Stories > Scoot Safety Guide

Scoot Safety Guide

November 6th, 2017

Welcome to Scoot’s comprehensive safety guide. All of the information is pulled from the DMV’s Motorcycle Handbook. Read the whole thing to become a knowledgeable rider or skip a section to refresh your memory about a specific topic.

1. What to Wear + What to Know

2. Basic Scoot Control

3. Search Evaluate Execute

4. Rules of the Road

5. Collision Avoidance + Pulling Over

6. Dangerous Surfaces

7. Riding in Groups

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1. What to wear and what to know

  • Jacket and pants should cover your arms and legs completely. They should fit snugly enough to not flap in the wind but still allow you to move freely. A thick synthetic or leather material offers the most protection in the event of a fall.
  • Boots or shoes should be sturdy enough to support your ankles. They should also have soles made of hard, slip-resistant material. Make sure to tuck in your laces so they do not get caught on the scoot or anything else.
  • Gloves are recommended to protect your hands from the wind and allow a better grip on the handlebars. Leather or another durable synthetic material is recommended.

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Santiago is ready to ride!

 

  • Responsibility– As a rider, you are responsible for your safety and the safety of those around you. In the event of a collision, the blame cannot be placed solely on one person. As a rider, you can’t be sure that others will see you or yield the right of way. To reduce the chances of a collision:
    • Never ride with two people on one scoot–  Scoots are only meant for one person and riding with a passenger is highly dangerous and unsafe. Riding with a passenger is against our Terms of Use and it will result in an immediate $25 fee.
    • Be visible and communicate your intentions– Make sure that you are riding in the best lane position to see and be seen. When you are getting ready to turn or change lanes, use the proper signals.
    • Maintain an adequate space cushion– Allow enough space in front and behind you to properly react in any situation. Look at least 10-15 seconds ahead to give yourself enough time to react.
    • Be prepared to act– Remain alert in order to identify road hazards and carry out proper evasive maneuvers.

2. Basic Scoot Control

 

 

  • Body Position
    • Posture– Ensure you are sitting forward enough so your arms are slightly bent when holding the handlebars. Your posture should allow you to use your arms to steer rather than hold yourself up.
    • Hands– Hold the handlebars firmly. Start with your right wrist flat so you don’t accidentally accelerate too fast.
    • Feet– keep your feet flat and firmly on the floorboard while riding. Do not drag your feet on the ground when accelerating or decelerating.
  • Braking– Scoots have two brakes: The Right lever is the front brake, the left lever is the back brake. The front brake is more powerful and can provide at least ¾ of your stopping power. Remember to:
    • Use both brakes every time you slow or stop– This helps develop the proper habit and skill of using both brakes properly. In the event of an emergency, squeeze both brakes at the same time. Using only one could result in a wheel locking up and could create a more dangerous situation.
  • Turning– Make sure you do not attempt to take a turn too fast. This could cause you to cross into another lane. Use four steps for better control in a turn.
    • Slow– Reduce your speed before the turn by letting go of the throttle, if necessary, apply even brake pressure.
    • Look– Look through the turn to where you want to go. Turn only your head (not your shoulders) and keep your eyes level with the horizon.
    • Turn– To turn, the scoot must lean. Gently turn the handlebars in the direction you want to turn.
    • Roll– Activate the throttle about 3/4 through the turn in order to stabilize the scooter.
  • Changing lanes– Always use caution when changing lanes or merging.
    • Turn Signals– Because of scoots’ heightened vulnerability on the road, turn signals are very important. Activate the left or right signal with enough time for drivers around you to anticipate your merge.
    • Use your mirrors– Make sure the cars behind you are traveling at a constant rate and do not intend to pass you.
    • Head Checks– Motorcycles have blind spots just like cars. before you change lanes, turn your head and check for other vehicles. On a road with more than two lanes, check the far lane to make sure there won’t be a vehicle merging into the same lane at the same time as you.

3. Search Evaluate Execute

Experienced riders remain aware of their surroundings at all times and use a three step process (SEE) to make the appropriate decisions in different traffic situations.

  • Search– Actively search ahead, to the sides, and behind you to identify potential hazards. How you search and how much time and space you have can eliminate or reduce harm. Focus specifically on finding safe routes in or around intersections, shopping areas, and construction zones. Always look for:
    • Oncoming traffic that may turn left in front of you.
    • Traffic coming from either left, right, or behind.
    • Hazardous road conditions.
  • Evaluate– Think about how hazards can create risks for you. Anticipate potential problems in order to create a plan and reduce risk. Think about the time and space requirements in order to create and maintain safety, you must leave yourself time to react if an emergency arises.
    • Road hazards such as potholes, guardrails, train tracks, and road paint won’t move into your path but may influence your riding strategy
    • Traffic signals such as stop lights and stop signs will help you evaluate the circumstances ahead.
    • Vehicles in traffic may move into your path and increase the likelihood of a collision.
  • Execute– Carry out your decision. Use the following guidelines to create space and minimize harm from any hazard.
    • Communicate your presence with your lights and/or horn
    • Adjust your speed by accelerating, stopping, or slowing.
    • Adjust your lane position and/or direction of travel.
    • Apply the old saying “one step at a time” to handle two or more hazards. Adjust your speed so you can deal with each hazard separately and deal with them one at a time.
    • In areas you deem high-risk, prepare yourself for any situation by putting your thumb on the horn and both hands on the breaks.

4. Rules Of The Road

  • Keep Your Distance– The best protection you can have is a “cushion of space” all around your scoot. If someone else makes a mistake, distance gives you time to react and space to maneuver.
  • Lane Positions– Each traffic lane gives you three paths of travel as illustrated below. Your lane position should:
    • Increase your ability to see and be see.
    • Avoid others’ blind spots
    • Protect your lane from other drivers
    • Communicate your intentions
    • Provide an escape route
  • Select the appropriate lane position to maximize your space cushion and make yourself more visible to others. In general, there is no best lane. Use your best judgement in order to change lane positions as traffic situations change.

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  • Following another vehicle– Following too closely can lead to collisions. In traffic, Scoots need as much distance as other vehicles to stop safely. You should maintain a two-second following distance at the minimum.
    • When stopped, Keep well behind the vehicle in front of you. This will make it easier to get out of the way if the driver behind you is traveling too quickly or if the car in front of you begins to reverse.
    • Remember to ride in a position where the driver can see you in his or her mirrors.
  • Being followed– When you speed up to lose someone following too closely behind you, you only end up with someone following you at a higher speed. A better way to deal with this situation is to allow them to pass you. If you cannot pull over, slow down and open up extra space in front of you, this will encourage the driver to pass you and will give both of you more time to react if a situation arises.
  • Lane splitting– Scoot’s Terms of Services allows for users to split lanes only in stopped traffic. Remember: splitting lanes is dangerous. Use proper caution and wait until you are fully comfortable on a scoot before lane splitting. Here are some guidelines to follow.
    • Speed– Only split lanes when traffic is stopped and limit your speed to 10MPH or less.
    • Hazards– Anticipate the possible movements by other vehicles and be alert at all times.
    • Consider your environment– Make sure you are aware of the width of lanes, size of surrounding cars, pedestrians or bicyclists, and ensure you maneuver through it safely.
    • Consider the size of your scoot– Ensure you are spatially aware of yourself and your scoot at all times. Use caution when lane splitting if the other helmet is strapped to the outside of your scoot as it the widest part of your vehicle.
    • The “S” maneuver– if you are splitting through multiple lanes, take a second to pause and perform a head check. There may be another motorcyclist splitting lanes and driving in front of them could cause a collision.
  • Intersections– The greatest potential for conflict between you and other vehicles is at intersections. Intersections are anywhere traffic may cross your path.
    • Large intersections– Look all four ways to ensure the path is clear. Select a lane position that increases your visibility to all drivers, especially a driver that could be making a left across the intersection (see image below).
    • Blind intersections– When approaching a blind intersection, move into the portion of the lane that allows the driver to see you at the earliest possible moment. If you are at a stop sign, stop at the line and slowly inch forward until you can see around parked vehicles or other obstructions. Ensure you are safe to cross before doing so.
    • Passing parked vehicles– When passing parked vehicles, stay towards the left portion of your lane. This way you can avoid doors opening, drivers entering or exiting their vehicles, etc. Stay vigilant to ensure a car does not pull in your lane without seeing you.

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  • Riding at Night– At night, it is harder for you to see and be seen. To make up for this, you should:
    • Reduce your speed– Ride even slower than you would during the day. This increases your chances of avoiding a hazard.
    • Increase distance– Distances are harder to judge in the dark. Consider a 3+ second buffer between you and the car in front of you.
    • Use the vehicle ahead– Taillights bouncing up and down can signal road bumps, If the car suddenly swerves, be prepared to do so as well.

5. Avoiding collisions and pulling over

No matter how careful you are, there may be a time where you find yourself in a tight spot. Your chances of getting out safely depend on your ability to react quickly and properly.

  • Quick stops– To stop quickly, Apply both brakes at the same time. Squeeze the brake levers firmly and with even pressure. In the case that a wheel locks, release the brake and quickly re-apply it.
  • Swerving or turning quickly– A quick rule of thumb here is not to swerve and brake at the same time. Depending on the situation, separate the movement into two steps like the image below shows.

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  • Flying objects– Occasionally you may be struck by an insect or other foreign objects. Whatever happens, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars. When safe, pull off the road and assess the situation.
  • Getting off the road– If you need to leave the road to check your scoot or rest be sure to:
    • Check the roadside– Make sure the road is safe to pull over
    • Signal– Drivers behind you are not expecting you to suddenly slow, give a clear signal that you will be slowing and changing direction. Check your mirror and make a head check before you take any action.
    • Pull over– Get as far away from traffic as you can and ensure you are in a safe location before getting off your scoot.

6. Dangerous Surfaces

  • Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles– Watch for uneven road surfaces like bumps, cracked pavement, potholes, or debris on the roads. Avoid obstacles by slowing or going around them. However, if you must go over the obstacle you should:
    • Slow down as much as possible before contact
    • Make sure the scoot is upright and at a 90 degree angle to the obstacle
    • Raise slightly off the seat with your weight on the floorboard to absorb the shock with your knees and elbows to avoid falling off the scoot.
  • Slippery surfaces– Scoots handle better on surfaces with good traction. Be extra cautious of:
    • Wet pavement– particularly just after it starts to rain and before surface oil washes to the side of the road.
    • Lane markings- steel plates, and manhole covers, especially when wet.
    • Construction areas with loose gravel or dirt
  • Railroad Tracks– When you encounter tracks on the road, it is most safe to cross them at a 90-degree angle. If the tracks are at an uneven angle with the road, cross at an angle of at least 45 degrees.

7. Riding in groups

If you’ve taken a few scoot rides and are feeling extra confident, congratulations! You are now ready for a group ride! Here are a few tips on riding with all your pals.

  • Keep the group small– Small groups make it easier and safer for drivers around you to maneuver safely. A small number isn’t separated as easily by traffic or red lights. If your group is larger than 5 or 6 people, divide it into two or more smaller groups.
  • Keep the group together
    • Plan– The leader should look ahead for changes and signal early so there is plenty of time for everyone to follow. Start lane changes early to permit everyone to complete the lane change safely.
    • Put beginners up front– Place any inexperienced riders behind the leader so the more experienced riders can watch them.
    • Monitor those behind– Let the last rider set the pace. If a rider falls behind, everyone should slow down a little to stay together.
    • Know the route– Make sure everyone knows the route. This way, if someone is separated, he or she won’t have to hurry to keep from getting lost or taking a wrong turn.
  • Keep your distance– Maintain close but at the same time keep a safe distance to allow each rider in the group time and space to react to hazards.
  • Don’t pair up– Never operate directly alongside another rider. There is no place to go to avoid vehicle or road hazard. To talk, wait until you are both stopped.
  • Staggered formation– this is the best way to drive safely on the road with a group. Keep a two-second distance between the rider in front and behind you (see figure below).

 

Excellent! If you read this whole guide, you know have all of the knowledge you need to ride a scoot like the pros.