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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Considering a Scooter?

Things to consider if you are seriously considering a fuel-efficient, cost-saving scooter.

Think about circumstance

Consider what time of day riding will occur
Is commuting with a scooter in the plans?  Will side roads be utilized, or is the commute strictly unavoidable highway time?  Will the travel be during peak or off peak traffic times?
Consider the regional weather
The conditions to be navigated, for the most part, can make or break your two-wheeled experience.  Long distance scootering on a rainy day may not prove to be pleasant.  Arid regions with more predictable weather patterns make scooter riding a more viable option.  

Prepare necessary skills

Most states provide a motorcycle/scooter safety course.  This is for the benefit of the rider and those around the rider.  Check out your state's Department of Motor Vehicles or the Department of Highway Safety for further information and details.  If a friend or acquaintance owns a scooter, ask for some guidance and hands-on knowledge.  Use caution by riding slowly and begin in a vacant location.

Decide on size and strength  

Surprisingly, not all scooters are the same size.  Wheel size, seat length, height and even distance from seat to handles can vary from scooter to scooter.  Power also varies as well.  Some scooters are capable to reaching higher speeds, suitable for highway riding, while others are better equipped to hug the side roads.  Scooters get great gas milage, ranging from 50 to 100 mpg.  This alone attracts buyers to the two-wheeled scooter market.   Each buyer must consider his/her needs, lifestyle and ultimate purpose in purchasing a scooter.  Trying them on for size is a good idea.  Take note of their feel, size and ease of movement to ensure a proper fit.

Review the laws

Most states have differing laws regarding licensing of motorized scooters.  To find out more informations specific for your state, check online at your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.  A nonaffiliated site called DMV.org is another high-volume information portal. 

In most states you'll need an operators's license, tags and registration, just like a car.  Most of the time, this law includes scooters of 50cc and less.  If the scooter is larger and faster, 150cc to 300cc, it may require a motorcycle endorsement added to your driver license, or an additional motorcycle-only license.  

Parking can also differ depending on the state.  Regarless of whether the scooter will be used for leisure, commuting, or both, inquire about laws regarding street and garage parking.  It's better to know before you go.  

Add insurance

The setback isn't as high as the risk, when it comes to insurance.  Cost may be as little as $100.00 a year.  Since a scooter isn't that much larger than a bike and may be easily stolen, insurance is must.  

Purchase safety gear 

Last and certainly not least is the purchase of a helmet.  There are many options and opinions on what is best while traveling the open road.  One fact doesn't change though; wearing a helmet will protect the head.  Brightly colored long pants and or long sleeve shirts are a good option as well, to protect skin from road rash and sunburn.  Obviously, if scootering during inclement weather, having a full-face, shielded helmet will protect from rocks, bugs, rain, dust and wind.  Some people invest in multiple helmets for differing road conditions.  

Be responsible

Scootering does require more responsibility than riding a bike.  Learn about the laws, use and exercise caution on roads, be sure to ride safely with friends, and protect the life you have by wearing a helmet.