If the verb ‘to scoot’ irritates you, you should click away now. Because, for every handy tip, trick and technique contained within this guide, there is talk aplenty of scooting. These scoots, like electric scooters themselves, are ubiquitous; scooting left, right and centre around the issues of the latest two-wheeled tech trend. And, with electric scooters now legal to hire in the capital and the drive for outdoor transport greater than ever thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, this is one trend that isn’t going anywhere soon.
And, from where you should scoot to how fast you should be scooting, we’ve got the scoop on the scooters that everyone is charging to own. We’ll cover bike lanes, blocking doorways and bell ringing. We’ll school you on ankle-clipping, commute-zipping and round-the-corner-nipping. There’s no time to waste, so whip out your app, buckle up your helmet, place both feet firmly on the platform — and let’s get a scoot on.
Watch the ankles, people
They may not rule the road, but neither should scooters preside over the pavement. Love them or hate them, these scooters look like they’re here to stay, and we must learn to live peacefully alongside them — as we would any species of invading, app-powered aliens.
Depending on where you are, different Departments of Transportation have different rules about electric scooters. Your usual guidelines, however, are as follows: scoot on the pavement if you must, but try to use the road when you can, zipping along where you would if you were riding a bicycle. Bike lanes themselves are a good option, but watch out for short-tempered cyclists — who don’t tend to enjoy being overtaken by people with wheels this small.
As for those of you committed to braving the pavement, just watch out for ankles. No-one wants to be clipped on the lower leg by a scooting commuter. And, even if it is a busy day, you’ve got a bell for a reason; and a demanding ‘ding’ is infinitely preferable to a shattered fibula…
Check your speed, scooterers
Of course, your speed feeds directly into the above problem — and will likely determine where you should be scooting in the first place. Many cities ask that scooterers (scootists? scooterators? scooticians?) follow the speed limits that cars must adhere to. For the most part, this means that you shouldn’t zip along above 35mph; around the top speed for most electric scooters.
And, if you are pushing the upper limit of your battery-powered ped, you should obviously stay on the road. Nothing is more likely to infuriate a pavement user than a scooter tearing past open doorways and busy bus stops at the same speed as a motorcycle. Wherever you decide to ride, just be wary of other pedestrians or motorists. This way, you can zip and nip around while also avoiding the need for sharp stops or swerving.
If you’re hiring, be considerate
If your city hasn’t yet allowed electric scooters to take over, then you’ll only have personal scooter commuters to deal with. But, as the majority of European and American cities have seen brands including Lime, Bird, Circ, Spin and Skip zip into town, the etiquette of the scooter-sharing community has become a big part of two-wheeled life.
Unlocking is easy enough. Just scan your scooter’s QR code with your app and it pings, chirps or trills to life. Simple. It’s the locking that seems to have left many confused. Before parking up and ending your session on the app, you should find a suitable location to leave your scooter — where it won’t bug non-users, and where the next rider can easily find it.
That means no abandoning them on central reservations, or halfway down dual carriageways. Don’t be blocking doors with them, or propping them up on access ramps or in the middle of busy city centre thoroughfares. Do that, and you’ll likely find yourself on the receiving end of popular scooter-shaming hashtags #scootersbehavingbadly and #birdgraveyard. Just be considerate, and always use the app to take a photograph of your scooter after safely parking it up.
Don't be stupid, wear a helmet
You wouldn’t get on a bicycle without buckling a helmet to your head, so quite why you’d trust your talents more so on a scooter is beyond us. For the simple sake of safety, strap on a helmet, download every colourful micro-mobility app under the sun and happy scooting!