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With electric scooters gaining so much popularity, flooding the streets of urban areas and more people getting a taste for riding, it’s easy to get carried away and forget the risks and dangers associated with it.
With the growth in popularity come a number of accidents caused by the careless use of the electric scooters.Only in the US, in 2018 hundreds of riders and pedestrians landed in the ER with injuries ranging from severe gravel rash to knocked-out teeth, ripped out toenails and detached biceps. The first fatality that involved a shared electric scooter occurred in September 2018 in Dallas, Texas.
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There are various reasons why people get injured while riding electric scooters, whether personal or shared ones.
Mistakes do happen, just like with any other modern means of transportation. In a busy city, the road is shared by pedestrians, cyclists and all kinds of other riders and drivers.
It’s basically impossible to have zero crushes. And then there is the part that has to do with the way each electric scooter is made – how strong the material, how good the brakes, etc.
Still, the most concerning factor that leads to electric scooters related injuries seems to be the irresponsibility of the riders.
An electric scooter is not a toy and you are not Iron Man or some other Marvel hero that can get hit by a truck at 80 mph and feel nothing.
You are a flesh and bones human person that has to take into consideration both the physical laws and the traffic laws in order to commute safely and continue to enjoy life.
Therefore, as much as we hate to bring up the rules of riding electric scooters, we think we have to. And we’ll make it in a different way.
We will try to explain each one of them so that the logic behind them will be as obvious as possible.
Hopefully, as a consequence, you will continue to use your electric scooter in a better way, the air will be fresher and you’ll get to live to breathe it.
1. Read the manual first.
You can get a lot of information from electric scooters reviews. Some people though advise that you should read the manual carefully and thoroughly before purchasing an electric scooter.
This way you’ll be able to know the exact specifications and safety features and choose that one that best suits your needs. If you have already purchased an electric scooter and you know you still haven’t read the manual, you should better do it right now.
2. Wear protective gear.
First, you need an electric scooter helmet to cover the most important part of your body – your head. When you hit the pavement at 20 mph is like being hit by a baseball bat at the same speed. That leads to serious head injury. Make sure you wear a helmet that fits well. It can literally save your life.
In addition to a helmet, you could use wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, and close-toed shoes.
3. Start off slowly.
It’s quite tempting to jump right on an electric scooter after you unboxed it and hit the road. But please don’t do things in a hurry. Again, the electric scooters are machines; one needs time to get used to handling them.
So, take time to get used to the accelerator and braking tabs on the handles. Go in an empty parking lot or another safe area and practice some turns.
Hit the brakes a few times, go a little faster, try different moves. You’ll get familiar with it and you’ll be able to control it a lot better when you actually navigate the city.
4. Be mindful of surrounding traffic and local traffic laws.
Even though the state laws and city laws may differ all across the US and some cities have banned the electric scooters altogether, the general rule right now is that you’re allowed to ride your electric scooter wherever you can ride a bike.
You are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk. Wherever possible, use bike lanes to avoid proximity to faster traffic. Look out for pedestrians and obey traffic laws.
5. No one-handed rides.
This might require for you to put down the phone and the coffee cup. You will look less cool but you will be able to reach the commands on the handlebar in due time.
Please keep in mind that a number of things can happen while you ride: a pedestrian can just take a step in front of you, a crack in the road can appear or you can just lose balance.
6. No headphones while operating the scooter.
This is a hard one. We usually want to listen to something or talk on the phone while riding. In most of cases this practice is prohibited by the law, depending on your region.
Nevertheless, you should be more concerned with your safety than paying a traffic ticket. The truth is we need to hear what’s going on around us while we ride our electric scooters.
Undivided attention might make the difference even if it’s not us who make a mistake. So, better sacrifice little for a smooth and safe ride.
7. Don’t drink and ride.
If you know you’re going to a party tonight and there will be some toasting involved, leave your electric scooter at home. You’ll have to pay a taxi but it would be worth it.
8. Make sure to leave the scooter out of the way of foot traffic.
This one is directed towards the shared electric scooter community out there. A number of incidents have been reported that had to do with a careless way of parking the scooters around the city after use.
Please keep in mind that a well-parked electric scooter needs to meet at least three requirements: 1. Standing upright, 2.Parked on the periphery of pedestrian paths and 3. Not blocking pedestrian access.
9. Make sure your electric scooter is equipped with a bell and front and rear lights.
The electric scooters are quiet. If you are riding on a busy street, in the middle of the day, chances are people won’t hear you passing by.
A bell will warn pedestrians, bikers, and motorists that you’re approaching them. This simple safety device along with front and rear lights at night can save you and your electric scooter from accidents and costly repairs as well as personal injury and medical expenses.
10. Do not ride a faulty electric scooter
Who would do that? Still, if you hear weird noises, notice short-run charging time, sluggish ride, damaged wires, worn down tires or any other things that make you suspect your electric scooter is not running properly, please do not ride it.
Go back to your manual, read the Troubleshooting section and follow the instructions the manufacturer gives. Do not try to fix it with a screwdriver, duct tape or a hammer.
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