Bay Area. Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the safety risks electric scooters pose. Electric, or “dockless,” scooters are responsible for accidents across the country. On the other hand, many people are using electric scooters illegally by riding them on sidewalks. There are ways to safely and legally use electric scooters in San Francisco.
Do not use the vehicle Electric scooters on sidewalks
One of the most widespread complaints about electric scooters is that people are illegally riding them on sidewalks. However, it is against transportation codes to ride bicycles and motorcycles on sidewalks in most circumstances.
You can ride electric scooters on certain streets as long as you are following traffic laws. Keep in mind, you generally can’t ride a motorcycle on a road with a speed limit of more than 25 miles per hour. You must be in a certain type of bike lane to ride on a street with a speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour. Depending on where you are, the rules may vary. You must ride in the bike lane if one exists. You can also generally ride electric scooters the bike paths, trails, and bike lanes.
Helmets and electric scooters
New state legislation allows adults to forego helmets when riding electric scooters. This is not to say that you should ride an electric scooter without a helmet, as that would be extremely dangerous. While helmets don’t necessarily prevent a concussion in all cases, they can reduce the risk of more serious brain injuries or even death. However, it is widely accepted that properly fitting helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury.
Minors (under 18 years of age) must wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter. The bicycle helmet must fit properly and meet state requirements.
The use of electric scooters in California and San Francisco
There are some other state regulations for motorized (included) electric scooters. California law requires that you have a driver’s license or instruction permit to operate an electric scooter. Motorcycles may not be left on sidewalks in a manner that blocks the normal flow of foot traffic. San Francisco has multiple regulations for electric scooter parking.
There are also rules prohibiting riding an electric scooter with passengers and carrying objects that prevent you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars. The new legislation details the requirements for electric scooter brakes.
How can I safely ride an electric scooter in San Francisco?
Electric scooters are dangerous when used incorrectly. You must follow municipal and state regulations at all times while driving and parking electric scooters. Be sure to check local regulations before using a scooter.
Although current state laws do not require adults to wear helmets, there are great risks involved with not wearing one while driving. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be fatal or lead to life-changing disabilities. Simply put, it’s not worth the risk of permanent disability when helmets are cheap and readily available to the general public.
Consider the purchase and use of additional protective equipment. elbow pads, wrist pads, and closed shoes can reduce the risk of serious injury.
Headphones should never be worn while riding an electric scooter or bicycle. It is very important that you are aware of your surroundings at all times, or you may stop responding to hazards that can lead to accidents. Never use your phone while riding an electric scooter. It is quite dangerous to wear one while driving a car, but especially dangerous while riding an electric scooter or bicycle. You have no protection, perhaps with the exception of a helmet, if you end up in an accident. The risk of sustaining a fatal or life-altering injury is much higher.
Try to avoid skateboarding while there are poor light conditions. Many of the electric scooter accidents occur during the hours of 6 pm and 6 am. Some areas of the city can have poor lighting in general, so this is another security risk that you should consider giving your full attention to.
Lastly, you need to make sure your scooter is in good working order. If the scooter appears to be damaged or suffers from mobility issues, then you should find another scooter. Consider testing the brakes in a safe area before driving long distances.