Electric Scooter Trials: How to get started safely on rental electric scooters

August 26th 2020

With rental schemes popping up all over the country thanks to the UK Government’s trial of electric scooter usage, there’s never been a better time to try out an e-scooter. However, getting started on a hire e-scooter can be a daunting prospect if you’ve never ridden one before.

We’ve put together some top tips to help you get started with confidence, so that you can ride safely – taking care of yourself and those around you.

Remember, to try out a rental e-scooter, you must be 16 years of age or older and hold a provisional or full UK driver’s licence, while we back the Government’s strong recommendation to wear a helmet.

1) Head to a quiet location

Get started by walking your e-scooter to a quiet location. Although your rental hub might be in a busy area, it’s best to get started away from too many people or cars. This will give you the space to familiarise yourself with the controls of your rental e-scooter, especially the throttle and brakes, and get your balance.

A quiet side road or a parkland cycle path would be perfect options, where you can get used to the functionality of your e-scooter without too many distractions.

2) Check around you

Before you set off, take a really good look around you to see what’s coming from behind, beside and in front of you.

It’s chapter one of being a road user, but it bears repeating here. Knowing what’s around you helps to minimise any surprises, but most importantly helps to make you aware of any hazards in sight of your starting point.

3) Use the ‘eco’ setting

Your e-scooter’s settings will depend on the brand and model that you’re riding, but we recommend setting off in the lowest power setting available to you. This will mean that the motor will generate only a limited amount of torque, making initial acceleration easier to handle.

At the same time, selecting a lower power mode will also make throttle input less responsive – so, suddenly pressing the throttle by accident won’t result in a sudden, unexpected jerk forwards.

Top tip: In many cases, a double tap on the power button will change the modes.

4) Look forwards

Maintain your focus forwards, looking down the path that you’re travelling on, rather than down at your front wheel.

It can be a natural reaction to focus on your front wheel when you’re starting out, but in fact the safest way to ride is to look forwards ahead of you, so you have maximum warning and awareness of any obstacles coming your way. Looking down results in too much focus in this area, reducing balance and control.

5) Keep a firm, relaxed grip

When riding your e-scooter, try to maintain a firm but relaxed grip on the handlebars when you’re going along, helping to relieve any tension in the upper body. Tension can lead to an over tight grip on the bars, which can (conversely) lead to less control.

It’s very easy to grip too tightly without realising, so make sure that you take some relaxing breaths while you’re riding. This will help you stay in a clear frame of mind and ready to react effectively when you need to.

6) Gradually build speed

Once you’re used to the e-scooter’s throttle, brakes, and handling, and are comfortable looking forwards as you ride, you can begin to increase your speed. Try increasing power modes one at a time, giving the throttle a full press when it’s safe to do so, so you can feel what it’s capable of.

All trial e-scooters are currently limited to 25km/h (15.5mph) by law, but a 500W motor is capable of powerful acceleration, so we recommend continuing using the throttle gradually to avoid unexpected or uncontrollable acceleration.

7) Give space to others

Finally, give yourself space by giving others space too. Now that we’re allowed to use rental e-scooters in shared spaces including roads and cycle paths, it’s important to stay safe by having enough space to carry out manoeuvres, while also giving other road or path users a safe space to drive, walk, scoot or ride too.

At the same time, every rental e-scooter rider is a flag-bearer for the concept – by riding responsibly, you play your part in setting a good example for others, and building a positive reputation for responsible e-scooter riders across the UK.

You can find out more about government e-scooter trials here. We recommend that you check with your local council authority for the very latest information of trial schemes popping up in your area.

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