Electric scooters are starting to take off big-time in urban environments and big cities, yet some commuters haven’t fully embraced them given that they are not sure how easy they are to use and ride.
How to ride an electric scooter? First, turn on your electric scooter. You should make sure your electric scooter has enough battery to get you where you need to go – check this on the scooter’s display/app. Then, place one foot on the footplate (or ‘deck’) of the scooter, leaving your other foot to one side. Push off with your foot on the ground gently, then place it on the deck along with your other foot. Once you are in motion, then use the accelerator, and you are now riding an electric scooter! Remember to use the hand brake for quick stops and follow the instructions in your user manual.
OK, so that’s the basics covered – let’s get more into the nitty-gritty of electric scooters throughout the rest of this post.
In addition, please make sure to read the user’s manual for your specific scooter for safe riding and use before setting off on any journey!
How hard is it to ride an electric scooter?
Part of the appeal of electric scooters is how easy they are to ride. As explained above, they are simple to operate and simply need a push to get going and then can be controlled with an accelerator.
However, if looking to use an electric scooter as part of a commute, below are some of the key points that make it both easy and a bit more difficult as part of your journey.
Easy Points of Riding an Electric Scooter
Electric scooters are extremely simple to ride when going straight as you can simply stand upright and there is no need to push.
You can control your speed with the accelerator and slow down using the brakes on the scooter, giving you
Going straight also means you don’t really need to think about balancing as it is more a question of standing still than anything else.
Uncrowded Areas or Roads
Electric scooters are easiest to use in uncrowded areas or roads as it means less braking, balancing, stopping and starting.
Although they can be used in the busiest of cities and urban environments, you would certainly want to practice using your electric scooter before taking it out into the rush hour traffic.
Being confident in riding your scooter will certainly make it a lot easier to use on your commute.
Going Up Hills
Similar to going straight above, you can go up gentle and moderate hills on an electric scooter quite easily.
Your electric scooter should handle the hills and this should be pretty simple riding!
You might need to bend your knees a little bit more when going uphill on your electric scooter but the balancing and riding will generally be similar to going straight and keep things straightforward.
The only thing to remember is to take it easy when going downhill the other side as the temptation might be to go fast, but resist this for a safer ride.
More Difficult Points of Riding an Electric Scooter
When using an electric scooter in the rain, there are three key points to remember that can make things more difficult for riders.
The first thing to remember is that not all electric scooters are made to be used in the rain. For instance, the Xiaomi Mi electric scooter cannot currently be used in the rain, as per the user manual that comes with it.
Electric scooters also have a lot less grip on road surfaces when used in the rain. This is particularly important if you are planning to use your electric scooter on a road.
Another point to remember is that, just like cars, it is hard to see well in the rain and so you need to be extra attentive if scooter commuting in rainy conditions.
Your stopping distance will also be a lot more in the rain. This means that braking needs to be started earlier and it will take longer and more distance to come to a stop. This is equally important for those riding on sidewalks or roads.
Turning on an electric scooter is a little bit tricky as it takes a while to get used to your scooters grip and turning ability.
You will need to steer your electric scooter and tilt it slightly when cornering. You might find it difficult at first to know just how much you can tilt or lean on your scooter without falling. This is because the design of electric scooters are different from bikes, meaning that they cannot be pushed to similar angles of bikes.
Remember to slow down before cornering or turning, and use a hand signal if you are riding on the road (legally of course!).
Doing an electric scooter commute in heavy traffic can be quite difficult, too. This is because other road users are still not used to seeing many electric scooters on the roads in many cities and so they might be confused by this, not knowing how they move and how quick they are.
To make it safer when riding your scooter in traffic, remember to follow similar rules to cyclists on roads and you should be more visibile to other road users and feel safer as a result.
If you have to use an electric scooter with low battery, you need to be prepared for the battery dying in the middle of your journey.
This is because it takes a long time to fully charge them (10-12 hours typically) and that might not be an option if you are on a scooter commute journey.
Electric scooters also weigh a little more than standard kick scooters so there is that factor to consider, too.
Can you push an electric scooter and operate it manually? Yes, you can push an electric scooter manually but this can only be done once the battery is completely drained or empty. This is because the motor will start on an electric scooter when there is any kind of battery left, overriding your attempts to push with your feet alone.
How do you balance on an electric scooter?
To help you balance on an electric scooter, after you push off initially with your feet, make sure you place both feet on the footplate (or ‘deck’) of your scooter in a comfortable position. This might be at a 45 degree angle to one side. From there, bend your knees slightly to absorb and bumps and shocks along the route so that they won’t throw you off balance while riding.
Make sure you have an electric scooter which suits your height as this will mean that you are not leaning too far forward to steer it, something which will again throw off your balance. When turning, try not to lean a lot, steer gently to the side you are turning towards and let the scooter do the work.
Do you need a helmet to ride an electric scooter?
You might need a helmet by law for your electric scooter, but this depends on your jurisdiction, country or region. It also depends on whether you are using your electric scooter on the road or not. This is key because in some countries, electric scooters are not legal on roads, while in others they are legal, provided that you follow all the same requirements as other road users, with some laws stating that helmets are mandatory.
The laws around electric scooters are changing rapidly so expect this to change in the near future and make sure you stay up-to-date on your area as things vary greatly.
Clearly, for safety reasons alone, a helmet for an electric scooter is a very good idea as it will help to you remain safe on the roads and paths while using it, be it for commuting or leisure. A good bicycle helmet should be fine, although check the small print on any helmet you are thinking of buying.
This point about checking the recommended use of a helmet is because some helmets might specifically state that they are only to be used for cycling, so you might not be covered by insurance in the event of an accident, for example.
Can you ride an electric scooter in the rain?
Surprisingly, not all electric scooters can be ridden in the rain at present. This is because of both a design issue with the electric motor and because of road safety issues. For instance, one of the most popular electric scooters, the Xiaomi Mi, is not currently suitable for use in the rain, as per the user manual that comes with it. The manual states directly that users should not use the Xiaomi Mi Electrcic Scooter in the rain, although it does not say whether this is due to the electric components or simply not being safe in the rain.
How to brake on and stop an electric scooter?
Most electric scooters have both a manual brake on the handlebar and a braking system that is automatic when the accelerator is released. Again, to take an example from the extremely popular Xiaomi Mi electric scooter, it states that releasing the accelerator will automatically activate the brakes to gently slow down. However, the hand brake should be used make quicker, more urgent stops, like an emergency brake in a car. This is a disc brake and it will engage instantly when you press the brake lever by hand on the electric scooter.