Are Electric Scooters Safe? Don’t Get Injured Riding Yours!
Are electric scooters safe? With the recent surge in popularity of electric scooters, mainly due to the introduction of dockless rental scooters in many European and US cities by companies such as Bird, Lime and Spin, many people are questioning the safety of these recreational vehicles. New studies have suggested that electric scooter injuries are on the rise. Accidents have included falls, collisions with objects, and a small percentage of riders have even been hit by moving objects or vehicles. Although most documented injuries are relatively minor (cuts, bruises etc.) electric scooter accidents can lead to more serious injuries, or even death if riders don’t observe basic safety precautions and take into consideration that they are sharing the road with larger, fast moving vehicles.
The problem is that many people treat an electric scooter like a fun toy rather than a serious personal transportation vehicle. An electric scooter should be no more dangerous than riding a bike if the proper precautions are taken and rules of the road adhered to. However, the reality is that many riders don’t even wear a helmet, ride at speeds unsuitable for the conditions, and ignore local traffic laws. With sensible usage, there is no reason why you can’t have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable ride on an electric scooter. So in answer to the question “are electric scooters safe?”, I would say that yes, they are, but only when used properly.
Safety for kids on electric scooters
A kick scooter is always the safest bet, especially for younger kids. When new to using a scooter a responsible adult should supervise and ensure the child has the necessary skills to ride safely. As the child gets older and becomes competent on a kick scooter they may want to graduate to an electric model. The parent or guardian should use their own discretion when deciding whether or not it’s a suitable investment for their child taking into consideration the child’s maturity, physical coordination, and ability to follow instructions and rules. There are many kids electric scooters available but always follow the manufacturer’s advice on recommended age and safe riding. Appropriate protective gear should always be worn.
Safety Tips For Teens & Adults
Wear protective gear
Some people think it’s no longer necessary to wear personal protective gear after childhood. At the very minimum, a proper fitting helmet should be worn at all times, however, elbow and knee pads are also a good investment in your safety. One particular study on scooter injuries found that only 4% of the riders were actually wearing a helmet. The head injuries (which are usually the most serious) could have been prevented if protective headgear was worn. Take the same precautions as you would when riding a bicycle.
Be careful when riding in wet conditions
Roads can become slick when it rains so it’s important to exercise more caution when conditions are wet. If possible, just don’t ride in the rain at all as it really is a lot more dangerous. If you must though, slow down and take more care when turning as it’s very easy for the wheels to slide out from under you as you’re cruising through the puddles.
Make sure your scooter has working lights
Your scooter should be equipped with proper working front and rear lights so that you are visible to other motorists and pedestrians.
Electric scooters are not for tricks
You might have come across some videos on Youtube showcasing scooter tricks? E-scooters are not designed for this (there are special trick kick scooters which are). Tricks are performed by professionals and are properly supervised in a controlled environment. Always keep your electric scooter on the ground with your hands firmly on the handlebars.
Don’t ride under the influence
This should go without saying, but sometimes it needs to be said anyway. Don’t drink alcohol (or take drugs) and ride your e-scooter! We all know it’s not safe to drink and drive because alcohol impairs judgement and reduces reaction time. It’s equally unsafe to drink and ride. Also if you’re caught riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol you can be arrested.
Keep your eyes on the road at all times and don’t be tempted to listen to music as you ride. You need to be able to hear and see what’s going on around you to ride safely.
Adhere to road safety rules
Unfortunately, because electric scooters don’t require a license, many people are either unaware of the road safety rules, or think that they don’t apply. If you want to stay safe, follow the rules! Laws on use of electric scooters vary from country to country (and even from city to city) so make sure you know the law where you live. Electric scooters are not street legal everywhere just yet and should never be ridden on pavements as they travel too fast to be safe around pedestrians.
Only ride scooters that are safety certified
UL (Underwriter Laboratories) have defined strict quality standards for manufacturers of electric products. If you are choosing a scooter to buy, you should look out for UL2272 certification. This is the standard for electrical systems for personal e-mobility devices such as scooters, hoverboards and other electric personal transportation vehicles.
Are electric scooters safe? That depends on how they are used. Riders need to exercise caution in how they ride a personal transportation vehicle which shares the road with many other much bigger vehicles. Follow the manufacturer instructions, adhere to the rules of the road, and use your common sense. And always wear a helmet. Most e-scooter injuries could very easily be prevented if riders would take more care on the road.
Although currently lacking in regulation, it’s likely that there will be stricter rules introduced in coming years on e-scooter usage including who can ride them and where, speed restrictions and more. For now though, it’s up to the individual to ensure their own safety.