Beginner's Guide To Riding Electric Scooters: Tips And Tricks For First-Timers

Daniel Foley
Written By: Daniel Foley
Updated on: 4/23/2024
Published on: 4/19/2023

When you were a kid did you whizz along the road on your kick scooter, the wind in your hair, your foot propelling you along. Riding an electric scooter is kind of like that, only with a lot more power, and a lot more wind.

There is nothing that beats the feeling of riding your electric scooter for the first time, and we don’t want to be the Debbie Downer who curtails your enthusiasm before you’ve even begun, BUT, for your own safety, and the safety of everyone around you, it’s definitely worth taking five minutes and letting us walk through how to ride an electric scooter for the first time.

Trust us, it’ll be worth your while.

Now, you might think, "Riding an electric scooter? Easy. Just hop on and zip away." Well, sure, but there’s slightly more to it than that; and without getting overly dramatic, it’s about the symphony of balance, motion, and technology coming together to create a seamless experience.

What on earth does that mean? You’re about to find out.

In this article, we're going to transform you from a novice to a seasoned rider, ready to conquer the streets with confidence and flair. Ready to begin? Let's roll into the world of Unagi, where every ride is more than just a journey – it's an experience.

Getting to know your new Unagi scooter


Picture this: you’ve just unboxed and set up your very own Unagi scooter. You're standing there with the key to a brand new world of urban mobility in your hands. Whether it's the sleek, polished lines of the Unagi Model One or the bold, adventurous spirit of the Unagi Model Voyager, you don’t just have a scooter; you've got a passport to a more exhilarating way of moving through your city.

Better still, you can take advantage of our monthly scooter subscription, which comes with unlimited usage and insurance and zero upfront costs.


What now? Well, let’s take a whistle stop tour of the most important parts and features that you probably should be aware of:


In terms of portability, the Unagi scooters shine with their lightweight and compact design. The Model One weighs around 26.5 lbs and offers a one-click folding system for easy handling and storage. When unfolded, its dimensions are approximately 37.80 in x 16.54 in x 43.31 in, and when folded, it reduces to 37.80 in x 16.54 in x 14.96 in, making it convenient for carrying and storing in small spaces.


Your Unagi scooter, whether it's the Model One or Voyager, while designed to be user-friendly for both beginners and experienced riders, boasts a formidable motor setup.

Think of the motor as the heart of your scooter. It's what makes the scooter move. The dual 250W motors, offering a combined peak power of up to 1000W for the Voyager, can reach a top speed of 17 mph in urban areas. (Shh, they have a unique secret mode that can push the speed up to 20 mph…)

Another standout feature of the Unagi scooters is their efficient hill-climbing capability. The Model One, for instance, with 32 newton meters of torque, can conquer steep inclines with ease. The scooter has been tested to handle inclines of up to 15 degrees, without breaking a sweat, while ensuring a stable, smooth ride on flat surfaces, making it suitable for varied urban landscapes.

Battery and Range

Regarding the battery and range, the Unagi Model One features a 72000mAh LG lithium-ion battery, offering a range of up to 15.5 miles on a full charge; that of course will vary based on factors like riding speed, mode, terrain, and rider weight. The charging time is approximately 4 to 5 hours for a full charge, but you can achieve 80% charge in just 2 hours.


Take a second to note the magnesium alloy handlebar on your Unagi scooter; this work of art is more than just a steering mechanism, it’s the command center of your ride that required more than thirty prototypes to perfect.

Equipped with intuitive throttle (essentially the gas pedal of your scooter), brake controls, horn, and LED headlight, the handlebars ensure an effortless and responsive riding experience. The throttle control is notably smooth, delivering a gradual increase in power that sets the Unagi apart from many other scooters. It's easy to use and responds quickly to your touch. When you press it, you go faster.


The Unagi scooters are equipped with dual electronic brakes plus a rear foot brake for enhanced safety, offering precise control and safety. To put that into perspective, you’ll come to a halt in about 16.9 feet when using both brakes; ideal when you're riding in a busy area​​.


On the handlebars sits a super bright display. It's like a small computer screen for your scooter. This display is your insight into the scooter's performance, showing crucial information such as speed, battery life, and more. The clear and easy-to-read interface means you're always aware of your scooter's status, helping you make informed decisions while riding​​.


In terms of lighting, both Unagi models have forward-facing LEDs for visibility and a rear-facing red LED for night rides. For additional safety, especially at night, it's highly recommended to use extra lights.

Getting to know these core components of your Unagi scooter is essential. It not only helps you understand how your beautiful new scooter works, but also makes your rides better. Spend some time learning about these features, you'll soon gain the confidence and comfort needed for enjoyable and safe rides.

OK, introductions over, let’s get ready to ride!

Pre-ride preparations


Fab, you’ve made it this far, we’re almost there. But before you head out into the blue yonder on your first journey with your Unagi scooter, let’s quickly run through some essential pre-ride preparations.

Safety gear

Safety always comes first. So, make sure you’re wearing sufficient safety gear!

According to the CDC, head injuries count for half of all injuries caused by electric scooter incidents. The worrying thing is, despite these statistics, lots of states still don't require riders to wear a helmet. Helmets protect your head from serious injuries, including concussions and permanent damage. Without them, you rely solely on luck - because it's impossible to ensure every road user behaves appropriately.

Grab your Unagi helmet to protect your head in case of any mishaps, and, depending on your comfort level and riding conditions, you might also consider knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. Ride in closed toe shoes where you can, and try to wear reflective clothing or brightly colored clothing to help other drivers and riders see you, especially if you'll be riding in low-light conditions.

Check the scooter

Give your Unagi scooter a quick but thorough check:

  • Battery charge: Make sure your scooter is fully charged.
  • Brakes: Test the brake function to ensure it responds effectively.
  • Tires: While Unagi scooters use solid rubber tires that don't require air, it's still good practice to inspect them for any signs of wear or damage.

Find a safe riding area

If this is your first ever ride on an electric scooter, it’s IMPERATIVE you don’t do this in traffic or around cyclists or pedestrians. You want lots of room to maneuver around as you try out the scooter’s controls, learn to read the dashboard, and understand the interface. If you can, find a flat open space with minimal traffic and distractions to get the hang of your scooter's handling and responsiveness.

No two electric scooter brands are the same, so even if you’ve ridden one before, learn what the features and buttons on this one can do. The Unagi scooters are manually started with a kick start, if you’ve never done this before, you might need some space to practice this to get going.

You’ll also want to practice accelerating and decelerating on your scooter - while the Unagi promises a smooth ride with easy acceleration, if you’ve not done it before, it can be a little daunting. Also, now's the time to try the brakes. You want to know before you hit traffic how quickly the scooter stops, not when you’re flying over the handlebars into the car in front.

Also, now's the time to practice folding and unfolding the scooter, and make sure you know how to properly lock the stem into place before riding. Look, we don’t want to scare you, riding an Unagi is incredibly intuitive, it just needs a little practice to nail it.

Weather check

Take a quick look at the weather forecast. Unagi scooters, with an IP54 rating, are designed to handle light splashes of water but are not suitable for prolonged exposure to rain or snow. It's best to start in dry conditions to get a feel for your scooter's performance and handling​​.

Know your state's laws

The USA is a big country; it's important to know the rules and regulations regarding electric scooters in your area. This includes speed limits, helmet laws, and where you can legally ride.

Your state will set its own laws on what you can and can't do when using an e-scooter. Before setting off, you need to see if your state has the following regulations in place:

  • Do you need insurance?
  • The maximum speed limit.
  • Whether you need to use safety gear.
  • If you can use the scooter on public roads, bike paths, or sidewalks.
  • The minimum age limit for e-scooter riding.

If you're unsure of your state's laws, check out our comprehensive guide on electric scooter regulations in each state.

Remember, the laws are subject to change, so check them regularly.

With these preparations in place, you're ready to start riding!

Getting On and Starting Your Scooter

Unagi Electric Scooter

Mounting your scooter

  • Stable positioning: Before you step on, make sure your scooter is on a flat surface and it's stable. Hold the handlebars firmly.
  • Foot placement: Place one foot on the deck of the scooter, keeping the other foot on the ground for balance. The Unagi's deck is slightly larger than other commuter scooters, providing ample space for comfortable footing​​.
  • Lift the kick stand: Holding the handlebars to keep the scooter upright, use one of your feet to raise the kick up and stand out of the way.

Starting your scooter

  • Power on: Press and hold the power button located on the handlebar to turn on your Unagi scooter. The bright display will light up, indicating that the scooter is ready to go.
  • Selecting the riding mode: Double click the button to the right of the console display to change the speed mode - speed mode #3 is the fastest mode, so maybe stick with #1 to start with. This mode limits the speed to a more manageable speed (about 9-11 mph). As you get more comfortable, you can explore the intermediate and pro modes for higher speeds​​​​. To engage dual motor mode, double click the center button, the circle will appear on the screen - riding in this mode will give you more power and control.
  • Paddles: The paddle on your right is the throttle. The paddle on your left is the brake.
  • Lights: Press the center button once to turn on the headlight.
    Kick start: To get started with your ride, kick off with your foot on the ground to get some momentum before the motor engages, once you kick off, the throttle will be responsive. Once you’re on the go, place your strongest leg behind you, your weaker leg at the front, this will help with balance.
  • Gradual acceleration: Gently press the throttle with your thumb to start accelerating. The Unagi’s throttle is known for its smooth response, providing a gradual increase in power and making it easier for beginners to control their speed. Take the time to try out the different riding modes, starting with the slowest before building up. You want to run before you can walk.
  • Steering: Start with slight movements to get a feel for the scooter’s steering response. The magnesium handlebars on the Model One are light and responsive, offering precise control over your direction​​.
  • Handlebar: Keep both hands on the handlebars when riding at all times. This will help you achieve balance, stability and keep in control while the scooter is moving. It also means you’re in control of steering, accelerating and braking.

First moments of riding

  • Start slow: Begin at a slow pace until you feel comfortable with the scooter's handling, then you can build up speed. Side note - NEVER switch to a lower speed setting i.e. from dual to single motor, while riding at speed, that’s a guaranteed way to get you over the handlebars; always apply the brakes first before reducing your scooter’s power mode.
  • Practice braking: Gently apply the brakes a few times to understand their responsiveness. Remember, the Unagi features both electronic and foot brakes for effective stopping power​​​​.
  • Turns and maneuvers: Practice making turns. Begin with wide turns and gradually try tighter ones as you gain confidence. When you’re turning at slow speeds, i.e less than 7 mph, you can rely solely on the handlebar to turn. If you’re turning at speeds above 10mph, the best way to turn is to lean into the turn and apply minimal handlebar rotation. If you’re zipping along at 20mph and you miss your exit, lean in and DO NOT turn the handlebars, just like you would if you were riding a motorbike.

Getting on and starting your Unagi scooter for the first time is an exciting moment. Take it slow, get comfortable with the controls and how the scooter responds, and remember to enjoy the ride. Safety and confidence will grow with each ride.

Avoid these common newbie mistakes

Riding an electric scooter

Riding an electric scooter is thrilling, but it's easy to slip up if you're not careful. Here's how to steer clear of common pitfalls and keep your rides smooth:

  • Rushing the throttle: Electric scooters pack a surprising punch. Gently ease into the throttle to avoid an unexpected surge that could throw you off balance. Remember, smooth and steady wins the race and keeps you upright.
  • Slamming the brakes: Just like in a car, slamming on your scooter's brakes could have you meeting the pavement face first. Practice braking with gradual pressure, leaning back slightly to distribute your weight evenly and safely.
  • Over-leaning on turns: Think of your scooter like a dance partner – lean into turns, but not so much that you lose your shared center of gravity. Keep your movements fluid and controlled to navigate turns gracefully.
  • Over-twisting the handlebars: Turning with too much enthusiasm could lead to a spill. Focus on subtle movements and shifting your weight rather than relying solely on the handlebars for direction changes.
  • Riding one-handed: It might look cool, but riding one-handed dramatically reduces your control and stability. Keep both hands on the grips for a safe and secure ride.
  • Forgetting to shift your weight: Your scooter responds to how you distribute your weight. Lean forward slightly to accelerate, shift back to decelerate, and lean into your desired direction for smooth turns.
  • Neglecting proper posture: A relaxed, upright posture not only prevents back strain but also improves your control and reaction time on the scooter. Keep your knees slightly bent to absorb bumps and stay agile.

How do you get more confident on a scooter?

Want to get more confidence riding your scooter? Then you need to practice. Because practice makes perfect. Take time to understand your scooter, get acquainted with its features, and what it can do, and then when you’re ready, gradually dial up the excitement (and the speed) as your skills sharpen.

Hopefully this advice will help you as you take your first ride on your new scooter, so you can enjoy the incredible perks of sustainable travel with the Unagi All-Access Scooter Subscription.

Here's to happy, confident rides ahead!

Daniel Foley
Daniel Foley

Daniel tests all the latest e-scooters and currently enjoys the Unagi Voyager as a daily driver for it's light weight, good range, and stylish look.

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