Scooter Injury Prevention Guide

Electric Scooter Injury Prevention Guide

If you’ve been in any major US city recently (or even some international cities), you’ve probably seen electric scooters zipping around town. With industry heavy hitters like Bird and Lime valued in the billions, the electric scooter rage may be more than just a fad.

But as more scooter riders take to the streets, more scooter-related injuries are happening too. One Consumer Reports study found that around 1,500 people had been injured or killed in scooter accidents in just a year, and that number is expected to increase as scooters gain popularity.

Of course, electric scooters are popular for a reason. On a practical level, they can speed up getting from point A to point B without a car, but they’re also just plain fun. Even with safety concerns ramping up, it doesn’t look like electric scooters are going anywhere.

If you’re planning to try scooters for yourself, though, there are things you can (and should) do to maximize your safety and avoid injury. To help, our safety team at ASecureLife compiled a list of our best tips for staying safe on a scooter.

Wear a Helmet

Wear a helmet

A 2018 study by Austin Public Health in Texas found that of 190 injured riders in the city, 48% sustained head injuries. Among those riders, 15% had sustained possible TBIs (traumatic brain injuries). Even more terrifying? Less than 1% of injured riders were wearing helmets at the time of the accident. If those riders had been wearing helmets, the chances of TBIs and head injuries may have greatly decreased.

Some electric scooter companies have made some efforts to provide riders with helmets, but unfortunately, those efforts have fallen short of the mark—the vast majority of scooter rentals still don’t include helmets. As a rider, it’s your responsibility to come prepared and bring your own helmet on days you plan to rent a scooter. Sure, having to haul a helmet around takes away some of the element of convenience, but to protect your brain, it’s worth it.

Wear Good Shoes

Wear shoes with good grips

Unlike bikes and other non-walking forms of transportation, electric scooters involve a lot of time on your feet. Especially if you’re going at faster speeds (most scooters go up to 15–20 miles per hour), it’s important to have shoes that can keep those feet in place. On days you plan to ride a scooter, wear running shoes or other shoes with good grips so you can keep a steady stance as you go.

Practice in Open Areas

Practice in large, open areas

As with any new activity, mastering electric scooter–riding takes some practice. Before you start weaving your way through busy streets, find more open areas to get used to controlling a scooter. An empty parking lot could provide a great place to familiarize yourself with the steering without having to dodge cars and people, so when you do start riding through busier areas, you’ll be better equipped to respond well to obstacles.

Avoid Riding in Roads

Avoid riding in roads

One of the most dangerous places for electric scooter riders is in busy roadways. Austin Public Health’s survey found that 55% of injured riders sustained their injuries while riding in the street. Most scooters can only go up to 15 or 20 miles per hour, but with cars moving much faster—often twice the speed or more of scooters on the same roads—scooters can’t keep up with safe speed requirements.

On top of that, roads’ speed limits are set with enclosed, seatbelt-protected riders in mind. Scooters leave riders exposed, and with high-speed vehicles sharing the roads, those riders take on the danger of car-friendly conditions without any of their protections.

Another concern for scooter riders using roads is visibility. Because scooters are much smaller than the vehicles most cars’ drivers expect to see, drivers might overlook small scooters until it’s too late. With this in mind, you should use bike lanes and car-prohibited driveways for your scooter riding wherever possible. Each state has its own laws around where you’re allowed to use electric scooters, so be sure to check out yours before setting out.

Inspect the Scooter

Inspect the scooter

An important element of electric scooter safety is the condition of the scooter itself. If part of the scooter is broken or dysfunctional, it could put you as the rider in danger. Before setting out, check the scooter’s tires, handlebars, brakes, and other essential parts to make sure they’re in working order.

Use constant vigilance

Use constant vigilance

Scooter riders’ paths can contain lots of hazards; potholes, construction projects, speed bumps, standing water, and more can put riders in danger if they’re not careful. Because of these dangers, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on the conditions you’re riding in. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid wearing headphones or talking on the phone. If you’re always watching the path ahead of you, you’ll be able to avoid obstacles and stay safe on the road.

Go Slow and Steady

Go slow and steady

Electric scooters can go pretty fast. But that doesn’t mean they should. Getting through the city on an electric scooter isn’t a race, and though it can be tempting to max out your scooter’s speeds, showing off can be dangerous. Take it slow and be cautious, especially if you’re new to the electric scooter life.

Ride Solo

Ride solo

Whether you’re riding with friends or as part of a romantic date on the town, electric scooters are more fun with good company. No matter who you’re riding with, make sure each member of your party has their own scooter.

Doubling up on one vehicle can cause trouble with steering and balance, which provides more opportunities to get in accidents. Plus, riders who are with another person are more likely to be distracted, which may cause them to overlook hazards. If you’re embarking on a scooter adventure of your own, pilot solo for the safest trip.

Stay safe out there!

Electric scooters are an awesome perk for commuters, providing a fun, convenient way to get around town. And while there are some inherent dangers involved, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. Using best practices and caution, you can keep yourself safe while on the road.