While certain states remain in lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, other territories are slowly but surely beginning to resume the pace of life prior to outbreak of the virus. Many states have expressed interest in repealing stringent shelter-in-place laws, partially opening businesses previously deemed nonessential, and reconsidering ideals surrounding social distancing. With this in mind, electric scooter enthusiasts and newbies alike are left wondering what type of precautions to practice as they hit the streets this season. Furthermore, scooter related injuries, accidents, and deaths have been on the rise since 2008, and the virus outbreak has only funneled further attention to one question: What does scooter safety look like? By following basic safety regulations, incorporating scooter safety accessories, practicing simple maintenance procedures, and raising awareness regarding scooter hygiene during this time of increased infection, you’ll be set for a safe spring season on the streets.
Why Have Scooter Related Injuries Increased?
Because electric scooters are relatively new to the roads in most areas, and an affordable means of rental transportation for adults with smartphones, the increase in scooter-related injuries is not unprecedented. First, many bikers, motorists, and pedestrians are unfamiliar with the rules of the road in relation to scooters. Oftentimes, riders are equally unsure of the proper etiquette; confusion arises when it comes to sidewalks, bike lanes, cross walks, and appropriate speeds. Plus, many scooterists renting devices are inexperienced when it comes to operating the device, and user error may result due to unfamiliarity with braking mechanics and speed controls. While electric scooters are a clean, green way to travel, many riders have yet to realize the importance of safety equipment while traveling. In the event of a curb collision or unfettered fender bender, riders outfitted with appropriate gear often fare better than their unprepared counterparts.
Rules for Riding Safely
Before stepping on the gas, it’s important to understand the structure of a scooter as well as its basic mechanics. By reading the user manual and identifying the electric scooter’s main components, like the brakes, battery, and throttle, scooter owners will familiarize themselves with what it takes to ride. Practicing in a contained space, like a driveway or neighborhood, poses a great opportunity for first-time riders to practice maneuvering the device, adjusting the speed, riding on various types of terrain, and making turns. In order to enjoy your ride as much as possible, consider these important tips:
Wearing protective gear is imperative when operating the device. Helmets are crucial and close-toed or athletic shoes are highly recommended. Wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads are supplemental accessories that especially benefit younger riders and those who are unfamiliar with electric scooters.
In order to get acquainted with the braking mechanics on the handlebars, accelerate slowly and maintain a controlled pace before hitting the gas.
Intersections and crosswalks are prone to traffic and pedestrian congestion, so it’s important to be especially cautious when navigating these areas.
Don’t drive distracted; cell phones should be securely stored in a safe location. While it may be enjoyable to cruise to your favorite playlist or tune in to a well-loved podcast, earbuds and headphones interfere with riders’ ability to hear important traffic signals and obstruct other drivers’ ability to communicate.
Use two hands to operate the scooter at all times.
Do not operate an electric scooter if you have consumed alcohol.
Always ride solo! Electric scooters are built to hold only one passenger at time, and surpassing the recommended weight capacity increases the risk of injury.
When you’ve reached your destination, be sure to stow your scooter or park your rental in a safe place away from heavy foot traffic. Respect other cars, motorcycles, and bicycles that are already parked nearby.
Scooter Safety Accessories
When it comes to protective wear, helmets are the surest way to prevent head-related injuries, which account for 40% of the wounds associated with electric scooters. From full-face helmets to biking and skating helmets, riders have a host of fun and fashionable options to choose from when it comes to protection. Elbow and knee pads are also important pieces of safety equipment to consider, as these accessories are a great way to cushion and support especially vulnerable body parts in the case of a falling accident.
Scooter Maintenance Improves Safety
Proper scooter maintenance is an integral step when it comes to prioritizing your own safety. With routine upkeep your scooter will offer a smoother ride and improved performance, and regular cleanings will increase the overall lifespan of the scooter. One of the most important features of the scooter is the brakes. By regularly checking your brakes and keeping the handlebars in good condition, your brakes will last longer and remain reactive. Whether you ride your scooter on the smooth sidewalks of your city or enjoy the offroading experience of more rugged terrain, periodically checking your tire pressure and traction is recommended. In order to keep your tires in pristine condition, clean them often and adjust tire pressure with seasonal changes in temperature. Finally, be mindful of your scooter’s battery life. Much like a car battery, if your scooter isn’t charged frequently, it’s ability to provide power degrades rapidly. With imprudent care, the battery will eventually refuse to hold a charge whatsoever. In order to maintain your scooter’s battery life, and preserve your favorite way to commute, give the device a full charge before each use.
Safety During the COVID Crisis
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Coronavirus mainly spreads from person-to-person. It’s also possible to contract the virus from touching an infected surface and proceeding to touch your own mouth, nose, or face. Because there is no vaccine to prevent the spread of COVID-19, reducing exposure to others and practicing social distancing is important. A few best practices to consider in order to protect yourself and those around you are as follows:
Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
Clean and disinfect the surfaces around your home and work.
Wear a face mask in public spaces where social distancing may be challenging.
Stay home if you are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
By following these recommendations and remaining up to date with virus-related information, you’ll reduce your risk of contracting the virus. Before taking your scooter out for a spin, be sure to check in with your state’s policies involving social distancing and quarantine requirements during this time