How to Ride an Electric Scooter

Written By: Nely Mihaylova
Updated on: 3/13/2024
Published on: 4/6/2020

How to Ride an Electric Scooter

Maybe you’ve finally decided that a fast, lightweight, folding electric scooter meets your transportation needs, and you’ve already started looking for the perfect electric scooter. But there’s one problem—you’ve never ridden an electric scooter before, and you might still have a little trepidation about stepping on one for the first time.


Lightweight electric scooters are fun, fast, and convenient ways to get around, so don’t let inexperience stop you from trying and buying one. Like riding a bike for the first time, it may take some getting used to and there are a few basics to master. However, once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. Check out some of Unagi’s tips below for riding an electric scooter. 


Safety Precautions:

You should always wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter. Moreover, protective clothing is recommended, such as long sleeves and pants that can protect your skin from cuts and scrapes in the event of a fall. Children should wear knee and elbow pads when riding scooters of any kind. 


Getting started: 

Before riding out onto heavily-trafficked roads, you’ll want to get some practice in a place where you’ll find lots of open space, like a parking lot or cul-de-sac. There should be little traffic, so you should avoid bike lanes or paths and any uneven surfaces that could trip you up as you get the hang of riding your e-scooter. 


Power up your electric scooter and make sure you know where all the controls are and how to operate them before you begin. Always read the manual! You’ll find all the information you need to know about where controls are located and how to use them safely.


You’ll especially want to familiarize yourself with the brakes. Electric scooter brakes can be sensitive, so you’ll want to go easy at first until you know how to operate them safely. Practice operating your e-scooter with one hand so that you can use hand signals when you get out of the road. If you have a more experienced friend or family member, you might ask them to come along to spot you while you learn. 


Place yourself and go slow at first:

Well-designed electric scooters like Unagi can reach speeds of up to 17 miles per hour, which can feel plenty fast on the road. You will find that it’s easy to maintain your balance at lower speeds, but it can be a little more challenging at higher speeds. While it can be tempting to hit the throttle and take off, you’ll want to take it easy and pace yourself to make sure you are maintaining a safe speed and have control of the vehicle at all times. Therefore, you’ll want to find a speed that feels safe and comfortable for you and try not to exceed it. 


Riding Conditions: 

You should avoid riding your electric scooter in unfavorable conditions. You should never ride an electric scooter in the rain. If it begins to rain while you are riding, you should power down your electric scooter immediately. While many electric scooters like Unagi have LED head- and tail-lighting to help you see in low light, and to help others see you, you should still avoid riding at night as much as possible. It can be hard to see in front of you in low-light conditions, especially at higher speeds. Even when the road ahead seems clear, you won’t be able to see obstacles and approaching vehicles from the sides. 


You should also try to avoid riding an electric scooter like Unagi on rough terrain. E-scooters are designed to work best on flat, level pavement, so steer clear of bumpy bike paths, pavement with potholes, roads under construction or repair, and sharp inclines. If you do find yourself in such conditions, it may be best to dismount your scooter and walk until you get to more even ground. Many electric scooter makers offer different models of e-scooter: the Unagi single motor model, for example, can take on inclines up to 6 degrees, and the dual motor version can handle up to 15-degree inclines. 


Use Hand Signals: 

Just as it’s a best practice while biking to signal your intentions to drivers and pedestrians, so too should you use hand signals while on an electric scooter. Unless your scooter is equipped with electric turn signals and brake lights, you should use accepted hand signals to let others know if you are stopping or turning. 

  • To signal a stop, extend your left arm and bed it down at the elbow. 
  • To signal a left turn, extend your arm straight out to the left, and do the same to the right to signal a right turn. (You can also signal a right turn by extending your right arm and bending it up at the elbow.) 
  • Be sure to glance around and be aware of what’s behind you, and make sure you have already practiced operating your electric scooter with one hand!

Obey the Rules of the Road: 

Before taking your electric scooter out for a spin, you should fully understand the laws around e-scooters in your city and state, including such considerations as whether you are allowed to ride on the sidewalk or in bike lanes or cross at intersections. In addition to following regulations specific to electric scooters, you should also obey general rules of the road. Stop at all stop signs and red lights, give pedestrians the right-of-way, and, as discussed above, use hand signals to let others know you are stopping or turning. Following traffic laws can ensure that you get to where you’re going smoothly and safely and that you don’t risk getting ticketed on the way. 


Keep an Eye on Your Battery Level:

Electric scooters like Unagi can have a range of up to 15 miles on a single charge. If you’re heading out for a longer trip, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve charged the battery completely and that you keep an eye on your mileage so as not to end up walking home if your electric scooter runs out of juice. 


If Things Go Wrong:

Accidents happen, as we know, and we can’t be prepared for everything. Although it’s especially important to practice defensive driving on an electric scooter, you may still find yourself thrown off balance by another driver or pedestrian’s inattention. If this happens, don’t panic! Focus on getting away from the danger. In general, the best thing to do if you lose control of your e-scooter is to get clear of the vehicle instead of accelerating or hitting the brakes. No doubt, you want to protect your electric scooter, especially if it’s a beautiful, high-end design like Unagi. But scooters can be replaced, and you can’t, so stay safe and enjoy the ride!


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