Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Road?
The new ways of transportation have been popping up all over the world since incredible developments in lithium-ion battery and electric motor technology. These include electric bikes, innovative electric scooters, as well as the shared scooters clustered in packs on college campuses and in city centers. Electric scooters have caught on not because they are a fad but because they fit such a range of people's needs. Like skateboards, they are flexible, portable, and fit in small spaces. Like bikes, they can achieve relatively high speeds and have stable means of steering and braking (brake types for the electric scooters).
Electric scooters are so versatile, in fact, they have caused confusion and controversy. Can you ride them in traffic, or should you avoid it? Do electric scooters belong on the sidewalk or on the road? Should scooters be relegated to bike lanes? Do laws prohibit riding an electric scooter on the road? Do you need insurance so you can ride an electric scooter? How can you stay safe on the road? These are excellent questions for us to consider. While electric scooters inarguably provide one of the most efficient ways to get around on short trips, safety should always be the first concern. (The reason why electric scooter is perfect for commuting.)
You might be surprised to know that in most cases, riding your electric scooter on the road is not only allowed, but also is recommended and sometimes required in places that prohibit scooters on the sidewalk. You'll need to check the local laws about the scooter to find out if this is the case where you ride, but electric scooters are generally classed as street legal vehicles, provided they do not exceed certain speeds, typically between 15 and 20 miles per hour, and have a motor power of less than 750W. In the market, almost all electric scooters have motors of either 250, 350 or 500 watts, so it will not be a problem.
The Safety Guidelines and Rules of the Road
Even where riding on the road is allowed, you'll want to use good judgment to keep yourself and those around you safe and stick to designated bike lanes wherever possible. Some states, like in California, require scooter riders to stay close to the right-hand curb, and the vehicles are only allowed on roads with speed limits of 25mph or less unless there is a designated bike lane. These rules offer good guidelines for safely riding an electric scooter on the road wherever you are.
When it comes to riding an electric scooter on the road, it's best to stick to slower streets and residential areas as much as possible. Avoid high traffic areas and roads with highway speeds. As speeds increase, so does the likelihood and the severity of accidents, as scooter riders can be as vulnerable as cyclists in traffic. Riding on the sidewalk may be the only option in areas of very high traffic or roads with highway speeds. However, riders can find routes that take them around major roads and busy intersections. This exploration is part of the fun!
Riding an electric scooter is a great way to discover parts of your city you may have never been. The groundswell of new personal mobility vehicles on the road has prompted city transportation authorities to create many more slow speed streets in major cities to accommodate pedestrians, pets, bikes, skateboards, and scooters. Moreover, Google and other mapping apps are making it easier to plan a route by scooter. You can search for slow streets and choose options under cycling routes to find bike paths and bike lanes. This is not only a great way to stay safe, but also to get off the beaten path and to rediscover your surroundings.
There's more to safety than designing your route and avoiding high-speed traffic. it is also essential to adapt all traffic laws when riding on the road, wear correct safety instrumentation, and to obviously signal your intentions to drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and different scooter riders. Most electrical scooters are equipped with headlights, taillights, and brake lights for visibility. Scooters also generally have horns or bells which will alert others. However, these won't be detected by drivers, therefore scooter riders should not rely on them in traffic with cars.
Because of the essential style of the electrical scooter, its lights aren't perpetually simply visible to drivers. Therefore, it is also best applied to use hand signals when you decide to flip or stop and to create guaranteed to ride defensively. Hand signals are harder on scooters, however swiftness down or in brief stepping off are much easier. Ensuring to look over one's shoulder can even go a protracted approach. Communication with others on the road and ensuring that they'll see you, and you see them at the same time, will build all the distinction in whether or not you have got a secure, pleasant ride or a disagreeable, unsafe one. On the road, it is best to perpetually confine mind that in any contest between automotive and scooter, the automotive can perpetually win. Provide each driver and pedestrians a good berth and avoid areas of high speed and high traffic as much as you can.
Legal Requirements of the Electric Scooters
Like rules of the road, the requirements for riding an electric scooter can vary from state to state and city to city. In most cases, riders will not need a driver's license, registration, or insurance to ride a scooter on the road, but as always, you'll want to check with your local department of motor vehicles to clarify the laws where you are. Internationally, these requirements will also vary widely, and can change from state to state within each country. In the UK, for example, scooters were only recently allowed on public roads in certain cities as part of a pilot program rolled out last summer, and requirements for riding are strict. Other countries, like Japan, require riders to register their vehicles, possess a valid driver's license, and have insurance.
Whatever the laws are where you live, it's important to always keep in mind that riding an electric scooter on the roads always carries with it certain risks, and these rises significantly in areas of high speed and dense traffic with low visibility. It is the responsibility of each individual rider to stay alert, wear proper safety equipment, and signal clearly to drivers. Additionally, despite their small size and relatively low power, scooters also pose a danger to others on the road. Riders can injure pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers in accidents they might cause through carelessness or inattention. Electric scooters are marvelous devices that can solve a host of transportation problems. They are also serious, street legal vehicles and should always be ridden with an eye toward keeping oneself and others safe.