The rules for riding an electric scooter
What? There are rules? Yes, it’s hard to believe just by looking around you during peak electric scooter season, but there is a list of clearly formulated rules that every rider should follow for their safety, and the safety of others, as well as to avoid some of the most rage-inducing behaviour you see quite frequently. Walking out of your apartment door only to be smashed by someone with his electric scooter into your ankles is really not a great experience.
In a survey conducted by the research company Turu-uuringute AS in 2022, it was found that an astonishing 27% of Estonia’s adult population had ridden an electric scooter last year. 3% of those surveyed reported that they had been involved in an accident, which amounts to around 13 500 people. So clearly, accidents on electric scooters are not infrequent. And, if you think these injuries are mostly just a scraped knee or a sprained wrist, think again. The journal Nature.com conducted a massive study on electric scooter injury patterns in Germany, and the findings are frightening.
E-scooter riders sustained traumatic brain injuries in 12% of cases and dental injuries were recorded for 18% of e-scooter riders involved in accidents.
Another important aspect to consider is that E-scooter riders under the influence of alcohol were found to have a significantly higher risk of brain injuries.
The Turu-uuringite survey found that 20% of electric scooter riders admitted to riding while under the influence of alcohol during last year, so the math is quite frightening. We can’t stress this enough, but please do not mix alcohol with E-scooters.
The basic rules to follow
We know it probably doesn’t look as cool as having the wind flow through your gorgeous hairdo, but wearing a helmet is definitely the very best thing you can do while riding an E-scooter. Unfortunately, the law in Estonia only requires a helmet for riders under 16 years of age, but it really is worth investing in a good one for riders of any age. Only 8% of riders surveyed said they wore a helmet regularly. Wow, that’s a lot of potentially serious injuries waiting to happen.
The following list of rules is based on those listed on the Estonian Transport Administration website, so these are as official as it gets.
Before you ride an E-scooter
- Familiarize yourself with the vehicle’s rental conditions and/or user manual: Before operating the scooter, make sure you understand how it works and any specific guidelines for the rental company or manufacturer.
- Learn to operate the vehicle in an area without traffic: Electric scooters can be tricky to handle at first, so it’s best to practice in a safe and quiet area until you feel comfortable.
- Make sure the electric scooter is in working condition: Check that the bell works, the brakes are functional, there are reflectors or lights on the front, back, and sides, and the battery is fully charged before riding.
- Make yourself visible: It’s important to be seen while riding an electric scooter. Make sure there is a white light at the front and a red one at the back when riding in the dark or with poor visibility. Additionally, use the lights during the daytime as well, wear bright clothes while riding, and wear a reflector during dark hours.
- Plan your route and prefer streets with less traffic: Avoid busy roads and plan your route in advance to ensure a smooth and safe ride.
- Insure your rides with City Rider insurance.
While riding the E-scooter
- Always be sober: Just like driving a car, it’s essential to be completely sober when riding an electric scooter. Alcohol or drugs can impair your judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Ride alone: Electric scooters are designed for one person only, so never ride with a passenger, as it can affect the stability of the scooter and lead to a crash.
- Wear a helmet: Wearing a helmet is crucial to protect your head in case of an accident. It is compulsory for riders under 16, but it’s always a good idea for all riders to wear one.
- Use bicycle and pedestrian tracks or pavements: When possible, use designated cycle and pedestrian tracks or pavements to avoid sharing the road with cars and other motor vehicles.
- Choose an appropriate speed: Always choose a speed that is appropriate for the road and traffic conditions, and never exceed the maximum speed of 25 km/h.
- Be aware of unexpected events: Be prepared for unexpected events such as high curbs, potholes, or slippery roads. Slow down and manoeuvre carefully to avoid accidents.
- Ride on the right side of the road: Always ride on the right side of the road, and pass others from the left to ensure a safe and smooth flow of traffic.
- Slow down in pedestrian areas: Slow down and be extra cautious when riding in the vicinity of pedestrians, and always pass them slowly at a safe distance.
- Pay attention to others: Always be aware of your surroundings and other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Keep in mind that they may act unexpectedly, and adjust your riding accordingly.
When approaching a crossing on an electric scooter:
- Slow down, stop, look and make sure that no cars are approaching or that they have stopped: It’s important to be cautious when approaching a crossing, especially when there’s vehicular traffic. Make sure to slow down and come to a complete stop before proceeding.
- Cross the road at the speed of a pedestrian: Electric scooters can be faster than walking, but it’s important to remember that they’re not as visible as pedestrians. To ensure your safety and the safety of others, cross the road at a walking pace.
- Get off the scooter at railroad crossings and push the scooter by your side when crossing: Railroad crossings can be particularly dangerous for electric scooter riders. It’s recommended that you get off the scooter and push it by your side when crossing the tracks. This will help you maintain better balance and avoid any accidents.
When ending a ride with an electric scooter:
- Park the scooter so that it does not obstruct the road: When you’re done with your ride, make sure to park the scooter in a way that doesn’t obstruct the road or pose a hazard to others. If you’re parking on the pavement, make sure to leave at least 1.5 meters of space for pedestrians to pass.
Following these safety rules will greatly reduce your risk of ending up on next year’s list of injury statistics, but there’s no accounting for the way other drivers and riders act. The best way to make sure that you’re covered in the unfortunate event of an accident is with Cachet’s City Rider insurance. You’ll be insured for both private and rented scooters for the price of two short trips and you can even insure your whole family with one single policy. Find out more here.