According to Grand View Research, the global electric scooters market size will continue to grow from an estimated USD 18.6 billion in 2019 to $41.98 billion USD by 2030. There are several reasons for this:
- Increasing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles
- Growing concerns over greenhouse gas emissions
- Economical maintenance costs
- Low noise levels
- Regenerative braking, and
- High mechanical efficiency
Add to this the worsening traffic in major cities and commute is sure to take a two-wheeled form in the near future.
Electric scooters nowadays also pack a lot of speed and range, making them an ideal option for commuting. You are not only saving money on gas but also saving time that you can spend doing something else, such as spending time with your friends and family. Plus, you are also doing a little bit for the environment by decreasing your carbon footprint.
There are many benefits to riding electric scooters, but is it safe?
It is sad to say that a lot of people without proper training have been hurt while riding an electric scooter. You might think that it is easy, but there are many more factors than just balance when riding an electric scooter. You have to think about the rules of the road, pedestrians, and other motor vehicles. Not everyone is considerate, so it is always best to ride defensively.
In a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and published in JAMA Surgery, in the United States alone, more than 40,000 individuals were sent to the ER due to broken bones, head injuries, cuts, and bruises caused by electric scooter-related incidents. It is also very unfortunate that electric scooters have caused 41 fatalities in a span of three years.
You can avoid these injuries and still continue to use electric scooters if you learn how to ride safely and defensively. Electric scooters can be extreme at times, but it is, in fact, an effective form of transportation.
This article outlines some effective electric scooter safety tips to avoid crashes, injuries, and other scooter-related incidents.
1. Stay Alert and Watch Where You’re Going
This first tip is a pretty obvious one, but we’ll tell you anyway. Always keep your eyes on the road, and that goes without saying. But keeping your eyes on the road is not enough, you also need to be alert, meaning you need to pay attention to all your senses, including your hearing.
Some people like to wear earbuds or headphones when riding, which is okay, but not advisable. If you insist on listening to some music when riding, make sure you don’t blast them up to full volume so you still have a sense of your surroundings.
Some riders like to observe the beauty of the surroundings when riding, which is totally okay, but only if you are riding at safe speeds and there are no cars, people, and obstacles on the road. If you want to observe your surroundings, you can always stop or just look by glancing, and keep your main focus on the road.
2. Wear the Proper Safety Gear
Make sure you are properly geared every time you ride an e-scooter. And when we say proper, it means you can’t wear just any helmet. Even if you are highly confident in your skills, there are plenty of uncontrollable factors on the road such as other drivers and pedestrians.
Out of all the scooter-related incidents, most of them are because of factors beyond your control. Such accidents could have been prevented by riding defensively or by wearing the appropriate protective gear.
Although there is no assurance that wearing safety gear can prevent injuries 100%, it is definitely much better to fall on an electric scooter when you are wearing them as opposed to not wearing any safety gear.
Make sure you choose the right helmet. Wearing something like a motorcycle helmet is not ideal, because they are heavy and they will somehow block your peripheral vision. When looking for a helmet, you can either choose between a bike helmet or a skateboard helmet that meets the required certifications(1).
Most injuries that occur happen to the head, which is why among all the safety gear you choose to wear, don’t forget to buy a suitable helmet first.
3. Keep Both Hands on the Handlebars at All Times
There are two handlebars for a reason, so you can place both hands on them for better control. Yeah, so maybe someone is texting you on your phone or you want to change the song you are listening to, but you can always DM or text message them back later.
Experienced riders often become too confident, and it is a good thing to be confident than being nervous when riding. There is, however, a certain threshold in confidence, and going over that can be harmful.
So, if you feel like you are good enough to ride with one hand, we advise you not to. Unlike skateboards, where you don’t need hands at all, an electric scooter has a smaller and narrower grip on the road.
4. Ride at Safe Speeds
Another good tip is to ride at speeds that you can handle. Biting off more than you can chew is not a good idea, especially if you are a beginner. Most high-end and mid-range electric scooters are equipped with different speed modes, which beginners can utilize to learn the basics. Like we always say, you need to learn how to walk before you run.
In addition, the legal speed of electric rides in most states is capped off at 25 miles per hour, which is the common top speed between most high-end commuter electric scooters.
5. Slow Down When Turning
Another common mistake beginners make that cause them to fall off their ride is when they are riding too fast when approaching sharp turns. Yes, it is fun to ride off fast turns when, but some riders will over calculate, causing them to overshoot and get hurt.
The same goes for looking back. Since electric scooters don’t have rear mirrors, some riders tend to look back, and that is definitely okay. Just make sure you are not running too fast because you might lose balance or crash into something the moment you look in front of you. If you really have to look back, make sure you slow down or make a full stop.
6. Inspect Your E-Scooter On a Regular Basis
This next tip is an important one. An e-scooter might not be a car, but because you’re using it daily, you might as well check up on it regularly. Some scooters are advertised to be maintenance-free, but that does not mean that nothing can go wrong.
It is a good idea to make it a habit to:
- Check the brakes
- Check the tire pressure
You don’t need to know a lot about automotive or motors to check on your electric scooter. As long as you know how a scooter works, you’ll be good to go. Every once in a while, it is also a good idea to check if the scooter is warped and look out for any loose screws.
7. Protect Your Eyes
Protecting your eyes is essential, especially when riding in polluted areas. Getting specks of dust in your eye can hinder your vision, which can be very dangerous. If you experience this, make sure you come to a full stop immediately.
Eye protection also helps block smoke, and help protect your eyes against the glaring light of the sun. It does not have to be high-end shades. You can get cheap shades with the same amount of UV protection without breaking the bank.
8. Equip Your Scooter with Bright Lights
Although some electric scooters are built with lights, some are not really that effective when riding in real-life low-light conditions. They may look stylish in photos, but they are not very effective at night, which can be dangerous.
When looking for replacement lights, make sure they are bright enough to help you see clearly at night. Make sure you tilt them down a bit so you don’t blind oncoming traffic.
It would also be a lot safer if you can invest in tail lights. They don’t have to be too bright as long as you are visible to the motorists behind you.
9. Practice Your Riding Skills
The last tip is something that any rider should know already. Practice your riding skills before putting them to the test on the open road. The better you are at riding, the better you can handle unexpected situations.
If you ride your electric scooter daily, you will start to feel that you are getting better each day, and that is a good thing.
Conclusion: Is Riding an Electric Scooter Safe?
Riding an electric scooter, just like driving any other vehicle, can be risky if you are not careful. Following the electric scooter safety tips above will surely reduce the risks of injuries. The electric scooter is supposed to be fun and helpful, so make sure you ride safely and ride within your limits.