What you should wear when riding an electric scooter

10/24/2022

What you should wear when riding an electric scooter

Electric scooters are a cheap and efficient way to get yourself from A to B, but do you know what you should wear when riding an electric scooter?

It's easy enough to remember to wear some sort of helmet, but there is so much safety gear out these days to take advantage of, it's silly not to.

Just like with riding a bicycle, you're at risk of injury when you're zipping around on your electric scooter. Whether that be from other riders or cyclists, vehicles on the road, potholes or wet conditions, there are plenty of hazards to get caught out on, and as we've all been taught since elementary school, safety first!

In this article, we'll go through the different choices in safety equipment that you can wear whilst riding an electric scooter, as well as safety standards to adhere to. Hopefully, you'll find something new to make sure you or your loved ones stay as safe as possible out there.

What do electric scooter riders wear?

People use electric scooters for all types of reasons, from commuting to a single place of work in the city, to off-road long-distance adventures in rural areas for fun. So there's no one-size-fits-all answer to what you should wear when riding an electric scooter.

Most electric scooters are capable of pretty high speeds, with the Unagi Model One, for example, reaching a top speed of 20 miles per hour, which is not a speed you want to fall off at.

Even if your model has a combination of different braking systems and LED lights built in, the fact is that any accident that you're involved in might not even be your fault at all, but you could still get hurt.

Often, the people hurt in traffic incidents aren't the ones to blame and are injured due to impact or accidents caused by other vehicles. You can never completely rule out the chance of an accident happening to you, but you can minimize the risk of serious injury by wearing the right gear.

Choosing to wear a helmet is the first port-of-call for electric scooter safety, and indeed in many cities and jurisdictions, it's illegal to ride an electric scooter without one.

On top of that, choosing to wear reflective clothing can save your life by helping other road users see you, and then there are tons of different accessories that you can wear in addition, from knee and elbow pads to wrist guards.

Some of these options can be quite stylish and lightweight, meaning that they can be easily incorporated into your everyday outfit, whether that be a suit, a dress, or just jeans and a tee.

Always wear a helmet

Electric scooter helmets are probably the first thing that comes to mind when shopping around for safety gear, and a good helmet can easily be the difference between life and death in a freak accident.

One helmet option that you might consider is bicycle helmets, which are available everywhere and give you pretty good protection, depending on the price and quality. Bike helmets range from as low as ten dollars to upwards of a hundred bucks, and will protect your head in the event of a fall or crash.

You can also get specific electric scooter helmets, which are designed for heavier impact due to the rider moving at higher speeds. The Unagi helmet is made of the highest quality materials and adheres to CPSC 1203 safety standards, so you can ride safely while looking stylish.

In order to be up to CPSC 1203 safety standards, a helmet must meet four major requirements to pass certification: peripheral vision, positioning stability, retention strength, and impact attenuation - meaning that it stays intact on impact.

But not all scooter or bike helmets are made to these standards, so be sure to check with the manufacturer before you make a purchase. Read on through this article to find out other things to look for on your quest to find the perfect helmet.

What to look for when buying an electric scooter helmet

So first and foremost, you need to make sure that the helmet you purchase is up to good enough safety standards that it will definitely protect you in the event of an accident.

It's easy to go for something flashy that adds to your outfit, but the point of the helmet is to protect you from head injuries, so start with the basics. That being said, there are plenty of options out there that tick both boxes, like the Unagi helmet, so whether you want a minimal black one or a rainbow unicorn design, you can stay safe and stylish at the same time.

The weight of a helmet can be worth looking into as well, especially if you have a larger head as a bigger helmet naturally weighs more.

If you're riding an electric scooter long distances, take into account that the weight of the helmet will be putting some level of strain on your neck muscles. Find one that's a comfortable weight for you to wear, and to carry around afterwards.

On the subject of comfort, ventilation is another key thing to look for because it can get hot and sweaty, which isn't ideal if you're going to work or out on a date. The average bike helmet has air vents built-in, that allow air flow to keep your head cool without compromising the safety of the helmet itself.

Finally, make sure that the helmet you're thinking of buying has chin straps that are secure and comfortable at the same time. Occasionally, a badly designed helmet can come equipped with one or more chin straps that are either too thin that they cut into you, or made from a harsh material that grates on your skin.

So for the combination of the above reasons, we think it's best to try a few different options on for size before deciding on the right electric scooter helmet for you.

When to replace an e-scooter helmet

As a general rule, manufacturers tend to suggest that you should replace your helmet every five years, even if you have kept it in great condition and never even so much as hit it on a closet door. This is because the internal foam inside of the helmet can start to degenerate and this won't be visible from the outside.

You should also definitely replace your helmet if you have a crash of any kind in which you fall off, even if you don't recall hitting your head. Lots of people tend to skip this if the helmet looks fine without any scuffs or marks, because obviously aesthetically it looks fine.

The fact is that the interior of the helmet may be damaged or ruptured, rendering the helmet completely useless and leaving you unprotected from head injuries, which nine times out of ten are the most serious injuries.

Protecting your hands

Once you've found the right helmet, the next item on your agenda will be finding some reliable and comfortable protection for your hands.

Gloves are one of the most essential accessories for riding e-scooters, because not only do they protect your hands if you fall off, but they also keep your hands warm when you're riding, and can increase your level of grip on the handlebars.

Even if the weather is nice and the temperature is agreeable, wind chill from riding at high speeds can make your hands cool down and even feel numb, which can increase your chances of losing control while you ride.

In the event that you do lose control or come off of your electric scooter, wrist guards are another safety accessory that you'll want to have in your collection of protective gear. Getting both gloves and guards sorted out can really minimize the damage your hands take in a fall.

Electric scooter gloves

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When you're moving around at high speed on your e-scooter and you accidentally come off, it's important to protect your hands from grazing, because you'll naturally put your hands out to break your fall. So consider getting your hands on a pair of gloves that tick all your boxes before you head out.

Wearing gloves is the best way to do this, and there are tons of different options out there: from super thin skins that hug your hands, to big motorcycle gloves that even have extra reinforced plastic protection on the back of the hands.

Gloves also keep your hands warm when it's cold outside, and improve the grip you have on the handlebars, making it easier for you to keep control when you're riding your electric scooter.

After a helmet, gloves are the next most important item when it comes to safety accessories, so get some that fit tightly, don't get in the way of the brake level, keep you warm and help your grip.

Electric scooter wrist guards

A wrist guard is essentially a supportive brace that goes around your wrist to help protect the bone from breaking during an accident. They are very popular for skaters and cyclists, because falling off of these vehicles means you'll likely put your hand out to break your fall.

Wrist guards work as a kind of glove (usually fingerless) that you slip your hand into and tighten with adjustable straps, so that it is comfortable but firmly supporting your wrist.

Wrist breaks are one of the most common bone injuries that occur in America, and having the right protective gear in the form of wrist guards can offer some solid protection against this happening to you.

Clothing options

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What you choose to wear as part of your outfit whilst riding your e-scooter might be very much down to your job, but there are options that could be considered.

Alongside bicycle helmets, some cyclists wear armored jackets that protect from skin damage if you come off and skid on gravel or tarmac. Although they provide protection, these jackets can be expensive and very warm, so for temperature regulation you'll probably be more comfortable on your ride without one.

More importantly than outerwear with armor, is outerwear which increases your visibility on the roads. There are loads of options out there for reflective gear, from reflective jackets to simple high visibility safety vests that have reflective strips on.

A safety vest is really light and helps you remain visible at night, as the light from streetlights and passing vehicles reflects off of the vest and makes you appear very bright.

These can be much more effective than actual lights in terms of making you more visible to others on the roads, but are no replacement for headlights or brake lights on your e-scooter.

Other protective gear - knee and elbow pads

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So far we've covered helmets, gloves, jackets and vests, but there's a whole subsection of electric scooter accessories that we've overlooked - safety pads.

Differing slightly from wrist guards which tend to strengthen the joint, knee and elbow pads provide a physical barrier of resistance that takes the impact in the case of a fall.

Do you need elbow pads when riding an electric scooter?

Elbow pads are essentially a hardened piece of plastic on top of a fabric layer that goes over your elbow joint. It is designed to break your fall and take the impact instead of your bones.

Elbow pads aren't something that we would say are essential for every ride, but elbow breaks can be particularly complex due to the nature of the joint, so better safe than sorry.

Should you wear knee pads when riding an electric scooter?

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Knee and elbow pads are quite similar in their design, though some knee pads will have more of a pronounced circular plastic head, to cup over the shape of the kneecap.

Because of the standing position that you take when riding on electric scooters, it's relatively unlikely that you would fall specifically on your knees.

Unlikely but by no means impossible, so if you have knee problems or just want to be extra safe, grab a pair next time you're at your local department store or sports outlet.

Electric scooters and lights

In all honesty, this last section is more about electric scooter accessories than clothing specifically, but electric scooter lights deserve an honorable mention in any conversation about scooter safety gear.

Most scooters have built in lights in the form of some form of headlight to light the path ahead, and rear lights so approaching drivers can see you from behind.

They'll also have brake lights which light up in red when you slow down, and occasionally they might even have side lights that turn up when you flick the turn signal widget.

Many electric scooters, like the Unagi Model One, have LED headlights these days, which are typically brighter and more visible than traditional bulb lights.

However if yours doesn't, maybe consider investing in extra lights that clip onto your scooter frame or backpack, for added visibility.

Lots of helmets and reflective jackets come with lighting built-in already, so if you're in the market for both it could be an option to go for a two-in-one safety solution.

So what should I wear on my electric scooter?

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It's down to you what you choose to wear on the road, but there are some golden rules to follow with your safety gear:

  1. Always wear a helmet
  2. Get gloves that are right for you
  3. Don't buy second-hand
  4. Invest in a reputable brand
  5. Stay visible on the roads

Anything outside of that is up to you and what makes you feel comfortable, because everyone's journeys, riding abilities and confidence levels are different. Make efforts to protect yourself in any eventuality, and enjoy peace of mind as you whiz around.


Daniel Foley

Daniel Foley

Unagi Life
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Wondering whether you can take your electric scooter on an airplane? As with all things air travel-related the answer should be simple, right? As you might expect, it’s not—or not entirely—but the short answer is no, you cannot take most…

Is It Worth Buying an Electric Scooter?

6/17/2020

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?

How Fast Can Electric Scooters Go?

2/24/2020

How Fast Can Electric Scooters Go?

How Fast Do Electric Scooters Go Step aside, skateboards, electric bikes, and mopeds.  These days electric scooters are so ubiquitous, you can hardly pass by your neighborhood coffee shop, ATM, or happy hour hotspot without encountering one (or a few).…

Micro Mobility & Local Culture

4/15/2019

Micro Mobility & Local Culture

“Nice neighborhood you’ve got there. Sure would be a shame if someone put a highway through it.” So says the text over the face of Robert Moses in a meme that launched the Facebook group “New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented…

Rider Profiles