How To Ride An Electric Scooter In Traffic

Daniel Foley
Written By: Daniel Foley
Updated on: 5/19/2024
Published on: 4/27/2023

There has been an explosion of electric scooters on the road in recent years. From rental scooters that let you hop on and go, to privately owned models, micromobility is a popular mode of transportation.

Economical, environmentally friendly, and convenient, it's easy to see why e-scooters are considered a great alternative to cars and public transport.

If you've never been on a scooter, riding it in traffic can be daunting. However, knowing how to stay safe on the roads will significantly improve your confidence and prevent accidents.

In this guide, we'll reveal how to ride your scooter in traffic safely and efficiently.

Let's dive in.

Why is it important to prioritize safety when riding electric scooters?

Some people get nervous about riding their e-scooters on public roads, and it's easy to see why. Scooters don't come with the protective bubble cars offer, and sharing the road with larger vehicles can be daunting.

There are numerous reasons to prioritize your safety on the road, and knowing the potential risks can save your life.

Avoiding Accidents and Injuries

An electric scooter can be dangerous if you don't take proper safety measures. Riders can be involved in accidents, but research from Germany shows that riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is more likely to increase a person's risk of severe injuries.

Prioritizing safety and knowing the dangers of improper riding can help you prevent accidents and injuries.

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Protecting Others on the Road

Electric scooters can harm riders and pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists. Remember, as a road user, you're also responsible for the safety of others and have a duty to take necessary precautions.

Avoiding Legal Penalties

Many cities have regulations governing the use of electric scooters, and riders who violate these regulations may face legal penalties, such as fines or arrests.

Promoting the Long-Term Viability of Electric Scooters

E-scooters are relatively new modes of transportation, and negative press means the public perception of them isn't always positive.

But, if each rider is responsible for their actions, people can continue to use e-scooters.

Use proper safety gear

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One of the most important safety tips we have is wearing safety gear. Despite research surrounding the benefits of helmets, many US states don't make them a legal requirement for e-scooter riders.

According to a JAMA study, just 4.4% of people with head injuries from e-scooter accidents wore helmets. Even if some states don't have a legal requirement, you should always use a good helmet when riding in traffic.

However, other safety gear is also important.

Protective clothing

If you've ever suffered a knee or elbow injury, you'll know how painful it is. Protecting these bones can save you from agonizing fractures and also give you more confidence on the road.

Beginner riders should protect their bodies, and plenty of options are available. From padded vests to protective gear, including jackets, plenty of solutions ensure a stress-free ride.

Understanding Traffic Laws And Regulations

Navigating traffic can be intimidating, especially when riding an electric scooter. To ensure safety and efficiency, it's essential to understand the laws and regulations governing traffic.

All road users have rights and responsibilities, and it's your duty to know what yours are. Each state has specific laws, so you'll have to familiarize yourself with local rules and regulations.

E-Scooters are different from bikes

When navigating traffic on an electric scooter, you should keep some key things in mind. It's important to remember that electric scooters fall under the motorized vehicles category, meaning they must obey all the same laws that apply to cars or other motorized vehicles.

For example, you must come to complete stops at stop signs and red lights and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

While most states allow riders to use bike lanes, you still have more responsibilities than cyclists because you're riding a powerful vehicle.

Research your state's laws

Many states have specific laws regarding electric scooters, and knowing what you can and can't do on the road will ensure you enjoy a safe ride and reduce the risk of penalties.

You'll need to look at the following local traffic laws:

  • Speed Limits
  • Helmet Requirements
  • Age Restrictions
  • Driving License Requirements
  • Insurance
  • Usage on Public Roads & Bike Lanes

If you're unsure of your state's laws, we have a comprehensive 2024 electric scooter laws guide you can read. Remember, though, that traffic rules and regulations change regularly, so always stay up to date.

Best Practices For Riding An Electric Scooter In Traffic

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Safety and efficiency should be your top priority when riding an electric scooter in traffic. The best way to ensure both is to follow some key best practices on the road.

These electric scooter safety tips can help you navigate traffic, stay safe, and reach your destination on time.

Know your environment

Obstacles - including potholes and debris - significantly contribute to accidents, but smooth roads are less likely to have them. Knowing the kind of road you're on is a good idea to prevent accidents.

For example, a residential street means you'll need to watch out for children, while a busy main road will be popular with commuters.

Be considerate of other road users

As well as using protective equipment to avoid injuries to yourself, you'll also need to ride safely and be considerate of other road users. A collision can be fatal, especially if the other vehicle is a car - it's the same if you hit a pedestrian.

Following the speed limit and using hand signals when turning or changing lanes ensures other people know where you're going.

Pedestrians have rights, and it's your duty to know them and ensure you don't cause any accidents.

Choose the right route

Living in a city means numerous routes to one destination, and you'll have to choose the safest for your scooter. Even if you're an experienced and confident rider, choosing roads with bicycle lanes and minimal obstructions will keep you safe.

Potholes can be serious causes of injuries, and you should avoid rough terrain to avoid accidents.

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Perform Proper Maintenance

Helmets and other protective equipment can keep you safe if you have an accident, but a well-maintain scooter will prevent accidents. Proper maintenance ensures you notice and fix any faults with your scooter before it's too late.

Check the brakes and tires

Faulty brakes could have devastating consequences for your electric scooter and make it harder to stop effectively. Simple maintenance can make a massive difference to your safety, and if the brakes aren't performing correctly, you should take the scooter to a specialist.

Tire pressure is also essential because both large and smaller wheels rely on their pressure to navigate bumpy roads.

Check the tires frequently and ensure you replace them if you notice a flat.

Look after your scooter's battery

Battery maintenance is essential for e-scooter safety because it ensures that the e-scooter has a reliable power source, prevents overheating and potential fires, extends the battery's lifespan, and improves performance.

If the battery doesn't seem to be charging correctly or gets too hot, replace it immediately.

Following these e-scooter safety tips will keep you safe in traffic

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Using an electric scooter can free up your time and make the daily commute bearable, but safety is central to the experience you have. As long as you think about what you're doing and prioritize safe riding, you'll be able to reap the rewards of e-scooter ownership.

With scooters growing in popularity, many brands - such as Unagi, are making it easier than ever to own a scooter. Innovative scooter subscription programmes allow people to rent scooters for a convenient monthly fee rather than buying one outright.

Now, nothing has to stand in your way of benefitting from e-scooter ownership.

Takeaway tips:

  • Wear helmets and other protective gear
  • Don't ride at high speeds
  • Avoid riding on dangerous roads
  • Make sure your scooter is at its peak performance
  • Use common sense
  • Think about the safety of others
  • Be extra vigilant

If everyone contributes to making the roads safe, we can continue to enjoy electric scooters and benefit from the most effective way to get around towns and cities.


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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