(Last updated on March 22nd, 2023)
To ride an electric scooter, practice the basics such as standing, launching, and steering in a safe area away from cars. Look where you want to go and lean in the direction you are turning. To brake, lean your weight back while scrubbing off speed. Slowly come to a stop so you don’t fly over the handlebars.
Riding a scooter is much like riding a bike since many of the same principles apply. And if you’ve ever ridden a non-powered scooter, you’ve already got the basics down and need to practice using the throttle and brakes.
By following these tips, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable ride on your electric scooter.
In this article, we’re going to go into detail about how to ride an electric scooter. We’ll help you understand what to do before you ride, how to stand on your scooter, and how to launch, steer, and break. We’ll also give you plenty of tips and tricks on how to ride better and more safely. Let’s get started.
- 1. Get to Know Your Scooter
- 2. Do a Safety Check Before You Ride Your Scooter
- 3. Learn and Practice Basic Riding Techniques
- Look Where You Want to Go
- Stay Relaxed
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings
- Watch the Weather
- How to Handle Flat Tires
- Lock Your Scooter
Introduction to Electric Scooters
An electric scooter is probably similar to the one you rode as a kid. It has a flat surface to stand on, a wheel in the front and the back, and a tall handlebar. The difference is that an electric scooter has a small, battery-powered motor to assist you with your ride.
Most electric scooters can hit top speeds anywhere from 15 to 25 mph, depending on the motor. They can usually travel around 35 to 40 miles, depending on the terrain, the battery’s size, and the rider’s weight.
Before you ride your scooter for the first time, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with its features.
Steps at a Glance
- Get to Know Your Scooter
- Do a Safety Check
- Learn and Practice Basic Riding Techniques such as Launch, Steering, and Braking
1. Get to Know Your Scooter
First things first, get to know your scooter before you ride it. Your scooter will come with a user manual that will tell you how to charge the battery and how to use the brakes, throttle, and kickstand. You’ll also want to get to know the different parts of your scooter:
- Folding latch (if it folds)
- Charging port
- Front and rear lights
- Tires and wheels
- Apps or display
2. Do a Safety Check Before You Ride Your Scooter
Anytime you ride your scooter, you’ll want to do a quick safety check to make sure everything is in good working order.
- Tires. Check for flats or wear and pump your tires up to the correct pressure.
- Make sure the brakes are working correctly.
- Is the folding latch locked in place?
- Is the battery charged?
- Does everything look and sound like it’s supposed to?
If everything checks out, you’re ready to ride.
Of course, you always want to be safe when you’re riding. So while rules and laws vary by location, you’ll probably want to wear a helmet regardless of what the local laws say.
A good helmet will significantly reduce the chance of head injuries, especially since electric scooters can ride at faster speeds.
You may also want to consider eye protection as well as knee and elbow pads in case of a fall. Motorists, scooters, and even cyclists can accidentally kick up loose gravel or road debris as they pass, which can cause injury to your eyes, so protective glasses are always a good idea.
Make sure you know the local laws in your area before riding your electric scooter on the road. In some places, it isn’t even legal.
3. Learn and Practice Basic Riding Techniques
A few basic riding techniques will get you off to the right start. Remember to go slow and practice! If possible, find an empty, flat, smooth parking lot where you can practice away from traffic until you get the hang of riding your scooter.
Check out this video on electric scooter basics.
How to Stand on the Scooter Deck
Your position on the scooter needs to be stable and comfortable while giving you room to shift your weight. Most scooters aren’t wide enough to put your feet side by side.
So instead, you’ll put one foot straight towards the front of the deck. Next, you’ll use your back foot to push off. Then you’ll rest it slightly angled and behind the other foot. You might want to try this a couple of times to figure out which foot you are comfortable having as your front or balance foot and which foot you want to use to push with, sometimes called the action leg.
There isn’t a right or wrong when it comes to which foot goes forward. Ultimately, you’ll need to find the position that makes you feel the most stable and comfortable. Then, with a little practice, you’ll be able to figure out which leg you want to push off with.
You’ll do most of the balancing with your legs. If you find yourself gripping the handlebars too hard, you may need to adjust your standing position on the scooter so that you have better balance and control.
Before you start riding your scooter, you’ll need to make sure to disengage the kickstand. In most cases, you can just push the kickstand backward with your foot. However, riding with the kickstand in place can cause damage to the kickstand or the scooter, so always check before you start.
The launch is the scariest part of riding a scooter for the first time! But don’t let this intimidate you; with a bit of practice, you’ll get it down in no time. You may want to practice with the motor off until you are comfortable with the motions. Once you have the mechanics down, then you add in the motor.
Stand on your scooter with your balance leg, keeping your action leg on the ground. The motor of your scooter will not turn on and engage until you are up to speed. If this is your first time riding a scooter, set the motor to the lowest speed so you can practice.
Push off with your action foot, and as you do, slowly begin to engage the scooter’s throttle. Once you are up to speed, the motor will kick in and take over, powering your scooter for you. This is typically around three mph. If your scooter has a zero launch feature, you won’t need to kick off to launch. Instead, you can just turn on the throttle, and the scooter will go.
Accelerate slowly. If you push the throttle too hard, the scooter will lurch, which may cause you to fall. Instead, apply light, consistent pressure to the throttle until you reach the speed you want to go.
Steering Your Electric Scooter
If you are turning at low speed, you can steer the scooter by turning the handlebars toward the direction you want to go. Practicing slow-speed turning is a great way to improve your scooter handling skills and get you more comfortable on the bike.
When turning at higher speeds, you don’t want to actually turn the handlebars. Instead, you want to lean the scooter to turn it. But, of course, the faster you go, the more you lean. Just don’t lean so far that you fall over!
You’ll probably do this naturally, but if you have trouble, you might imagine that you are pointing your hips in the direction you want to go.
How to Brake on Your Electric Scooter
Your scooter will have both a front and a rear brake, which you can activate by squeezing the hand levers. You’ll want to practice braking so that you know how hard and how quickly you need to press the brakes in order to stop.
If your scooter has disc brakes, it will likely have a more powerful front brake. The front brake will give you plenty of stopping power without skidding. However, just like on a bicycle, if you pull too hard or fast on the front brake, you might fly over the handlebars. To avoid this, give yourself plenty of stopping room.
Another stopping technique is to push your weight backwards as you brake. You’ll look like you’re about to sit down on a chair. This helps prevent you from lurching forward as you slow down.
If you find yourself going too fast, rather than slamming on the brakes, which can be dangerous, you can lightly feather them to scrub off speed. This is a safer way to slow down, especially if you feel like you are descending a steep hill too quickly. Shifting your weight back will help keep your balance on the scooter, as well.
When you are turning, you’ll want to scrub off speed before you go into the turn. If you enter a turn too quickly and try to brake, your tires could slide out beneath you and cause you to crash. Applying the rear brake too hard will cause the bike to stand up straight, which means you’ll miss the turn. Applying the front brake too hard can cause you to go over the bars.
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Try These Extra Tips for Riding Your Electric Scooter
Watch this brand-new beginner learn how to ride her electric scooter for the first time!
Look Where You Want to Go
One of the biggest mistakes that new scooter and bicycle riders make is staring at their front wheel or at obstacles they want to avoid. If you stare at something, you’ll end up heading right toward it! This is a big mistake!
Always look where you want to go. If you are going into a turn, look to the exit so your scooter naturally follows. If you are going around a pothole, look at the part of the road you want to ride on, rather than staring at the big hole in the road.
Continuously scan the road ahead so you can be prepared to avoid obstacles, holes, pedestrians, or traffic. Staring straight down at your wheel means you won’t see any oncoming danger, which could cause an accident.
You’ll be able to control your scooter much better if you are relaxed. Tensing up and riding stiff will make the scooter feel jerky underneath you. Also, the more tense you are, the harder it is to steer and the more uncomfortable the ride will be.
Instead, relax and let the scooter move freely beneath you as you lean to steer.
If you are gripping the handlebars too hard, you may need to work on your balance.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Always be aware of what is going on around you. Watch out for traffic, pedestrians, stop signs, and any other possible dangers that you would need to avoid. Listen for traffic behind you and watch for traffic in front of you, as well.
The more you practice, the better you’ll be at riding your electric scooter. And the better you are, the more you’ll enjoy it. Find safe places to practice, like empty parking lots, trails, or parks that are scooter-friendly. Practice at slow speeds as well as faster speeds, so you get used to all of the aspects of handling your electric scooter.
Watch the Weather
Wet roads can be slippery when it rains. You’ll need to allow extra space for accelerating and stopping. Additionally, your battery may not last as long in extreme heat or cold, so you may want to avoid riding in any kind of extreme weather.
How to Handle Flat Tires
Hitting a pothole, a piece of glass or a nail could cause your tire to go flat. Some scooter tires are solid and will resist flats. However, these are not as comfortable to ride as an air tire.
On the other hand, many scooter tires are tubeless. If you use sealant in your tire, you might get a flat and not even know it. The sealant inside the tire is meant to plug up small holes.
However, if you get a large hole or get a hole in your tube, you’ll need to do a little bit of work to get your scooter rolling again. Here’s an example of how to change a flat tire on an electric scooter.
Lock Your Scooter
If you’re going to leave your scooter in a public place, make sure you lock it to prevent theft. You can use a bike lock or a scooter lock to keep your scooter safe.
Finally, you’ll want to avoid some of these common riding mistakes for a safer, more enjoyable ride.
Electric scooters are a lot of fun to ride, and they’re practical for commuting, too. Most people get the hang of riding a scooter quickly and easily. Always get to know your scooter and practice riding safely.
Frequently Asked Questions
For most people, it’s easier to ride an electric scooter than an e-bike since it’s easier to balance on a scooter. However, if you already know how to ride a bike, you’ll be able to pick up on riding a scooter even more easily since many of the principles of steering and braking are the same.
It depends on where you live. In some places, such as the UK, it is only legal to ride scooters on private property with the owner’s permission. You’ll need to check your local laws to find out what’s legal where you live.
Again, state and local laws will vary on this. However, it’s good practice and common sense to always wear a helmet when you’re riding a scooter. You’ll also want to consider eye, knee, and elbow protection.
As long as the laws in your locale permit it, you can commute to work on an electric scooter.
Charging time varies greatly, depending on how large the battery is and how low the charge is. It can take anywhere from 4 to 20 hours to charge up your battery. For this reason, you may want to have a backup battery on hand.
Yes, most scooters can be ridden even without the battery. You’ll ride them just like a regular kick scooter.
Typical electric scooters can go anywhere from 15 to 25 mph for roughly 35 to 40 miles. However, there are a lot of variables that can affect this, including the size of the battery, the terrain, and even the weight of the rider and cargo. In addition, some scooters are made for speed, while others are made for hilly areas or urban commutes.
Amanda Whittington is an expert writer, impassioned cyclist, and musician. Coming from a diverse educational background, Amanda discovered a deep-rooted passion for encouraging others through her love of all things cycling, writing, and inspiring hope.
You’ll likely find Amanda pouring over bike specs, comparing the hottest cycling tech, and sporting the latest jerseys while juggling the demands of her editorial calendar, training schedule, tiny homestead, and 6 busy kids.
She spends her free time absorbed in her own gardening and fitness, cycling, and reading, all while encouraging adoption and foster care, championing the underdog, and of course, working with her chickens and goats.