All things considered I thought it would be a good idea to include some scooter pre-purchase tips & hints and safety tips and information. Here are some safety tips that should always be adheared to.
- NEVER get on or off your scooter when the key (or jack) is inserted. This will prevent unintentional driving which might happen if the thumb control levers are accidentally pushed or moved.
- NEVER lean over to retrieve anything from your basket or pick up anything off the floor of your scooter while your scooter is 'on'. Doing this you can also unintentionally push one of the control levers. Stop your scooter and turn it off first.
- NEVER carry passengers. Your scooter is designed for you and you alone. Besides the obvious safety factors here there are also weight limits on scooters.
- NEVER drive over any obstacle exceeding 2" (two inches) in height. You can topple your scooter.
- NEVER exceed the rated capacities of your scooter. This means the maximum incline of a ramp/hill as well as the weight it will safely transport.
- NEVER attempt to operate your scooter in a stalled condition. Stalling may occur when loads exceed the capacity of the scooter such as when trying to climb too steep a grade, when driving on sand or grass, etc.
- NEVER use your scooter bumper as a means to open a glass door that is not an automatic one. I know this is tempting so you can gain entry somewhere but glass is unstable and can have 'weak' spots. You can lightly tap that weak spot and the entire door can shatter and come down on you.
- NEVER immediately push the thumb control all the way! Always start off by depressing it gradually. This will ensure smooth, safe starts.
- NEVER make a sharp turn! This can tip your scooter.
- NEVER turn sideways on a sloped grade.
- NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE!
- When going up or down an incline, always try to drive STRAIGHT UP or STRAIGHT DOWN the slope. Driving at an angle across a slope will greatly reduce your lateral stability and could cause the scooter to tip over sideways!
*NOTE* There are new sidewalk ramps at the corners of many street intervals now in Toronto that have a hump in the middle. Please be very aware of these as they can tip your scooter if you are not completely on the ramp. To see a picture of these go to: "Danger"
- Always slow down when approaching pedestrians. To be really safe, be very aware of them. A lot of people walking along are not watching where they are going. They're busy looking around or daydreaming/thinking of something else, etc. and they can easily walk or jog/run right into you. I find that literally stopping until they pass the best option at some times, especially if they are not watching where they are going and are headed right for me. Then if they still run into you, it is their fault, not yours. All things considered, even if you are stopped and they run into you be prepared to be cursed at times. People can be rude, inconsiderate and simply don't want to admit they were in the wrong. Watch for people coming out of doorways/laneways as well. It's advisable not to scooter right beside doorways, be out a bit on the sidewalk.
Always try to be considerate of pedestrians on the sidewalk. If you are with someone else on a scooter as well, unless the sidewalk is very wide and you won't take up the entire space, ride one in front of the other. Don't block the entire sidewalk. Remember, you won't appreciate it if a few people are blocking the entire sidewalk and you can't pass. They will feel the same way if you block the entire sidewalk going side by side.
When you are driving near a curb or other drop-off, ALWAYS ensure that your rear wheels have adequate clearance. If one of your wheels is too close to a drop-off, it could slip off the edge and cause your scooter to tip.
ALWAYS be extremely careful in the winter. Snow removal trucks push the snow off the roads and onto the ramps. DO NOT attempt to pass through or over a lot of snow. You are guaranteed to get stuck or even possibly tip over.
ALWAYS protect your scooter in wet weather. Whether rain or snow. NEVER get the main controls wet as this can short them out. NEVER run your scooter through big puddles of water (or slush) either. This can effect the batteries and wiring and can lead to costly repairs. If you are looking for a cheap and effective cover for your main controls (speed controls and such), one of those clear bowl covers for leftovers with elastic around them is quite suitable. It will keep the moisture off and you will still be able to see your controls for speed and battery power.
Although your scooter is designed to negotiate a variety of surfaces (pavement, grass, gravel, etc.) you must be aware that stability will decrease on surfaces that are uneven or unstable. No scooter is an all-terrain vehicle!
ALWAYS exercise EXTREME caution when backing up. Be alert and aware, people do strange things like suddenly step behind your scooter and such. Remember, you can't see as well as when going forward. And expect the unexpected behind you. Some newer scooters on the market beep when you are backing up as a warning, DO NOT rely on this alone thinking people will hear it and pay attention. A lot of times, depending on street noise they won't hear it or they simply don't pay any attention to it.
ALWAYS set your speed dial (which limits your maximum speed) to a setting which is appropriate for both the terrain and the environment. On a very bumpy terrain a slower speed will help reduce the jarring your back will take and on a busy sidewalk it's best to go slow. When you are first learning it's always advisable to set your speed to a lower setting until you are very used to how your scooter handles. Always set it to low when you are starting or backing up.
When first learning to drive your scooter, select a SLOW speed. Next try to drive the scooter AS SLOWLY as possible by depressing the thumb control only slightly. This exercise will help you learn to utilize the full potential of the control and allow you to start and stop safely and smoothly. As well, when first learning and getting used to your scooter, try it out different places that are open and allow you freedom to make a mistake or two. Possibly a school yard after hours, or quiet parking lot, etc. If you live in an apt. take the time to learn how to properly turn your scooter in the hallway.
ALWAYS slow down when coming to a corner of any type. You have no idea what is on the other side of it!
IMPORTANT: ALWAYS check to see that the power is OFF before you get on or off your scooter!
Some experimentation will be required to determine the easiest and safest way to transfer to the seat. If you have balance problems learning a safe transfer method should be attempted only with the help of another person. Some people find simply flipping up the armrest adequate. Others, such as those transferring to or from a chair, may find it necessary to rotate the seat first. Whatever method you decide is the safest and easiest for you, stick with it. Never attempt unsafe transfers.
ALWAYS check and make sure you are riding with proper tire pressure in your tires. Check it and if you can't do it yourself find a gas station or garage that will do it for you.
Before you go anywhere, always check that you have an adequate battery charge. The last thing you want when out is to run out of battery power.
*Note* For those with right-side deficits or with a preference to use their left hand, dealers can reverse the standard configurations by putting 'forward' on the left and 'reverse' on the right for you.
Once a year it is recommended that you put your scooter in for regular maintenance. Cleaning and checking all connections is as important on a scooter as it is with a car.
Riding in a scooter is the same as being a walking pedestrian and the same rules follow:
1) Always use the sidewalk whenever possible. These are not made to be driven along the roads with traffic! It's not a car and you can easily be hidden in a drivers blind spot if they are backing up. I know the roads are a smoother ride but it isn't worth your life.
2) NEVER pull out behind a parked car. Always check that you have a clear exit. Never think, I can beat that car! You'll lose!
3) If there is no sidewalk you should always follow the rule of pedestrians in this circumstance. Drive on the left side of the road, as close to the curb as possible and facing traffic. You need to be seen!
CROSSWALKS: I know there's a green light, you know there's a green light but does the driver of that car coming down the street know it? Consider how many drivers run red lights these days or try to get through amber ones. It is extremely important that you still look both ways before you leave the sidewalk even if the light is with you. And watch for turning cars as well.
BE VISIBLE: Buy reflective tape for the front and back of your scooter if you can. If you wish, there are lights that can be installed on your scooter if you are going to be driving a lot at night but please be aware, these also use battery juice. You quite possibly may not go as far as you normally do when using lights that run off your main scooter battery.
ALLOW TIME: Always allow yourself plenty of extra time to get where you are going. Sudden construction of sidewalks/roads crop up constantly and you may have to detour. Try to know the area you are going to and your own neighbourhood as well. There may be sidewalks with no ramps, etc.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR SCOOTER: Take the time to learn about your scooter, how it works, the braking system, etc. For repairs it's advisable to go with where you purchased it but if that place no longer exists then you are on your own. The more you know the better off you are going to be. Like a car, if you know how it works you are less likely to be ripped off with repairs. And please, don't think because you are sending your scooter into a large and reputable firm you won't be ripped off. We have discovered otherwise is true. Matter of fact the scooter went in only for regular cleaning and such and they broke it while in their possession then tried to charge the $218.00 for the part to fix it. If at all possible and you know other people with scooters, ask them where they get their maintenance done or repairs and if they have had any problems with the company. If you don't know anyone, then I suggest you contact the maker of your scooter and ask for information on a qualified repair shop for their vehicles in your area. Some manufacturers have qualified/certified dealers that do repairs on their vehicles. If all else fails, use a large and well known company but be aware and alert and know your scooter.
When you have any repairs done be sure they are itemized on the receipt you get back. You want details, not something that simply says 'checked and cleaned' or 'tiller', etc. If there are any problems you can refer to this receipt and there are no denials about what was and what was not done. Plus it's always good to know for any future repairs.
Keep all the papers that came with your scooter in a safe place where you can access them. The receipt, the manuals and warranties.
If none of these tips deter you from using your scooter in a non safe manner, then consider this... the average scooter weighs approx. 170 lbs. (77 kg) Consider this dead weight landing on you if you tip over!