Electric scooters are super convenient, easy and fun to ride, and make getting around a breeze. If you’ve never ridden one before though, you may have some questions about how to ride an e scooter and what exactly you need to know before renting or buying one.
We’ll break down a few frequently asked questions about how to use an electric scooter and share some tips and tricks that will stand you in good stead for future cruising – no steep learning curve required.
Is an electric scooter easy to ride?
One of the reasons that scooters are taking off as a mode of transport is that they’re simple and intuitive to ride, even for total beginners. You can learn the basics in under an hour and with a little practice, be riding around in no time. You just have to get the hang of the e-scooter’s controls and motion…
The first few times you ride, you’ll need to concentrate on your balance, but once you learn how to shift your weight and lean into turns, riding should be instinctual. Here are the basics of how to use an electric scooter to get you started:
- Raise the kickstand while holding onto the handlebars.
- Push off with a kick to start, or, depending on your e-scooter model, press to accelerate from a standing position.
- Ride with one foot at the front of the deck and the other at the rear (forming a wide ‘L’ or upside-down ‘T’).
- Press the throttle to accelerate and shift your weight forward by transferring your weight to your front foot.
- To turn, lean left or right in the direction you want to turn and don’t over-rotate or pull on the handlebars.
- To decelerate, apply the rear brake just before the front brake and shift your weight down and back while bending your knees.
Do you have to push off with an electric scooter?
With most modern e-scooters, you’ll have the choice of two start modes: either kick-to-start (also known as non-zero start) or zero start.
Kick-to-start means that you need to manually start moving to activate the throttle, so you’d plant one foot on the deck and push off with the other to get momentum. Once you’re moving, you’ll press the accelerator and the motor will typically engage when you hit 3 mph. This is the start mode that’s recommended for beginner riders – it’s easier to control and there’s no risk of your scooter moving off without you on it.
Zero start means that you can engage the scooter’s motor immediately from a standing position – no push-off required. You just press the throttle and the electric scooter will take off. Zero start is more convenient, but beginners should exercise caution: if your footing isn’t stable and the acceleration takes you by surprise (or you press it accidentally), your e-scooter may lurch forwards, resulting in you taking a tumble.
The most important takeaway here is to be aware of your scooter’s start mode – it will most likely be set to kick-to-start to begin with, but it’s best to be sure. Most electric scooter models will also let you change the mode, so you can choose between kick-to-start or zero start.
What should you not do on an electric scooter?
As you get more comfortable with how to ride an e scooter, you may be tempted to push its limits. Here’s what you need to avoid to stay safe:
- Avoid riding over or through potholes as much as possible – a tyre puncture is not only inconvenient, it can be dangerous when riding in traffic.
- Don’t try to mount a curb unless you have a scooter with very high ground clearance – you could damage the deck and the scooter battery.
- E-scooters are designed for single riders – no passengers.
- Don’t travel at full speed on crowded sidewalks.
- Don’t ride one-handed – hold both handlebars at all times.
- Don’t try to pop a wheelie or do any jump stunts on your scooter – you could snap or break the stem because it’s not built for that kind of force.
An electric scooter is great fun and is the most affordable, convenient way to commute in the city. If you’re a first-time rider, follow these tips to learn how to use an electric scooter safely - enjoy the ride.
For our comprehensive guide for beginners, check out our electric scooter rider tips and tricks here.