Riding At Night: Electric Scooter Lights

Electric scooter with all swag lights turned on at night

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 bicycles shows that most deaths occur between 6 pm and 9 pm, suggesting that visibility is a factor. If we assume that bicycles are at least as dangerous as electric scooters, then we can infer that riding in poor visibility is also as dangerous.

Most Electric Scooters Have Poor Built-in Lights

No electric scooter we have tested has adequate built-in lights and most 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. This gives you only a few feet of illumination to see the road. At speed, avoiding hazards with such little time is nearly impossible.  

Next, most 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, the 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 it seems that none of the electric scooter manufacturers are taking 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. It 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. It 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 Aren’t a Substitute for Real Lights

It’s worth mentioning that many electric scooters (with insufficient front and rear lights) 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.

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

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About the Author

Justin

Justin a cofounder of ESG and has a degree in engineering. He writes about the science and technology of electric scooters.

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