Jul
26
2016

Tips for Choosing and Riding Scooters or Motorcycles in a City

by Mae Williams for General Information, Lakewood

Motorcycle versus Scooter

Photo courtesy of dmv.ca.gov.

If you are looking for an easy and cost-effective way to get around a city, then look no further than purchasing a scooter or a motorcycle. The popularity of scooters returned when gas prices began to rise nearly a decade ago. While you might not see as many on the road, they are still in use by many as an easy way to travel within a city. Lakewood, home of Men’s Cuts  is a perfect community for scooter and motorcycle riders. The speed limit on main streets is 25 and most streets are one lane of traffic in each direction and there is ample street and lot parking spaces for these vehicles.

Difference Between a Motorcycle or Scooter

If trying to decide to purchase a scooter or motorcycle, you must first determine your need.   Do you want to only drive the vehicle on city roads or do you want to take it on the highways? Scooters are recommended for short distance city travel, while motorcycles are better for longer distance trips. Scooter and motorcycle riders’ safety will always depend on the skill and the ability of the driver. Both require wearing the right helmet and protective clothing. Below are a few of the differences and advantages of scooters and motorcycle to help you decide:  

Scooters:

  • Scooter is (or can be) cheaper than a motorcycle, especially if you are just using it for city travel. The prices range from under $1,000 to over $10,000 depending on if you want a very high-end highway capable scooter.
  • Scooters have a larger under-seat storage area than motorcycles
  • Scooter gets better gas mileage than a motorcycle. Some scooters can get up to 100 miles per gallon!
  • A scooter is easier to learn to ride as there is no clutch or gear changing.
  • Scooters are easier to maneuver. They are lighter weight and can turn quicker.
  • Scooter insurance is cheaper than motorcycle or car insurance.

Motorcycles:

  • Motorcycles are faster and accelerate quicker, which is good for highway travel.
  • Motorcycles have larger wheels and are a heavier weight.
  • Motorcycles are more stable at higher speeds, but less maneuverable at low speeds.
  • Motorcycles have a longer ranger before needing to refuel.

Consumer Reports has put together a guide comparing and contrasting buying a motorcycle or a scooter. It is always critical to do your research before making any purchase.

Scooter Law Requirements in Ohio  

Each state will have different requirements and definitions for motorcycles and scooters. Check with your state’s bureau of motor vehicles for specific information. In Ohio, scooters, such as Vespas, are classified as motorcycles. Riders must follow the laws that pertain to motorcycles. To drive a motor scooter, you much be at least 16 years old and have a motorcycle or motorcycle endorsement designation on your driver’s license.  This could require separate classes or training. Scooters must have a seat, cannot have more than 3 wheels touching the ground and have the proper brake lights, turn signals, horn, headlight and side rear view mirrors.

Scooter and Motorcycle Travel in the City

Scooters and motorcycles are generally easier to negotiate city traffic. Scooters are great for quick trips within the city limits and if you need to transport items that you purchased. No matter what form of transportation you choose, it is very important to be a safe and defensive driver. Below are tips for driving in a city that could pertain to both scooter or motorcycle drivers:

  • Always wear the proper protective gear when driving including helmet and clothing.
  • Keep alert and visible to the other drivers around you.
  • Protect the lane you are riding in. It is best to ride in the middle of the lane and do not let other vehicles crowd you.
  • Do not ride in motor vehicle driver’s blind spots.
  • Avoid riding too close to parked cars. A person could open a door from the parked car unexpectedly hitting a scooter rider or they could dart into traffic without a signal.
  • Always be wary of potholes, construction and other obstruction on the road as these could cause more damage to a motorcycle or scooter rider if you don’t pay attention.
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians as they are not always paying attention to where they are walking and what they are doing. Some could be focused on their smartphone or deep in conversation and are unaware of their surroundings. This can be a very big safety concern for motorcycle and scooter riders. Be prepared to stop or swerve based on what a pedestrian is doing.
  • Ride respectfully and courteously to those around you. Do not swerve in and out of the lanes or traffic.

 

Lakewood, Ohio is a scooter and motorcycle friendly city. Enjoy your travels within the city and around town on your vehicles, but remember the most important tip for riding these vehicles is to be safe and alert.