There’s nothing quite like cruising the open road. But when it comes to your mode of transportation, do you see yourself on a motorcycle or a scooter? The two-wheeled vehicle that’s best for you depends on a lot of factors. When it comes to scooters vs motorcycles, motorcycles are usually harder to learn to ride but have larger engines and top speeds, while scooters are more fuel efficient, cheaper and have better maneuverability. This makes scooters a good choice for urban commuters. Before we go into more detail about scooters vs. motorcycles, be sure you get proper driving and safety instruction for whichever vehicle you choose. Most people usually consider motorcycles for a two-wheeled daily commute, but if you want something smaller, a scooter may be a better option for you. Yet, there may be one inherent question on your mind: which is safe to ride.
Scooters vs. Motorcycles: What’s the Difference?
You may think of a scooter as a small motorcycle, and in some respects, a scooter is comparable to a motorcycle. Both have two wheels, an engine or motor, and is something you sit on to ride. Below are the defining attributes of a scooter:
- A scooter (also called a motor scooter) has a step-through frame with an area to rest the rider’s feet. Most are shaped like a platform instead of foot pegs, similar to a traditional motorcycle.
- Scooters have engines starting at 50cc and increase in size up to 850cc. There isn’t an upper limit incorporated to the definition of a scooter, but only a minimum. That maximum currently available is around 850cc.
- Beyond those attributes, there are additional subtle differences between motorcycles and scooters such as smaller wheels, storage space, the transmission used, and traditional front bodywork that some motorcycles don’t have. Given these specs, does that make a scooter safer than a motorcycle?
Are Scooters Safer than Motorcycles?
Despite common misconceptions, scooters are just as dangerous as motorcycles.
- Smaller Wheels – Scooters typically have smaller wheels than a motorcycle. They will be less stable on the road compared to a motorcycle primarily due to the smaller wheels giving less gyroscopic effect (hence the need to be upright). They will also be more susceptible to react to the small hazards in the road, such as potholes, debris, and bumps.
- Less Visibility – It’s difficult to see motorcycles in traffic. A scooter, which is smaller than a typical motorcycle, will be even more difficult to see, putting you in more dangerous when you’re surrounded by heavy traffic, as other motorists may not recognize a scooter and rider in their path on the road.
- Lack of Gear – Scooters are not widely seen as a true commuter vehicle, so riders tend not to wear the proper safety gear while riding compared to a normal motorcyclist. They opt to ride without a helmet, proper jacket, pants, or even good protective footwear. If you’ve been on vacation to a resort or beach, you may have seen the scooter rentals available. They don’t typically ask for a motorcycle license or if you brought proper safety equipment. Therefore, you’re more at risk sans protective gear on a scooter than being on a motorcycle.
Before we go into more detail about scooters vs. motorcycles, be sure you get proper driving and safety instruction for whichever vehicle you choose.
Ease of Learning:
- Motorcycles with manual transmissions are more complicated to learn and master.
- Scooters are easier because they typically have automatic transmissions.
- Motorcycle engines range in size from 100cc to over 2,000cc.
- Most scooter engines range in size from 50cc to 250cc.
- Some popular motorcycle models can exceed 110 mph (though motorcyclists should always follow the speed limit).
- 50cc scooters can hit about 40 mph, while 250cc scooters can get up to 75 mph.
- A longer wheelbase and larger tires makes motorcycles more stable at higher speeds.
- Because scooter tires are small, they’re not suited for rough terrain.
- Many motorcycles average around 44 mpg; newer models can reach up to 85 mpg.
- Scooters are more fuel efficient, with some models averaging up to 132 mpg.
- Motorcycles have larger fuel tanks than scooters, which could mean refueling less often.
- Scooters are great for city commuters because of their size and maneuverability.
- Motorcycles have little storage, but saddlebags can be easily added for more room.
- Most scooters have a large under-seat storage compartment.
Turning and Maneuvering:
- A motorcycle’s longer wheelbase makes it less precise for maneuvering and turning at low speeds.
- A scooter’s smaller wheelbase makes for better maneuverability and turning.
- Both motorcycles and motor scooters require proper training and education, protective gear and knowledge of the rules of the road. There are loads of bad inuries and many causing to death on the highway of Nepal. Safety should always be a top priority.
- The main types of motorcycles are: Standard, Cruiser, Tourer, Sport Bike, Sport Tourer and Dual Sport.
- Scooters are typically categorized by engine size ranging from 50cc to 250cc.
Here we have some Scooter safety tips for you as well. While we always want safe riding, there will be inherent risks involved on either a scooter or motorcycle. Below are safety tips on how to ride safely on a scooter:
- Ride Defensively – Given the size of a scooter and their limited visibility, always ride with a plan in mind for safety. If a car turns in front of you, changes into your lane, or rides too close behind you, always be ready to make a course change to stay safe. You are your best defense against other motorists.
- Wear A Helmet – This one should be a no-brainer, and wearing a helmet has been proven to make a difference keeping your head safe. If you’re going to wear one piece of safety gear, make it the helmet.
- Be Visible – Bright colors can make you stand out from a sea of vehicles in traffic, help you stay visible at night with retro-reflective clothing, and generally allow other motorists to see you. Bright and bold can keep you seen and safe.
- Ride Within the Limit of Your Scooter’s Ability – Scooters should be thought of as mostly city street transportation unless they are capable of higher speeds. The smaller scooters may only be able to reach a top speed of 40-50 miles per hours, clearly deeming them not capable of highway or interstate speeds. Be sure to stay safe and ride your scooter appropriately.
- Treat it Like a Motorcycle – Whether your scooter is capable of high or low speeds, treat it like a motorcycle. Apply similar motorcycle safety tips you’ve learned while riding a scooter to keep you safe in traffic.