How to ride an electric scooter: A beginner-friendly guide

11 Feb 2022


All in all, riding an electric scooter is pretty easy, whether you rent one from a micromobility provider like Bolt or opt for buying a personal one. 

Most of us have ridden a kick-scooter as a child, and generally, picking up the electric scooter is pretty similar. There are just a few differences – like using the throttle or unlocking rental scooters via an app.

Our beginner-friendly guide covers how to ride an electric scooter for the first time. And if it’s not quite your first time, hopefully, you’ll still find a useful tip or two! 

We’ll also look at how to prepare for your ride by wearing the appropriate gear, checking the scooter and choosing the right spot. 

Let’s get right into it.

Before you start your ride

Preparing for your ride is just as important as taking all the steps needed for the ride itself. Don’t worry; there’s nothing complicated! In fact, it’s pretty much the same as preparing for cycling.

Safety first!

Riding any kind of micromobility device, from bicycle to electric skateboard, always carries some risk of falling.

Your own well-being really isn’t the step to skip, so safety always comes first. And that starts with wearing a helmet.

For your first ride, or until you get comfortable with an e-scooter, wear clothes that cover your arms and legs. You can also wear elbow– and knee pads for increased safety.

You might also want to check out the Bolt Scooter School that covers everything from laws on scooter use to parking perfectly.

Choose the perfect spot

For your first ride, choose an area or road that is paved and where there are no obstacles. You might also want to look for a place or time of day when fewer other cyclists, pedestrians, etc. around. It’s also a good idea to avoid areas with traffic for your first ride.

To recap — pick a nice clear area with plenty of room to get used to the scooter.

Test the scooter

Do a quick safety test before each ride to make sure everything is working as it should.

Here’s what you should check for:

  • Tires are in good condition and have sufficient pressure
  • The throttle and brakes work properly
  • Starting the scooter doesn’t produce any strange sounds
  • The scooter has enough battery life for your trip

Riding an electric scooter: step-by-step

Generally, all electric scooters work the same way, making switching between different models easy. To turn on the scooter, you need to turn it on from a power switch or accompanying app.

If you’re using a shared scooter, you first need to download the Bolt app to unlock the scooter.

Once the scooter is unlocked, and on, you’re ready to start your ride!

1. Raise the kickstand

Hold on to the handlebars while you raise the kickstand. Once the kickstand no longer supports the scooter, it may start to lean, so be prepared to support it.

2. Start your ride by kicking off from the ground

Place your weak leg on the scooter and kick off from the ground using your strong leg. The scooter will start moving at a slow speed. 

It’s time to…

3. Press the throttle steadily

Press the throttle slowly to accelerate. Try to get a good feel of the scooter and increase pressure steadily.

4. Rotate the handlebars to turn

To turn with the scooter, just rotate the handlebars in the direction you want to go in. Again, all movements here should be nice and smooth. 

You’ll naturally want to lean, which is okay. Just make sure you don’t lean too far, or you might end up taking a tumble.

5. Use the brakes

Brake slowly using the rear brake and lean back a bit, bending slightly from the knees — as if you’re about to sit down on a chair. 

And that’s it! Just five easy steps and you’ve completed your first ride. Park your scooter in a designated area or according to local rules once you’ve finished your ride.

Put down the kickstand, lock the scooter or finish your ride in the scooter sharing app and you’re done.

Common mistakes to avoid

Here are a few of the most common scooter riding mistakes people make. Take a look, and hopefully, the tips we’ve gathered will save you from making some or even all of them.

A slight spoiler: most of the mistakes riders make have to do with sudden or exaggerated movements. Riding an electric scooter is all about keeping everything smooth and steady. 

So keep calm and just scoot. 😎 Try to avoid any of the following trip-ups, and you’ll be a pro at scooting in no time at all.

Pushing the throttle too hard

Pushing the throttle suddenly with a lot of pressure can make the scooter jump forward. Worst case, you might fall or lose control of the scooter.

💡Tip: Press on the throttle slowly and evenly to always remain comfortably in control of the scooter.

When you’re using a Bolt scooter, turn on the beginner mode, which limits the scooter speed to a low maximum of 15 km/h.

Breaking too hard

Hitting the brakes too hard can also result in you losing control of the scooter or falling.

💡Tip: Use the correct braking technique. Increase pressure on the brakes gradually as you feel the scooter slowing down. While you’re braking, lean back as if you’re about to sit down, to use your body weight to break effectively.

Leaning too far in turns

While it’s completely fine to lean a bit with the scooter during turns, there’s no need to overdo it. As you can probably guess, leaning too far on a scooter during a turn might end with a fall.

Turning handlebars too far or too suddenly

If you rotate the handlebars too far during a turn, it can make it difficult to shift your body weight during the turn. 

Remember also to avoid suddenly turning the handlebars when going fast. Slow and steady is key!

Frequently asked questions

How hard is it to ride an electric scooter?

Electric scooters are relatively easy to ride, even for beginners. You’ll be in an upright position, which is how you walk around anyway. And the footboard of the scooters is just slightly elevated from the ground, making riding it very comfortable.

You’ll also find that balancing is easier compared to a bicycle.

It takes only a few minutes to learn to ride. The average person will feel comfortable and confident riding a scooter within a few hours to a couple of days maximum.

How old do you have to be to ride an electric scooter?

Age requirements vary across countries and sometimes even cities.

Can you ride an electric scooter in the rain?

This will vary depending on the scooter. Make sure to double-check for the specific model you’re riding.

Bolt’s shared scooters are safe to ride in the rain. You can also check out our blog post for tips on riding an electric scooter in the rain.

Ready to take a ride?

If you feel confident enough to hop on a scooter now, download the Bolt app, tap to find the nearest scooter and take it for a little spin.

Electric scooters are an enjoyable, climate-friendly, and affordable way to get around. Don’t miss out!


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