Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Matt
You’ve seen them. They’re everywhere already. There’s more of them every day, and they’re not going anywhere it seems. And people on them seem to be having a blast, while also efficiently getting to their destinations and avoiding traffic.
Chances are, you’ve found yourself thinking… “should I try one of these electric scooter things?”.
The answer is, of course yes.
And if you’re having doubts about whether riding them is hard, you can relax. They are very safe, easy, and fun to ride.
Still, there are a few things you should know if you’ve never ridden an electric scooter before. These are all the steps to riding an electric scooter.
How to ride an electric scooter – step-by-step guide
- safety first – always wear a helmet, protective gear and clothing, ride alone and ride defensively
- respect traffic laws and don’t ride too fast
- avoid riding in the rain, snow, or on slippery surfaces
- make sure your scooter has enough power, its acceleration, brakes, and electronics function properly, and the tires are sufficiently inflated
- turn your scooter on and start slowly
- grab the handlebars
- put one foot on the deck, and use the other to kick off the ground
- when your scooter starts moving, press the acceleration and place both feet on the deck
- keep pressing the acceleration to keep driving
- activate any brake system to stop
Let’s see exactly what those steps describe, and also what else you need to know for using your electric scooter safely and efficiently.
Are electric scooters legal?
In general, electric scooters are perfectly legal in most countries and cities. You have to check your location, city, and country for the specific laws, but they are legal for the most part. In most places, electric scooters are classified either as small motor vehicles or bikes, and should obey those respective traffic laws.
Check out the full electric scooter legal guide to find out about your specific country or city.
Some cities in the world have banned them from being used in a certain way. A few of these restrictions include
- limits on their speed
- restrictions on where they can be parked
- restrictions on where they can be ridden
These few locations are the exception. A famous example of this is England, where electric scooters have been banned (but still literally millions of people continue to ride them every day without any legal trouble). For the most part, electric scooters are legal, but double-check your location to make sure.
Are electric scooters safe?
Electric scooters are generally safe. Anytime you’re in traffic, especially on a motorized vehicle, there is a risk of injury. But scooter accidents are relatively rare, given how many scooters are in use today and how many people have gotten to their destinations safely.
That said, you should still drive defensively, obey all local traffic laws, and take every safety and precaution measure you can. Check out the guide on electric scooter safety to find out more.
Electric scooter safety
Staying safe while riding an electric scooter is paramount.
Always wear a helmet. If you only remember one thing from this entire paragraph, it should be this: wear a helmet. It can literally prevent serious injury or worse.
If possible, wear knee and elbow pads. This is especially true if you’re not yet accustomed to the scooter.
It’s also smart to wear clothing that makes your ride comfortable and safe. That means long sleeve shirts and long pants, sneakers, or boots. If there’s a lot of wind or dust in your area, you should consider using goggles or riding glasses as well, they will make vision much easier.
Take a look at the guides on best scooter helmets, and best scooter accessories, if you’re missing some of these items.
Always ride with both of your feet on the deck. Avoid exhibitions until you are more experienced, and avoid them even then for maximum safety.
Ride alone. Most scooters were designed to handle only one person.
This one is also important for beginners: don’t ride in the rain, snow, hailstorm, or any wet weather. Also, avoid icy, muddy, slippery, or rough terrains. Stick to asphalt, paved surfaces, and avoid bumps, holes, and uneven roads. If you see a puddle, a stream, or any other body of water, do your best to avoid it. That’s what most scooters were built for.
When riding over a speed bump, climbing onto a sidewalk, or crossing any other uneven surface, reduce your speed. Don’t go over 15 km/h when crossing these.
Don’t go faster than the speed limit allowed for scooters, and don’t go too fast in general when first starting out. Avoid accelerating downhill as well.
The faster you go, the longer it will take to stop. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and pedestrians. Don’t brake suddenly, this may cause you to fall.
Be extra mindful of pedestrians. They can very easily not hear you coming and have an unpredictable reaction which may result in a collision or an accident. Use your bell to warn them that you’re approaching.
If carrying an extra load with you, don’t put it on the front of the scooter. That will mess with your balance, especially when braking, and it will make your scooter front-heavy.
Before riding, make sure the critical mechanisms of your scooter function properly. This means making sure that the scooter can:
- power on successfully
- it has sufficient battery
- the electronics function properly
- the tires are sufficiently inflated
- there are no loose parts
- the scooter can accelerate
- the scooter can brake
- the scooter makes no unusual sounds while driving
I know it sounds like a lot of things, but they become second nature very fast. Form good habits from the start and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Are electric scooters easy to ride?
Yes! Riding an electric scooter is not difficult at all! Learning how to ride an electric scooter often happens in minutes!
It may seem a little daunting when you see all those scooters quickly whizzing by through that dense traffic. But they are far easier to ride than it may look to the beginner.
Ok, scooters are legal, scooters are safe, you know how to stay safe, and we know they are easy to ride. The boring part is over. How do you actually ride this thing?
How to ride an electric scooter
Turn on the scooter. You will start with the slowest speed mode, often called Eco or power-saving mode.
Find a wide, clear, flat, safe place to practice. A street with no traffic or an empty parking lot, both work great.
While holding the handlebars, put one foot on the deck, and use the other foot to kick off the ground.
As the scooter starts moving, press the throttle and put both feet on the deck. You may need to do several kicks to start, this will depend on the scooter. Generally one or two are enough.
This is very hard to explain via text, but just keep the balance. It is actually very easy in practice, no need to dwell on it too much.
Keep pressing the throttle if you want to speed up, and hit the brakes if you want to slow down or stop.
Congratulations, you are now riding your electric scooter!
I could write 20 posts about how to ride an electric scooter and they still wouldn’t do justice to the process. It’s really a learn-by-doing thing, and it’s very easy to get the hang of it really fast.
Maybe more importantly, it’s so much fun! Have fun riding!
How to become an expert scooter rider
The more you ride, the easier it will get.
You will both learn about electric scooters in general, and the specifics of your scooter.
Since riding an electric scooter is fairly easy, you will be a pro in less than a month of semi-frequent riding.
Can you use an electric scooter as a normal scooter?
The short answer is: not really.
While technically there’s nothing stopping you from riding your electric scooter by kicking, it’s not built for it. The biggest issue is that either the deck is too high, or it’s too heavy, or both.
Check out the detailed explanation about riding an electric scooter manually.
What to do if you fall down or have an accident with your electric scooter
Accidents happen in traffic, sometimes even despite how careful you ride.
If you see that you will fall down soon:
- stay as calm as you can
- let go of the handlebar
- if needed, step off or jump off the deck
With most scooters, you can’t reach dangerous speeds, so there’s not much to worry about.
If you get into a more serious accident, again, start by staying as calm as you can.
Check if you are all right, and if there are other people involved, check if they are all right as well. If you or someone else has a more serious injury, call an ambulance.
When you’ve made sure everyone is all right, assess the damage your scooter has suffered, and also if another party has material damage as well. Follow the local law for dealing with traffic accidents.
Which electric scooter should I buy?
If you’ve never had an electric scooter before, I highly recommend the Xiaomi M365 Pro (full review here). It is a very beginner-friendly scooter, very easy and fun to ride.
It is also an amazing value for money. For under $600 you will get a max speed of 25 km/h, and a great range of 45 kilometers on a single charge. With a 480 Watt-hour battery and a 300 Watt motor, it’s no wonder it is possibly the most popular electric scooter of all time.
I’ve had mine for a year now, and I can’t recommend it enough as your first scooter.
You can also check out the electric scooter buying guide to see how to find the perfect scooter for you.
Which electric scooter is best for commuting?
So you’re thinking if you get an electric scooter, you’ll easily navigate the busy streets and get to work fast and basically for free. Well, good thinking!
This will vary based on your commute, but in general, you will want a scooter with great range.
If you want a truly high-end, high-quality electric scooter that you will ride for years to come without a single screw getting loose, I would suggest the EMove Cruiser. It is an excellent, high-quality, highly performant, fully waterproof scooter. You can find it at the Voromotors store, or read the full review here.
If you’re looking for a great budget scooter that will get the job done, the Ninebot Max or one of the Joyor models is a great choice (full review here, available on Segway and Amazon in the US, TekTrendy in Canada, GearBest and PureElectric in Europe).
How to maintain your electric scooter?
Electric scooters are not simple machines, but they are far from being rocket ships. Their maintenance is fairly easy.
You will want to inspect your scooter at least once a month, preferably more.
Check for defects first. While rare, defects may occur, usually in the following forms:
- flat tire
- loosened brakes
- loosened screws or parts
- overused battery
- motor or electronics defect
All of them except the last are not difficult to fix.
Make sure you don’t let your battery get drained out, as that will speed up its demise, which already happens naturally (that’s how all batteries are). Charge your scooter regularly.
By cleaning your scooter, you will make sure there’s no dust or filth near the battery or the wheels reducing its performance. Check for scratches and damage too, a lot of it can be masked or repaired with very simple and cheap means.
As you can see, electric scooters don’t require a ton of maintenance. Consult your manual as well, it will contain information that will likely not be available elsewhere.
Is an electric scooter worth it?
The electric scooter may be one of the most effective means of transport today.
Charging it costs basically nothing. It’s like riding for free almost.
You move as fast as you would with a bike or even a motorcycle, but you also go through traffic faster and more efficiently.
You don’t get tired or sweaty because of riding it.
If you ride safely and responsibly, there are literally no downsides. And, if you’re not sure whether you should buy yourself a scooter yet, you can always try several rented electric scooters and see if the concept makes sense to you.
So, is an electric scooter worth it? A thousand times yes.