eScooter Rider’s Complete Guide

EScooters are amongst some of the most reliable modes of transport when it comes to solo travel. However, to ride one, you do need some practice to get a hang on they operate. In this guide, we will be discussing the gear you need, scooter riding tricks and tips, and how to ride one safely. We will also be looking at how you, as an aspiring eScooters rider, can become a part of the fast-growing scooter community.  If you’re still wondering what to look for to get started in the community, then try our escooter buyers guide.

The Basics – Getting Acquainted with Your eScooter 

Before hitting the road, you must familiarize yourself with all the functions and components of your scooter – this is essential as it will make it easier for you to change modes, ride your scooter more confidently, and help you become a pro at folding your scooter on the go. But first, let us go over the different types of brakes, folding styles, cockpits, and tires available. 

Cockpit 

The cockpit is your eScooters command center and includes things like the display, throttle, handlebars, and brakes amongst other controls such as light/horn buttons and turbo/standalone eco mode. 

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Handlebars

Some e-scooters come with foldable handlebars for easier storage; these compact commuter scooters are perfect for people who like to travel with their two-wheeled vehicles. Since most foldable handlebars have either pull-on or screw-in mechanisms, the bars can shake or become loose as you ride. Fortunately, most of them have set screws that allow users to adjust or tighten their handlebars as they wish. In almost all scooters, handlebar-mounted controls, including the throttle display and brake levers, are held in place by screws and can be easily rotated to suit one’s preference. As an eScooters owner, getting familiar with your scooter’s handlebars will make it easier for you to adjust them when needed. For example, the bars on the Segway Ninebot are very different to those on the Kugoo G Max

Throttle

The throttle on your scooter is what’s responsible for controlling its acceleration, and is usually set on the right side of the bike’s handlebars. It’s worth noting that there are three primary types of throttles. They include: 

– Trigger/finger throttle: this is one of the most common types of throttles used on eScooters and is usually a part of the bike’s LCD. 

– Thumb throttle: this type of throttle is, in our opinion, one of the most comfortable for long-term use. These throttles are usually situated on the right side of the handlebar. They can be a part of the display or not. 

– Twist throttle: Twist throttles are rubberized controls that encircle the grip on the right side of the handlebar and are often near the stem. To accelerate, you simply rotate the control towards you. 

The Boosted Rev (discontinued) had a unique throttle wheel that allowed riders to rotate outward to activate regenerative brakes and inwards to accelerate. We have not seen this throttle style being used since Boosted. 

Display

Displays are a scooter’s dashboard and house controls for safety, security, modes, and power. Most escooters come with a display centered on the bike’s stem or attached to the scooter’s right handlebar. Take the time to understand how your display works and the features it boasts. You do not have to worry about becoming a pro right away; you will learn which settings suit you best as you continue riding. 

When it comes to eScooters, the most common type of display used is the backlit LCD with a mode button, power button, and finger throttle. This display type often features a USB port (located on the back) that can be used to power low-voltage electronics like smartphones and such. In most cases, the displays on escooters come with plug-and-play cabling with connection ports. This allows users to replace damaged or broken displays with new ones easily and fast. 

Some eScooterss have the display built right into the bike’s stem and placement varies from one brand to the other. The problem with this option is that the display can’t be replaced if damaged or if it breaks down unless the scooter is still under warranty.

Some eScooters come with mobile apps that allow you to control features and which provide readout details for things like cruise control, zero-start, speedometer, and odometer. 

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Controls

eScooters controls vary by style with most having standalone buttons for turbo and eco modes or the electric horn and lights, while others include a display, bell, and a few other things. Take the time to find out which controls, like P-settings and cruise control, can be accessed in the display, where your horn and light buttons are located, the functions of each standalone button, and how to use the phone app that comes with the scooter. 

Security

Some escooters come with key-start ignitions while others use their mobile apps to lock and unlock the bike. If a key isn’t used or the scooter is locked, it can’t be turned on. And while these measures provide some level of security, we still advise against leaving your escooter unattended as these scooters are quite portable and can be easily carried away by anyone with bad intentions. 

Most escooters have at least one hand brake lever 

Therefore, find out what type of brakes your scooter has and how they are activated before heading out. Most escooters come with an electronic or regenerative brake and a mechanical one. The most common setup for commuter escooters is a hand-operated rear brake lever with regenerative front brakes.

EMOVE Cruiser Disc Brakes

Most scooters have both rear and front mechanical brakes; though these can be upgraded to hydraulic brakes, which are far easier to operate. Hydraulic and mechanical brakes have both proven to be more effective than electronic brakes. And that’s not to mean that the latter isn’t any good. Electronic brakes do a good job of internally slowing the motor and are quite effective in making gradual speed adjustments. Some regenerative and electronic brakes are triggered by pulling the brake lever slightly. With regenerative brakes, the slowing is less effective and far more gradual. There are electronic scooters that have foot brakes, but these often do not lend themselves to long-range comfort or quick emergency braking.

Tires 

Apart from suspension, tires also play a crucial role in determining ride quality; the larger your scooter’s tires, the more comfortable your ride will be. There are two main tire types used on escooters – solid tires (airless) and pneumatic tires (air-filled.) Solid or air-filled tires typically last longer but are far less forgiving over bumps and cracks. Some scooters have a mix of both tires – often a solid rear tire and an air-filled front one. The main reason for this is because flats mostly happen on the rear tire. 

Find out what type of tires are installed on your scooter to have an idea of what to expect from the tires. If your scooter has pneumatic tires, you’ll need a pressure gauge and air pump or one that has both. Make sure you periodically-check tire pressure and fill up your tires as needed. For the correct tire pressure, check the owner’s manual that comes with your scooter. It’s vital to ensure the tires are filled to the right pressure to maximize performance, reduce the risk of running flat, and improve their lifespan. 

Folding 

If you plan on storing your electronic scooter in your car or storing it indoors where you’ll be carrying it up a flight of stairs frequently, take time to practice unfolding and folding your scooter. Some escooter folding mechanisms can be tricky to deal with and might even require some opposite force. As such, you should learn how to fold and unfold your scooter before heading out. Even if you do not plan on folding your scooter often, still consider finding out how its folding mechanism works to avoid embarrassing situations and accidents, especially when the scooter’s stem loosens or releases while you are riding. 

Some scooter folding mechanisms come with a pin that has to be fully seated for the system to stay locked. 

Some mechanisms, like the clamp-style mechanism used in the M365, may be adjusted using a screw – the screw can be used to reduce or increase tension. If it feels too loose or too tight when clamping, refer to the scooter’s owners’ manual for directions. Other folding mechanisms, like those found on the Unicool T8/Titan, have pins that seat when unfolded. Since you may (or may not) hear an audible click when the pin seats, it’s crucial that you understand how the mechanism works and how to tell if it is in place. You do not want your scooter folding while riding, which is why you should make sure that you understand how your eScooters folds/unfolds and how to adjust and use it. 

Planning for Your Commute 

Never ride your eScooter when conditions are poor or when it’s almost out of charge. Plan – before heading out, consider the weather, terrain, and distance you plan on covering. Doing so will allow you to carry the things you need. 

5 Tips For Riding Your Electric Scooter Safely In Public

Terrain 

Most escooters offer a smooth ride over well-paved roadways and offer a brain massage over rugged surfaces. If using navigation apps, consider taking bike routes over busier routes like highways and busy streets, which typically have buses stopping, more traffic, parked cars, and a variety of hazards. Since some bike routes have sandy, muddy, or even rocky paths, practicing riding your scooter over a variety of terrains will help you react better to unexpected terrain changes. If your scooter has pneumatic tires and you plan on riding through nature, consider packing tire slime. 

Terrain 

Most escooters offer a smooth ride over well-paved roadways and offer a brain massage over rugged surfaces. If using navigation apps, consider taking bike routes over busier routes like highways and busy streets, which typically have buses stopping, more traffic, parked cars, and a variety of hazards. Since some bike routes have sandy, muddy, or even rocky paths, practicing riding your scooter over a variety of terrains will help you react better to unexpected terrain changes. If your scooter has pneumatic tires and you plan on riding through nature, consider packing tire slime. 

Distance

Range anxiety is something that affects almost everyone who owns any type of electricity-powered vehicle. Electric kick scooters can still be manually operated even after the battery runs dry – subjecting you to an experience we like to refer to as the scooter walk of shame. To avoid this, make sure you test your eScooter’s range as you practice (take note of how fast your battery depletes.) Please note that the range of your scooter will vary depending on how you use it, how heavy you are, how you travel, and what you carry. Things like using turbo mode often, riding up hills, or going full throttle lessen range considerably. 

Weather

While most eScooters can tolerate incidental water, a majority are not officially water-resistant. Being rained on while riding an eScooter could spell doom for the bike as most of them are only weather-resistant and not waterproof. So, before heading out for a ride, make sure you check the forecast. If there’s a chance of rain, consider driving or taking the bus to wherever you are going. 

Navigation 

Micro-mobility GPS apps are designed to help scooter riders find their way and stay on routes that are scooter-friendly. If you plan on using one, chances are you will need a cellphone holder on your scooter. 

Apart from a holder, there are several things that you should consider wearing or having to stay protected and safe. Let’s have look. 

Selecting and Wearing Safety Gear

Helmet

Always make sure you have a helmet on to protect your head from injuries. A helmet is crucial no matter how fast – or slow – you are going and can help prevent some serious consequences. Bicycle helmets are fine for more than 20 miles/hour in good terrain and weather; if you want more protection, a BMX helmet should suffice. If you riding in poor conditions and at no more than 20 miles/hour, then consider using a DOT motorbike helmet, preferably full-face. 

Searching for a suitable helmet? Check our our guide on helmets.. 

Protective Wear and Gloves 

We, and a majority of other riders, suggest that you always wear gloves while riding your eScooter since breaking a fall using your hands is common and natural. Apart from protecting your hands from injuries, gloves also protect them from the elements (the wind and sun.) For your safety, always make sure you are wearing closed-toe shoes when riding. Also, always make sure you have a jacket on – light if the weather permits it and heavier when the weather is bad. If you plan to ride fast, make sure you have elbow and knee pads on; however, the more protected your skin is with fabrics, the fewer scabs you will deal with after an accident. If you plan on riding your scooter leisurely, then less protective clothing and gear will do. Here is a good guide to accessories.

Visibility

Seeing and being seen by other road users is vital as a scooter rider. Riding community members suggest wearing reflective gear and riding with the rear and front lights on at all times. When traveling in poor conditions or at night, we suggest a blinking helmet light, bright, high-mounted headlight, and a reflective vest. If your helmet doesn’t have a visor, consider wearing protective eyewear to protect your eyes from bugs and bright reflections and beams, which can be blinding.

Audibility 

Following the instructions provided by your navigation while trying to keep an ear in your surroundings can be quite challenging. Some scooter riders mount a Bluetooth speaker or their phone onto their scooter’s handlebars while others memorize the route they’ll be taking beforehand; then again some prefer using Bluetooth-enabled helmets while others wear one earbud. While we don’t recommend using anything that might obstruct your hearing while riding, just make sure the volume is low enough for you to hear your surroundings if you plan on listening to something while on your scooter.

eScooters riding gear and protective equipment checklist:

– Gloves 

– Helmet 

– Reflective vest

– Eyewear  

– U-lock 

– Phone mount 

– Tire slime  

– Valve extender  

– Multitool 

eScooters Pre-Flight Check

Before heading out for a ride, always make sure you do a pre-flight riding check:

– Does your scooter have enough charge?

– Do you need to pack an air pump, tire slime, charger, or multitool? 

– How do the brakes and tires look?

– Do you know which route you are taking?

– Is your bell or horn working?

– Are the lights on your escooter (and helmet) working?

– Is your escooter fully upright and well-secured? Are all bolts in place? 

– Are you feeling ok (both mentally and physically)?

– Are you dressed for the weather and safety (gloves/helmet)?

Performing a pre-flight check each time you plan to go out for a ride is a good way of making sure that you ride safely and get to where you are going. Ensuring you are mentally prepared and proper maintenance is vital to safe riding. 

Practicing on your eScooter 

As a new rider, practicing how to ride will help you become more conversant with how it feels to ride an escooter and what to expect while on the road. 

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If you are just learning how to ride an escooter, start by practicing in secluded/private areas before heading out to public roadways. 

Disable cruise control and zero-start functions (if applicable.) Some escooters shoot off with the turning or pressing of the throttle while others, like kick-to-start escooters, need a bit of help. Kick-to-start escooters generally have to be pushed to a slow speed for the motor to engage, while zero-start ones start moving immediately you pull the trigger. While most kick-to-start ones have the zero-start feature (enabled in settings), learners are advised not to activate it until they’ve gotten used to riding the scooter. If cruise control’s enabled, it’ll automatically turn on, in most cases, after you have maintained a certain speed for 5 to 7 seconds. For those who were not expecting it, this setting can be quite jarring. To turn off cruise control, consult the user manual for directions.

Find a well-paved, flat area, like an empty parking lot or low traffic side street. Turn on your escooter and put your weaker leg on the deck near the scooter’s stem. Push the scooter forward using your stronger leg until it gains some momentum. Once you are moving, lift your leg and place it on the deck before engaging the throttle. Keep both hands on the scooter’s handlebars and apply minimal pressure to maintain a slow but steady pace. 

Practice braking and accelerating by pulling on the brake and throttle levers at different depths. Doing so will allow you to get a feel of how much pressure you will need to apply to make a quick stop or go full speed. Getting used to braking and accelerating is the first major challenge. Take time to learn the different braking options available on your scooter, including how to engage electronic or regenerative braking if it’s not automatic. 

Practice turning in either direction; sitting back and down when braking; and leaning; along with what each control does and how your body responds. Learning these things will help you grow your confidence as a rider.

Try riding over rough terrain, like along cracks in the pavement, over rough asphalt, and over tiny obstructions to become proficient at handling your scooter over bad surfaces. Loose gravel and wet leaves are hazards and should be avoided. However, it’s still advisable that you learn how it feels to experience them as that could help you avoid injuries. If your commute involves tackling curbs, consider practicing on your escooter to see how well it clears them as there are scooters that can’t easily clear them.

If you are just learning how to ride an escooter, start by practicing in secluded/private areas before heading out to public roadways. 

Disable cruise control and zero-start functions (if applicable.) Some escooters shoot off with the turning or pressing of the throttle while others, like kick-to-start escooters, need a bit of help. Kick-to-start escooters generally have to be pushed to a slow speed for the motor to engage, while zero-start ones start moving immediately you pull the trigger. While most kick-to-start ones have the zero-start feature (enabled in settings), learners are advised not to activate it until they’ve gotten used to riding the scooter. If cruise control’s enabled, it’ll automatically turn on, in most cases, after you have maintained a certain speed for 5 to 7 seconds. For those who were not expecting it, this setting can be quite jarring. To turn off cruise control, consult the user manual for directions.

Find a well-paved, flat area, like an empty parking lot or low traffic side street. Turn on your escooter and put your weaker leg on the deck near the scooter’s stem. Push the scooter forward using your stronger leg until it gains some momentum. Once you are moving, lift your leg and place it on the deck before engaging the throttle. Keep both hands on the scooter’s handlebars and apply minimal pressure to maintain a slow but steady pace. 

Practice braking and accelerating by pulling on the brake and throttle levers at different depths. Doing so will allow you to get a feel of how much pressure you will need to apply to make a quick stop or go full speed. Getting used to braking and accelerating is the first major challenge. Take time to learn the different braking options available on your scooter, including how to engage electronic or regenerative braking if it’s not automatic. 

Practice turning in either direction; sitting back and down when braking; and leaning; along with what each control does and how your body responds. Learning these things will help you grow your confidence as a rider.

Try riding over rough terrain, like along cracks in the pavement, over rough asphalt, and over tiny obstructions to become proficient at handling your scooter over bad surfaces. Loose gravel and wet leaves are hazards and should be avoided. However, it’s still advisable that you learn how it feels to experience them as that could help you avoid injuries. If your commute involves tackling curbs, consider practicing on your escooter to see how well it clears them as there are scooters that can’t easily clear them.

Scooter Riding Tips 

Learning emergency braking can help prepare you for when the unexpected happens. 

Once you have gotten a grasp of how your escooter rides and operates and are a bit more confident, the next thing you need to do is implement the following tips from experienced members of the escooter rider’s community: 

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Keep a light riding stance. When riding, try your best to maintain a light stance – avoid keeping your legs stiff or pulling against the handlebars; instead, allow your knees and elbows to bend softly to create a natural body suspension. Relaxing your joints and muscles will make it easier for your body to absorb bumps while helping you avoid aching limbs from rigid riding. 

Regular vs. goofy stance. According to the GES team, a goofy stance, where the right foot stays forward, allows you to maintain balance while keeping your back to obstructions such as opening car doors. The stance also puts your more dominant, starting leg at the ready during emergencies and on the ground during takeoff. The regular stance, where the left foot stays forward, is also quite comfortable and works best for people who ride in nations where oncoming cars travel on the left. We are not sure how safe or comfortable riding with feet side-by-side is, but some people prefer this stance. 

Learn how to respond to different emergencies. Practice how to avoid obstructions and emergency braking. What do you do when someone suddenly opens their car door or backs out of their driveway without warning? Practice turning, braking, and bailing off your escooter should someone or something get in your way.

Keep a light riding stance. When riding, try your best to maintain a light stance – avoid keeping your legs stiff or pulling against the handlebars; instead, allow your knees and elbows to bend softly to create a natural body suspension. Relaxing your joints and muscles will make it easier for your body to absorb bumps while helping you avoid aching limbs from rigid riding. 

Regular vs. goofy stance. According to the GES team, a goofy stance, where the right foot stays forward, allows you to maintain balance while keeping your back to obstructions such as opening car doors. The stance also puts your more dominant, starting leg at the ready during emergencies and on the ground during takeoff. The regular stance, where the left foot stays forward, is also quite comfortable and works best for people who ride in nations where oncoming cars travel on the left. We are not sure how safe or comfortable riding with feet side-by-side is, but some people prefer this stance. 

Learn how to respond to different emergencies. Practice how to avoid obstructions and emergency braking. What do you do when someone suddenly opens their car door or backs out of their driveway without warning? Practice turning, braking, and bailing off your escooter should someone or something get in your way.

Braking pressure and posture. To quickly bring your scooter to a halt, squeeze your scooter’s brake lever as hard as you possibly can without causing the wheels to lock up. If the tires lock up and the scooter slides, it will not slow down as fast as you’d like. Shifting your weight over the scooter’s rear wheel will allow you to brake hard without causing the wheels to lock up or you flying over the handlebars. 

Defensive riding. Just like driving a car, never assume that other road users expect you to be on the road or see you coming. Drive cautiously and consciously, while scanning the road ahead of you. We suggest keeping your braking hand ready or covering your brakes, especially when coming up to intersections. Always take curves on the road slowly and always pay attention to your surrounding to avoid hurting yourself and other road users.

Securing and Storing Your eScooter

If your commute involves using public transportation, or if there comes a time when you need to bring your escooter indoors (like during winter, for long-term storage,) it’s important that you understand how to handle and safely stow away your escooter without affecting other people. Consider the following tips on how to move around, secure, and store an escooter. 

Securing Inside

We generally advise escooter owners to store their scooters indoors where they aren’t subject to thievery or the elements. If you can, wheel your scooter inside and keep it somewhere you can charge it with ease and where the floor will not get damaged by the scooter’s wheels. If you use your scooter to get to work but have limited space for storage, check in with your manager or supervisor in advance. Some escooters such as the UScooters Booster Sport are quite compact and can fit inside tiny space with ease. Find out where you will be keeping your scooter and get permissions where needed. 

Securing Outside 

If you have no other option but to leave your scooter outside, then consider investing in a U-lock or bike lock that you can use to secure the scooter to a cemented pole or bike rack. Ensure the scooter isn’t exposed to very damp/humid weather or rain to avoid damage. 

Taking in Public Spaces 

A majority of scooter riders say that they are generally allowed to bring their escooters into public spaces such as shopping malls, grocery stores, and big-box stores, as long as they don’t ride them indoors. Most escooter owners fold them and put them in their shopping carts, while others simply wheel them around. If an establishment or individual refuses to have scooters in their space, kindly respect their request for the sake of the escooter riding fraternity. 

Taking on Public Transit 

Some public transportation options are going to be a bit more flexible than others. Most bus lines don’t have a problem with escooter users bring their scooters on board, but only if they are folded and off.  Subways are a bit friendlier since there are no steps to climb onboard. If part of your journey on an escooter involves taking public transport, look for escooter-related rules beforehand, travel during off-peak hours, and always respect those around by carrying/walking your escooter until you alight the bus or are outside the station. 

The convenience of bringing an escooter on public transit may also depend on when and where you will be starting and ending your trip. Let’s look at BART, for instance. San Francisco Bay Area’s only subway system, BART has elevators and escalators at most stations that make it easier for users to move between the street level and platforms, bike-friendly cars, and lots of seating. All that makes a scooter a great last-mile option. But what do you do if you are traveling on BART during peak hours and you cannot find a seat? Holding a folded scooter for extended periods can be quite uncomfortable. 

Long-Term Storage 

When storing your escooter for a long time, we recommend that you store it with a 30 to 50 percent charge and make sure you re-charge it every once in a while. Also, make sure you store it in a cool, dry environment. Here is some information on how to maintain your escooter’s battery life.

Know local laws to escooter ride and abide

Escooter laws vary greatly. For instance, some cities only allow scooters on public streets but cap the speed at which users can ride while others only allow scooters on private roads. With escooters becoming more popular, it’s not long from now before laws that regulate their usage become standardized. Therefore, make an effort to find out what’s allowed around where you live and behave responsibly. Always stop at all stop signs and lights and be courteous to vehicles. Since these personal electric vehicles are a relatively new form of transportation, lawmakers are currently scrutinizing how escooters behave on the road as they ride their scooters. The better we behave, the faster scooters will move into every day, mainstream use. The escooter laws in Ireland are here.

Ride consciously

As an escooter rider, be thoughtful of other road users – reduce your speed when around pedestrians, especially older adults and children, announce yourself when passing, and maintain defensive scooter riding tactics. Always maintain enough space between the scooter and objects on the road, such as garbage bins and parked cars. Always approach unseen corners and junctions with caution. Don’t ride through outdoor shopping centers, inside buildings, or on sidewalks, as it is considered inconsiderate and might bring undue attention to other escooter warriors.