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How to stay safe riding a scooter



Vicksburg Police Chief Milton Moore and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. led the first Blue Duck group ride. (Photo by Thomas Parker)

Wear a helmet and know your limitations. That could be the best advice if you’re considering renting a scooter in Vicksburg or any other city where scooters are available.

Several accidents have occurred in Vicksburg since Blue Duck launched its service Sept. 17. While most were minor, one did result in broken bones.

Few things come without risk, and scooters are no exception. They can be a blast to ride, but an accident can quickly put an end to the fun. When you rent a scooter, the risk is yours. With that in mind, here are a few safety tips for riding scooters:

  • First-time riders are most at risk for having an accident. If that describes you, take extra precautions, and maybe do a little practicing in a safe spot like an empty parking lot before heading out into traffic. Practice starting and stopping, turns and hand signals.
  • Head injuries are the most common type of injury in scooter accidents and wearing a good helmet is essential. Consider buying one if you plan on doing a lot of scootering.
    If you don’t own a bike helmet, you can rent one at Battlefield Bicycle, 908 Cherry St. Give them a call at 662-347-0789. (Battlefield is not affiliated with Blue Duck.)
    You might also consider elbow and knee pads. Think about the safety equipment you would wear on a bike and then act accordingly.
  • Wear appropriate clothing that folks can see. Scooter riders can be difficult for drivers to spot, especially at dusk or after dark. Choose bright colors whenever possible.
  • Don’t ride in flip flops or any other footwear that may come off or get tangled.
  • Inspect the scooter you rent, especially the tires. Blue Duck is committed to ensuring every scooter is in great shape, but you never know what the last rider may have done. It’s worth a few seconds to ensure a safe ride.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings. There’s never a good time for your mind to wander when you ride. Watch out for pedestrians and traffic as well as road conditions like potholes, gravel and puddles that could be dangerous for small scooter tires. Be aware of what’s behind you, especially as you attempt a turn. Be cautious around driveways and parking lot and garage entrances.
  • Obey the rules of the road. Ride with the flow of traffic and obey traffic signs and signals just as you would when in a car. Learn and use hand signals, too.
  • Use extra caution when roads are wet. Slow down anytime you’re riding on wet surfaces. If you’re caught in a sudden downpour, get off the scooter and push it to safety, and never ride during a thunderstorm.
  • Never have more than one person on a scooter. Scooters aren’t designed for tandem riding. There’s nothing for a passenger to hold on to, and two people can quickly exceed recommended weight limits, making the scooter difficult to control.
  • Never ride a scooter when you’ve been drinking or imbibing in other forms of mind-altering substances.
  • Know your limitations. Just because you rode scooters when you were a kid or you ride a bicycle now, it doesn’t mean you’ll be great on a scooter now.

It’s worth repeating that few things come without risks. When you sign a scooter rental agreement, you assume the risks for accidents and injuries.

Keep it fun. Be smart, be aware and ride safely.

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