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Electric scooters: Tips for a safe ride

In the wake of ride sharing and bike sharing, scooter sharing is the next big thing. Electric scooters are quirky and convenient. They're easy to operate and can zoom along at swift speeds. And with their thin, light profiles, they're not as clunky to navigate as mopeds or Segways.

Given all these features, it's no surprise they've become the latest craze in many areas, including California. You may have seen them lined up on sidewalks in Santa Monica or Long Beach. You may have even been tempted to give one a spin.

Unfortunately, many people do not fully understand the risks involved in riding an electric scooter. Before hopping on one, consider this:

They can cause severe injuries

Electric scooters can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Helmets, while encouraged, aren't required. And because they're only checked for maintenance issues when they're picked up by chargers, there's a chance they could malfunction in the midst of your ride.

What's more, if you're like most users, you likely haven't been on a scooter since you were a kid. So you try to learn as you go. However, navigating busy streets and sidewalks while still getting a feel for the controls is a recipe for accidents.

Practicing scooter safety

If you choose to rent and ride one of these scooters, follow these tips for a safer ride:

  • Wear a helmet. It can make a life-or-death difference in the event of a crash.
  • Familiarize yourself with the scooter before going on your way. Find a quiet area where you can learn how to use the scooter and practice your skills.
  • Don't overestimate your abilities. Know your limits, and never ride in a reckless manner.
  • Stay focused. Scooters are a fun way to zip through touristy areas, but don't get distracted by all the sights and sounds.

As a driver, too, keep an eye out for scooters on the streets and sidewalks. They're not likely to be disappearing anytime soon.

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