Many people in need of an alternative means of transport for getting around are increasingly thinking about getting a scooter. They’re cheap, fun and easy to learn - certainly a vehicle that can give you a lot of freedom. But it’s also important to keep a few basic rules in mind for happy and safe use.
If you’re wondering whether scooters are legal to use in Britain, the short answer is “yes”. Nonetheless, it is important to ride your scooter on the pavement or path instead of on the road. You should also be aware that you don’t have right of way on a pavement, cycle lane or road as a scooter user, which could pose some legal issues in the event of an accident.
The legal picture in England and Wales differs somewhat from the more up-to-date one in continental Europe, which is one more reason why – before using your scooter – you should swot up on what you can and cannot do in whichever territory you intend to ride it.
This may seem like a continuation of the above point, but we’re referring as much here to practical considerations as we are to legal ones.
Scooting can be so swift and efficient that it can be easy to forget your manners when riding such a vehicle. So if, for example, the pavement is becoming overly congested or people are approaching you in a group in the other direction, it’s often a good idea to get off your scooter temporarily.
It’s also important to always stop at kerbs and to avoid zipping in and out of pedestrians – just imagine how irritating or bewildering you would find it if you were in their position.
A helmet is a wise acquisition, even if you only use your scooter occasionally. After all, inexperience in riding a scooter could make it even more likely that you suffer an accident resulting in an impact to your head.
If you’re using a scooter at night, we would also suggest that you maximise your visibility to other pavement or road users by wearing suitably colourful or reflective clothing. You might even go as far as adding lights to your scooter to make yourself even more noticeable in darker conditions.
With scooters being so quiet, it can be easy to forget sometimes that people ahead of or around you may not be able to hear you coming!
Fixing a bell to your scooter could therefore be a good idea, as you won’t want to alarm anyone who only becomes aware of your presence when you swoop right past them or are forced to shout to alert them at the last minute.
Much of safe and effective scooter use in a city is basically just common sense, but it’s nonetheless well worth following certain basic practices in relation to particular terrain.
Going down a slope, for instance, may be fun given the speed you can gather, but it is also because of this that you should be careful to control your pace. In wetter conditions, braking distances will be longer and certain areas – such as paving stones or drain covers – can be especially slippery.
Even drier ground can be tricky to navigate on a scooter, due to the cracks and dips in pavements that you could easily miss until they send you flying off your scooter.
Scooters are the most fun and efficient way you can have zipping around from A to B, so get ready to get mobile.