Electric scooters are a cheap and zero-emission means of getting around. As the UK pushes toward its zero-emission target, the nation needs all the help it can get, including from electric micro-mobility solutions. However, e-scooters have been battling a negative public image, owning to sensational headlines that seek to put them in the centre of accidents.
This article looks at the truth of electric scooter safety in the UK, how to use electric scooters, and other tips.
First, we will clear up a source of confusion about using electric scooters in the UK.
Can you use an electric scooter in London/UK?
Despite campaigns to ban them, you can legally use electric scooters in the UK. However, there are terms and conditions that you must follow strictly.
You can ride your electric scooter on private property. If you want to ride an electric scooter in public, you have to rent one from one of several recognized trial schemes in the country.
With a rented electric scooter, you can ride on approved roads. However, since the law treats scooters like conventional vehicles, you have to follow all the rules of motorized vehicles. For example, you can’t ride on pavements, bicycle lanes, footpaths, etc.
All scooters must have a license plate, working indicators, and rear lights. They also have to be insured. You would need a valid driving license to ride.
There are severe fines for defaulting electric scooter riders. It includes points on their driving licenses for a repeat offence, up to £300 in fines, or seizure of the scooter.
Where can I use an electric scooter?
As stated earlier, you can ride your electric scooter on private properties or approved roads. As of now, 32 cities are participating in the scooter trials. The towns include Kent, London, Liverpool, Essex, etc.
The e-scooter operators use geo-fencing to limit you to the approved parts of town. They also limit the speed to 15 mph or lower, even though some scooters can reach 50 mph.
How to use an electric scooter
Electric scooters are not hard to operate, which is part of their appeal. You would need to practice a few times to learn to balance and learn the basics, i.e., accelerating, slowing down, and stopping. Practice in an open space like an empty parking lot. A helmet is recommended during and after the learning stage, although it is not mandatory.
The basic rules of driving a car apply to riding electric vehicles. Do not use a mobile device on the road. Avoid riding while drunk. Follow traffic rules.
More specific to scooters, you are not permitted to carry a second rider.
What are the benefits of electric scooters?
Electric scooters are cheaper to maintain and run. They are simple to use. They also promote good health for riders.
Apart from reducing carbon emission, electric scooters help reduce congestion on the road as they help to retire cars, especially for shorter trips.
Electric scooter safety gear and tips
Just like using conventional vehicles, you should take precautions to ensure your safety when riding electric scooters.
The most important part of your safety is your apparel or clothing. Avoid free-flowing clothes. As stated earlier, helmets are not mandatory but highly recommended. Wear a full-face one that fits well. Use knee and elbow pads to protect your joints.
Wear a reflective vest so that you are visible in the dark. Closed shoes protect your feet better than flip-flops or sandals.
Before going on a ride, do a quick pre-ride check by confirming your tire pressure is within the recommended range. Also, check for loose bolts and screws and lock the stem latch properly. Cover the charging ports and ensure your lights are working so you can see well in the dark.
Check that you have enough battery to avoid being stranded away from a charger.
During your ride, stay on the side of the road, rather than the centre. Stay at safe speeds and keep to the limits of your experience. When you get to a crossroads, dismount, push past the junction, and resume your ride. Do the same when in other congested areas.
Avoid riding in the rain as much as possible. When riding in a group, form a single line rather than spreading out.
Clean your scooter regularly to avoid dirt and grime build-up that could damage the parts.
Can you use an electric scooter without a battery?
There might be times you have a dead battery. The answer to whether you can use an electric scooter manually depends on your type of scooter.
Not all electric scooters can function as a manual machine that you can push. If you have a dual model, then you can ride it manually. However, you will have to ensure the battery is completely drained and switch to manual mode first.
If you don’t have a dual-mode, you will dismount and push to your destination or the closest place you can charge.
This brings us to the question of whether electric scooters are dangerous.
Are electric scooters dangerous?
Despite all the headlines you have seen that demonizes them, electric scooters are among the safest forms of modern transport. The fact is there are far fewer casualties in accidents involving electric scooters in the UK. For example, in 2020, 355 pedestrians, 282 motorcycle riders, and 140 bicyclists died in accidents in the UK, while one electric scooter rider died in 12 months, as reported by the government.
In the same period, 3909 pedestrians had severe injuries, while another 10454 pedestrians suffered minor injuries. Bicyclists recorded similar numbers of casualties, who moved at similar speeds to electric scooter riders. In contrast, only 210 injuries involved electric scooter riders.
Statistically, you are safer on electric scooters than as a pedestrian or bicyclist.
If you are also considering switching to a safe mode of transport that is economical and environmentally friendly, then do not think twice before buying an electric scooter. Just be aware of the rules in your city for riding an electric scooter and you are good to go. Visit our website to find out some of the best and safest electrical scooters available in the market right now. For any further information do not hesitate to contact us.