E-scooters have been permitted on German roads since 2019. The trendy scooters have already become firmly established in major cities, where they are used either privately or as rental vehicles. Even in rural areas, they are becoming increasingly popular as a practical alternative to bicycles. However, while bicycles can be locked without any problems, this is not so intuitive with e-scooters – after all, such a scooter only provides a small area for attaching a security lock. We show you how best to lock and unlock your e-scooter and what you need to know about theft in general.
Where can I park my e-scooter in the first place?
Basically, the same applies to e-scooters as to bicycles. According to ADAC, you are allowed to park them on the side of the road, on sidewalks, and even in pedestrian zones (if approved for e-scooters), but all under the premise that pedestrians or road users are neither obstructed nor endangered. Parking in front of shop windows or driveways is therefore prohibited, but this applies equally to bicycles.
To increase protection against theft, you should always connect your e-scooter to non-movable objects such as railings, street lamps or bicycle stands – and ideally with a sturdy lock that cannot be easily picked. Don’t underestimate the (in)drive of potential thieves, because their low dead weight (7-20 kg on average) makes e-scooters a literally easy target if not properly secured.
What e-scooter locks are there?
So let’s move on to the question of how best to lock an e-scooter. As with bicycles, there are a variety of different locks available, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. The following table lists the common types of locks in descending order from insecure to secure:
|Cable lock||Easily portable, very flexible||Scarce security, vulnerable to all tools|
|Brake disc lock||Easily transportable, loud sound when shaken||Low security (more suitable as a 2nd lock), only applicable to disc brakes; vulnerable to angle grinders & lock picks|
|Handcuff lock||Secure and recommended by ADAC, resistance to angle grinders and lock picks||Limited diameter only (not universally applicable); susceptible to nut splinters|
|Folding lock||Secure, very portable||Inflexible; vulnerable to angle grinders, lock picks & nut splitters|
|Chain lock||Very secure, flexible, good resistance to angle grinders (as long as not attached to the ground!)||Longer chain = heavier = less portable; vulnerable to lock picks|
|Bolt lock||Very secure, stable, easily transportable||Inflexible (prefer to buy something longer); vulnerable to angle grinders & lock picks|
A security lock has two criteria you should consider when buying: security and durability. One is as useless as the other unless both are present at the same time! So make sure that the model of your choice has either been awarded as a test winner and/or has very good online reviews.
As for security, in general, the bigger the city and the longer the e-scooter is left unattended, the more secure the lock should be. For student towns and large cities, we therefore recommend a medium to high security level. It is often also worthwhile to apply a second lock to best prevent theft. Brake disc and cable locks are often used as an additional security measure, as they offer less protection on their own. This may sound costly, but when you consider how much you’ve spent on your e-scooter, it should all be worth this small effort.
How do I attach the lock to my e-scooter?
There are several ways you can lock and unlock an e-scooter. The easiest way is if your e-scooter has an eyelet on the handlebar through which you can pull the lock. However, when buying the lock, make sure that it also fits through the eyelet. U-locks and folding locks can sometimes make problems here.
If this is not the case, you can also use the connection between handlebar and footboard. This type of attachment is seen relatively often because it is secure and well suited for most types of locks. It’s also easier to accomplish than weaving the lock cable through the tires.
Also possible, although unsafe: the fixation by means of brake disc lock. As outlined in the last section, however, such locks are more likely to be considered a secondary option, as the cables are often thin and quickly cut, and the locks themselves can be easily broken.
A fourth option, which we do not recommend, is the installation of a lock holder on the handlebar. The problem with this is that it interferes with the structure of the e-scooter and in the worst case loses the approval (ABE).
Electronic security as an add-on
Alarm systems and GPS trackers serve as a handy add-on if you don’t want to rely solely on the mechanical protection of locks. Rental scooters already use such electronic security methods to locate potential thieves. But trackers and alarms can also be installed for private use, which then react with a high-pitched beep, for example, if someone unauthorized tries to tamper with your e-scooter.