In this riding guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to ride an electric scooter safely, including tips on safety gear, performing pre-flight checks, and practicing before hitting the road. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced rider, it’s important to prioritize safety when operating an electric scooter. So let's get started and ensure that you can enjoy cruising around without getting hurt!
Power on your scooter. To safely start riding an electric scooter, hold onto the handlebars as you raise the kickstand. After closing the kickstand, kick off with your strong leg and push the scooter forward until it reaches a speed of about 3 mph, then use the throttle to power the scooter motor(s).
Maintain stability while riding an electric scooter by standing with your feet comfortably apart, one in front of the other, like you would on a skateboard or snowboard. Avoid standing with your feet parallel on the deck, which can cause you to lose balance. Shift standing positions while riding to improve stability.
SCOOTER FACT | Most electric scooters have a kick-to-start setting that keeps the motors from engaging unless the scooter is “kick-started”. Select zero start in the scooter's performance settings (p-settings) to disable the kick-to-start safety feature. The scooter will launch when you press the throttle.
When riding an electric scooter, keeping both hands on the handlebars is crucial to maintain balance, stability, and control while in motion. This allows you to have better control of the scooter's steering, acceleration, and braking. Furthermore, you’ll be able to react quickly to any obstacles or potential dangers on the road.
SCOOTER FACT | Experienced bike riders can steer without hands, but bicycle tires are much larger and the body position is very different. Do not expect the same response on stand-up scooter tires (8"-12"), which are less than half the size of average bicycle tires (12"-26").
It is important to apply even pressure on the throttle for smooth and comfortable acceleration. Abruptly pressing the throttle can cause the scooter to lurch forward suddenly, which can be jarring and potentially dangerous. Additionally, maintaining even pressure on the throttle will help you drive at a steady pace, making it easier to anticipate potential obstacles or hazards on the road. As you become more comfortable riding and ready to go faster, you can gradually increase the pressure on the throttle to achieve higher speeds.
SCOOTER FACT | Some throttle styles, like the EY3 finger trigger on more powerful scooters, take more finesse to control, and gaining riding experience can prevent accidents.
To steer an electric scooter, there are different techniques depending on your speed. At low speeds, you can turn the handlebars to steer, controlling the direction of the front wheel. However, when traveling over 5 mph, it's more effective to lean into turns. This engages your core muscles and shifts your weight to the appropriate side for you to change direction smoothly while maintaining control of the scooter. By leaning into turns, you avoid the risk of losing control that may occur if you turn the handlebars abruptly at higher speeds. Therefore, it's crucial to master the art of leaning and shifting your weight to effectively steer the electric scooter.
SCOOTER FACT | Most electric scooters have a single stem while some have a fork or dual stem. Some single-stem electric scooters have a built-in steering stop, preventing you from overturning at any speed. Dual-stem scooters, like the Wolf King GT, keep the front wheel running straight with less effort than single-stem scooters, but generally have heavier builds.
When you need to slow down or stop an electric scooter, it's important to shift your body weight back and down and pull the brake lever(s) evenly at a comfortable pace. It's worth noting that some scooters have a single brake while others have dual brakes. Also, most e-scooters have electronic braking built-in, which is often not as powerful as mechanical brakes. If your scooter has dual brakes, it's important to get a feel for using both, but particularly the front brake, as it provides more stopping power. Gain practice applying pressure to both brakes evenly, and learning what braking pattern works best for you.
SCOOTER FACT | For most modern electric scooters, the left lever controls the rear brake and the right lever controls the front brake. Some lower-speed models have an electronic brake throttle that operates the same way as the accelerator throttle and is usually on the left handlebar.
While electric scooters for adults are a convenient mode of transportation, they can be as risky as riding bicycles and motorcycles. To ensure your safety, it's important to wear appropriate protective gear that matches your speed. Scooter gear will help protect against weather, windchill, and potential accidents.
Recommended safety equipment includes:
If you only wear one piece of safety gear, it should be a certified helmet. Helmets are made with different purposes and with varying levels of protection. For speeds under 20 mph, a bicycle helmet or half-face helmet is sufficient. However, when riding above 25 mph, it's recommended to wear a full-face helmet with chin protection. Some scooter riders wear downhill biking helmets, which provide lots of ventilation and excellent protection for your jawline. Whichever helmet you choose, it should fit snugly and be something you’re willing to wear every time you ride. Follow the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines to select the most suitable helmet and review ASTM standards.
At any speed, you should also wear sunglasses or opt for a helmet with a built-in eye shield to protect your eyes from glare, debris and from drying out.
Routinely wearing gloves when riding an electric scooter can prevent you from getting hurt or suffering discomfort. Not only will they keep your hands warm when riding in cool weather, they’ll protect your fingers and palms if you need to bail and catch yourself on your hands. Keep in mind that your fingers drive the brakes and throttle and if they get cramped from windchill, you can’t maintain control over the scooter.
You should wear shoes with protected toes and heels, like sneakers, boots, or other full-coverage footwear, when riding an electric scooter. This ensures your feet are safeguarded should you need to bail quickly or if you get into an accident.
For those who plan to ride at higher speeds, wearing knee pads, elbow pads, and/or armored clothing, like what is usually worn by motorcycle riders, offers additional protection. Some riders wear motocross gear, like shin guards and wrist guards, to prevent injury in the case of a fall. If you’re taking your electric scooter off-roading or riding in rural areas, it’s a good idea to wear extra body protection.
Unlike toy kick scooters, it takes practice to safely ride an adult electric scooter. It's important to find a private area where you can practice riding your new e-scooter before riding it in public. You should get familiar with your scooter’s controls and features, just like you would any vehicle. This will help you feel more confident and comfortable when you are on the road.
While e-scooters come equipped with easy-to-read displays that indicate riding stats and errors, performing regular maintenance is essential to ensure their proper functioning. Conducting a pre-flight check can help identify any issues before you begin your ride, making it safer for both short- and long-term use. This helps to minimize the risk of an injury.
Before each ride, check the following:
Rushing or skipping a pre-flight check on your electric scooter can lead to accidents and situations like the "walk of shame" (aka pushing your scooter solemnly down the street) due to insufficient charge or a flat tire.
Electric scooter tires and brakes are the most common parts that require maintenance and the leading causes of downtime, particularly for flat tires and brake repair. Maintaining proper air pressure in your tires can help prevent flats, extend range and ensure a smooth ride.
SCOOTER FACT | Electric scooter tires last between 1,500 and 3,000 miles depending on how well they are maintained, how they wear, and how they’re ridden. Brakes can last anywhere between 100 miles and 500 miles, depending on the quality and style of brakes, how you maintain them, and how you use them. If you want to learn more about how long electric scooters last, check out this blog.
The majority of serious accidents involving electric scooters occur with rental scooters, which are often not equipped with helmets. If you own an electric scooter, wearing safety gear consistently can minimize the severity of injuries resulting from accidents that are likely to occur. It is important to remember that even at relatively low speeds, electric scooters can be dangerous, so investing in safety gear is a critical step in staying safe while riding. Scooter gear is designed to prevent injuries if accidents occur. Unlike when you’re inside a vehicle, the only protection that your body has must be worn. Like wearing a seatbelt in a car, you should always wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter.
One of the most common mistakes people make when riding electric scooters is pressing the throttle too abruptly. Doing this can cause the scooter to accelerate too quickly, which can be dangerous and lead to accidents. Some e-scooters have such powerful acceleration that the wheels spin until they gain purchase on the ground, and learning how to respond takes practice. For those without much experience, it’s very easy to lose control while accelerating, especially on powerful electric scooters. To avoid this mistake, always practice riding in a safe and private environment prior. Apply pressure to the throttle gradually, and get a feel for how quickly you accelerate and slow down. Do not push the limit further than you’re capable of handling.
If you pull the brake levers too hard or unevenly, the sudden braking can cause the scooter to throw you off or fishtail and potentially cause accidents. Additionally, uneven application of the front and rear brakes can cause a loss of control. Along with practicing general braking skills, learn how to react if you need to stop in an emergency. Jumping or bailing off the scooter and figuring out just how hard you can stomp the brakes without getting thrown can help you avoid accidents on an electric scooter. Also, make sure to regularly check and maintain your brakes to ensure they are working properly and efficiently.
Turning the handlebars suddenly or too far in either direction is another common mistake to avoid when riding an electric scooter. Doing this can cause the scooter to lose balance and tip over. The handlebars are primarily there for you to balance and steer the front wheel straight. Turning the angle of the handlebars too far to the left or right can make you fall. Always turn the handlebars smoothly and gradually, and never make sudden turns. It's also important to check your surroundings and make sure it's safe to turn before doing so. After you have gained some experience, you’ll learn to turn by leaning with your body rather than only steering with the front wheel.
Putting forward or backward pressure on the scooter throws off the center of balance, and can cause tumbles. Leaning too far in turns or forward can easily cause you to lose control and potentially fall off the scooter. To prevent this, it's essential to maintain proper posture and keep your center of gravity over the center of the scooter. Avoid leaning too far to one side or the other, and lower your speed when making turns and approaching obstacles. You should also avoid leaning over the handlebars and carrying your weight on the front of the scooter, making it more likely for it to flip forward under hard braking. By following these tips, you can maintain balance and control and reduce the risk of accidents.
Congratulations on acquiring the basic knowledge needed to ride an electric scooter! However, before you start cruising, make sure you have the essential safety gear to protect yourself. Be a responsible rider, ensure that you are physically and mentally prepared for the ride, and just like driving a car, avoid riding under the influence. Additionally, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with e-scooter laws in your area before hitting the streets.
Now, it's time to choose an adult electric scooter that fits your riding style, environment, and ability. If you're unsure where to begin your search, you can refer to this scooter comparison guide, which allows you to shop based on performance, features, and price.
If you’d like more guidance on how to pick the right scooter for you, check out our ultimate beginner’s guide. With that, it's time to hop on your scooter and start enjoying the ride!
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