Electric scooter good practices

Electric Scooter – Should you ride on the Sidewalk, bicycle lane or the street?

During a trip on my Kaboo Warrior last week I stopped at a traffic intersection, standing there for about 2 minutes (Manhattan is a mess). During this time I noticed two guys arguing, one was on a bicycle and the other on a rented electric scooter.

The bicyclist had hit the electric scooter rider from behind lightly, but this lead to an argumentation between them it seemed.

The bicyclist was yelling at the scooter rider about why he had stopped suddenly in the bike lane, and told the scooter rider he should avoid bike lanes and ride on the street. The electric scooter rider however, was saying the opposite, that the bicyclist could ride on the street if he was going to go so fast.

This got me thinking, I have seen this before! We all probably have!

The typical “who has the right of way” question.

In this article I will explain to you what the rules are, what is allowed and considered good practice, as well as what is considered bad practice in bicycle lanes, street or sidewalk.

The legal aspects of this article is focused on USA, but they are applicable still to Europe and other places around the world such as Australia, New Zealand etc.

Electric scoote laws may affect where you can ride

First of all, laws may regulate where you can ride and the laws change across states in the U.S as you know. I will not dive into all the legal regulations for electric scooter riding in this article, instead you can check out our other guide about laws and regulations for electric scooters here.

I will focus on the most common laws, which are similar across the states.

  • Almost all states allow you to ride an electric scooter in bicycle lanes. Pennsylvania and Delaware do not allow riding on street bike-lanes.
  • About a dozen states prohibit you to ride your electric scooter on the sidewalks. These states include: New York, California, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Connecticut, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington. The remaining states all have unique laws about this area such as road speed limits, and other things to check.
  • Most states allow riding on the street as long as the speed limit is below a certain amount, usually around 25mph.

So, the conclusion to the laws above are that bicycle lanes are atleast allowed! The open questions are usually the street, or the sidewalks.

But what about parking them? Lets go into that.

Is it legal to park your electric scooter anywhere?

Electric scooters are not allowed to be parked anywhere you like. There are different laws in different states, but it is not as comlicated as with the laws regulating where you are allowed to ride.

Many electric scooters which are rented have designated parking areas in large urban areas such as New York, Los Angeles city centers. These are great places to park, but there are only a few of them around.

Also, these rented services always have an app which guides you quite well on how to park, and where to park your e-scooter.

California has a law stating that you shall not disrupt pedestrian traffic. This means you cannot park anywhere on the sidewalk, but leaves open the ability to park somewhere on the sidewalk if it is not disturbing pedestrian traffic. You may for instance park behind a tree, or next to a lamp-post where people usually dont walk.

Bike racks are an excellent place to park them. The bike racks can be found in streets, but also along sidewalks.

Streets are also not a good place to leave your electric scooter. This will obstruct traffic.

So what is the conclusion here really?

You should leave or park your electric scooter in designated parking spaces if they are available. If not available, then you should park in a way which does not obstruct traffic, handicapped people, emergency response areas, doorways, etc. Basically it is common sense, do not block any other user with your parked electric scooter. If you follow these principles, you are allowed to park in all states.

Good practices when riding electric scooters

It is important to have good practices when riding electric scooters. This is also the case with bicycles, mopeds, and actually all vehicles.

Follow these practices and you will avoid conflicts, arguments, crashes, hazardous situations and annoying others. It will give you an ease of mind.

This is applicable to all countries in the world.

  • Always ride to the right (Left if RHD country).
  • Always ride in bicycle lanes if available.
  • Always follow the flow of traffic (keeping similiar speeds) while keeping below the speed limit.
  • Always leave some space to the forward vehicle (bicycle, electric scooter, skater, or even cars and mopeds).
  • Always make sure your electric scooter is maintained and in good condition when it comes to brakes, bell (ringer) and lights.
  • Never stop in the path of others when you must make a stop (taking a call, unexpected problem, etc). Instead, go to the side.
  • Always signal if you are going to turn and make eye-contact if possible to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
  • Always use your bell to alert others in the way, and speak with a friendly tone if they don’t hear you or understand your path.
  • Of course, always follow traffic laws.
  • Always park in dedicated parking areas and if they are not available, park where traffic, pedestrians, access, driveways, and others are not obstructed.
  • Do not ride parallell with others, blocking the way.
  • Always keep a calm and respectful tone even if others are not following the rules and principles above. Avoid lecturing, instead talk friendly and try to understand that they do not know the rules as you do.

The above steps are really good to follow, for all bicyclists, electric scooter riders and anybody using the bike-lanes!