This is Sean again with Scooterscooter, Munster’s leading e-scooter retailer. This time about mistakes frequently made by people new to electric scooters who are still learning the ropes. It’s better to know about them so that you don’t make the same mistake and have a fall or damage your scooter.
The way that you stand on the scooter is so, so important for safety. Unlike skateboarding, where your stance is dictated by your stronger leading foot and doesn’t really change. On electric scooters your stance changes depending on which side of you cars are on.
But first I need to mention that you should never ride with both feet beside each other pointing forwards. It is the least safe way to ride your scooter, if you need to make a sudden brake, you don’t have any kind of stability and could end up going over the handlebars. It is definitely best to keep your feet at an angle with one in front and in the back.
When you’re going down a road on the left side, and cars are parked along the curb on your left. You want to position yourself with your left foot forward and your back is facing the cars. Vice versa if you’re on the left and there’s a line of cars in traffic, you want your right foot forward so your back is facing the cars. The reason for this is that in the event that someone opens a car door without looking behind them, and they do. You can lean into a turn more if you’re facing away from the car, and also if you don’t have the time to turn out of the way, you’d rather be able to brace and have your shoulder hit the door than be facing the wrong way and have your stomach and chest take the impact of the door. This could lead to serious damage, whereas if you brace and you hit with your shoulder you might be able to avoid damage too serious.
One final point for this mistake that people don’t generally think of is to make sure not to lock your knees. If you keep a slight bend in your legs, you can always be ready to run out if the scooter loses grip, plus, let’s be honest. Irish roads aren’t the best, not by a long shot. So it’s definitely better to have some bend in your legs so there’s a bit of give in them to act as body suspension when you inevitably ride over an unavoidable patch of terribly maintained road. If you did lock your legs going over this, especially at speed would just be uncomfortable and give you terrible shakes which in turn could lead to your steering wobbling and causing a fall.
Braking is another important thing to note. Even I was surprised how easy it is to fling yourself over the handlebars if you’re not careful. Almost did it myself a couple of times. The brake handle on your handlebars is normally a disc brake straight to your front wheel, some scooters have a brake handle for the back as well but not all of them. To use the back brake on certain scooters, the mudlflap doubles as a foot brake that you just lean on and it’ll slow you down, though it’s not as effective as a disc brake.
People come to the unfortunate realization that they need to lean back when braking shortly after not doing so and have sent themselves over the handlebars. So make sure to not make this mistake yourself, ensure you lean back, and down when you’re braking. Especially if it’s a harsh brake you’re doing if something has come in front of you. It might look a bit odd, but honestly it’s much better to be safe than scooter-less.
Next point is what kind of terrain is safest, and what gives the least grip. So naturally it’s pretty safe to assume that dry footpaths and roads offer the best traction. When they get wet is likely to be a fair bit less if you’re taking steep corners, where you need to be careful is with the likes of sand, metal or leaves. Metal when it’s dry isn’t too bad but when wet is extremely slippy. While sand can result in brakes taking a lot longer to work or even the wheel locking and skidding across it if you brake too hard too fast on it. This on a busy road can be very dangerous. Wet leaves are probably the most lethal when you’re riding through them. It can be like ice sometimes, I definitely recommend if possible trying not to turn or brake while riding over wet leaves as the scooter will just slip out and you’ll barely have enough time to catch yourself.
Off-roading is another thing that some people will likely try on their electric scooters, while some are built for it. Most aren’t and will not cope very well. Especially if there are any jumps, even most “off-road” electric scooters will break after a couple jumps. Just avoid them entirely, there are very few occasions where a jump will be unavoidable. The occasional drop from a small curb is one thing (avoid this too if you can) it’s not as bad as trail riding on a scooter. Speedbumps aren’t too bad though, scooters can manage those okay. But that’s about the limit.
Helmet use and types
Of course wearing helmets is necessary on a scooter. You might feel like you don’t need to, but like they always say it’s better to have one and not need it than need it and not have it. Due to regulation in Ireland, electric scooters can only really go up to 25km/h. So you wouldn’t need anything too drastic like a motorbike helmet, unless you’re going over 32km/h. As bicycle helmets are rated for crashes at speeds up to 32kmh. Any speeds above that, a motorbike helmet would be recommended as a bicycle helmet would do nothing to save you.
You’re better off, in order to keep that one organ that controls your entire body functioning. Our helmets on our website would be perfect for any of the scooters we sell as they’re quality assured bicycle helmets.
Keep Both Hands on the Bars at all Times
This might seem like common sense to a lot of you. But there’s always someone that goes and takes a hand off the bars to either wave at someone, or worse again, go on their phone. The second you take your hand off the bars, your control of the scooter is halved. These scooters are not like bicycles. You can’t take a hand off and the bike keeps straight, the smaller wheels on scooters results in a lot more shaking and swaying. Once it starts wobbling, it’s hard enough to stop it with two hands, let alone one.
Even if you’re making a turn, it is drastically safer to signal by sticking out a foot in the direction you’re going than to point with a hand like you would on a bike. Sure, it’s not exactly a norm to use your foot to signal. But any good driver should see you coming up to a junction and understand the meaning of the signal.
That’s all the advice I have for mistakes I’ve made and mistakes I’ve seen others make! Just keep them in mind when you get your first E-scooter and you’ll have absolutely nothing to worry about!