Electric scooters are no longer just for children – they’re an increasingly popular way for adults to get around, too! People who have no children and don’t need a car can ride an electric scooter as a cheap, eco-friendly alternative. And in most places, you can ride them without a license, too!
Follow the rules of the road
‘Street legal’ is an umbrella term for all vehicles that can be legally ridden or driven on public roads. This usually means that not only is the scooter, car, bike, or other vehicles safe for road usage but also that it features a certain number of safety features such as lights, signals, and brakes.
Not all electric scooters are street legal. If yours has two or three wheels, operative pedals, and a top speed under 20mph with less than 750W of power, then you shouldn’t need a license or registration to ride it on the roads. However, if you are riding a much bigger e-scooter and you run into local law enforcement, you’re likely to get into a little trouble – and maybe even a fine. If in doubt, be on the side of caution.
Your scooter may also be illegal for road use if it is too small, too slow, or designed to be used as a toy. These smaller scooters are simply not safe for riding anywhere near traffic and should only be used on sidewalks, in parks or other areas where you’re not likely to get hurt. If you’re not sure, take a good look at your scooter’s tires – it will be obvious if they’re suitable for road use or not.
Getting on the Road
Once you’ve established that your electric scooter is perfectly fine and legal for road use, it’s time to get ready to ride! Make sure that your scooter has the right tires, that the steering is working well, and that you’ve thoroughly tested the brakes and lights. You may also need mirrors, turn signals, or a horn – check local laws and regulations for your state as there are variations. California, for example, has very specific rules governing e-scooters.
You also need to buy a helmet; riding without one is incredibly dangerous, and a helmet could easily save your life if you were to get into an accident. Just make sure it’s correctly fitted to your head and can be secured under your chin.
Learning to Ride
The huge range of electric scooters on the market means that there’s a model out there for everyone – beginner or expert. It’s easy to pick up, but there are a few tips on learning how to ride an e-scooter you should follow.
While you’re a beginner, don’t ride at full speed and take corners carefully. Always wear protective gear and practice on a manual scooter for a while if you need to.
While you build up your confidence, stick to wide open spaces with no traffic or other obstacles. Parking lots are great or open grassy areas. Don’t go anywhere near major roads until you’re sure it’s safe to do so.