Enroll in a motorcycles skill course
Unless you’re familiar with riding motorcycles, the first step that you will need to take if you want to learn how to ride a scooter is to enroll in an advanced motorcycle skill course. While scooters are indeed easier to ride, there is still a lot for you to learn, and most such courses will only take a few days to complete.
Even if you think that you are prepared to go on the road, having a tutor give you the basic training will help you be better prepared for all the scenarios that you may encounter on the roadway. Finding a course in your area shouldn’t be an issue since there are plenty of offerings to choose from.
Some of the skills that these courses teach include precision control of the scooter at low speeds, maneuvering in tight spaces, risk assessing at real-time speeds, swerving objects at high speeds, judging and overcoming corners, and much more. The main purpose of these classes is to teach you how to ride safely.
By sacrificing only a few hours out of your week, these classes can make you feel more confident in your riding capability, and they offer a great way of improving your safety on a motor scooter. Skill courses are great even for riders with prior experience since they provide a safe way of refreshing riding skills after a long period of not using a scooter.
Get the right gear
Safety is very important, and one of the best ways of protecting yourself from injury is to invest in the appropriate scooter gear. Helmets are essential, and while you may be tempted to choose an open-face helmet since they are stylish and fashionable, choosing style over safety is not recommended, especially for beginners.
As such, you should try to opt for a full-face helmet since it offers more protection. The helmet should meet at least DOT safety requirements. Better still, there are also Snell-approved helmets to choose from, and these have undergone more rigorous safety testing, which makes them even more secure than DOT helmets.
Riding gloves are very important as well since falls are inevitable, and the instinctual reaction is to use your hands to break the fall and try to stabilize yourself. Without riding gloves, you can easily injure your hand.
The same can be said about a riding jacket. During the summer, it might be tempting to leave it off and ride in lighter garments, but it is not worth it. The jacket may be a bit hot in the summer, but the extra layers will protect you from serious burn injuries if you happen to fall off your scooter.
You shouldn’t forget the riding pants, since wearing any other type of garment will leave your knees exposed to burn injuries should you happen to fall off the scooter. Padded riding pants are well worth the money since falling even at low speeds without proper protection can lead to some hideous injuries.
Lastly, you should also invest in a pair of proper riding boots since unlike regular footwear, these are designed to be sturdy and not break upon the friction that’s generated when you enter a full-on slide during a scooter accident. The boots should reach over the ankle so that there are no sensitive areas exposed during an accident.
Balance is essential
Riding a scooter is very much like riding a bike, in the sense that the hardest thing for a beginner to get a handle on is the balance. Before you start the engine, you will need to use your legs as a stabilizer to prevent the scooter from toppling over.
As a beginner, you should practice driving back and forward along a car park or an empty road until you can get a feel of the type of balance that a scooter needs. You can allow your feet to hover just over the ground if you get a little wobbly and need to put them down to regain your balance.
The whole thing can feel a bit daunting at first, but the more you practice, the easier balancing the scooter will feel, and in no time, it will become second nature, and you will no longer need to place your feet down.
If you want to ride with a passenger on the back, you will first need to get to the point where you feel completely comfortable driving on your own. Having a passenger on the back adds extra weight, which throws the balance of the scooter off and makes it harder to turn corners.
Even competent riders may have trouble maintaining control of the scooter with a passenger on the back, so there’s no need to worry if you don’t feel comfortable riding with a passenger. A good rider is one that knows the limits of his or her skills.
As a beginner, you will naturally want to go slower to avoid accidents, but you will need to keep in mind that the slower you go, the wobblier the scooter will be. Thus, when starting the bike, you should be very careful if you can’t build up momentum since the initial start won’t be very straight when you’re just beginning.
This can turn into an issue if you are riding in tightly packed traffic. This is why it is best to practice in a car park or an empty road until you get used to the feeling of balance when going both slowly and fast.
Get used with the accelerator
The accelerator is the right handlebar, and it is essential to learn how much you need to turn it to reach a specific speed. It generally doesn’t take a big turn of the accelerator to go faster, and as such, you should try and keep your movements small and gentle if you don’t want to accidentally take your scooter to a full-throttle lurch forward.
If you go too fast, you can reach for the brakes to slow down the vehicle, but as a beginner, what you might do is accidentally accelerate at the same time. To avoid this, you will need to be careful not to twist backward on the accelerator when you brake with your right hand.
When you want to slow down, you should try to use both brakes at the same time since slamming just one can risk locking the front or back tire. This can cause skidding, or it can even have you flying over the handlebars.
Stay safe in the dark
Riding your scooter at night or before sunrise is dangerous, and you should only do it when it is necessary. This is because the rider’s vision is obscured during the night, and this makes the risk of getting into an accident that much higher.
What’s more, bright headlights from other cars and the glare that it can cause on a helmet visor can make riding a scooter at night feel like riding with the eyes closed. Obstacles on the road, such as puddles and potholes, are also harder to see in the dark.
Outside of the city, scooter riders will also have to worry about deer and other wildlife crossing the road.
Keep your ears open
Riding a scooter requires permanent alertness and concentration. There are plenty of helmets nowadays that come with built-in headphones so that you can listen to your favorite tunes while riding on the road. While this may be tempting, riders who are just starting should refrain from using such devices.
Limiting your ability to hear can prevent you from noticing alerts to potential hazards. Horns and even shouts from other people are audible warnings that are a key part of rider safety, and a music system can mute or muffle them.
Keep the scooter in good condition
As a beginner, you will face lots of obstacles each day, and the last thing you want is to add extra riding challenges. A scooter that is not maintained well will perform badly and get the rider into dangerous situations.
You should perform regular maintenance checks to see if the brake pads and discs are deteriorated and need replacement, the engine is performing properly, the lights are working, and so forth.
Some of the checks you can do yourself, but if you are not confident doing them on your own, you can always take the scooter to a specialist.
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