Anyone can ride an e scooter, but not everyone who rides one rides it with the proper electric scooter etiquette.
After ensuring your own safety, being considerate of cars or other vehicles and pedestrians should always be a priority when driving an electric scooter out and about.
21st Century Change
So much has changed in the past 100 years that it's hard to put a finger on what has had the largest impact (although we like to think that electric scooters are near the top of the list).
Scientific advancement, technological innovation (like wireless connectivity), and civil and social progressivism bejewel a century largely colored by war. But as any gentleman or lady of dignified vintage might express there are some positive attributes of past days that change has left by the wayside.
Among these, the reduction of manners and etiquette resound prominently. While the vast adoption of liberalism helped to pull the world from the pain of the Second World War, its tenets – human equality, chief among them – influenced not only the way in which social classes interacted, lived, worked, and from time to time, thrived together but also the way people engaged one another on a personal basis.
Greetings like “Good evening.” “Good Day.” “Pardon.” “Excuse me.” “Please, thank you.” “Sir.” “Madam.” Have for the most part given way to “Sup.” “Sup man.” “Alright alright.” “Mmmmhmmmm.” “My Bad.” “Nah, you’re good.” And “All good.”
No, we’re not sticklers for complete adherence to old-world rules of propriety, but their complete abandonment does nothing to improve interpersonal interaction, and often produces not only more casual but sadly, less compassionate environments. As is deftly delivered by British actor Colin Firth in 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, “Manners maketh man.”
Modernity presents its hopes and its challenges, and the advent of the 21st century’s electric scooter is no exception to the rule.
The commuting, riding, cruising, carrying, storing, and plugging in-and-out of your scooter brings with it a list of conundrums for the modern lady or gentleman, and, for the benefit of not only Unagi riders, but the entire community of electric scooter users at large, we sat down and jotted down some guidelines for proper electric scooter etiquette.
Electric scooter etiquette
Something that often gets the public riled up on the roads is when people don't follow traffic regulations. Bicycles (electric or otherwise) and e scooters generally get the right of way on the roads in most states, but with great power comes great responsibility, and it's important to be respectful of other road users when using personal electric vehicles.
1. Crossing another electric scooter
Contemporary sidewalks are a far cry from the pedestrian freeways of yesteryear. Scooters, bikes, skateboards, and electric versions of all three dot sidewalks from New York City to Kathmandu.
Whilst some cities might allow e scooters to be ridden in bike lanes, it's not a certainty and is something to research beforehand.
One of the most common scootering predicaments comes when facing an approaching rider from the opposite direction. Which way do you go? Right - always go right. Make sure you get the attention of and make eye contact with the approaching rider, and indicate – early – with your eyes or a tilt of the head that you will indeed veer right.
If needed, get the attention of the other rider with your horn or bell. Making sure you’re both cognizant of each other will keep you from colliding.
2. Riding in Paris
Riding next to your partner or best friend on an e scooter can be one of the most fun recreational activities you can take up. But even in tandem, you won't always just be riding through parks or along the seaside, so remain aware of others sharing the sidewalk (in areas where you’re permitted to ride on the sidewalk).
Being aware of other pedestrians and maintaining a safe distance from them is of utmost importance, not only for etiquette but for safety as well. All too common are stories of scooterists or cyclists speeding too fast and not having time to stop, causing an accident.
Ride side by side when space permits, but when lunch hour hits its peak and the streets get crowded, take up a single-file riding position, always keeping an eye on the speed of your friend in front of you. When conditions clear up, resume the tandem ride and enjoy keeping pace with one another.
3. Fold your electric scooter up
One of the best things about Unagi and other lightweight commuter scooters is their one-click, easy-to-fold design. Don’t be the guy or girl who doesn’t take a split second to fold your scooter before entering a restaurant, store, or coffee shop.
The fold not only makes it easier for you to navigate the crowds in a closed space, but it also gives your fellow shoppers and diners more wiggle room when things get busy.
Show enough etiquette, and you’ll find the staff of whichever establishment you’re visiting more than willing to help you get a charge while you take a load off.
4. Say “Excuse Me”
Your horn is really meant to be used sparingly, and sometimes making eye contact isn't possible. When riding in traffic, or if there is any sort of immediate impediment that might make your ride precarious, by all means, sound the alarm.
When you’re simply stuck behind a slow-moving pedestrian; however, “excuse me” more than suffices. No, you don’t have to wait until you’re inches behind the party in question and decelerate to a crawl before making your presence known.
Use a moderate outdoor voice to signal your proximity and pass by leaving a good amount of buffer between you and the pedestrian. Remember, a conscientious rider is a safe rider, and walkers will appreciate it if you acknowledge their presence.
Parking electric scooters
If you use a ridesharing scheme for transportation, parking your electric scooter properly is great scooter etiquette. Nobody wants the sidewalk blocked or the street littered with electric scooters, so when you park up, make sure you park properly and leave space for pedestrians.
Some e scooter schemes will give you guidelines for parking, but as a general rule, you should try and leave public scooters properly standing up with enough space in a covered area so that the next rider has an easy time getting onto it.
Electric scooter safety & traffic rules
Scooter riders are generally a pretty well-meaning bunch (if we do say so ourselves), but you'll notice not all of your fellow riders will practice proper electric scooter safety. Electric scooter etiquette and safety go hand in hand, and avoiding accidents should be the top priority for anyone on the road.
Observing traffic rules should go without saying for anyone on the road, but just because you're on two wheels don't forget to abide.
Stop at traffic lights and stop signs, observe the speed limit and make sure you're up to date with the traffic laws that apply to scooters in your state or city. Oh, and of course, never ride your scooter intoxicated.
Make sure you're riding in the right place too. Whether that's a bike lane, sidewalk or road, you'll be able to find out online or with your local council what's advised for electric scooters.
Wear the right safety gear
At the end of the day, no matter how careful you are, accidents do happen. So to stay safe and avoid any injuries, grab a helmet and some gloves and regardless of what other riders are doing, do your thing.
Light It Up
When moving at speed, it can be difficult to see pedestrians at night time on dimmer streets. Most scooters have super bright lights, so use them.
Drivers and pedestrians will see you coming from a distance, and you’ll be able to catch people and objects before it’s too late to execute the proper maneuver.
Stay lit people!
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