Navigating through city traffic: tips for electric scooter riders

Daniel Foley
Written By: Daniel Foley
Published on: 1/24/2024

With their compact size and zero carbon emissions, electric scooters offer a convenient and eco-friendly way to travel through busy streets. However, riding an electric scooter in city traffic can be challenging, especially for new riders.

In this article, we will explore some essential tips and techniques for navigating through city traffic on an electric scooter.

From paying attention to street signs and obeying rules of the road, to basic tips for accelerating and braking safely, we've got your city riding guidelines covered.

Learning the basics of city traffic

Before venturing out into the hustle and bustle of city traffic on your electric scooter, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the basics of how traffic flows. Understanding the different lanes, road signs, and traffic signals is essential for your safety and for efficiently navigating through the city streets.

Take the time to study and learn the various signs and what they indicate. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions while on the road, ensuring a smoother and safer ride.

Traffic lights play a significant role in navigating traffic while riding an electric scooter. Make sure you know the meaning of each traffic signal and understand the importance of obeying them at all times. Not only will this keep you safe, but it will also contribute to the overall flow of traffic in the city.

When it comes to city traffic, it's not just about understanding the signs and signals. It's also about signalling your intentions to other drivers, riders and pedestrians. Make sure you always use turn signals if your scooter has them. Allow plenty of distance when braking and make eye contact with others at intersections to ensure you see each other.

E scooter riders always yield to pedestrians when necessary. This promotes a safer environment for everyone sharing the road. If you are in a place with heavy foot traffic, it's usually best to just get off and walk alongside your scooter than try to steer around people.

image

Pay attention to street signs and traffic lights

Street signs and traffic lights provide crucial guidance and information for riders of electric scooters, allowing them to navigate through the city safely. Pay close attention to street signs indicating speed limits, lane changes, and turns.

When approaching a traffic light, always be prepared to stop if the light turns red. It is essential to anticipate the changing signals and adjust your speed accordingly. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the concept of right-of-way, understanding when to yield and when to proceed safely through an intersection.

Another type of street sign that you should pay attention to is the one that indicates lane changes. These signs are typically found before intersections or areas where the road layout changes. They inform you of upcoming lane shifts, allowing you to adjust your position on the road accordingly. By following these signs, you can ensure that you are in the correct lane and avoid any confusion or last-minute maneuvers.

While street signs are essential for navigation, traffic lights play a significant role in regulating the flow of traffic. When approaching a traffic light, it is crucial to pay attention to the changing signals and react accordingly.

image

Adjust your speed for maximum safety

One of the key aspects of navigating through city traffic on an electric scooter is adjusting your speed appropriately. While it may be tempting to speed through the streets, it is crucial to prioritize safety over convenience. Observe the speed limits indicated by street signs and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

By maintaining a reasonable speed, you will have better control over your electric scooter and be better prepared to react to any unexpected situations that may arise. It is essential to remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way in almost all situations, so always be mindful of their presence and adjust your speed accordingly.

Any number of obstacles can appear in your path when riding in the city, from an opening car door to a delivery person pushing boxes across the street. An experienced rider will adjust their speed to make sure they can stop in time to prevent accidents.

Experienced riders also familiarize themselves with their scooter's controls so they can ride safely in any situation they night encounter.

Negotiate intersections with caution

Intersections can be particularly challenging for riders, as they involve multiple directions of traffic and various vehicles. When approaching an intersection, slow down and proceed with caution.

Always make eye contact with drivers and pedestrians to ensure they are aware of your presence. Signal your intent clearly using appropriate hand signals, even if your electric scooter is equipped with turn signals. This will help other road users anticipate your movements and avoid any potential collisions.

Know the rules of the road

As an electric scooter rider, you are subject to the same rules and regulations as bicycles and other small vehicles. Familiarize yourself with traffic laws in your city and follow them diligently.

For example, it is essential to ride in bike lanes or designated scooter areas where available. Avoid riding on sidewalks as much as possible, as this can endanger pedestrians and cause unnecessary congestion.

Avoid dangerous situations

There are certain situations when scooter riding that riders should avoid to ensure their safety while navigating through city traffic. Avoid riding too close to other vehicles, as sudden stops or lane changes can occur without warning. Maintain a safe distance, and always be prepared for unexpected maneuvers from other road users.

Bear in mind that not all electric scooters are designed for high speed traffic. An e scooter with a lower top speed, slow acceleration, and/or low braking power should be kept on roads with speed limits under 25 mph ride in the bike lane whenever possible. You should avoid riding low-powered e scooters in heavy traffic.

It is also crucial to avoid distractions while riding your electric scooter. Keep your attention focused on the road ahead, rather than on your phone or any other devices. This will allow you to react quickly to any potential hazards and ensure your safety.

image

Practice defensive riding

Defensive riding is a crucial skill that all electric scooter riders should develop. This involves anticipating potential hazards, wearing protective gear, and taking proactive measures to avoid accidents.

You can't control others, but it's your responsibility to ride your electric scooter safely to avoid potential accidents.

At the very least, you should always wear a helmet for scooter riding. Other pieces of safety gear can include bright, reflective clothing, protective gloves, and even cycling jackets or full riding suits for scooters that reach very high speeds.

You should constantly scan your surroundings for any potential dangers when riding electric scooters, such as opening car doors, potholes, or pedestrians crossing the road. By maintaining a defensive mindset and staying vigilant, you will be better prepared to navigate through city traffic safely.

Performing routine maintenance checks before e scooter riding is part of defensive riding. Make sure you have the correct tire pressure, if you have air filled tires, and ensure that you are riding safely by checking your brakes and tightening any loose fasteners before you ride.

image

Use these essential safety tips when riding

Shift your weight back when you brake

This tip especially applies when braking hard: it will keep you from flying over the handlebars if you need to stop suddenly

Ride an electric scooter like a skateboard

Because of their small wheels, electric scooters handle much more like skateboards than bikes. For that reason, you should steer an electric scooter with your feet, using the handlebars for balance.

Always keep both hands on the handlebars

Once again, small wheels make balance trickier on a scooter than a bike. Trying to ride one-handed can quickly lead to losing your balance and falling.

Never take your eyes off the road and scan for obstacles ahead

Small wheels=big difference between hitting pothole on a scooter versus other kinds of vehicles. Try to hit objects perpendicularly, if you can't avoid them.

Accelerate quickly in car traffic, slowly around foot traffic

Protect pedestrians, cyclists, and any other e scooter rider around you by accelerating slowly and using your brakes gradually to maintain control.

image

Find the best routes for your trip

Lastly, finding the best routes for your electric scooter trips can significantly enhance your experience and safety on the road. Research and plan your route ahead of time, utilizing bike lanes and lower-traffic streets whenever possible.

Download digital maps and apps specifically designed for bike and scooter riders. These can provide valuable information about bike-friendly routes and real-time traffic updates. Take advantage of these resources to find the most efficient and safe routes for your electric scooter rides.

Navigating through city traffic on an electric scooter requires careful attention to the rules of the road, a defensive mindset, preventative maintenance, protective gear, and a willingness to adapt to the surrounding environment.

By following the tips outlined in this article, electric scooter riders can enjoy a safer and more enjoyable experience while traveling through busy urban areas.

Navigate your city with an Unagi all-access subscription

If you're just starting out on an electric scooter and don't know if it's right you yet, consider leasing a stylish, powerful, dual-motor Unagi Model One Classic or Model One Voyager (with twice the range).

Unagi scooters were designed specifically with urban riders in mind, and they are the most portable dual motor electric scooters on the market and the only electric scooter available for subscription, with a small setup fee, low monthly payment, and no contract.


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.

Unagi Life
E scooters for camping: choosing the best electric scooter for camping - what you need to know
E scooters for camping: choosing the best electric scooter for camping - what you need to know

Taking an e scooter camping has taken off in recent years. If you have an all terrain electric scooter with enough power and battery life to climb hills and handle a heavier, more rugged terrain.

Who Invented the Scooter?
Who Invented the Scooter?

Scooters didn't just start as an alternative ride for popping tricks in the skatepark, in fact, they've been around for a really long time. These days it's quite common for people to own all manner of electric scooters and even electric mopeds, but who invented the scooter?

Scooter Rental vs Scooter Subscription: Which is Better?
Scooter Rental vs Scooter Subscription: Which is Better?

For a few years, it seemed as if city streets would soon belong to shared electric scooters and bikes. The prospect seemed to enrage as many people as it excited, and there was much wrangling over the new micromobility transportation…

Rideshare, Subway, or Scooter: The Fastest Way to Commute
Rideshare, Subway, or Scooter: The Fastest Way to Commute

Commuting is terrible, and not only in the ordinary sense of frustrating and annoying. The problem has reached the level of a public health crisis. It wastes an “astonishing” amount of “human potential,” claims The Washington Post, drains our energy…

Electric Scooters: Range vs Weight
Electric Scooters: Range vs Weight

Advances in battery technology have led to a market filled with high-quality electric scooters for everything from tooling around the neighborhood to competitive off-road racing. It’s an exciting time to buy a scooter, but also a confusing time, given the…

Electric Bikes vs Electric Scooters: Which One Should You Choose?
Electric Bikes vs Electric Scooters: Which One Should You Choose?

Micromobility has arrived. Personal electric vehicles are solving last mile problems and replacing car trips as major cities move away from car-centric infrastructure. Increasingly, commuters are realizing how much faster and easier it is to get to work on an…

Is It Worth Buying an Electric Scooter?
Is It Worth Buying an Electric Scooter?

As cities become more crowded and traffic worsens by the year, the old ways of commuting have become increasingly unsustainable. So, is it worth buying yourself an electric scooter?

Getting Scooters to Covid-19 First Responders
Getting Scooters to Covid-19 First Responders

The Covid-19 crisis has ushered in a period of sickness, fear, confusion, and fatigue across the planet. Naturally, we're all looking for a little hope. At Unagi, we're trying to carve out a humble corner of optimism by helping the…

Chicago’s North Side: 5 Wellness-Inspired Stops in the Windy City
Chicago’s North Side: 5 Wellness-Inspired Stops in the Windy City

Home to Wrigley field, beautiful skyscrapers, large parks, and public beaches along Lake Michigan, the North Side of Chicago is one of the most recognizable areas of the Windy City. The district is bordered by the Chicago River, the West…

Essentials
5 Reasons to Buy a Scooter This Holiday Season
5 Reasons to Buy a Scooter This Holiday Season

Are you tired of sitting in traffic, spending a fortune on gas, and constantly searching for a parking spot? Say hello to the electric scooter - your new best friend for getting around town. Let's dive into the top 5 reasons why you should buy an electric scooter this holiday season.

Maximizing Electric Scooter Battery Life: Maintenance Tips and Best Practices
Maximizing Electric Scooter Battery Life: Maintenance Tips and Best Practices

Want to get the most out of your electric scooter battery and extend your riding adventures? We've got you covered with our comprehensive guide full of maintenance tips and best practices.

Unagi All-Access: Rolling into Summer
Unagi All-Access: Rolling into Summer

With the addition of Chicago, Washington DC, Northern Maryland and Virginia, and NW Indiana, our All-Access scooter subscription service is now available to more than 75 million people. But we’re just getting started: we want to make Unagi the ubiquitous standard for short-distance transportation around the world.

The New Unagi Service Center
The New Unagi Service Center

You're already aware of many of them: Dual motors. Premium materials. Lightweight is king. And it's not difficult for anyone to see that Unagi cares about design more than any other scooter company...But the topics for today are brand, customer obsession, and our All-Access subscription service...

Unagi Springs Forward
Unagi Springs Forward

We’re launching our All-Access subscription service in six new cities, and expanding in two more. And with $10.5 million in new funding, we’re ready for takeoff in 2021...These areas represent a market of more than 30 million consumers – putting Unagi’s All-Access service within reach of 1 in every 10 Americans

The World's Fastest Electric Scooters in 2021
The World's Fastest Electric Scooters in 2021

Electric scooters are quickly overtaking other means of transportation as the best way to cover short distances. They’re lightweight, portable, convenient, and more environmentally friendly than almost any means of powered transport.

Love or Hate: 9 Studies Show What People Actually Think About Electric Scooters
Love or Hate: 9 Studies Show What People Actually Think About Electric Scooters

It’s more or less a given these days that micromobility solutions like electric scooters are part of a major transportation revolution “Among many [recent] technology milestones,” reported Government Technology, “one of them was certainly that...e-scooters became a fixture in many…

Pro Tips from Real Scooter Riders
Pro Tips from Real Scooter Riders

Telling people through paid advertisements that an electric scooter will change their life is one thing. Letting them hear it from real people who own and love their scooters is something else. Now that we all have the ability to…

Security and Locks for Electric Scooters
Security and Locks for Electric Scooters

Micromobility has already helped solve several modern transportation issues, and may reshape the way we get around in the near future. But small electric vehicle owners are still plagued by an ancient problem. Electric scooters present new security challenges, and…

Need to Knows
The 2022 Comprehensive Guide to Electric Scooter Laws
The 2022 Comprehensive Guide to Electric Scooter Laws

“Is my scooter legal?” is a question many are increasingly asking. The micromobility industry is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting in the world—with promises for...in addition to abundances of the basics of time and money savings. And with this pace of innovation comes a struggle for regulation to keep up.

Are electric scooters easy to ride?
Are electric scooters easy to ride?

So, you're thinking about joining the electric scooter revolution, huh? You've seen those sleek and stylish scooters zipping around town, effortlessly gliding through traffic, and you can't help but wonder: Are electric scooters easy to ride?

Maximizing Electric Scooter Battery Life: Maintenance Tips and Best Practices
Maximizing Electric Scooter Battery Life: Maintenance Tips and Best Practices

Want to get the most out of your electric scooter battery and extend your riding adventures? We've got you covered with our comprehensive guide full of maintenance tips and best practices.

The Comprehensive Guide to Electric Scooter Laws
The Comprehensive Guide to Electric Scooter Laws

*Disclaimer: Unagi, INC. has used best efforts, but does not in any manner guarantee the accuracy of the below findings regarding electric scooter laws in the United States or internationally. Electric scooter riders or those considering to purchase or begin…

The True Environmental Impact of Electric Scooters
The True Environmental Impact of Electric Scooters

It’s beyond question that we must drastically reduce carbon emissions in the coming years to head off the worst effects of climate change. How we do that has been a matter of considerably drawn-out debate. As individuals, it can be…

Do You Need Insurance for an Electric Scooter?
Do You Need Insurance for an Electric Scooter?

If you're considering riding an electric scooter for the daily urban commute - or even just for recreation - this article will give you the lowdown on getting insurance for an electric scooter.

Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Road?
Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Road?

In many regions, there's a clear restriction against riding electric scooters on the road, with the rules steering their use towards designated areas such as bicycle lanes, multi-use paths, and shared street paths.

Do You Need a License to Ride an Electric Scooter?
Do You Need a License to Ride an Electric Scooter?

You’ve seen them all over your city’s streets, and everyone who rides one looks absolutely thrilled. So, why haven’t you picked up your own folding electric scooter yet? Maybe you’re worried about whether e-scooters require a driver’s license, or a…

Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Sidewalk?
Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Sidewalk?

It’s a reasonable question to ask. After all, it seems like the safer option. Can you, and should you, ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk? In many cases, the answer is no: you cannot. Story after story in electric…

Rider Profiles
/amp/scooter-articles/navigating-through-city-traffic