Published on April 11, 2019 by Polina Mikhaylova
What a hot topic last weeks! And many contradictory articles popping out. Are electric scooters safe? Hell, no. Claiming that racing on light vehicles equipped with small wheels and electro-magnetic break faster than 20km/h is insincere and dangerous. Especially knowing that a minor shock will be sufficient to fly over and break your jaw for example.
Not sure that specific crash-tests were conducted, but my personal experience (more than 3000 km on electric scooters) shows that non-respect of some basic security rules can lead to dramatic consequences, especially if you are not an experienced driver.
Scooters are super convenient to use for your last mile! If you want to benefit from the scooter revolution and stay intact, follow these recommendations to protect yourself on a scooter and protect others from you on a scooter.
Check your liability insurance. There is a big chance that riding a light electric vehicle is not covered by your contract. That means if you break into shop vitrine, ride inside, destroy for 2M$ of goods and sett off a fire, your insurance company is not paying for it. Get an insurance extension if you ride electric scooters regularly, it wouldn’t cost you that much.
Check out security elements on a scooter. Breaks. Steering column fixations. Light. Acceleration. Once I had an acceleration trigger blocked on maximum (btw on a quite popular scooter model, especially for sharing purposes) - it sure guarantees your adrenaline dose of the month. Another time the steering column folded while driving. Lucky me, it was only at 5 km/h.
Helmet Paradox. Numerous studies (1, 2, 3) shows that wearing bicycle helmet tied to riskier decision making and lower visibility for cyclists. Still, wearing a helmet while having an accident prevents your brain from serious damages and save your life. I agree with the point that you don’t make cycling or scootering safe only by obliging every rider to where a helmet, but by creating a road system that isolates riders from fast and unpredictable road traffic and evangelize respectful driving. Wear helmet when road is slippery. Wear helmet when you ride on a road close to the traffic. And just wear helmet if you feel safer in it.
Know your enemies. Combination of at least two of these triggers: pavements + wet road + small wheels + steep maneuver can lead to dramatic consequences if you are not an experienced scooter driver. Small and thin rubber wheels (let’s consider as ‘small’ everything less than 8.5 inches, basically all shared scooter models) have a tendency to sleep on a wet road with irregularities. Slow down.
Captain obvious reminders. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t transport persons on your scooter. Don’t race on a sidewalk. Use both of your hands to ride scooter. Don’t be stupid.
And the most important of it: vehicle matters! If you are looking for a new scooter to buy, look for bigger wheels (9 inches +), check if scooter has light elements integrated (most of them do), and try to find one with a mechanical break, because electro-magnetic breaks only slow you down.
For shared scooter I have a bad news. Most of them today are not 100% safe (see check list above). But you know, Snowy, being pedestrian is also dangerous. So, make all necessary checks, ride safely and you’ll be ok.