You might be forgiven for thinking that there could be nothing safer than riding a kick scooter. And you would be correct, at least to some degree. However, as with most outdoor activities there are risks and hazards to watch for while you scoot along and on this page, I want to share a few that I’ve encountered.
I speak from experience when I say that wet leaves can be dangerous to the kick scooter, having come-a-cropper on a relatively slow downhill footpath when I hit wet leaves on a bend. The scraps and bruises are gone now but the memory remains. Look ahead and get your speed down, especially in the Autumn months. Even the remains of wet leaves can make a footpath slippery.
While more of a problem when scooting on the road, footpaths and cycleways all have their fair share of these cast iron devils. Again, keep an eye out, particularly for rainwater gullies which can trap a scooter tyre and send you over the handlebars. These cast iron covers can also be slippery when wet.
There seems to be a trend these days to take your dog for a walk and listen to music at the same time, using earphones. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve jingled my bell repeatedly, even raised my voice in a calm and considerate manner, to catch their attention but they remain deaf to the world. The dog usually hears or sees me but the owners often to do. I try my best but it’s their own fault if they get the fright of their lives when I scoot past.
One of the main hazards of kick scooting is going too fast, though its not actually the speed that’s the issue, rather, its the ability to stop quick enough to avoid any potential hazards. Time and time again I see a kick scooter rider blasting down a hill or round a bend, with no chance of stopping, say for example, a dog should suddenly appear. My advice is simple, always be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear.
Even the most well-trained pooch can be unpredictable, particularly when someone is approaching them on a kick scooter. Always assume that the dog will get in your way. It does not have any road sense, so always slow down and be able, and ready, to stop, or at least avoid an encounter. A well-known point, if the dog is on one side of the path and the owner on the other, the dog will get in your way.
Potholes come in all shapes, sizes and depths, and all can pose a hazard to the kick scooter rider and a careful watch should be maintained at all times. Even the 12″ wheels of the Swifty Zero cannot cope with huge potholes. Patches of rough ground also need careful attention.
Be careful when approaching loose gravel, particularly if going downhill at speed or even slow speeds at bends. Deep gravel can easily catch a scooter and send you flying. Even shallow gravel can make you break traction and skid sideways. My advice, slow down.
I would always advise getting some lights for your Swifty, even if scooting along well-lit urban footpaths or cycleways. It can be easy to forget when you head out on a mild evening, to forget the time and find darkness rapidly approaching, and you are miles from home. Pot holes and drains can easy lurk in shadows and catch the unwary scooterist.
As with off-road cycling, tree roots can present a hazard. Often hidden from view and usually wet and slippery, keep a watchful eye out for them. Try and avoid if possible and always approach head-on, never at an angle. You tend to fall of if you hit them at an angle.
Copyright ©2018 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.