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Sharing the Road with Scooters

These sporty, fast little scooters that dart between traffic are everywhere now, especially in crowded cities. They are ideal for students and seniors because they’re affordable and fuel efficient and they come with names like Vespa, Forza, Smax, Buddy and Stella.

If you own a scooter, you know about the freedom and independence of riding one. But, let’s face it--when you’re in a hurry in your car, a scooter can slow you down and become irritating. Road rage incidents have happened all over the country involving scooters and many of them were caused by a lack of communication between car drivers and scooter riders.

In the end, let’s remember that we all have to share the road. It just takes a little understanding and education on the part of motorists to be conscientious about potential hazards around scooters. At the same time, scooter riders need to take responsibility for their own well-being.

Here are some tips offered by us at Dents Unlimited Columbia in Columbia, MO that both parties can understand so that everyone can share the road and get to their destinations safely.

Visibility

Visibility:

The #1 thing that motorists say after hitting a scooter is “I didn’t see it!” This is definitely a problem, but if both parties can take pre-emptive measures, the number of these accidents will go down. Obviously, the scooter rider is more vulnerable than the motorist, so they should be vigilant about increasing their visibility by wearing protective gear that is both bright and discernable is crucial. Scooter headlights, brake lights and turn signals should always be functioning properly. And to be more visible to car drivers, scooters should also make wise lane choices, the locations of which will vary depending on riding conditions.

In turn, motorists need to be extra cautious around scooters and look two or even three times to make certain where they are. Driving while distracted is the #1 reason why most drivers don’t see scooters. Remember looking out for a scooter takes more concentration and attention than interacting with other cars due to their compact size. Everyone should take extra precautions while driving at night which is when the fatality risk increases by 60%.

Intersections:

Most car and scooter accidents begin with a motorist who violates the rider’s right of way. A common error is the sudden left turn of a car in front of a scooter when at an intersection. Car drivers need to pay attention to what’s ahead and always signal when indicating a turn. They should also be cautious when opening car doors and pulling out of parking spots. Scooter riders also need to constantly be aware of all surrounding traffic including parked cars, bicycles and motorcycles. You never know what can happen on the road, so always give yourself enough distance to pass. Sometimes a quick little honk on the scooter’s horn can help to create awareness and the need for caution.

Scooter happy

Education and Attitude:

Taking a safety course is imperative for scooter drivers. There is no doubt that when it comes to a scooter versus car interaction, the scooter will always suffer the more injuries and damage no matter who is at fault. Fledgling scooter riders should immediately include a safety class in the initial phases of ownership.

Car drivers can make it a little easier for all by realizing a few things from the scooter’s point of view. Having a superior “Get out of my way” attitude when driving a bigger vehicle is just plain wrong. Smaller modes of transportation have just the same legal rights to travel the road as larger ones. Understanding that honking at a scooter to make it go faster is not a good choice. Chances are there may be road conditions such as potholes, debris, wet roads or gravel that make it unsafe for the scooter to accelerate. Tailgating is another cause of distress to scooter riders and definitely a dangerous situation and that’s why motorists should allow at least a two second gap between themselves and a scooter

If we all learn to drive cautiously and share the road, we can all enjoy our preferred methods of transportation both large and small. Whether you’re a car driver or a scooter rider, we hope these tips were hopeful, courtesy of the people at Dents Unlimited Columbia.

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