Riding At Night: Electric Scooter Lights

Electric Scooter at night with lights on
Picture of Paul Somerville Rider Guide's Editor and Chief
Paul Somerville
April 11, 2019

Rider Guide’s Editor-in-Chief is a seasoned expert in the electric scooter industry. With a wide-ranging background that includes managing scooter warehouses, selling thousands of motorcycles, and restoring high value (+1M) European sports cars, his expertise is unmatched. Having personally tested more than 100 electric scooters, he offers invaluable insights and recommendations to our readers. We are fortunate to have him as part of our team, as his diverse skill set and extensive experience ensure top-notch reviews.

Additional lights can improve the visibility of you and your electric scooter. They are a necessity for riding in anything but ideal lighting conditions.

Extra Lights for Visibility

Riding an electric scooter in early morning or after sunset comes with an additional safety hazard: decreased visibility. 

Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that most cycling fatalities occur between 6 pm and 9 pm, which strongly suggests that visibility is a major factor. 

If we assume that bicycles are at least as dangerous as electric scooters, then we can infer that riding in poor visibility is just as dangerous, if not more so.

Many Electric Scooters Have Poor Built-in Lights

Few electric scooters we test have adequate built-in lights, and many suffer from one or all of the following problems:

• Low mounted lights

• Poor quality optics

• Underpowered LEDs

For starters, lights are often mounted too low. The low mounting position looks cool from a design perspective, but it also means that the light is mostly falling on the ground a few feet in front of you.

Low-mounted lights only give you only a few feet of illumination to see the road. At speed, avoiding hazards with such little time is nearly impossible. You should be able to see a several hundred feet ahead of you in order to brake or turn in time. 

Next, many electric scooter lights have poor quality optics. The poor quality lenses mean that the emitted light beam is not tightly projected and spreads out significantly before reaching other people on the road. Consequently, your light will seem dimmer and you’ll be more difficult to see. 

Finally, many LED light sources are grossly underpowered. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are an amazing technology that allows you to pack a powerful, efficient light source into a tiny space.

Unfortunately, not enough electric scooter manufacturers take advantage of high powered LEDs.

Front Lights

A powerful front light is really important to help you see the road and to be visible to oncoming traffic. For every electric scooter we recommend an additional and powerful light. Fortunately, these are readily available for bicycles and there are a ton of super good ones available on the market today.

Our personal preference is the Nightrider Lumina 750, available on Amazon (Prime).This light can be attached to handlebars or a kiddy bar if you have one installed. It has an adjustable rubber strap that should accommodate most electric scooters.

This light puts out 750 lumens of blinding brightness that will help you to see the road and be seen. It is a must-have for safely riding in the dark and was the top rated choice from OutdoorGear Lab, based on quality and value.

Rear Lights

Rear lights are important for being visible to traffic approaching you from behind. Due to the design of electric scooters, even the best rear lights don’t work well because of their low mounting position (on the rear fender). 

Therefore, in order to be seen, it is necessary to use a bright clip on LED that you can attach to the back of your shirt or backpack.

We really like the the Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150, available on Amazon (Prime). 

This little light dumps out 150 lumens of brilliant red light and has a bunch of flashing modes. It has a built-in USB rechargeable battery that will last for many hours in flashing mode. Additionally, this light can can be attached to a rear handle or clipped onto a bag or clothing.

Swag Lights Look Great! But They Aren't a Substitute for Real Lighting

It’s worth mentioning that many electric scooters come with “swag” lights on the stem or “ground effects.” This type of lighting is helpful for being seen, but keep in mind that it may not be as bright you think it is. Additionally, this type of lighting will not help you to see the pothole that jumps out of nowhere. Swag lights look great, but they’re not a substitute for a bright white headlight and 

Check out our current ESG Editor’s pick of the best electric scooters on the market!

Electric Scooter FAQ

Q: Is it hard to maintain an electric scooter?

A: Electric scooters require minimal maintenance: you should check the battery, brakes, and tires regularly. Additionally, keep the scooter clean and regularly inspect for any damages or wear and tear. For more information about maintenance and repair, see our post here.

Q: What accessories do I need for an electric scooter?

A: At a minimum, you should consider investing in a lock and a helmet for your electric scooter. Other accessories, such as reflectors, phone mounts, and headlights can be especially helpful as well. Learn more about scooter accessories at our post on the 10 Best Electric Scooter Accessories.

Q: How much does a good electric scooter cost?

A: Prices for electric scooters can range from as low as $300 for basic models up to several thousand dollars for performance scooters. Prices will vary based on range, speed, suspension, and other features. Generally, whatever your budget, you can find a great scooter at an affordable price.

Q: Do I need to wear a helmet when using an electric scooter?

A: Riding an electric scooter requires the same safety precautions as riding a bicycle; therefore, riders should always wear a helmet while operating an electric scooter. Different jurisdictions have different rules, so it is important to be aware of and follow the laws in your area. What kind of helmet should you get? See our guide to learn more about electric scooter helmets and visit the Rider Guide electric scooter helmet database.

Q: What is the best way to store an electric scooter?

A: The best way to store an electric scooter is to place it indoors in a cool, dry area. If the scooter needs to be kept outdoors, be sure to invest in a scooter lock for added security and try to keep your scooter covered and out of the rain.

Q: How far can an electric scooter travel?

A: The range of an electric scooter can vary depending on the model and battery life. An average electric scooter can travel between 10-20 miles before needing to be recharged.

Q: How long do electric scooter batteries last?

A: It depends on the battery size and manufacturer. Generally, the smaller the battery, the shorter the range. Some batteries can last up to 40 miles on a single charge, while others last only a few miles. Learn more about electric scooter batteries here.

Q: Are electric scooters legal?

A: Rules and regulations on electric scooters vary by city or state, so it is important to contact local authorities for more information. See this Comprehensive Electric Scooter Laws article to learn more about specific laws for every state in the U.S.

Q: Can you ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk?

A: This depends on the city or state regulations. Generally speaking, electric scooters should be ridden on bike lanes, trails, or roads with the flow of traffic. It is also important to make sure that you keep your electric scooter away from pedestrians and make sure it is not blocking any public pathways. See Comprehensive Electric Scooter Laws to find out where and when it might be safe and legal to ride on the sidewalk.

Q: Are electric scooters safe?

A: Most electric scooters are considered safe if ridden responsibly on roadways that allow them, and in accordance with the speed limits in your area. Additionally, wearing a helmet and other protective gear is always a good idea while operating an electric scooter. See our Ultimate Guide to Scooter Safety for more.

Q: Can electric scooters be used off-road?

A: Some electric scooters are designed for off-road use, but it’s important to check with the manufacturer to make sure the scooter is designed to handle off-road terrain.

Q: Is it safe to ride an electric scooter in the rain?

A: That depends on the scooter. Please see our post on Best Electric Scooters for Riding in the Rain to learn more about which scooters function best on wet roads and how to navigate bad weather on your scooter.

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