On Tuesday morning residents of the cities of Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip awoke to scores of electronic scooters (or e-scooters) dotting the landscape; on street corners, in backstreets, at tram stops – we spotted them.

The e-scooters are a part of a 12-month Vic Roads trial in the three council areas designed to ascertain how (and if) the nifty, eco-friendly devices can be safely incorporated into our communities. (We can only hope it goes better than the ill-fated Obike trial of 2017.)

Arriving at the Broadsheet office this morning, a bank of seven of them were conveniently deposited out front. Beckoning us as they were, I, along with our intrepid social media team, took a spin.

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As passers-by stopped for a stickybeak, we quickly downloaded the Neuron Mobility app, signed up with our details and then scanned a QR code set between the handlebars, which seamlessly activated the session and released the helmet. We were ready to ride.

Or were we?

Confidence, it must be said, was at a low ebb and we did have a discussion about our publication’s insurance for these sorts of antics. Much to our relief though, the sturdy scooters are impressively stable, and much, much heavier than you might imagine.

These are, after all, not razor scooters. With a maximum speed of 20 kilometres per hour you could certainly do yourself (or someone else) some damage, but we reckon you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy they are to manoeuvre. Just don’t get carried away. As with any motorised vehicle, use your common sense and pay attention to the road – worryingly, it’s not all that uncommon to find yourself paying a visit to the emergency room after riding these things.

Pushing off as if you’re on a skateboard adds the momentum you’ll need before pumping the gas on the right handlebar to get the full experience. Keep a steady pressure on the accelerator to hit your sweet spot, and always keep both hands ready to wind back the brakes, which are activated with a flick of the wrist.

Once you’re off and away, it’s just a matter of steering it as you would a bike and keeping your speed in check. Our advice: steel your nerves but relax. It shouldn’t be long before the blind terror melts away, and, at just 45 cents a minute, it’s surely one of the city’s cheapest thrills – our 13-minute-or-so escapade set us back about $7.50, including a $1 activation fee).

When you’re done, find a convenient parking spot on the app’s map and pull up. Click the helmet back into place and let the app know you’ve finished the ride. The total cost is calculated and displayed in the app when you end the trip. You’ll be asked to take a photo to prove you haven’t jettisoned the scooter into the Yarra. And that’s it – no muss, no fuss and in this case, no injuries.

Your Six-Step Guide To E-Scooting in Melbourne

  1. Be 18 years old and under a 0.05 blood alcohol level – there are heavy fines and you could lose your driver’s licence if you’re caught drink-scooting (not to mention the serious risk to yourself and others).
  2. Download the Neuron App and sign up with your details.
  3. Scan the QR code to release the helmet and activate the scooter.
  4. Hold on and push off like you would on a skateboard.
  5. Gently pump the gas using your right thumb; twist the handles backwards steadily to activate the brakes.
  6. Relax, drive carefully and get scooting.

Update, 10.45am, February 3: an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that e-scooters have a top speed of 25 kilometres per hour, rather than 20 kilometres per hour.