Scooter: Riding Tips – Part II


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Scooter: Riding Tips – Part II

Check Over Your Scooter

Before you set off anywhere on your scooter it’s always worth having a quick check to make sure that there aren’t any obvious problems or accidents waiting to happen. Check the tire wear and pressures in particular – a low tire can cause all sorts of handling difficulties. Your individual manual will tell you all about recommended tire pressures for your chosen scooter.

Follow this quick check list:

  1. Tires – look for wear, any foreign objects in the rubber and the pressures. If you have an engine problem with your scooter it will probably just roll to a standstill – if you have a tire problem you can end up in serious trouble.
  2. Control cables shouldn’t have any frays or kinks.
  3. Make sure that all of the lights are working correctly, clean and bright. Give your horn a beep while you’re at it.
  4. Check over the fuel, oil and coolant levels if you have a liquid cooled scooter.
  5. Look over the chassis and suspension for any signs of damage like cracks.
  6. Check that the center stand is working ok.
  7. Check the brakes – making sure that each works independently.

Regularly cleaning your scooter is a great way to keep it looking good, and it also gives you the opportunity to give it a good check over for any signs of damage.

Once you get moving on your scooter, it’s important to know how to STOP safely.

Stopping Your Scooter

The best and safest time to apply the brakes is in a straight line, now remember, around 70% of your stopping power is from the front brake so apply it gently or you’ll be flying over the front before you can say Lambretta. The best technique is to apply both brakes together, firmly but gently, if you apply them to hard you can easily lock up the wheels and cause a skid.

Turning Your Scooter

Scooters are very different to turn than the steering wheels on cars, for example, so you do need to practice making turns carefully until you get the “feel” for it. Whenever you are riding along a bendy road, you should lean into the bend by pressing the hand-grip forward towards the direction you are turning – for a right turn press right, for a left turn press left – that’s easy enough to remember isn’t it? Keep the throttle steady throughout the whole process.  You can practice turning gently in a parking lot or similar large empty space – until you feel confident to go onto the road.

Remember to follow these few techniques:

  • Slow down before you make the turn, look ahead to where you are going to check out the traffic and potential hazards
  • If you need to brake while turning (because you’re still going a bit too fast) do so gently, avoiding braking too hard or sudden motions
  • Keep your knees in and your feet firmly on the floorboard
  • Go with the flow, I mean, lean with the scooter – don’t try to keep your body upright while your scooter is leaning unless you’re going really slowly
  • Keep an even throttle all the way through the turn if possible, or if necessary accelerate a little

Signal Your Intentions

Contrary to what you may believe, other drivers are not mind readers, and do not automatically realise where you are going. If you are going to make a turn or switch lanes make sure that you signal in plenty of time, tell the world where you are heading – clearly and quickly. Also, don’t forget that turn signals don’t switch off automatically like they do in some cars, so after you’ve made the turn, switch it off, otherwise other road users will become confused.

Keep Your Eye on the Situation

It’s no good being seen on your scooter and then driving around without paying attention to what’s going on around you. Never mind the pretty ladies . . . the flashy sports car . . . the Lady GaGa poster . . . trying to see what happened at the crash scene in the other lane . . . keep your eye on the road otherwise you could have the starring role in the next episode. If you’re too busy trying to see one single thing, you’re not paying attention to everything else – keep sweeping the horizon to see what’s happening – you need to know what’s going on all around you so that you can spot potential dangers and act accordingly.

Scooter Maintenance and Trouble Shooting

Unless you are a qualified mechanic, you really need to leave the maintenance of your scooter to the professionals, but you might sometimes experience difficulties with your scooter which are downright inconvenient and it doesn’t hurt to check over a few obvious bits and pieces.

Scooter Engine Won’t Start

  • is there any fuel?
  • is the ignition switched on?
  • does the battery have enough power?
  • are there any loose battery connections?
  • is the engine cut-off switch in the wrong position?
  • is the choke in the wrong position?

Scooter Engine Cuts Out

  • did you run out of fuel?
  • is there a faulty fuse?
  • did you accidentally flick the cut-off switch?

Scooter Not Handling Properly

This is probably down to the tires or the chassis. Check the tires as soon as it’s safe to do so, and if that’s not it then you really need to take your scooter to a dealer to sort out the problem as soon as possible.

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