One of the joys of owning and riding a kick scooter like to Swifty Zero or Swifty Air, is the ability to ride along pavements, a definite no-no when riding a bicycle. Pavements are relatively safe, at least as far as motor vehicles are concerned though you will have to contend with other pavement users such as pedestrians, dog walkers, children and possibly even other scooter riders, though having side that I’ve yet to encounter one my home town of Bonnyrigg, or in nearby Edinburgh for that matter.
Pavement surfaces are generally good, ideal for fast smooth scooting. However, some pavements get neglected over time and all manner of scooter hazards can accumulate, from sunken ironwork to cracks large enough to swallow a scooter wheel. Freezing weather can leave pavements very icy and difficult for the scooter rider and Autumn weather can result in wet slippery areas – I speak from experience here, having fallen off on a downhill bend to my detriment. Even small branches can cause a wobble are best watched out for.
A golden rule at road crossings is to stop as you would normally and look both ways before crossing. It can be very tempting not to stop and to keep going, wanting to keep scooting along and not slow down. However, it is very easy not to notice an approaching vehicle or cyclist and collisions are best avoided. Also when crossing roads, look out for drop kerbs, they are installed to make it easier for those using wheel chairs to cross the road. They also make it easier for scooter riders as well.
The one rule I’d always recommend you follow, if there are pedestrians about, at the very least slow down and even walk if necessary. People can change direction at any time, usually when you are approaching from the rear. Also watch out for people emerging from often hard-to-see alleyways. I’ve had two, all be it slow speed, near-misses recently.
Another tip I want to share is to try to scoot along the pavement in the same direction as traffic is flowing. This makes it easier to drop onto the road if you encounter oncoming pedestrians. Be careful though and check for traffic first. Drop kerbs at the entrance to house driveways make this maneuver easier as well.
Now, a wee warning about dog walkers, dogs and particularly, dog leads. If scooting at night, and you encounter a dog on one side of the path and the dog owner on the other side, it is not always safe to assume the route between is safe. A thin dog lead is almost invisible at night, especially in poorly lit areas or in bad visibility such as mist or fog, and will have you tumbling to a stop, possibly head over heals.
Copyright ©2020 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.