One of these days, we’re doing to write about something that has a clear, definite answer but today is not that day.
Lately, we’ve published a few posts on various topics that are all somehow influenced by the fluid, uncertain legal status of e-scooters in the UK. If you don’t know already, there are a number of schemes currently underway throughout the country that are meant to help the government craft new rules and regulations governing the use of e-scooters.
As in many places, the arrival of e-scooters in the UK forced a rather sudden review and updating of the legal framework around their use. That review is still underway and the information gathered from current programmes will inform official decisions regarding where and when e-scooters can be used and under what conditions.
All of this makes it difficult to give absolute, definite answers to basic questions surrounding the current use of e-scooters. This includes helmet laws.
Final answers on questions like helmet regulations, where e-scooters can be used, minimum ages for riding them and more are expected later this year. For now, we have to manage with a temporary patchwork of changing rules that leaves us unable to give easy answers to questions like whether a helmet is needed or not.
But let’s work with what we have.
You don’t have to (but you should)
Current UK law—remember, the same law that is under review—does not require helmets for riders of e-scooters.
Across Europe and in America, Asia, Australia and elsewhere, helmet laws vary from one jurisdiction to another. In Europe, only France and Sweden (so far) have mandated helmet use, and it only applies to those under a certain age. E-scooters are legal all over Australia but only four states there require the use of helmets. The same inconsistency applies to Asia—helmets on in South Korea and Japan, helmets optional in Singapore. In America, just a handful of states require helmets, with the vast majority of the country simply recommending them instead of mandating them.
Generally speaking, for the majority of e-scooter riders around the world, the choice is left up to them.
Still, we at JIVR recommend the use of a helmet when riding.
Why JIVR recommends using a helmet while riding
Because safety first, that’s why. Better safe than sorry. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Email us with any safety-related clichés we left out.
Accidents happen. People step out in front of you. You lose your balance. You’re not paying attention when you should. Your hand slips off the handlebar. You’re going too fast. You hit a bump you didn’t see coming.
Just to illustrate the point, let’s compare the physical risk associated with using an e-scooter to that of using a conventional bicycle. 99.99% of the time, you’re fine. But moving through any environment, certainly in an urban landscape, you can encounter circumstances that could potentially separate you from your ride. Most of the time, it’s harmless or nearly so—a scratch here or a grease stain there.
But if you’re unlucky, you could go head-first into something that you don’t want to go head-first into. And with some e-scooters capable of reaching 25mp/h (40 km/h), you could go into it with enough force for it to do some damage.
That’s where helmets come in. For obvious reasons, they can dramatically reduce the likelihood that any spill you take will rate more than a casual mention once you get home or to the office. A very disproportionate amount of serious accidents—both on bikes and scooters—result in damage to the head and all you need to do to virtually guarantee that you’ll walk away from nearly any problem is wear a helmet.
Sounds like a good deal to us.
Ok, it might be hard to keep your hair looking magnificent and carrying a helmet around with you may not be your first choice but life is full of compromises.
You’re an adult capable of making your own decisions but just remember our little voice whispering in your ear when you’re thinking about wearing a helmet or not...