7 Steps for Safer Scootering
Posted by Safeco July 23, 2015
All About Scooter Safety
They're cute, they're fun, they're convenient. And, motor scooters have been an integral part of pop culture at least since Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck puttered around The Eternal City on a Vespa in 1953's Roman Holiday.
Cute and fun can be a little deceptive, though. Scooters are motor vehicles that should be operated with as much care and attention as their larger cousins. Maybe even a little more. After all, because of their smaller size, scooters are hard for other drivers to see, especially in traffic.
Here are seven precautions you can take to ensure that your scoots around town are safe ones:
- Wear a helmet. There's nothing more important than this. Your ride might not have the speed or power of a Harley, but your head is just as vulnerable to accidents. Make sure your helmet is approved by the Department of Transportation or the Snell Foundation. Full-face helmets offer the best protection.
- Don't forget your eyes. If your helmet is not equipped with a face shield, wear goggles or glasses with plastic lenses to protect your eyes against insects, wind, dirt, rocks or other airborne matter.
- Dress the part. Opt for slip-resistant shoes or boots rather than sandals, flip-flops or shoes with laces. Long pants and jackets made of nylon, denim or leather are preferable to T-shirts, shorts or that cute sun dress.
- Make your presence known. Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing, especially at night. Make a point of positioning yourself in your lane for visibility. Always drive with your headlight on and use your turn signals (or know how to use hand signals), and signal well before you make a turn or change lanes. And, don't be shy about using the horn.
- Stay on the road, and avoid the bumps. Ride only on smooth, hard surfaces. Scooters are not designed for off-road conditions. Use caution when rolling over obstacles and stay away from hazards such as bumps and holes. Avoid gravel, uneven roads and water puddles.
- Take a class or two. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers two classes for scooter operators. ScooterSchool is designed for beginning riders. It covers such topics as proper use of controls, basic riding skills, riding in traffic, emergency maneuvering and safety strategies. The Basic RiderCourse for scooters is more extensive. It includes five hours of classroom activities and up to 10 hours of on-scooter riding exercises. Completion may make you eligible for an insurance discount. Speaking of which …
- Make sure you have the insurance coverage you need. Scooter policies are comparable to those for motorcycles. Be sure to purchase scooter insurance that satisfies your state's requirements, and look for added features, such as coverage for safety apparel and for custom parts and equipment, that suit your needs.
With these tips and a little common sense, you can bop about town on your scooter safely and stylishly. So, go enjoy the ride!
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