Scooter: Riding Tips – Part III

blind spot

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Scooter: Riding Tips – Part III

Keep Your Distance

Scooters might be smaller than other vehicles on the road, but it can take them just as long to stop! Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, around 2 seconds minimum – not sure how to work that out? It’s easy, just clock a fixed point on the roadside, maybe a tree or a telephone pole, then when the rear bumper of the car in front goes past start counting – one thousand, two thousand – if you’ve reached the telephone pole before you get to two thousand, you’re too close. Remember too that it takes even longer to stop in the wet, so give yourself even more room.

Riding Your Scooter at Intersections

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many accidents involving scooters and cars happen at intersections, with the car very often turning left straight in front of the scooter and leaving the scooter nowhere to go. Be very wary that these situations can and do happen, assume that you are invisible and that the car hasn’t seen you, that way you will always be prepared to take the necessary avoiding action yourself. If you are pulling out of a junction you should check really carefully to the left and to the right – and always check out for other chumps, sorry, I mean road users who might not stop when they should.

Passing Vehicles On Your Scooter

This maneuver should follow the same principles whether you are in a car or riding your scooter. Be sure that you have enough available power to get past in the available space (know your limits, some scooters are pretty restricted in the speed department). Don’t even attempt to overtake if you are approaching an intersection, bend or driveway, if you do decide that it is safe to pass then check your mirrors to make sure that nobody is thinking about passing you for starters, make a clear signal, pull out and then give the car plenty of room before you signal and pull back in again. Remember to turn off your signal light and always keep an eye on the road ahead. Remember that while you are in the process of passing, at some point you will be in the vehicles blind spot – get out of it as quickly as possible so that the vehicle driver is well aware of your presence.

Night Rider

It’s not always possible to only ride your scooter in broad daylight, after all, it’s dark for around half of the time (depending on the time of year) but remember that, if you are difficult to spot in the daylight, it’s even more of a job in the hours of darkness, especially at dawn or dusk when visibility is more difficult, you really do need to slow down and be extra careful at these times. It’s more difficult to judge the distance and speed of other vehicles in the darkness, and it’s also more difficult to spot potential dangers and hazards in the road – so keep even more distance from the vehicle in front so that you have plenty of time to eyeball an oil spot or something which fell off the back of a lorry, and take the necessary avoiding action.

Hitting Skid-Row

Whether it’s down to road conditions, a problem with your driving or a problem with your scooter, the chances are that at some point in time you will have to deal with a skid. Your heart will probably miss a couple of beats, but it is possible to control a skid when you are riding your scooter so don’t panic.  You can skid for many different reasons:

  • Skidding Under Braking – if you start to skid because of slipper road conditions while you are braking for a stop sign, simply release the brakes and then reapply them a little gentler. This will help your tires to get a little more traction.  However, if this happens at high speeds only release the brake if your scooter is completely straight. If the back end of your scooter is skidding sideways from a slick spot, simply ease off the throttle a bit – that should sort it out.

Negotiating Bumpy Roads or Obstacles

Riding over bumpy roads might not pose any sort of problem in a car or other 4 wheeled vehicle, but when you’ve only got 2 wheels you need to take the situation quite carefully.

  • Slow down – but make sure that the traffic behind you knows that you are going to slow down – flash your brake light a couple of times
  • Take as straight a line as possible over the uneven surface without any sudden changes in speed or direction
  • If you have to ride over an obstruction, a small piece of wood for example, stand on the floorboard and be ready to shift your weight back a little as you go over the obstruction – this makes it easier for the front wheel to bounce over it, then move your weight forward as the back wheel is riding over it. Your legs can act as shock absorbers. Don’t turn the throttle until you are properly clear of the obstacle or uneven surface.

Riding Like the Wind

The wind can cause a bit of a hazard when you are riding your scooter, after all, strong gusts of wind really do pose quite a challenge.  Position your scooter close to the side of the lane where the wind is coming from, in case you have to swerve slightly, but lean into the wind and brace yourself to maintain position.

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