Two People on an Electric Scooter: Why This is a Bad Idea
- January 02, 2024
- Edited: January 02, 2024
In recent years, the popularity of electric scooters has soared, with shared scooters now in nearly every major city in the U.S. and others around the world. However, a concerning trend has emerged: unsafe riding practices like riding intoxicated, texting while riding, or riding two people to a scooter.
While the last problem might not seem as bad as the others, doubling up on an electric scooter can be just as dangerous as riding drunk or distracted. It might seem like a fun and efficient way to get around, but there are several reasons why this is a bad idea.
The main reason: electric scooters are designed as single-person vehicles.
Riding an electric scooter solo already poses some risks, but when you add another person in the mix, those risks increase exponentially. One primary concern is the lack of stability.
Electric scooters are designed to accommodate the weight and balance of a single rider. When two people ride on a scooter, the added weight and different weight distribution than the intended one can throw off the balance, making it more difficult to control the scooter and increasing the chance of accidents.
All of the structural parts of an electric scooter, from the deck to the swing arms that hold the axles, have been designed and tested by engineers to withstand certain weight limits and certain types of stresses.
None of those parts, on the other hand, are tested to withstand the weight and pressure of two riders, so they are much less likely to perform as designed in that circumstance.
Not only does the added weight affect the balance of the scooter, but it also puts additional strain on the scooter's components. Suspension parts, motors, brakes, and tires are also all designed to handle the weight of a single rider.
When two people ride a scooter, these components are pushed beyond their intended limits, increasing the risk of mechanical failure that could result in sudden loss of control.
Furthermore, two riders affect a scooter's braking distance, especially in emergency situations. With two people on board, it can take twice the time and distance to stop safely, leading to a higher likelihood of collisions or crashes.
Increased weight can also put additional stress on an electric scooter’s brakes, causing them to overheat or lock up and compromising the scooter's ability to stop safely.
In addition to stability and braking concerns, riding an electric scooter with two people also increases the risk of injury in the event of an accident. If the scooter hits a pothole or encounters an uneven surface, both riders are at risk of being thrown off.
With the added weight of an additional person, the impact of a fall can be doubly severe, resulting in broken bones, head injuries, or other serious harm.
The lack of protection, such as seat belts or airbags, further increases the vulnerability of riders in such situations as they collide with each other, the scooter, and road surfaces.
Another concern of overloading an electric scooter is the strain it puts on the scooter's motor. Electric scooter motors are designed to handle the stresses of a single rider, and their motor power output is optimized for that purpose.
When an additional person is added, the motor has to work harder to propel the extra weight. The added work leads to decreased speed and acceleration, two forces you need on your side when riding an electric scooter around traffic.
Increased strain on the motor can also lead to overheating, causing total motor failures and even fires in the most extreme cases.
Even scooters with dual motors and a few thousand combined watts of power have been designed to work efficiently under certain conditions. Exceeding the scooter’s weight limit exceeds the tolerances of all its parts, placing rider(s) in potential jeopardy.
You just have to imagine the potential consequences of a motor failure at high speeds. As the scooter loses power, you and your passenger are left without control. You could be hurtling forward with seriously reduced means of stopping if your scooter relies on regenerative brakes to slow down.
It's crucial to understand that pushing an electric scooter beyond its intended capacity can have severe consequences. While it may seem tempting to ride with a friend or loved one, it's essential to prioritize safety and adhere to the scooter's limitations.
Remember, it's not just about the decreased speed and acceleration but also the potential risks of overheating and mechanical failures.
While it may seem like a harmless act, riding an electric scooter with two people can have legal and regulatory consequences. Electric scooters are not toys. They are serious vehicles and they have been treated as such by state and local governments.
Many cities and municipalities have specific regulations regarding the use of electric scooters, including restrictions on the number of riders permitted. Violating these regulations can lead to fines or other penalties.
If a passenger on a scooter that you own or rent is injured, especially if they are minor, you could be held liable for injury or death in a civil or criminal action.
Most electric scooter accidents that lead to death involve riders who aren’t wearing helmets, and riders who double up on a scooter aren’t likely to observe other precautions, like wearing a helmet and other safety gear.
Furthermore, insurance coverage may be compromised when riding with two people. Any coverage that might extend to you and your scooter would not cover an illegal passenger and could well be void in the event of an accident while riding with two people.
Riding with two people, even if you don’t exceed the weight limit, can lead to an improper proper weight distribution on an electric scooter, which can compromise stability. This imbalance may make it more difficult to control the scooter, increasing the likelihood of collisions or falls.
Accidents involving two riders can lead to far more severe injuries by their very nature, and because those riders are far less likely to be wearing helmets.
It's essential to prioritize safety and adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines for the intended use of the electric scooter.
Riding an electric scooter with two people can also impact the overall lifespan and durability of the scooter. The scooter's motor, battery, and other components are designed to support the weight and usage of a single rider.
Overloading the scooter with an additional person can put excessive strain on these components, potentially leading to premature wear and tear or even mechanical failures.
Finally, while riding an electric scooter with two people can seem like a fun, convenient option, consider the legal implications of doubling up in the unfortunate and likely event of accident and injury.
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