Should I get a scooter or a motorcycle?
Frequently new riders who want to migrate to two wheeled motorized vehicles may consider a scooter instead because it’s a more economical solution, but may be terrified of the power of some motorcycle engines. Buying a scooter can be a great alternative. Scooters are virtually mini motorcycles. However, a scooter will have the rider sitting upright and feet will be resting on floorboards instead of pegs. There’s no shifting involved either.
And yet, there may be one inherent question on your mind: are scooters dangerous? Well, before getting into the specifics, you should know that operating any motorized vehicle comes with some level of danger. An accident could happen to just about anyone. Even the most experienced motorcyclists and scooterists get into accidents. What’s the main reason for this? People can’t always see you. Most bike accidents are not caused by high speeds; they happen when a car turns in front of a bike (bicycle, motorcycle, or scooter) at an intersection.
At the end of the day though, what are you safer driving? While a car can go faster, and could very well get into high speed accidents, you are protected in the vehicle by a steel cage, seat belts, and airbags. Each year, cars come out with higher crash safety ratings. On the other hand, there is literally zero crash protection on a motorcycle or scooter. Your entire body is exposed to the elements. There’s simply no such thing as a fender bender in the world of two-wheeled vehicles. You’re bound to be bruised or grazed to at least some degree.
Most states label higher powered scooters as motorcycles. So, let’s focus on the smallest scooters, the 50cc motors. These scooters can reach speeds between 30 and 45 mph, depending on a few factors. However, 50cc scooters have extra small tires. It may be very difficult to maneuver the scooter in different situations, and the bike may seem unstable at very low speeds. So, it’s easy to make one wrong move and consequently fall off that scooter. One thing to keep in mind: falling off that scooter will cause the same damage as falling off a full-sized motorcycle. That road is gonna hurt, no matter what circumstances are involved.
Furthermore, many states do not require a motorcycle endorsement on licenses for riders of 50cc scooters. Only scooters above that power range need the endorsement. This means that many riders will hop on that scooter with little to no training before taking off down a main road. Bad, bad idea. It’s much safer (and smarter) to at least take a basic cyclist course. Most of those courses will hand out an endorsement at the end anyway. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when on a motorcycle or scooter.
At the end of the day, a scooterist must take extreme caution when riding on main roads. There’s always the chance that other drivers won’t see you, even if you’re wearing the proper gear. You must be aware of your surroundings at all times. However, following all of these instructions does not lower the danger nor erase the risk of accidents. Even if you are the safest driver on the street, there will be other drivers that do not follow all the rules of the road, and you will be completely exposed to any of their indiscretions. And scooters don’t always have the power to get you out of a sticky situation.
Scooters are dangerous, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ride one. All activities in life involve some inherent form of danger. That’s why we have adrenaline. Life is about the thrill of the ride. While a scooter may not be for everyone, don’t let the dangers completely discourage you. Just be safe and be responsible.