Top 6 Safety Tips for Scooting to School
Scooters are becoming an increasingly common sight on the school run. Hopping on a scooter enables children to travel at an adult’s pace without getting too worn out, yet still ensures little ones get a good amount of exercise through low impact toning.
Like walking and cycling, scooting is also a more sustainable way to travel and is far cheaper than driving. It also increases their awareness of road safety and boosts their confidence near roads; however, there are still several risks associated with scooting. Luckily, these are easily avoidable if you follow these six easy rules for a fun scooting session.
1 | Plan Ahead
The first step for a safe scoot to school is to ensure your child has the correct scooter. Three-wheeled scooters are perfect for those who need a bit of extra confidence when it comes to balancing. Two-wheeled scooters, meanwhile, are great for older kids who have found their balance.
Once you’ve got the right scooter, you need to check your child knows how to ride it. Your local authority or school might offer scooter training; however, you can always teach basic skills yourself. Take your child to a park or quiet area and ensure they understand how to use the brake, avoid obstacles and respond to pedestrians on the path by moving out of the way.
The final step is to plan your route to school. Ensure the route is smooth, flat and avoids steep hills. It’s also vital to make sure your child will never have to scoot in the road, as cars and lorries won’t expect to see scooters among traffic, so a collision is more likely. Scooter wheels are also smaller than bicycle and car wheels, meaning they’re more likely to get caught in drain covers and pot holes.
2 | Use the National Cycle Network
When researching your route, why not consider using the National Cycle Network? This network isn’t just for bikes; it also offers safe routes for walkers, joggers and scooters. One-third of the network is traffic free, making it safe and less stressful for the journey to school. It’s also convenient, as over half the UK’s population lives within one mile of their nearest route. You can find yours by clicking here.
Many National Cycle Network routes run through green spaces, giving children the chance to see and learn about plants and animals on their way to school. You could also see interesting architecture, beautiful artwork and plenty of food spots to fill up before or after school.
3 | Do a Safety Check
Before letting your child hop on their scooter, be sure to do the “L” check. Start at the top of the “L” structure and make your way down the frame and along the base, checking essential components as you go.
Firstly, ensure the handlebars are locked in place by leaning on them and checking they don’t move. Work your way down the frame, ensuring bolts are tightened and all parts are clean. When you get to the wheels, remove any twigs, mud and dirt and spin them in the air. Whilst spinning, press the brake and make sure the wheels stop turning immediately. Small bits of dirt in the brakes can be cleaned out with an old tooth brush, but don’t be tempted to ride if there are any issues with the brakes.
4 | Ditch the Luggage
Don’t be tempted to put anything on your scooter’s handlebars. This will throw off your balance, make collisions more likely and damage your scooter. Instead, put anything you need to carry in a rucksack and let your child wear this on their back.
Put any additional items of clothing into this bag. Tying jackets around the waste or throwing them over the handlebars could result in clothes getting caught up in the scooter. Not only would this ruin your favourite coat, but it would also damage your scooter and could result in an accident.
5 | Always Accompany Your Child
It goes without saying that young children need to be accompanied when scooting. If you’re travelling in a residential area or park, walk behind the scooter to see what your child is doing and what’s approaching. If you’re travelling along a busy road, walk beside the scooter on the closest side to the traffic to prevent children from veering out.
When crossing the road, always instruct your child to get off the scooter, stop, look, and listen, before pushing the scooter across the road. If your child needs to leave their scooter for a short period, be sure to move it out of the way so it doesn’t cause an obstruction.
6 | Dress Sensibly
During the winter, you might be travelling to or home from school in the dark. If that’s the case, be sure to wear reflective clothes, vests or armbands to make your child visible to other pedestrians, drivers and cyclists. You can also buy lights for scooters, or attach a small light to your child’s wrist, helmet, or coat. It’s also a good idea to buy a scooter bell, so other pavement users can hear you if they can’t see you.
It’s also important to dress appropriately for scooting; don’t wear baggy clothes that might get caught in the scooter, or loose-fitting shoes like flip-flops that could fall off whilst travelling. Don’t forget a cap and sunglasses when it’s sunny and remember sun cream and a water bottle, too!
Whether or not your child wears a scooter helmet is up to you; however, it is highly recommended, especially if travelling near a busy road. If your child does have a helmet, ensure it fits properly and that the straps are not worn or frayed. You may also want to purchase knee and elbow pads to protect more fragile bones and prevent major injuries.