It may come as a surprise to some people that there is a right and wrong way to dress when riding your electric scooter.
I remember making some clothing choices in my early scootering days that might have cost me dearly, and I know a few friends that have actually paid the cost of choosing the wrong type of clothes.
The clothing you pick for your scooter rides should follow functionality reasons first. Fashion should be either a small factor or not a factor at all. The primary roles of your clothing are to keep you safe, maintain or improve your health while riding, and not interfere with your ride, especially in a way that jeopardizes you.
Read on for the exact tips on how you should dress for riding with your scooter.
- Always wear a helmet
- Wear eye protection
- Dress warm and cover as much of your body as possible and practical
- Avoid clothes that may get stuck in the wheels (baggy pants, long dresses, etc)
- Choose heavier footwear that covers your feet entirely, and make sure your laces are tied
- Avoid purses or backpacks or items that may disrupt your balance (or get a scooter bag or trunk)
- Remove jewelry or excessive hand accessories before riding
Always wear a helmet
The helmet is not technically clothing, but it’s still something you need to wear, and in fact, it’s the only item that you absolutely must wear at all times, without exception.
The proper clothing for riding a scooter is important, and the closer you get to the ideal way of dressing for your ride, the better. However, the fact of the matter is, you can still mostly ignore the rest of the advice here and be more or less fine.
Except for wearing the helmet. The correct scooter helmet is the only item that is non-negotiable – you must wear it at all times while riding your scooter.
It is the primary rule of electric scooter safety. The rest of the clothing tips are important for safety as well, but wearing the helmet is the only crucial one.
Wear eye protection
Having your eyesight remain uninterrupted is critical when riding an electric scooter. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve ridden without any sort of eye protection and regretted it – either because of strong sunlight making me squint too much, or because of dirt or dust getting into my eyes and distracting me to the point of almost making an accident.
If you choose a full-face helmet (which is recommended for faster scooters), or a helmet that protects your eyes, you almost don’t have to worry about eye protection. The only exception here might be if you’re riding in very sunny weather, and the eye protection from your helmet doesn’t do enough to protect your eyes from the sun.
In any case, make sure your visibility is never interrupted. That involves protecting your eyes from strong sunlight, but also from the rain, snow, dirt, dust, insects, and everything else that threatens your safety in traffic.
You can easily get away with some cheaper sunglasses that have at least some UV protection here (that’s how I do it), but keep in mind that regular sunglasses won’t fully protect you from particles that stick in your eyes, so you may want to go with biking or polarized sunglasses, or even goggles, especially if you ride with faster speeds.
Dress warm and cover as much of your body as possible and practical
You should always try to wear shirts with long sleeves, and pants or trousers over shorts. Your elbows and knees in particular need to be covered as much as possible, but your core needs warmth and protection as well, so an extra layer of clothing on your upper body is a good idea as well.
There are two primary reasons why you want as much of your body covered when riding your scooter.
The first one is almost obvious – in the case of a fall or an accident, more clothing will either prevent an injury, or reduce its intensity at the very least. This is especially the case for scrapes and cuts and wounds and other superficial injuries, but it can also apply to more serious injuries like internal organ damage. The thicker and longer your clothing, or the more layers you have, the better your protection in case of a fall.
The second reason is to protect your health while on the scooter better in general. Some specific health risks from riding an electric scooter include kidney problems or kidney pain, back pain or other joint pain, stiffness, soreness, and other problems that can be either mitigated or completely prevented by simply wearing warmer clothing.
One of my friends in particular has told me on numerous occasions that when he rides for longer periods, he experiences significant pain in the kidneys. He didn’t really listen to my advice of dressing warmer, although he did get a kidney belt for motorcycle rides. The last time I talked to him, he told me that he no longer had kidney pain.
So, either dress warmer and with long sleeves (especially when riding in cold weather, of course), or get a kidney belt if you specifically have kidney problems when riding (or kidney issues in general). A full motorcycle armor will also work as well (and, honestly, you will look very cool with it). Also, gloves can be a good idea, especially if your hands tend to get sweaty. See the guide on the best electric scooter accessories for the ideal choices for armors, gloves, belts, pads etc.
Now, this tip has to be balanced with practicality. Full disclosure here – even I don’t always follow this advice, and I sometimes ride with T-shirts or shorts on warmer days. Sometimes it’s just too impractical to follow this guideline. Just be aware if you’re going against the guidelines, you’re doing that consciously, be a bit more careful when doing so, and consider compensating with additional protective gear like knee and elbow pads (more on that below).
Also, while you want your entire body covered as much as possible, you shouldn’t go overboard and pick clothes that are so big that they interfere with your ride. The next tip explains why.
Avoid clothes that may get stuck in the wheels (baggy pants, long dresses, etc)
Long pants and trousers and shirts with long sleeves are ideal, but at the same time, your pants or dresses shouldn’t be too long.
Baggy pants, dresses, or other clothes that are much longer than your legs, can easily get stuck inside the wheels or some screws or in other parts of the scooter.
Also, shirts with very long sleeves may get stuck in the controls or the brake levers, or interfere with your control of the scooter in some other way. Shirts or other upper body clothing that is very loose or several sizes larger than your body frame can also cause similar problems.
So, while you want your body covered as much as possible, you don’t want to do it in a way that doesn’t fit your body. Simply make sure that you wear clothing that more or less fits you while riding your scooter.
Choose heavier footwear that covers your feet entirely, and make sure your laces are tied
You want as much of your feet protected when riding your electric scooter, and you want as thick and heavy footwear as possible.
Another friend of mine used to frequently ride with flip-flops, and she learned the hard way that she should never do that after her first fall that resulted in a sprained ankle and a few nasty cuts.
Avoid the temptation of riding in flip-flops or sandals. Flip-flops and sandals are especially bad for kick-to-start scooters, as the kick needed to start requires traction and stability that open footwear can’t really provide.
Wear sneakers at the very least, and preferably wear shoes or boots as much as possible and practical. Your ankle should be covered as much as possible, too. Having your entire foot covered in a tough material will prevent almost all superficial wounds in the case of a fall, and most of the potential sprains and strains, and even fractures.
Also, always make sure that your laces are tied tight, as you really don’t want them getting stuck inside the rims or the wheels while riding.
Now, again, this has to be balanced with practicality. If you are a decent scooter rider, you probably won’t need to wear heavy rubber boots for every ride. If you don’t really ride that fast, sneakers are just fine. Go with boots if you’re riding at faster speeds, or if you’re still learning how to use your scooter, or you’re not that confident in your abilities yet. Just don’t wear flip-flops or sandals.
Avoid purses or backpacks or items that may disrupt your balance (or get a scooter bag or trunk)
If you have to carry some items while riding, it’s better to either get a scooter with a trunk, or get a bag or a trunk after-market.
It’s not the end of the world if you ride with a purse or a sack, but keep in mind that it will likely disturb your balance a little bit, and maybe a lot if it’s heavier. While a backpack may be a better idea, it’s still not idea, as you’re already standing at an angle, and the backpack will simply pull you more in one direction. This can not only make a fall or an accident more likely, but it can cause you some muscle imbalances if you ride for long periods of time.
If your scooter doesn’t come with a trunk, a bag, or a basket, and you often have to carry items with you, simply get a trunk or a bag. They are very cheap, and generic items like the Epessa scooter bag will fit pretty much every scooter out there.
Remove jewelry or excessive hand accessories before riding
This is another optional tip, but it’s good to follow it whenever possible.
Earrings, piercings, necklaces, or other jewelry, while usually not interfering with your ride directly, can make a minor injury much worse in the case of a fall.
Also, accessories that you wear on your wrists or hands can have the same consequences, but they may also interfere in your ride as well – a loose watch or an ankle bracelet may get stuck with the handlebars or cables or the controls, and either slow down your reaction time or cause you to lose control over your scooter entirely.
It costs nothing to remove these items before riding and put them in your bag or pocket, and put them back on after your trip is over, and you will avoid a lot of potential downsides entirely.
Choosing the right clothing for riding an electric scooter is pretty important, but in most cases, not critical. The clothing tips are mostly designed for safety, but practicality is also a factor, and you don’t have to follow them blindly. You are free to break away from the guidelines, as long as you know what you’re doing and you’re being a bit more careful.
In general, you should always wear the helmet, protect your eyesight and visibility, dress warm and in long sleeves and pants but not too long, wear closed footwear, and if possible, avoid purses, sacks, backpacks, jewelry, and excessive hand accessories.
Also, if you want to go a step further, you can get some extra gear and items that will enhance your experience, items like motorcycle armors, kidney belts, gloves, elbow and knee pads, etc. See my guide on the most important scooter accessories for the best picks.