Ride right – tips for safe e-scooter use
When using an e-scooter, you must know and comply with a number of road rules. When the maximum design speed of the electric scooter is 25 kph, riders of e-scooters must essentially follow the same rules as cyclists. Ride an e-scooter on paths and lanes intended for bicycles, not on footpaths. Adjust your speed appropriately, be considerate towards other road users and don’t ride under the influence.
Ride right: 10 tips for safe e-scooter use
1. Scoot on cycle paths
Riders of e-scooters must essentially follow the same rules as cyclists, and ride on the paths intended for cycling not walking: a cycle path, cycle lane or street. If there is no cycle path, an e-scooter user must ride on the street not on the pavement.
Cycle paths are always indicated with a road sign. If there’s no sign, the path is intended only for pedestrians. Note that pedestrians may use both sides of the pedestrian and cycle path, while vehicle riders must ride on the right side.
On an e-scooter you must ride on the right side of the road and overtake from the left.
Take note of the direction you are riding. For instance it is not permitted to ride in both directions in the same cycle lane, and thus you may only use the cycle lane on the right side of the road. A one-way rule on streets and roads applies to all vehicle drivers, both cyclists and motorists. But in some streets the sign may have an additional panel showing that it is permitted to cycle in both directions. This additional panel also applies to e-scooters.
2. Be considerate toward others
Show civility and respect for others. The Road Traffic Act requires all road users to act as safely as possible whether they walk, cycle or drive. When riding an e-scooter, you have a responsibility to ensure that your behaviour in traffic does not create dangerous and difficult situations for other road users.
Remember that as the rider of a vehicle, you have a particular responsibility for paying attention to pedestrians.
3. Adjust your speed
Choose a speed appropriate for the road and traffic conditions. Even though the maximum speed of e-scooters is up to 25 kph, often in cities and urban areas the safe speed is much lower than this.
Generally e-scooters have smallish wheels and limited suspension. Thus potholes, bumps, and crevices can easily make you loose your balance and fall. Concentrate while riding or slow and stop if necessary.
4. Follow the rules of the road
As an e-scooter rider you are a driver of a vehicle and essentially you follow the same rules as cyclists. This means, for example, that you:
- must give way to traffic from the right
- must give way to pedestrians at pedestrian crossings
- must stop at red light
- must signal when you are turning.
5. Give way to pedestrians
At pedestrian crossings you must give way to pedestrians crossing the road.
You may ride across a pedestrian crossing as long as you are considerate of those who are walking. When you ride across the road at a pedestrian crossing, you are not considered a pedestrian, and other drivers are not required to give way to you – unless they are turning on to the road you are crossing or there is a road sign indicating an requirement to give way (for instance a give way or stop sign).
6. Scoot sober
Driving under the influence isn’t safe or smart. It can lead to accidents and injuries, not only for the rider but also for other road users and pedestrians. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair judgement, make you physically unsteady and slow reaction times.
7. Park smart
Show consideration when parking your e-scooter. Park the scooter so that it does not obstruct the road or tip over easily. Carelessly left scooters can cause problems for other road users – especially for people with special needs, such as wheelchair users and people with impaired vision.
You can park on pedestrian and cycle paths, on the pavement or in a pedestrian zone, as long as the scooter does not obstruct or inconvenience other road users. This means that it must not present a hindrance to those who walk or cycle.
8. Focus while riding – do not use a mobile phone
If you need to use your phone, stop the scooter first.
9. Ride one person per scooter
It is not allowed to ride an e-scooter with a passenger.
10. Wear a helmet – use lights when riding in the dark
If you fall or have an accident whilst riding an e-scooter, wearing a helmet can make a big difference to how seriously you may hurt yourself. It is effectively shown that in case of an accident, wearing a helmet substantially reduces the risk and severity of head injuries.
When riding in the night or in other low-light situations, it is required by law to have lights – a white light in the front and a red in the back.