I <3 My Scooter

FACT: Scooters are the best way to travel. Don’t believe me?  Read on, friend!

I recently purchased a 50cc Buddy scooter – the same one shown in that picture on the right there.  I’ve affectionately named her Sasha, after J.D.’s scooter on Scrubs.  Isn’t she pretty??

Aside from the inarguable fact that she’s a sexy bitch, there are several reasons why buying a scooter is a very smart way to travel.

  1. They’re environmentally friendly! My love for scooters goes far beyond their eco-friendly nature, but I feel obligated to start with this point since it’s Green Week and all.  My scooter gets about 50-75 miles per gallon since I mainly drive in the city with a passenger (added weight), but 50cc scooters can get up to 100mpg!  Not to mention, there are some amazing futuristic-looking zero-emissions electric scooters on the market, and I’m sure that many more are soon to come.
  2. It’s cheap! My scooter cost a grand total of $2,199.  The monochromatic version costs a mere $1,999, but I liked the pretty colors.  Dealers allow you to have a variety of payment plans, so you can pay as little as $40-80/month depending on the model and the sale.  Here in Boston, a monthly pass for the subway costs $59/month.  Believe it or not, it’s cheaper than public transportation!
  3. Getting gas is fun! This goes hand-in-hand with my “it’s cheap” point, but this makes me so happy I’m making it a separate bullet.  I’m sure that for car owners, going to the gas station is a dreaded experience.  I often drive up to the pump, see that the last person paid $60, and laugh maniacally.  My tank takes about $3.50 to go from being completely empty to completely full.  No joke.
  4. It’s easy! A 50cc scooter is classified as a moped.  This means that you don’t need to get a motorcycle license.  You don’t need to get insurance.  My scooter even came with a two-year $1,000 warranty and roadside assistance.  All you need is a regular driver’s license and a helmet, and one quick trip to the RMV to get it registered.
  5. All your friends will be jealous! All of your friends with cars will immediately hate your guts, and rightfully so!  Can their cars park on the sidewalk?  Can they drive in the bike lane?  Can their cars squeeze into itty bitty alleys?  I think not!

By this point I know you’re thinking, “What’s the catch?”  The one downside is that a 50cc scooter can only go a maximum of 30 miles per hour, which is perfect for city driving but can be restricting anywhere else.  You can get more powerful scooters, but then they’d be in the same category as a motorcycle, so you’d need to get a license and actually use a real parking space.  The only other negative is that it’s unpleasant to ride in the rain.  Those rain drops coming at you are like speeding bullets.  But it’s WORTH IT!  (I’m badass.)

Have I convinced you yet?  Why not??

DISCLAIMER: I only ride in Boston and I’m sure that other cities have various laws concerning mopeds.  Check your state’s RMV website and talk to your local dealer to see how it works in your city.

Christine Peterson Community Manager for Springpad, a mobile & web app based in Boston. A few of my favorite things: polka dots, brie, white wine, puppies, and entrepreneurialism. Follow me on Twitter: @captain_pete

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6 Responses to “I <3 My Scooter”

  1. Kaitlin Maud

    I would have agreed with you two years ago.
    I had been a scooter’er for most of college and shortly after graduation my then boyfriend and I decided to buy a car. About 3 weeks after we bought the car I took it to visit my mom and on my way to her house I was in horrible car accident. A teenage driver pulled a U-Turn in the middle of the St without looking and I T-boned her (head-on)
    Had I taken my scooter to my mom’s house that day I would have probably died.
    I sold my scooter shortly after.
    This is not to say scooters aren’t totally awesome (cause they are) but as a rider you need to understand the extra risks that you have without the added safety of a giant box around you. Because you can take all the care in the world, but it’s someone else’s stupid driving mistake that could kill you.
    For some people (like me 3 years ago) the benefits outweigh the risk. If you asked me now, I’d never go back to scooting.

    • Christine Peterson

      Sure, but the same could be said for riding a bike in the city. Or even being a pedestrian sometimes. There will always be stupid people around, you can’t help that. And for me, getting a car wouldn’t be smart. Parking around my office costs a fortune and it takes about the same amount of time driving to work as it does taking the T because of traffic. You haven’t dissuaded me! ;)

  2. Duke Malia

    Kaitlin”s comment contains the truth that anyone riding w/out a 2000 lb steel box needs to ride/drive with that fact in mind. I ride a big freakin’ motorcyle whose advantage set is very different from that of the scooter. I have done so for a small slice of forever, but I too have to always ride with the “no box” fact in mind. I agree that your scoot’s a beauty, it’s fun, it’s green–but ride CAREFUL!! (while you’re havin’ fun).

  3. Tomas H.

    I really liked your post. I’m on the fence about buying something myself. I live in Worcester,MA and have no intention of riding on the highway at all. I was looking for something small to ride around the suburbs and outer towns to ge to scenice places perhaps or just to go to the store.
    So if I get a 50cc scooter I don’t need insurance or a motorcycle liscence? I just need to get it registered at the DMV?
    If that is truly the case I should just pick up a fun 50cc scooter and go riding around.

    Although I’d be mostly getting the scooter for fun its also to save some miles and gas money on my car as I drive around 90 miles per day on average. This would cut some of my weekend miles

    • Christine Peterson

      Thanks Tomas! The actual law in Massachusetts is that a scooter can be classified as a “moped” if the engine is smaller than 50cc. So, the scooters that are labeled as having a 50cc engine actually have 49cc engines inside. Tricky! But being classified as a “moped” gives you the perks of parking on the sidewalk, riding in the bike lane, you don’t have to get a motorcycle licence, etc. If you’re nervous, I’d still get insurance (it would help you pay for any damage you might cause other cars), but I don’t have insurance. I skidded on wet asphalt a couple months ago and smashed the front headlight in and it only cost about $100 to fix like new. (Plus about $300 for a hospital visit, but that was covered by my regular insurance!)

      The only downsides are that (1) you can’t go over 30mph legally (and can physically only go up to about 40mph going down a really steep hill), and (2) the cops really don’t understand scooter laws so you might get pulled over every once and a while. If that doesn’t bother you, go for it!!

      P.S. It only costs me $3 to fill up my tank. And I ride to work every day and only have to fill it up about once a week. WIN!


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