Is it difficult to ride an electric scooter?

Author: Helen

Mar. 07, 2024

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Tags: Transportation

As micromobility options become the more popular choice for urban commuters, more and more first-time scooter riders will be hitting the streets. E-scooter riding is fairly quick and easy to pick up, especially if you ever rode a kick-scooter as a kid. There are some differences of course – your kick-scooter probably didn’t have the ability to accelerate and reach speeds of 25 mph.

Riding an e-scooter is great fun, but it can be tricky to get on and get going your first time out. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for beginners with all the electric scooter rider tips you’ll need to keep yourself and other road users safe. From appropriate safety gear to common riding mistakes, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

 

 

Electric scooter rider tips 

 

1. Safety first

2. Get to know your e-scooter

3. Pre-ride checks

4. How to stand on an electric scooter

5. Accelerate slowly

6. How to steer an e-scooter

7. Learn how to brake safely

8. Keep your eyes on the road

9. Avoid these common mistakes

Let’s go over these tips and tricks in more detail so that you’re ready to ride!

 

1. Safety first

Riding any type of motorised vehicle, even a micromobility one, calls for protective gear. No matter the terrain or weather, there is always the risk of falling (or a collision) and when or if it happens, a helmet is non-negotiable. So, the first step in scooter riding is to make sure your head and face are protected.

Next, remember that you don’t have the steel chassis and doors of a car as a barrier, so you have to create your own layer of defence with protective gear. This means clothes that cover your arms and legs, and potentially even elbow and knee pads, not to mention good, solid closed-toe shoes (no flip flops).

Finally, you’re going to want a good pair of gloves to protect your hands. When we lose balance, we tend to use our hands to break our fall – it’s much easier to wear gloves than spend weeks in pain with all your skin scraped off (ouch)! A good pair of riding gloves with palm sliders will also help protect against broken wrists.

 If you’re lucky enough to have a foldable e-scooter, also take the time to practice folding and unfolding your electric scooter. Make sure you know how to lock it into place before riding, as well as fold it down for compact storage after riding.

  

2. Get to know your scooter

Your first time out on an electric scooter should never be in traffic with other cyclists and pedestrians around. Whether you’re an experienced rider or not, every brand and model is different – from the scooter’s weight to how it operates. So, before you start riding, you’ve got to familiarise yourself with your e-scooter and its controls – find a flat, open space to practice where it’s safe to make mistakes without any serious consequences.

You also want plenty of room to manoeuvre. The first thing you need to do is get to know your scooter’s controls and dashboard or interface. Not all electric scooters are the same, so learn what each button does, as well as where the throttle, lights, and brakes are and how exactly they work.

Familiarise yourself with the scooter’s start modes. Some e-scooters are kick-to-start, which means you have to manually push off with one foot before the motor engages, while others are zero start, which means you can start and accelerate from a standing position without a push.

While practising scooter riding, get a feel for the scooter’s acceleration – is it smooth or does it have a bit of a kick? You also need to get a feel for your brakes and how sensitive they are. You don’t want to find out in traffic that squeezing a sensitive brake too hard results in you flying over the handlebars.

If you’re lucky enough to have a foldable e-scooter, also take the time to practice folding and unfolding your electric scooter. Make sure you know how to lock it into place before riding, as well as fold it down for compact storage after riding.

3. Pre-ride checks

Next up in the electric scooter rider tips are some ‘pre-flight’ checks you can do before you hit the road. These checks are all about ensuring your scooter is working as it should. Work through this checklist before every ride to stay safe:

  • Tyres are in good condition
  • Check your tyre pressure – make sure your tyres aren’t deflated or flat
  • Your battery has more than enough charge for where you want to go
  • The brakes are working properly
  • All of the lights are working
  • The folding mechanism locks into place
  • The throttle is working properly
  • Your e-scooter’s not making any weird noises
  • Nothing is loose or wobbly
  • There’s no obvious damage.

If your scooter ticks every box, then you’re good to go!

 

 

4. How to stand on an electric scooter

E-scooter riding is quite intuitive once you get the hang of it. Here are some steps to walk you through your first ride to get comfortable with the riding style. Start up your scooter and then the first thing you want to do is raise the kickstand. Use one of your feet to lift the kickstand while you hold onto the handlebars to support the weight of the scooter.

Whether your electric scooter is kick-to-start or zero start, place your weak leg at the front of the scooter’s deck (with your foot facing forward) and keep your strong leg on the ground. When you’re ready, use your strong leg to kick off to launch the e-scooter forward or accelerate slowly to start moving. Make sure you’re holding the handlebars with both hands and leaning forwards.

Once you’re moving, place your strong leg on the deck behind your weaker leg to balance – a wide ‘L’ or upside-down ‘T’ is typically the most stable riding position. This is what’s known as a conventional riding stance (your non-dominant foot in front of the other). If you prefer your dominant leg forward, this is called goofy stance. With one foot at the front of the deck and one at the rear, you can then shift your weight backwards and forwards (which will help you accelerate or slow down), as well as left and right, which will help you steer.

Some people are more comfortable riding with their feet side-by-side, but this isn’t recommended because it’s harder to shift your weight while riding and will affect your balance, stability, and control.

 

5. Accelerate slowly

Once you’ve nailed your scooter riding stance, it’s time to practice accelerating. Press the throttle slowly to accelerate to get a feel for your scooter and how much power it has. Take the time to familiarise yourself with each of the riding modes, starting with the slowest and building up to the fastest. If you go out guns blazing, you could find yourself somersaulting over the handlebars when you lose control.

An electric scooter with dual motors typically has a quicker rate of acceleration. When starting out, practice in the slowest riding mode with just one motor and increase your power as your confidence improves. Just remember, you should never change from the dual motor to a single motor while travelling at speed – always slow down before reducing power.

As for keeping control, when you take off, shift your weight forward and lean close to (but not on) the handlebars while accelerating to make your scooter’s job a bit easier. Don’t pull on the handlebars though – use your feet to transfer some of your weight and propel your centre of gravity forwards.

6. How to steer an e-scooter

Once you’re moving, it’s time to practice turning. The rule of thumb is to rely on handlebar rotation (turning the handlebars in the direction you want to go) when you’re travelling slowly (less than 8 mph). The movement should be fairly smooth and avoid over-rotating the handlebars to prevent a spill. As your balance improves, your body will be much more in tune with your scooter and how it moves though.

To start, practice your turns at a slow speed and increase your speed when you feel confident to progress. As your speed increases, the less you’ll need to rotate the handlebars. This is when you’ll need to lean in the direction you want to turn. Your core will be doing most of the work to keep you balanced – you shouldn’t be pulling on the handlebars.

Use your feet to shift your weight in the direction you want to turn. If you were to slow down, you’d rely on physically turning the handlebars more to make the turn.

 

7. Learn how to brake safely

Possibly one of the most important electric scooter rider tips is learning how to brake safely. Before you head out, it’s essential that you get to know your brakes and learn how to brake safely on a ride. Unlike with a car, you don’t have any airbags or seatbelts to prevent you from pitching forward, so your well-being comes down to the correct application of your brake when scooter riding. This is the one thing you really want to practice – you need to know how hard to brake in an emergency situation.

The trick, whether you need to slow down or come to a complete stop, is to apply the rear brake first and then the front brake. Why? Well, if you use the front brake first, you’re very likely to go over the handlebars because that’s where most of the power comes from. For maximum control, use the rear brake first and quickly follow it up with the front brake, while leaning back and bending your knees (as though you’re about to sit down).

Bending your knees will help you shift your body’s weight down and back to counter the natural forward motion that happens when applying the brakes. This will also help you decelerate quicker. By effectively using your body weight, you can apply more downward force over the rear wheel to give you better traction, balance, and braking power.

Try to avoid braking while you’re leaning into a turn. This will probably result in a fall, so try to straighten up before braking. Another way to avoid an unfortunate incident is to stay within the speed limit and slow down in dangerous situations, such as when going downhill.

 

8. Keep your eyes on the road

It’s easy to lose focus when you’re zipping along with the wind in your hair… It’s also tempting as a new rider to look down at your handlebars instead of ahead at what’s in front of you. The number one thing you can do to ensure your safety and that of others is to stay focused and keep your eyes on the road. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, especially when there are pedestrians, cyclists, other drivers, and unexpected potholes to contend with.

Pay attention to your route and surroundings at all times. Be alert to traffic signs and what other drivers are doing – they may not always see you coming. Follow the rules of the road and give way to pedestrians. Be mindful of the road surface, especially in winter when the terrain could be icy and slippery.

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9. Avoid these common mistakes

We’re all human and no one becomes an expert overnight. As well as our electric scooter rider tips, here are some of the common mistakes most first-time e-scooter riders make and how to avoid them.

Pushing the throttle too hard

Electric scooters can be very powerful, so you never want to push the throttle too hard – this could cause your scooter to jump forward, resulting in you tipping backwards or falling off. Smooth and steady is your mantra when it comes to staying balanced on a scooter. Press the throttle slowly to remain in control.

Braking too hard

On the other end of the spectrum, braking too hard can be just as calamitous, especially if you don’t shift your body weight. To avoid flying over the handlebars, increase the pressure on your brakes gradually while leaning your body back.

Leaning too far on turns

Much like riding a bicycle, you want to lean into the turn when scooter riding, but not too much. It should feel natural – keep your core engaged and don’t shift your weight too much to one side or you’ll lose your centre of balance.

Over-rotating the handlebars

Turning your handlebars too far or too suddenly could end in tears (or jackknifing). If you over-rotate, your e-scooter could come to a dead stop, which might cause you to fall. Rather shift your weight during the turn and avoid being too aggressive in your movements.

Riding one-handed

Always keep both of your hands on the handlebars when riding your e-scooter. It may look cool, but you have less control and are likely to end up wobbling from side to side, which is a recipe for disaster.

Not shifting your weight

Your ability to control an electric scooter comes down to how you distribute your weight. To accelerate, shift your weight forward and lean into the handlebars. To decelerate, shift your weight back and down over the rear wheel. To turn, shift your weight forward slightly and lean in the direction you want to go.

Incorrect posture

An e-scooter can be hard on your back if you ride slouched over and tense your shoulders. Try to keep your back straight and your body as relaxed as possible. Keep your knees slightly bent to help you shift your weight and move with the scooter.

 

 

How do you get confidence on a scooter?

Practice, practice, practice! The best way to get comfortable on an electric scooter and confident in your riding abilities is to take the time to learn what it's capable of and ride within those limits. E-scooter riding is easy and enjoyable when there are no surprises. Take it slow and build up to faster speeds.

Hopefully, these electric scooter rider tips prove helpful, and you’ll be cruising around in no time. It is, after all, the greener way to travel. With zero emissions, an e-scooter is the perfect mode of transport for your daily commute.

Find more tips on how to ride an e-scooter here. Happy riding!

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or first-time user, you should know the most important electric scooter rules and put safety first, always. In this electric scooter safety guide you’ll learn some fundamental safety rules. 

Rule #1. Don’t drink and drive

The number-1 Bolt scooter rule is just like for any vehicle: don’t drink and ride.

Using a scooter under the influence of alcohol or other substances is illegal and strictly prohibited. Doing so will result in a fine and your account being permanently blocked from Bolt services.

If you can’t resist a celebratory drink after a long day at work, we recommend ordering a Bolt ride instead. Let a driver get you home safe and sound while you sit back and enjoy the ride.

Rule #2. 1 scooter, 1 rider

It’s OK to want to share the joy of riding a scooter with a friend or loved one. And with our new Group Rides feature, you can reserve up to 4 scooters from 1 app — rather than riding in tandem, which is highly unsafe.

To ensure safety for all, we introduced the industry-first tandem riding prevention feature that detects when 2 people try riding 1 scooter. The feature sends a notification to users to warn them of the dangers of tandem riding.

Rule #3. Obey traffic lights and follow traffic rules

Traffic lights exist for more than just cars. There are also traffic lights for light vehicles, such as scooters and bicycles, and pedestrians. So when a traffic light turns red, you must come to a complete stop!

Traffic lights aren’t the only tools that regulate traffic. There are traffic signs, pedestrian crossings and markings, and more. And as with traffic lights, you should follow all street signs while riding.

And above all, please respect your fellow commuters while moving around the city — we’re in this together!

Rule #4. Where possible, use a road/cycle path

Just as cars have road lanes, scooters have cycle lanes. Riding in a cycle lane’s safer and prevents danger to others. 

In countries where pavement riding’s allowed, watch out for pedestrians at all times! In countries where local regulations don’t permit riding on pavements, you must use a designated cycle path or lane. 

It’s important always to follow local regulations to ensure everyone stays safe.

Now that we’ve covered electric scooter rules regarding the law and traffic, the exciting part begins — riding! If it’s your first time scooting, go over the ABCs of safe scooting before taking a ride.

Rule #5. Pre-flight scooter check

Before pushing the throttle, it’s essential to do a quick safety check before each ride. Here are the basics:

  • Tyres — check they’re not flat;
  • Brake — make sure it’s working correctly and isn’t loose;
  • Battery — see if there’s enough charge to cover your trip;
  • Throttle — check it responds properly and that you can accelerate;
  • Scooter — confirm it’s in good overall condition and doesn’t produce strange sounds when you ride.

Rule #6. Practice before your first ride

Practice makes perfect, they say. And they’re right! If this is your first time riding, find an empty car park or flat surface and practice scooting with these tips in mind:

  • Accelerate with care

The key to good riding is being smooth. Gently kick off from the ground to start moving and accelerate gradually so you have full control of the scooter. 

You can also turn on Bolt Beginner mode in the Bolt app and limit your maximum scooter speed to 15km/h.

  • Brake gently

What goes up must come down, including your scooter’s speed. As much as we want to feel like we’re flying, braking gradually and gently is important to avoid skidding or losing control.

Remember, be smooth!

  • Use the bell to communicate

Communication’s key whether you’re in a relationship or on a scooter. If you need to pass someone, give them a little ring with your bell to let them know you’re approaching.

This way, they’ll know when to move out of the way. 

  • Keep both hands on the handlebars

Dual handles aren’t just for aesthetics — engineers had a specific purpose when designing scooters with 2 handles.

It only takes a pothole or reckless driver to create an obstacle you can’t handle with only 1 hand on the controls.

So, think of the handlebars as part of your scooter safety gear and always use both!

Rule #7. Wear a helmet

Scooter safety gear and, most importantly, a helmet is like a superhero’s cape — it makes you feel invincible. But unlike a cape, helmets protect you from head injuries in the event of a fall.

Our scooter safety statistics from 2022 show that 99.997% of Bolt scooter rides ended safely without incident. But regardless of how vigilant you are, accidents can happen.

And if they do, a helmet’s the only thing standing between your head and the ground. So please follow Bolt scooter rule #7, and whenever possible, wear a helmet!

Rule #8. Be mindful of your surroundings

This unspoken electric scooter rule isn’t just about following the law — it’s about being considerate of your surroundings. 

Keep in mind that cities typically have 3 designated areas, each with its own rules:

  • Slow zones. These are typically high-traffic areas with many pedestrians. We limit your scooter’s maximum speed to ensure everyone can safely share the space.
  • No-go zones. The adventurer in you might be tempted to take a scooter off the beaten path, but there are areas where riding a scooter is prohibited at all times for your safety.
  • Parking areas. Reward your scooter for being a good sport by parking it in a designated parking spot instead of leaving it in the middle of the pavement. It’s considerate to other road users, keeps the city clean, and is also the law.

Rule #9. Master the art of parking

We touched on it above, but parking’s a topic that deserves its own section. 

Parking a scooter correctly — and in an appropriate location — ensures your and others’ safety. If parked incorrectly, a scooter may be a hazard to others and can block important access routes.

Let’s go over the dos and don’ts of parking.

Do:

  • Use designated parking zones, bike racks, or Bolt charging docks — the Bolt app map shows where you can park;
  • Lower the kickstand fully to ensure the scooter’s stable and can’t fall over;
  • Leave the scooter in a convenient spot for the next user;
  • Find a location that’s out of the way of foot traffic and doesn’t obstruct pavements, wheelchair ramps, or building entrances;
  • Park on a flat surface to ensure your safety and that of the next rider;
  • Pick up scooters that have tipped over and park them properly.

Don’t:

  • Block pathways — this creates obstacles for pedestrians and can present dangers for those with mobility difficulties;
  • Trespass on private property;
  • Park at bus stops — while scooters may form part of the wider city transport network, that shouldn’t mean blocking access to public transport;
  • End a ride near an emergency exit;
  • Leave the scooter tipped over, as it’ll be a tripping hazard.

Rule #10. Be a responsible scooter rider

We’ve come to the end of the article, but not the end of the journey. You now have what it takes to contribute to our safe, responsible scooter community. Congrats!

And if you notice any unsafe behaviour while you’re out and about, please report it to us.

Keep up the good work, and see you out there!

Is it difficult to ride an electric scooter?

A guide for safe scooter rides

Additional reading:
Discover the Thrills: Why Kids Need Electric Scooters for Fun -

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