With electric scooters gaining popularity for both daily transport and recreational use, it becomes increasingly important to highlight safe and responsible riding to avoid any potential dangers.
Below we will outline the key factors you can follow to keep yourself and others safe and maximise the enjoyment of your electric scooter lifestyle.
- Helmets: In states where electric scooter use is legal, wearing a helmet is mandatory. Riding without one is just asking for trouble. It only takes a fraction of a second for the unexpected to happen, and when it does a helmet could literally save your life. Choose a helmet that meets Australian certifications for safety and ensure it fits and is worn correctly. If riding high performance scooters, a full-face motorcycle helmet is also a good choice.
- Gloves: A sturdy pair of riding gloves not only reduces hand fatigue and provides comfort on long rides but will also help protect your mitts from injury should an accident or fall occur.
- Knee, elbow & shin pads: Mainly recommended for high performance scooter riding, wearing pads can really boost confidence and provide extra protection during a fall.
- Eyewear: Having a bug hit your eyeball at 25 km/h is not only uncomfortable but could cause a crash of catastrophic proportions. A standard pair of sunglasses or goggles can help keep your eyes safely on the road.
- Laws: Always check the laws in your state before riding an electric scooter in public areas. Every state has different laws regarding the use of electric scooters and these are being updated constantly. As of writing this the only states to allow the riding of electric scooters with a power output greater than 200W (which is basically all of them) is QLD and ACT. For all other states it is restricted to just use on private property only. There is a big push happening right now for the federal government to implement laws to allow the use of electric personal mobility devices across all of Australia. You can head over and sign the petition at www.electricriders.org.au Links to the current laws for each state will be listed at the end of this article.
- Road Rules: If you live in a state which allows the use of electric scooters, think yourself extremely lucky. Next thing for you to do is learn and obey the rules for riding where you live. Wear the necessary safety gear, helmets are mandatory in all states. Keep below the stated speed limits and only ride on the paths, bike lanes and roads where permitted. Observe and obey traffic signs, signals and watch out for other road users.
- Be Seen: A big key factor to safe riding is visibility. Cars, trucks and buses won’t know you are there if they can’t see you. Be sure to use lights when riding in dark conditions and bright clothes such as a hi-vis vest can really make you stand out.
- Be Courteous: When riding an electric scooter there will always be traffic and pedestrians around so courteous riding habits are essential to keeping everyone safe. To a pedestrian, having scooters zooming around nearby can be intimidating and a collision could result in serious injury to both parties. Always reduce speed when riding near pedestrians and give a wide berth when passing them on the footpath. Use a bell or horn when approaching from behind to let them know you are there.
- Stay Upright: It goes without saying that you should never ride an electric scooter if suffering any tiredness or fatigue, or if you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs and certain medications.
- The last key factor to riding safely is the condition of your scooter. Every electric scooter requires regular maintenance and things to be checked before every ride.
- Tyres: Check tyres to make sure they are properly inflated and that there are no leaks. Inspect to see there is adequate tread and no damage to the tyres.
- Brakes: Check brakes to ensure they are operating correctly. Adjust callipers and cables / replace pads as needed.
- Bolts: Check the entire scooter to make sure all nuts and bolts are firmly tightened.
- Battery: Charging your scooter after every ride ensures you always have the full distance available and you won’t get stranded half way to work.
LINKS TO LAWS FOR EACH STATE (as of March 2021)