Sharing the road with electric scooters
Electric mobility, whether that be a passenger vehicle, truck or electric scooters, is on the increase and more and more cities across the world are being forced to amend legislation to allow for their use on public roads. Legislation notwithstanding, there are still ‘rules’ that apply to their use and then some – driven mainly by the absence of sound logic when driven.
Given the increased use of these vehicles – in shared schemes in particular- the National Safety Council in the US says that just like bicyclists and pedestrians, scooter drivers are ‘vulnerable road users.’ This means they are unprotected by an outside shield and therefore, likely to sustain a greater risk of injury in any collision with a vehicle.
Vulnerable road user fatalities have been increasing in the US at an alarming rate. In 2016, there were 5 987 pedestrian fatalities, 5 286 motorcyclist fatalities, and 840 bicyclist fatalities. Now, millions of scooter riders comprise the newest population of vulnerable road users.
While scooter drivers need to do their part — wear helmets, slow down, and follow traffic laws — in order to stay safe, vehicle drivers also need to know how to safely share the road with electric scooter users.
Experts offer the following advice for automotive drivers:
- Beware of blind spots
Scooters are slim and can easily disappear in your blind spot. So be extra cautious and be on the lookout for them.
- Slow down
If you see a scooter user up ahead, slow down as you pass him or her. They are far more vulnerable than you.
- Stay out of bike lanes
While laws may vary in many places, scooter users will ride in the bike lane. Never drive in a dedicated bike lane—you can easily hit a scooter rider or a cyclist.
- Yield when turning
Be cautious when turning and always yield to scooters, as you would to cyclists and pedestrians.
- Be patient
As with bicyclists, scooters can only go so fast. If an electric scooter user gets in front of you, do not tailgate or use aggressive tactics like hostile hooting. Such actions could easily startle the scooter rider and cause him or her to lose balance or fall.
- Be vigilant at night
Scooter users may well ride in the evening hours. Because scooters do not have traditional headlights, they may be difficult to spot even in better-lit urban areas, so be extra aware of their existence when driving at night.
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