any major downtown or college campus, and you now need to mind your step to avoid whizzing electric scooters. They offer an affordable and speedy way to make short trips in congested cities, much like bicycles, but without ever breaking a sweat. With their quick rise in popularity, governments, communities, and businesses are playing catchup on finding the right rules for scooters and how to enforce them. Debates have emerged over when and where scooters should be ridden, and if the form of scooters needs to evolve, with bigger wheels, lights or possibly even a seat.
Brad suggests that those on e-scooters avoid highly traveled sidewalks as much as possible. “In an ideal world, we would encourage riders to use bike lanes first and their best judgment second because of the hazards caused by pedestrians and scooters competing for the same space. A lot of the time, staying safe is as simple as staying aware of where you are and what you’re doing,” he says.
The most frequent injuries suffered by e-scooter riders were closed head injuries, concussions, and lacerations, with the most commonly broken bones being the skull and nose, each at 27 percent of all cases. This was followed by neck and facial fractures.
“Another issue is that the majority of people who ride them do not wear helmets or the proper attire to protect against road rash,” Brad says. If you plan to ride an electric scooter for the first time, here are a few precautions safety experts say you should consider:
- Bring your own safety gear including a helmet, knee and elbow pads
- Wear appropriate clothing that won’t constrict your body while riding
- Understand the specifications, features and capabilities of the e-scooter you will be riding
- Observe traffic laws, focus on the path ahead and watch for pedestrians, cars and other obstacles
Safety research has shown that e-scooter accidents involved cars and ground obstacles such as curbs, poles and manhole covers. Other factors that led to accidents include mechanical problems such as failing brakes and wheels. Distracted riders were also a factor.
Five Important Facts to Know Before Buying an E-Scooter
- Choose at least a 350W motor as most electric scooters struggle with the smallest of hills.
- If you want to ride on wet roads, pick a waterproof e-scooter – most electric scooters cannot be used in wet conditions without invalidating
- Bigger wheels with air-filled tires give you a smoother ride.
- Not all electric scooters can carry the same amount of weight.
- To stop the risk of brakes failing, wheels coming loose while you ride, it is strongly recommended to purchase from a reputable retailer.