Millions of electric scooter riders are out on the road with even more motorists out there. That in mind means one must be careful when riding on the road. Several states have limited micro-mobility infrastructure that would be deemed adequate for this influx of people. Anyone riding an electric scooter, e-bike, or other personal electric vehicles must follow the basic rules of the road in order to remain safe, even in places with proper infrastructure set up. Here is a quick list of those rules so you can have it ready before you ride.
1. Always Wear a Helmet
The first rule is the most important one, you must wear a helmet. That is just the minimum amount of protective gear recommended. If you plan on riding a performance electric scooter, one that can go up to 30 mph, additional protection is needed. This can include but is not limited to knee and elbow pads as well as a full face helmet. GOTRAX also recommends riding any electric scooter with closed toe shoes on to provide better traction on the deck board. These easy add-ons will ensure your safety out on the open road.
2. Right of Way
Pedestrians will always have the right of way. This is in order to ensure safety above all else. Additionally, only ride in the street or bike paths. Sidewalks are for pedestrians only, going 15.5mph on a sidewalk can catch someone off guard who's walking out of a shop. Furthermore, when approaching an intersection, even if you have the right of way, motorists may not see you coming so ensure you slow down to check for any cars or other riders.
3. Where to Ride
We discussed where to ride already but it is imperative that you ride in the appropriate places. Bike lanes/paths or the street are your primary options. Check your local laws/regulations regarding electric scooters but most places will not allow them on sidewalks. You will often see people on rental electric scooters riding on the sidewalk, without a helmet, and going at top speed. This sets a bad example for all personal electric vehicle riders everywhere. If your local town or city does not have enough bike lanes then it is best to contact your local officials to lobby for more.
4. Speed Limits
For most commuter models of electric scooter and e-bike this shouldn't be an issue. Most GOTRAX e-scooters will reach a top speed of 20 mph. While riding on the road and bike paths you still must follow any signage you see. This includes but is not limited to speed limits, yield, pedestrian crossing, and so on. GOTRAX's performance series of electric scooters all exceed 25 mph so monitoring your speed is vital. Always be checking your surroundings for any new signs, other riders and motorists.
5. Licenses & Permits
Once again bringing up our performance series, models that go above 20 mph will often fall under different restrictions and guidelines due to said speed. The same can be said for e-bikes. Their classification changes depending on speed, does it have a throttle or no, and if they have a pedal assist feature. Once you reach a certain speed on a vehicle, for most places its above 28 mph, you will need a license. Check with your local DMV for the specific kind of license you will need in order to properly ride on the road.
These are just the basics. There is always an opportunity to learn and practice safe riding. Following these rules and continuing to be a responsible rider sets a good example for all, especially fellow riders. Ride safely and always wear your helmet!
Ride Together. Ride GOTRAX.