Scooter GuyThe other day, I was driving to work and a guy rode by me on a scooter. He was wearing flip flops, shorts, a button-down shirt (unbuttoned all the way), and no helmet.

I literally stared.

If that scooter driver was in an accident, he would leave his flesh all over the road. What was he thinking? Riding a scooter requires all of the same safety precautions that motorcyclists take. Cover your feet and legs, protect your torso and, above all, protect your head.

I also recently witnessed a very odd scooter accident: a scooter driver was trying to take a simple turn but he sort of jackknifed the front wheel and caused his own accident. Like the first guy, he had zero protective gear on and he ended up sliding across the asphalt. His body was covered in painful road rash that would take weeks to heal, probably leaving scars.

And we’ve all seen the cute metro commuter in her skirt, high heels, trendy cross-body bag… and no helmet. Who wants helmet hair? YOU DO! It’s better than the alternative you’ll face after an accident. Trust me.

Scooter Drivers: You must take steps to stay safe!

Wear Protective Gear

When you purchase your scooter, roll a few items into the cost, just as if they came with the scooter. Every scooter rider should buy and use the following:

  • Full-face helmet, including face and jaw protection
  • If you don’t buy a full-face helmet, get proper eye protection
  • Boots that go over your ankle
  • Riding jacket
  • Riding pants, the thicker the better
  • Riding gloves

To make sure you’re seen by other motorists, it’s a good idea to wear high visibility gear, like bright colors or reflective metallic strips.

Know the Risks: Ride to Defend Yourself

I’ve written a lot about the risks that motorcyclists face. Here are the two biggest ways that motorcyclists, scooter riders and bicyclists are hit:

  • Left-hand turns: Don’t approach intersections going so fast that you can’t see what the oncoming traffic is doing. The most common motorcycle accident occurs when a cyclist is racing through an intersection and a car takes a left-hand turn right into him.
  • Cars emerging from hidden driveways and lots: For example, if you’re riding on Wadsworth and you’re in the lane closest to the curb, you must always be aware of cars coming out of parking lots or side streets. Assume that you’re invisible.

Scooters are an awesome solution for short trips and fun summer excursions, but don’t delude yourself. On a scooter, you are very exposed and you must take steps to assure your safety.