Scooter: Riding Tips – Part IV

Series two with masked bandit and passenger.

Image by p200eric via Flickr

Scooter: Riding Tips – Part IV

Scooter: How to Deal With Animal Antics

Don’t ask me why, but there are lots of dogs out there who just love to chase – and while chasing a ball is ok and fetching a stick is great fun, it really can cause problems for scooter riders when the dog decides to chase you. If they’re not chasing you they seem to enjoy wandering out in front of you, but it’s important that, whilst you keep aware of any situation happening around you, you don’t let it distract you sufficiently to cause an accident. There are three basic rules for dealing with “mans best friend” with a dangerous scooter fetish . . .

  1. Slow down in good time before reaching the animal
  2. Never kick out at the animal – that’s just asking for trouble
  3. If the animal looks like it’s going to run out at you, take avoiding action and speed up before it can intercept you, that will throw off its timing

If you’re traveling along a country road and a deer jumps out, watch out for its pal – they often travel in pairs. Hitting a large animal like a deer on your scooter can land you in all sorts of trouble, and the deer will very possibly come off the best.

Scooter Mechanical Failures and Problems

Although you should always keep an eye on the state of your tires, make sure that they have plenty of tread and are at the right temperatures etc., there is still the possibility that you could suffer just about the worst type of mechanical failure for any scooter rider – a blow out.  A blow out will cause severe handling problems and you need to pull over as soon as you possibly can. Think quickly and act even quicker . . .

  1. Resist using the brakes if possible, you’re only going to make matters worse. If you absolutely have to brake, use them very gently on the tire which isn’t punctured (if you know which it is)
  2. Slow down gradually using the throttle  and pull over to somewhere safe. Don’t do anything quickly which can make you lose even more control of your scooter
  3. Hold on tight to the hand grips – your main aim is to point the front of the scooter towards a safe place, even if it’s twitching about a bit

Scooter Throttle Sticking Problems

This really shouldn’t be an issue for you if you keep a close eye on the condition of your controls – but you never know. If the throttle sticks, try opening and closing it a few times to release it, but if that doesn’t work or it isn’t safe to do so, simply switch the engine cut off switch (you should know where it is with your eyes closed) as soon as it is safe to do so, and you free-wheel towards a safe place.

Scooter Riding With Pals

There are not many things in this world which are more fun than riding your scooter along the open road on a sunny summers afternoon, without a care in the world (except keeping safe of course), not even knowing where you’re going until you get there. But there is one thing which can beat that – doing it with pals. If you don’t have any pals with scooters before you get yours, the chances are that you’ll soon acquire some. Anyway, riding in a group is great fun but, as always, there are a few things which you need to remember when you are not alone. . .

  • Ride in smallish groups of not more than half a dozen – if there are loads of you then split into smaller groups – it makes it easier to keep together, it’s safer and is better for other road users too.
  • Don’t ride side by side (you end up with nowhere to go in an emergency situation) but stagger yourselves, so the first rider might be towards the left side of the lane, the second rider about 1 second behind on the right side, the third rider about 1 second behind him on the left side (therefore 2 seconds behind the guy in front), that’s the safest way for all concerned.
  • Pass other vehicles one at a time, it’s dangerous to “pass en masse” in groups.

Need a Lift on My Scooter?

It can be great to offer a lift on the back on your scooter to pals or your other half, but carrying two passengers does make a difference to how a scooter handles, so there are a few things you need to be aware of:

  • Check your owners manual to make sure that your scooter is built for two – amend tire pressures or suspension if necessary as advised
  • Your passenger needs to wear the same type of protective gear as you do – helmet, padded jacket and pants, gloves etc
  • Your passenger should always climb aboard from the left and keep their feet firmly on the footrests, even when the scooter stops
  • Brace yourself if you have to brake hard – your passenger might bang heads (helmets!!) with you if you catch them unawares
  • Tell your passenger to sit still, relax and go with the flow – any sudden movements can cause you to lose balance of the scooter
  • The best advice is to practice with a passenger on a parking lot or other open ground, before venturing out into the open road in the big wide world.

Scooters, Alcohol and Drugs

The “mods” and “rockers” of the 1970’s might not agree with this, in fact, they might disagree quite strongly, but basically motorcycles and scooters are very similar. They all have two wheels, their riders might historically have different tastes in music and fashion, but as far as being safe to drive them – they’re pretty much on a level.

Even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system will leave you unable to make the necessary evaluations, decisions and take the right actions to ride your two wheeled vehicle safely. Check here for more details. Drink, drugs and scooters really don’t mix – you have been warned

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