Many cities around the world have stopped renting electric scooters during off-peak hours, but when travel restrictions are lifted, powered two-wheelers start – hard. Electric scooters have just been given the go-ahead in New York, where drivers have previously been fined $ 500, and in the UK, trials with rental programs are finally beginning.
So what do you need to know before renting or buying a scooter for the first time? The most important thing is to check local laws. Some cities allow you to ride sidewalks, others insist that you stay on the streets, and there may be restrictions on top speed, engine power, and the number of wheels. However, there are also best practices that apply wherever you drive.
To find out what you should know before you go on your first trip, we spoke to Roger Hassan, COO of Tier ̵
Hassan points out that while electric scooters are generally a safe means of transportation, it is important to follow road traffic rules and be careful. “There are other road users and you have to drive responsibly and safely. Stay away from the sidewalks, do it all, you know, everything you would expect, you know, drivers can act responsibly. “
If you drive a rental scooter, there may be GPS trackers that can monitor your location in the vehicle. Ultimately, however, it is up to you to be reasonable.
“Our hardware is fully traceable on the IoT track so we can see that we can work with local authorities to find out where drivers should and shouldn’t drive,” says Hassan.
“We can restrict roads and movements in areas where local authorities tell us they don’t want you to drive. We can only achieve a lot of this through technology, but we also rely on people to drive responsibly. “
Safe driving also means getting into the right mindset and feeling safe on two wheels. “One of the most important things that you have to deal with at the beginning is the feeling of stability and comfort – you know that you feel comfortable on a scooter on the street,” says Hassan. “You know, this is pretty daunting for most users when getting on a scooter for the first time and having to deal with other road users.
If you live in a place where you are experimenting with one or two rental programs, you may not have a large choice of the scooter you drive. However, if you can make your choice, there are a few points to keep in mind to help you feel happier.
A scooter with a thicker stem, wide wheels and suspension can help you feel more stable, but at the expense of mobility. It is a very personal decision.
“When you look at everything on the market, there are usually two main directions the scooter is going in,” says Hassan. “The previous iterations that many vendors still use are much smaller than our scooters. They’re more of a consumer-style scooter that are fairly light. They are very agile and accelerate very, very quickly [but] They are also not that robust. “
Again, it’s a matter of personal preference, but wearing a helmet can make you feel safer too, and provides protection if you lose your balance and suffer a small spill.
“The [UK] The Department of Transportation did not mandate this, so they did not insist that drivers be required to wear a helmet, but they asked operators and local authorities to promote the use of helmets, ”said Hassan.
Keep it clean
Understandably, cleanliness is one of the biggest problems with scooter and bike rentals. How can you avoid the spread of viruses when so many people touch the handlebars of a rental vehicle?
One of the most important things is to follow the personal hygiene instructions that you are already following – wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand disinfectant, if this is not possible, do not touch your face and hold You distance to them other people. However, the scooter companies have also taken measures to ensure driver safety, including some that you may not expect.
Hassan explains that in addition to frequent disinfection, Tier also experimented with hardware solutions: especially with copper tape on the handlebars of his scooters, which is wrapped like the leather strap of a typical racing bike. Copper has impressive antimicrobial properties and the tape works well. There’s only one problem: after a couple of trips, it looks a bit gross.
“After a while it gets pretty grubby. Although it is actually extremely reliable and is probably the safest handlebar cover you can find out there, after a few uses it will look a little dirty when users see it.” It is difficult to get this message across and say, “Actually, it does exactly what it is supposed to do, and it is the safest thing for you.”
It was an interesting experiment, but ultimately Tier returned to the idea of simply cleaning thoroughly and frequently – although Hassan also points out that a typical scooter in a city is less touched than railings and seats on public transport or the handles of shopping carts .
“[We’re] Educate people that the risk is low and that we frequently rehabilitate and that they should continue to follow the same health and hygiene practices that they use in their normal lives regarding the use of hand sanitizers and frequent hand washing, etc. It will always be the best course of action when it comes to protecting people. “
Finally, make sure you are enjoying yourself. “I think everyone who drives a scooter knows there is something magical about it,” says Hassan.
As a cyclist, he admits that initially there was no place for electric scooters when bicycles were available – but that changed in a few moments.
“I will never forget when I first went on a scooter because [I though] “Wow, that’s the future!” He says. “It feels so special and different.”