HomeSaving and SpendingOn a Roll: Scooters Hitting the Streets Again

On a Roll: Scooters Hitting the Streets Again

On a Roll: Scooters Hitting the Streets Again

Couple standing next to motorcycle looking at cell phone and smiling

In the 1980s, motorbikes and scooters enjoyed rapid sales and became a popular way to get around town. But the demand for these low-cost rides appears to have disappeared almost immediately, thanks in part to more economical cars and lower gas prices. on two wheels. Motorcycles and scooters are enjoying a renaissance of sorts thanks to their affordable price, good gas mileage, and low maintenance costs. Today, commuters can find more sizes, styles, and colors than ever before.

“We're seeing far more men than women buying them,” says Oscar Hernandez of My Scooters and ATVs in Arlington, Texas. “But it's really all ages, anything from 16 to 35.”

Hernandez credits a wider selection of body styles, along with affordability, with newfound popularity.

“Part of that is because when the price of gas went up, it was more economical — you get 80 to 100 miles per gallon,” Hernandez explains. “But the scooter itself is also cheaper.” Legally distinguishes between the two. Models with 50 cc of displacement (50 cc) or less qualify as mini scooters, while scooters can have up to 250 cc. While motorcycle engine sizes start at 250 cc, many beginner riders prefer to start with a scooter because it has an automatic transmission rather than the more complicated clutch pedal/shifter combination found on a motorcycle.

“If you're just starting out, though, you'll want to start with a smaller engine,” Hernandez advises. “I would tell anyone who starts driving a 50cc to get more experienced.”

Keep in mind that there are some legal aspects involved in traveling on a scooter. In many states, drivers who pass a written test can only take to the streets at age 15, reducing the time required by a year in some states to get behind the wheel of a car. Anyone with a regular driver's license can drive a motorcycle, and some states allow motorcyclists to get their license at age 14. Unlike scooters and motorcycles, mopeds are allowed to use bike lanes – but not sidewalks. However, unlike scooters and motorbikes, they are allowed to use designated bike lanes.

In general, scooters face stricter laws than scooters. To qualify as a scooter, it must be 50 cc or larger, require a gear shift and be able to reach speeds of over 30 mph. Qualifying as a scooter also means that the driver will need a Class M motorcycle license to be street legal. Check to see your state's requirements for licensing, as requirements can vary from state to state.

Choosing your ride

Choosing the right scooter for you is a lot like choosing a car. You'll need to think about how you'll use it and what kind of roads you'll be driving on. For example, if you're looking to buy a two-wheeled bike just to go to work and the trip is short with fairly heavy traffic, you don't need a lot of speed – so a scooter can do the trick. But if you've set your heart on hitting highway speeds, turn your attention to a larger engine to do the job.

Also, no matter what you choose, be sure to double-check all licensing and insurance requirements in your state before purchasing. As with motorcycles, you'll always want to wear a helmet—even if state law doesn't require it—and be sure to wear brightly colored clothing because two-wheelers can be difficult for motorists in cars to see.

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