I bought my first scooter earlier this year and I’ve never looked back. I used to walk 2.4 miles to work, which was a 45-minute commute each way. With my scooter, I can get into the office in 19 minutes (although I’m always trying to improve that time!) Not only do kick scooter save you money from driving or taking public transportation, but they also burn calories!
But I quickly realized that when you’re headed into Boston with 350,000 other commuters, streets and sidewalks can get pretty congested. I don’t exactly like my odds of coming out unscathed when matched up with an SUV. If we all scoot safely, we can dramatically reduce our chances of getting injured. Here are a couple of tips I’ve learned from my rides to and from work.
Tip #1: Call your local PD to see where you should ride.
I immediately called Boston’s police department to see where I should ride. Because it wasn’t motorized, I was advised to stay on the sidewalk, but to make sure to stay out of the way of pedestrians.* I also own an electric scooter, and when I’m using that, I primarily stay in the bicycle lane.
Tip #2: Always wear a helmet!
Why there is a sigma around wearing helmets, I’ll never know. But it’s nonsensical to not wear a helmet. It may not be legally required in most states, but by wearing one you’ll not only be protected from a head injury, but you’ll be setting a good example for youth.
Tip #3: Dress in bright clothing.
Bicyclists are required to wear reflectors and flashing lights, but people on kick scooters are not. This makes us less likely to be seen on the streets. To prevent any tragedies, you should try to dress in bright colors, such as green, yellow, orange, and red. I also personally try not to ride at night. It’s not a driver’s fault if he cannot see you because your clothing is too dark at night.
Tip #4: Yield, yield, yield.
I must say that it’s very tempting to zip around sluggish pedestrians while commuting (particularly on my way home, when there are more people on the streets). As someone in a “vehicle,” you should still yield to pedestrians. Not only are you avoiding any incidents, but it’s just polite. We’re faster anyway, so might as well let ‘em pass.
Tip #5: Look out for motorists at crosswalks.
Because we are much faster than a pedestrian, it may be tempting to fly through an intersection. Don’t do this! Intersections are the most common areas for crashes to occur. Come to a complete stop, look both ways, and cross carefully.
Tip #6: Assume motorists cannot see you.
Sometimes I’m tempted to just slide up along cars and get ahead of them. This is especially true if I’m on an electric scooter. I think “well I’ve been following them for a mile, they must know I’m here!” They don’t. Motorists have a very hard time seeing bicyclists, so you can bet your bottom-dollar that they hardly see someone on a scooter. If you pretend you’re invisible, you’ll have the best chance of not getting hit.
These are some of my favorite tips for using a kick scooter safely! What are yours?
*This article was provided by Deanna Power of Personal Injury Help and not written by a legal professional, so be sure to contact your local police department to determine where you should ride your kick scooter.