Riding Electric Scooters Safely: What You Need to Know from Zoom Urban Gear

Riding Electric Scooters Safely: What You Need to Know from Zoom Urban Gear

Published on 10 / 01 / 23 by Em S.

Hey there, fellow scooter enthusiasts! If you're reading this, you probably share our passion for zipping around town on your electric scooter, enjoying the freedom and thrill it brings. And guess what? You're not alone. The scooter scene is buzzing, and it's no surprise why. These nifty two-wheelers have taken urban commuting by storm, offering an eco-friendly, efficient, and downright fun way to get from point A to B.

Were you aware that the North American electric scooter market is on track to reach a staggering $2.3 billion by the year 2030? That's right! The future of scooting appears to be charging ahead with an anticipated growth rate of 18.1% projected between 2023 and 2030, as highlighted in Skyquest's most recent research report.

Safety might not be the sexiest topic, but it's necessary when cruising on your electric steed. According to a study published by JAMA Network Open in 2020, electric scooter-related injuries saw a 222% surge between 2014 and 2018. In 2019 alone, the U.S. witnessed a staggering 14,651 electric scooter-related injuries, as reported by CBS News.

Electric Scooter Safety Gear Essentials 

Remember those statistics we just shared? Here's the kicker: 80% of these accidents happened because of spills, 11% involved unfortunate run-ins with objects, and 9% ended up in unfortunate car encounters. Head injuries? Yeah, they topped the list, accounting for 60% of reported cases, as stated in a 2021 Los Angeles CBS Local News report. 

To add to the sobering stats, 26% of these cases were classified as severe, 54% as moderate, and 19% as mild, as per the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

We're not here to put a damper on your scooter-loving spirit. Nope, quite the opposite. We're here to rev up your enthusiasm while keeping a laser focus on safety. We want every ride to be a blast and injury-free scoot. 

And that’s why we want to provide you with a list of the best electric scooter accessories to keep you safe when you’re out on the road.

  • Scooter Helmet: Let's start with the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of scooter gear – your helmet. Your head is precious cargo, and a good scooter helmet is your best defense against unexpected tumbles.
  • Scooter Gloves: Your hands are your steering wheel, throttle, and brakes – basically, the bosses of your scooter ride. Protect those digits with some grippy yet padded palms. They shield your hands and provide a better grip on those handlebars.
  • Elbow and Knee Pads: No shame in admitting that spills happen. But hey, we've got you covered – literally. Elbow and knee pads are like your personal armor, ready to absorb the impact if you ever take an unexpected tumble. Slide them on, and you'll thank us later.
  • Wrist Guards: Remember when you were a kid, and your parents told you to watch your wrists? Well, they were onto something. Wrist guards are your safety net for those wrist-wrenching moments. They help prevent nasty sprains and fractures.
  • Reflective Clothing: Nighttime scooting? Don't disappear into the shadows. Invest in some reflective clothing. Be visible to everyone – pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. 
  • Proper Footwear: Skip the flip-flops and go for sturdy, closed-toe shoes. You need your feet firmly planted on those footrests, ready to react. Grippy sneakers or skate shoes are ideal for the job.
  • Eyewear: Wind in your hair, sun in your eyes? Grab a pair of sunglasses or clear safety goggles. They keep your vision sharp and your peepers safe from flying debris.
  • High-Visibility Vest: If you're scooting in busy urban areas or on the road, consider wearing a high-visibility vest. It's a bold move that screams safety first.

Know Your Scooter

Now that we're on the same page about an electric scooter, let's talk brands. The scooter game has a whole lineup of reputable names, each with its unique charm. Think Niu, Segway, Inokim, GoTrax, Apollo, Unagi, Kaabo, Dualtron, and Fluidfreeride – just to name a few. These brands offer a range of scooters from commuters to off-road beasts, each with its own set of features, designs, and, of course, cool electric scooter accessories.

Why Understanding Your Scooter Matters

Here's where things get real: understanding your scooter's specifications and features is not just about showing off your tech-savvy side. It's a matter of safety and getting the most out of your ride.

  • Weight Limits: Pay attention to weight limits. Scooters are built to handle a certain amount of load. Lower-end scooters can typically handle 220 pounds, and higher end up to 330 pounds. Exceeding that limit could lead to performance issues or even accidents.  Be sure to consider the weight of your kit, what you’re carrying, and your accessories—not just your body weight. Check your scooter's manual for the manufacturer's guidelines on weight capacity.
  • Speed Settings: Many electric scooters offer adjustable speed settings. This feature allows you to tailor your ride to your skill level or the terrain you're conquering. If you're new to scooting, start slow and gradually crank up the speed as you gain confidence.
  • Battery Life: Knowing your scooter's battery life and range is crucial for planning your trips. Running out of juice miles away from home is no one's idea of a good time. Keep an eye on your battery level and plan your rides accordingly so you don’t end up doing the walk of shame home with your dead scooter. And if you plan to store your scooter, start with 70% charge and make sure it doesn't go below 20%. Running out of charge can kill a lithium battery.
  • Maintenance Needs: Before you ride, every time, at a minimum check that your stem is securely locked and the brakes engage the way you expect. Every week, make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure.
  • Cruise Mode: Many scooters lock in your speed if you hold your throttle down for more than five to 15 seconds, and the scooter keeps going even if you release the throttle. This is adjustable, either in the app or on the controller. Don’t be surprised if cruise mode suddenly engages! It’s not for beginners.

Pre-Ride Checklist

Before you kick off your scooter adventure, follow these essential steps:

  • Safety Gear: Always, always, always sport a helmet, even on quick rides. Ensure it fits snugly and securely under your chin. Remember that the purpose of the chinstrap is to keep the helmet on your head in the event of a crash. Wear closed-toe shoes with reliable tread and avoid loose clothing that could snag in the wheels.
  • Tire Pressure: Check tire pressure with a bicycle gauge and inflate to the manufacturer's recommended PSI if necessary. Proper inflation prevents flats and boosts stability. We recommend doing this weekly. And, if you can’t remember the recommended inflation for your tires, check the sidewall for the information you need.
  • Brake Test: Every time you are going to go out for a ride, seek a safe area and test brakes at a slow pace. Confirm both front and rear brakes are functioning correctly before you hit the road.
  • Adjustments: Customize handlebar height to your comfort and check folding locks/latches for proper securing. And don’t assume that your adjustments are always correct, as moving your scooter around can cause things to loosen. So be sure to check this every time you head out for a ride.
  • Battery Check: Each time you plan to head out, verify your battery level using the indicator display or button (if needed). Ensure it's adequately charged for your planned ride. Be sure to plan ahead, as charging a battery can take five to eight hours. Trust us, you don’t want to be that person doing the ‘scooter walk of shame’ home with a dead battery.
  • Plan Your Routes: Planning your routes in advance allows you to avoid traffic congestion and select paths that are scooter-friendly, ensuring a smoother and more efficient ride.

Safe Riding Practices

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that e-scooter injuries often involve fractures, dislocations, and, most alarmingly, head trauma, accounting for 45% of injuries. It's time to roll with caution and make safety your top priority. Here's how:

  • Helmet Up: Never leave home without your scooter helmet. Head injuries are no joke, and a helmet can be a lifesaver.
  • Stay Sober: Don't scoot while intoxicated. Save the fun for when you're off your ride.
  • Solo Ride: Avoid tandem riding – it's not built for two. Stick to one rider per scooter.
  • Stay off the Sidewalk: More accidents happen on sidewalks than on roadways, because sidewalk surfaces are rougher than the streets.  Also, be a good ambassador for scooters and don’t scare pedestrians.
  • Respect Traffic Rules: Be street-smart and follow traffic laws. Obey signals and signs.
  • Mind the Speed: Reckless driving is a no-go. And, know that the road won’t always be your friend. 
  • Avoid Distractions: Stay focused and keep your learning mindset front and center. Distracted scooting can lead to accidents.
  • Watch Your Surroundings: Watch for obstacles, pedestrians, and, of course, cars.
  • Curb the Curbs: A surprising 10% of injuries happen when riders collide with curbs. In addition to collisions with curbs, it's worth noting that sandy or loose terrain can make scooter handling more challenging, increasing the risk of accidents. 
  • Car Collisions: Another 10% involve collisions with vehicles. Be extra cautious around cars.
  • Steer Clear of Objects: 7% of incidents involve crashing into inanimate objects like light poles. Stay in control and pay attention to obstacles that may be difficult to see until they are immediately in front of you.

Emergency Preparedness

When you're zipping around on your electric scooter, preparedness can be your best friend in unexpected situations. Here are some electric scooter safety tips to keep you well-prepared:

  • Charged Phone: Always ensure your cell phone is charged and with you when you're out on your electric scooter. It's your lifeline in case of emergencies.
  • Emergency Contacts: Program important contact numbers into your phone, such as a friend or family member who can assist you in a breakdown or accident.
  • Safety Apps: Download safety apps to track your location and notify your contacts in an emergency. Popular apps include iSharing, Glympse, TrackView, and Find My iPhone.
  • Know Your Route: Plan your route in advance, especially if exploring new areas. Knowing your surroundings can help you navigate in case you need assistance.
  • Basic Tools: Carry essential tools like metric hex wrenches, a portable tire pump, battery charger, and headlight. These can be useful for minor repairs or catching you out after dark.
  • Visibility Gear: If you're riding at night, make sure you have visibility gear like reflective clothing and lights to stay visible to other road users.

Scoot Safely and With Confidence 

As you roll through the streets, remember that precautions aren't a buzzkill; they're your ticket to worry-free adventures. It's all about smart choices, from donning your scooter helmet to mastering your scooter's intricacies. So, keep the thrill alive by riding responsibly and cherishing the thrill of safety.

For more invaluable electric scooter tips, don't forget to follow the Zoom Urban Gear blog. Stay informed, stay safe, and let your scooter journeys be a testament to excitement and security.