Five Electric Scooter Safety Tips
With 85,000 e-scooters rented across the United States, it’s clear that the electric scooters is real. They’re fun, fast, and affordable. According to Vox, renting a scooter on an app can cost as little as $1 to rent plus only 15 cents per mile. But as with anything popular in the tech world, America’s obsession with electric scooters comes with baggage.
One of the biggest causes for dismay among local residents is the fact that electric scooters present unnecessary safety hazards to pedestrians and riders alike. In fact, over the summer, Nashville, TN Mayor David Briley asked the Metro Nashville Council to ban the scooters, at least temporarily, until regulations were put into place for electric scooter companies. Instead of an electric scooter ban, the council created a set of regulations for e-scooter companies operating in the metro Nashville area.
Even with local governments introducing more regulations on where and how electric scooter companies may operate, the people have spoken. Pedestrians love having an alternative means of getting around.
Now that electric scooters are here to stay, we’ve pulled together some electric scooter safety tips to minimize your chances of crashing into a pedestrian, a pole, a car, or otherwise risking your safety.
Beware of wet surfaces
You can technically ride an electric scooter in the rain, but to be honest, do you really want to risk your safety as well as the limits of your scooter’s brakes? Driving heavy rain or freezing rain makes it significantly harder to brake and maneuver the machine.
Use Google to your advantage
You already use the internet for so many other aspects of life, why not use it for planning the best route to get to your destination? For instance, some states, including California, require you to ride your electric scooter in bike lanes.
You can use the cycling option on Google Maps to plan out your route on bike lane friendly roads. When using Google Maps on your computer, you can differentiate if a particular route has a designated bike lane, if it’s a bike trail, or if it’s an unpaved or dirt trail just by looking at the color of the route line on the map.
- Bike trails are indicated by dark green lines and do not permit motor vehicles.
- Streets with dedicated cycling lanes are indicated by light green lines.
- Bicycle friendly roads without dedicated lanes are indicated by dashed light green lines.
- Dirt or unpaved trails are indicated by brown lines.
Do pedestrians a favor, don’t drive on the sidewalk
Can you ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk? It depends on the state. Here’s a breakdown of electric scooter laws in California, Texas, and Florida, respectively.
California: California vehicle code 21230 states that it’s illegal to ride a scooter on a sidewalk, yet driving on trails, bike lanes, and bikeways is permitted.
Texas: Texas allows riding electric scooters on lanes designated for bicycles. However, they also allow scooters on sidewalks as long as there’s a speed limit of under 35 miles per hour.
Florida: Riding an electric scooter in Florida is not permitted on sidewalks or bike paths. Instead, they must ride in the roadway with other vehicles and obey standard traffic laws.
Use hand signals when turning
In California, not only is using hand signals a good safety practice, it’s also the law. Vehicle Code Section 22107 requires the use of a signal before turning. In fact, under Vehicle Code Section 22109, that turn signal must be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning. Here’s how to go about using hand signals when turning:
All required signals given by hand and arm shall be given from the left side of a vehicle in the following manner:
- Left turn—hand and arm extended horizontally beyond the side of the vehicle.
- Right turn—hand and arm extended upward beyond the side of the vehicle, except that a bicyclist may extend the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.
- Stop or sudden decrease of speed signal—hand and arm extended downward beyond the side of the vehicle.
Use proper body posture
Yes, proper positioning of your body while driving an electric scooter not only makes for a more enjoyable riding experience, but it makes it immensely safer as well! Try standing towards the back of your scooter for better weight distribution, which puts less pressure on the front tire. The less pressure your front tire has, the less likely the tire will slide on a slippery surface.
One more thing, if you know you’re headed for a crash or slip with your electric scooter, let the scooter go and try to protect yourself from falling too hard on the ground. Holding on to the scooter may put you at greater risk of injuring yourself.
Finally, while it may seem pretty obvious, make an effort to keep both hands on the scooter unless you’re giving a hand turn signal or doing something else of importance.
The thrill and ease of renting a scooter has made the electric scooter craze grow across the country. Use these five key pointers to push your scooter riding journey off to a good start. At Infinity Insurance, we understand the importance of safety in everything you do.
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