When it comes to riding an electric scooter, the first thing you need to learn is how to stay safe.
Even though most electric scooters are not powerful enough to be the cause of serious injuries, accidents still can and do happen.
Luckily, staying safe while riding an electric scooter is very easy to achieve. It is only a matter of forming a few key habits and sticking to them.
This is a complete safety guide about electric scooters. Just by following these few simple tips every time you ride, you will make sure you always stay safe.
Electric scooter safety tips
Always follow this electric scooter safety checklist to avoid accidents and injuries:
- always wear a helmet
- respect your local traffic laws
- wear all the safety gear you have
- don’t drink or do drugs before riding
- never ride too fast
- turn carefully
- check that your tires are sufficiently inflated and in good shape
- make sure all your brake systems work
- make sure you have enough battery to get where you need to go
- stay focused on your ride
- avoid riding in the rain, snow or wet weather
- avoid ice or slippery surfaces
- avoid pedestrian areas
- avoid heavy traffic
- ride as the manual instructs
- only ride by yourself
- always use your lights at night
This may seem like a long list, but that’s because it is complete.
Plus, many of these steps become habits very easily, and once they become a part of your routine, they only take a few seconds to perform before you start your ride.
Let’s take a look at each one of the tips in more detail.
Always wear a helmet
The most important safety tip when riding an electric scooter is to always, without exception, wear a helmet appropriate for your electric scooter.
If you only remember one tip, let it be this.
The helmet may literally be the difference between life and death. If you have doubts about this, simply go through some posts and comments in the electric scooter communities out there.
You will quickly realize that wearing a helmet is paramount.
Never be lazy or lax when it comes to wearing it. Make this your number one habit.
Respect your local traffic laws
The fastest way to end up with some damage, whether to your person, your scooter, or your wallet, is to ignore the traffic laws (or any other laws really) in the place where you live and ride.
In some areas, electric scooters are still unregulated. That means there are no clear rules about their usage yet.
Make sure to do as much research as you can. It will save you from both an accident and a ticket.
Traffic laws for electric scooters may be difficult to discover in your country or region. But you can bet that knowing them will save you tons of trouble down the road.
If you are not sure about your local laws or where to find them, check out the electric scooter legal guide and look for your country or location there.
Wear all the safety gear you have
The helmet is the one safety accessory that is really critical, and you should never ride without it. However, there is a lot of other equipment you can get to make sure your rides are as safe as possible.
Protect your body further by wearing elbow and knee pads. In case of a fall, they will prevent you from fractures, bruises, or other types of injury.
They are the second most important piece of safety equipment. The protection they provide is very solid.
Riding an electric scooter will often bring you at odds with the weather and the environment. Wind, dust, sand, dirt, or any type of small particles can easily get stuck into your eyes. If your helmet doesn’t have a visor, get some type of goggles or glasses that will protect your eyes.
This will not only make your ride more comfortable, but it can also prevent an accident. Protect your eyes so that you can ride safely.
Next on the list will be the clothing you wear. Make sure you wear proper scooter riding clothing as often as possible. That includes:
- heavier boots that would protect your feet in case of a fall
- long sleeve shirts and jeans that would reduce scrapes and bruises
- a jacket that will make sure you are not cold
You can also consider getting a motorcycle armor instead of a jacket, or in addition to it. Honestly, this is one of the coolest items you can get for electric scooters, and are one of those rare pieces of gear that both increase safety and make you look super cool.
Gloves can also be a cheap but important item. They can make a difference in how serious your hand and finger injuries.
Finally, you can get a safety vest for riding at night. Get a fluorescent vest that shines during the night. This will make it easier for other traffic participants to spot you and help avoid accidents.
Check out the guide on the best electric scooter accessories if you want to gear up fully.
Don’t drink or do drugs before riding
This will technically fall under the same point as respecting traffic laws. But it is so important that we should address it on its own.
Look, I get it. Scooters look cool and fun. Until a few years ago, they were not really that powerful.
Still, that doesn’t mean that they should be ridden differently than other vehicles. They still carry the same risks as any other means of transport, and still participate in traffic.
Riding under any influence will cloud your judgment. On top of that, it will slow down your reflexes. That increases the chances of something bad happening.
If you are not sober, avoid riding your electric scooter. It is both unsafe and illegal.
Don’t ride too fast
Electric scooter manufacturers will take care of this one for you in many instances.
Many electric scooters will come with speed limitations. Most often this comes in the form of built-in firmware limitations. It will only allow the scooter to go as fast as the local traffic law permits.
Still, you have responsibility as well.
You shouldn’t ride above the speed limit. Also, it’s smart not to ride so fast that the ride becomes unsafe, even if within the speed limit.
After all, there are not many levels of protection between you and the hard asphalt. Riding at very fast speeds may result in some bad accidents and injuries.
Ride as fast as you feel safe, comfortable, and as long as your scooter seems stable.
If you are not sure, try starting at 10 mph / 15 kmh and maybe gradually increase the top speed.
I would recommend not riding faster than 25 mph / 40 kmh at any time. Even that may be a lot already.
If you are riding in pedestrian or areas with heavy traffic, it is also strongly recommended to slow down.
Related to the point above, you should turn as slowly and as carefully as possible.
Turning is often the point where falls or accidents happen, especially when not performed carefully.
Make sure you are aware of what direction you are headed in and what is coming at you.
Make sure all your brake systems work
Having a functional braking system in your electric scooter is paramount.
Check all of your braking systems as often as possible, before every ride even.
Many scooters will have both a mechanical disk brake and an electronic brake. Some will even have a rear fender foot-pressed brake.
You want them all working. You never know when one, or even two, can malfunction.
If some of them don’t work, consider not riding. If you absolutely must, at least you will know that one brake system doesn’t work, and you will not be taken by surprise. Obviously, if no braking system on your scooter works, don’t ride.
Check that your tires are sufficiently inflated and in good shape
This one is very important but a lot of people forget to do it.
All you got to do is a quick inspection. Make sure your tires are inflated enough, and there are no punctures or air leaking from them (check the guide on the correct tire pressure for scooters too).
Also, do a quick visual inspection to make sure the tires are not too worn out.
If you are that lazy, at least do a little kick on the tires to make sure they are inflated. Trust me, it is not fun finding out your tires are in bad shape in the middle of your ride.
Keep in mind that this step only applies to scooters with air-filled tires, as solid-tire scooter owners don’t need to worry about their tires at all. If never worrying about tires sounds like a good deal, check out the article on the best solid-tire scooters.
Stay focused on your ride
Riding an electric scooter puts you in a state of flow. You can easily get carried away and forget you are actually in traffic.
Always stay focused on the ride and your surroundings. Ride in an alert and focused state.
Avoid riding in the rain, snow or wet weather
Pretty much every user manual of the scooters will suggest not riding in the rain or in any type of wet weather. Even the scooters that are very water-resistant, or even true waterproof scooters, will still warn against it.
There are two main reasons for this.
The first is, the electric scooter is an electric device. It is always wise to keep it away from water. Even though the battery and the electric parts are protected, they will never be fully immune to water. They can easily break or malfunction because of it. While rare, electric scooter defects because of water contact do happen, and they are almost never covered by your scooter’s warranty.
The second reason is safety. Riding in the rain will increase the slipperiness of the road. It will create puddles that are difficult to spot, and can lead to a bad calculation. Also, the rain will reduce the visibility on the road.
Avoid riding in the rain or snow as much as possible. Only do it if you absolutely have to, and make sure you take all the steps to waterproof your scooter in that case.
Avoid ice or slippery surfaces
Related to the point above, wet weather, especially in the winter, will cause the road to freeze.
That is the nemesis of electric scooters. Most scooters will come with regular tires, which are not ready for winter rides.
Try to avoid riding on ice or any surface that is slippery. If doing it, do it with maximum care, and follow the recommended electric scooter winter guidelines.
Avoid pedestrian areas
Probably the biggest threat for electric scooter riders is careless pedestrians. The biggest category of accidents, while usually not serious, is from collisions between electric scooters and pedestrians.
In many places, electric scooters can’t be used on sidewalks. In big urban areas, that is often justified. Only use sidewalks for very short crossings, or only when you have no other choice.
Avoid heavy traffic
Whenever possible, avoid dense traffic. If necessary, go the longer route even. That might save you time anyway.
The more cars and traffic, the bigger the chances of an accident.
An electric scooter is very maneuverable and can go through traffic easily. Still, that doesn’t make sneaking through rows of cars stuck on a red light a good idea.
Make sure you have enough battery to get where you need to go
Getting stuck in the middle of your journey means that the journey failed.
You need to know the maximum range that your scooter can reach on a single charge. In case you don’t, either check it in our range guide or look up the information online.
Before you go on a longer ride, check your battery level.
If it’s too low, the distance you will get from your scooter may not be enough. So just charge your scooter fully to make sure you get where you are going.
Ride as the manual instructs
I’m always surprised at the number of people that have never even opened their scooter’s manual.
True, they may be boring, but they do contain a lot of important information inside.
They will usually include the proper way to ride your scooter. More often than not, this will mean:
- never riding with just one hand
- riding with both your legs on the deck
- not doing any jumps
- not attempting any stunts
- not accelerating when going downhill
Riding in the way manufacturers recommend will always be the optimal way to ride, both for your scooter and yourself.
Only ride by yourself
Believe it or not, there are specially designed electric scooters for two people.
They do look a little strange. I couldn’t picture myself riding one with someone else. That must be weird. But scooters like this do exist.
Chances are, however, you are here reading about single rider scooters.
And their manufacturers are pretty adamant about this. Electric scooters are for one person only!
Riding with another person will make the ride much harder.
Controlling the scooter will be difficult, and it is likely that the maximum load of the scooter will be exceeded.
That may easily result in damaging your scooter.
Not to even mention that a potential fall will be much worse for both riders. Just ride by yourself.
Always use your lights at night
When riding at night, it is important to let other participants in traffic know about your presence on the road.
Electric scooters are already kinda small, slim, and maybe a bit inconspicuous. Not having your lights turned on at night will most certainly make it difficult for other drivers to spot you. This will result in delayed reactions, which may further result in an accident.
Turn on as many lights as you have.
Most scooters will have both head and tail lights, which are usually enough. Some scooters have bottom lights as well, and those will also help. The more – the better.
In case you are missing a light, either a head or a tail light, it is a very good idea to get an extra one. If some of your lights are broken, make sure to fix them as soon as you can. See my guide on electric scooter lights to find out how to best achieve that.
Are electric scooters safe?
Electric scooters are pretty safe. The majority of consumer, budget, and commuter scooters can barely move fast enough to cause serious injuries in most scenarios. Of course, as with literally any transportation vehicle, accidents are still possible, and they do happen every now and then.
Also, there are a few health risks associated with scooters after long use, and you should do everything you can to reduce those risks to maximize your safety.
How common are electric scooter accidents?
Electric scooter accidents are not common, and serious accidents are even less common. Only 1 out of 5000 riders get into an accident, and only 0.02% of the riders get injured. The most common reason for injury is not wearing a helmet, as only 4% of patients admitted for electric scooter injuries wear a helmet.
How to fall with an electric scooter?
There is a saying in the motorcycle world – you are not a biker until you fall.
While the same doesn’t necessarily apply to electric scooters, there is a possibility that you may fall with your scooter.
That’s why it is important to know how to fall properly in order to minimize the damage, both on your body and on your scooter.
If you realize you are gonna fall, try and stay as calm as possible. Panic will not help in any way. I know that “don’t panic” is not usually useful advice, but try and keep your cool.
Just let go of the handlebar and try to maintain your balance.
If you fall, make sure you protect your head.
Don’t worry about your scooter. It should be the last thing on your mind. Your safety always comes first.
What to do in case of an electric scooter accident?
Accidents, while rare and not serious, can still happen. It pays to be prepared and to know what to do next.
Remain calm. Whatever happened, you can react in a way to improve your situation, and potentially someone else’s too.
Keeping calm is the best way to start.
Check your body for injuries.
If you are in pain, try not to move too much before you can identify your injury or help arrives.
If there are other parties involved in the accident, try and make sure they are all right too. Do not try to help unless you know what you are doing. Follow the common guidelines for providing aid in traffic accidents. In short:
- park your scooter to the side and turn its lights on, so that help can see you
- stay calm, don’t let other people’s panic affect you (calmness can spread just as good as panic)
- take note of the situation, look for potential victims, fire, gas, smoke, strange smells, broken glass, or live wires
- if there are children, move them to a safe location
- make sure you are in a safe situation
- don’t smoke
- call emergency services, give them all the information you can and stay on the line
- if you know how to do it, provide aid to victims