With the beginning of school right around the corner, one of the biggest questions on any parent’s mind is how their child will get to class.
Whether you’re a parent considering your teenager’s first vehicle or if you’re a college freshman thinking of buying your own car, it may be a good idea to consider alternative transportation.
“Alternative transportation” usually conjures images of a sweat-drenched bike ride or an uncomfortable bus ride, but there is another option available.
In an era of environmental consciousness and high gas prices, a street legal scooter can be a perfect transportation choice for a student on a budget.
For a college student, a scooter can be the perfect ride as you cover the couple of miles to and from campus. Scooters offer a number of advantages over cars, especially on campuses with increasingly limited parking. Scooters were designed for quick, safe travel through city streets and are far easier to park than a car. But just like buying a car, there are some things you need to be aware of before your purchase.
So, how do you go about purchasing the right scooter for your needs? First, identify what you value the most:
- A cool, sleek look
- Light weight
- Easy handling
- Great gas mileage
- The latest model
- The lowest price
Once you’ve identified what it is that is most important to you when purchasing that scooter, then you can actually begin considering other points that will influence your decision to purchase. Some of these include:
- Choose the right size engine for your needs. Gas powered scooters come in two engine sizes: 49cc and 150cc. 49cc engines are the most common, since most states do not require a motorcycle license for engines under 50cc. Generally scooters of this size will have a top speed of 35 to 50 mph, making them much safer than motorcycles. 150cc scooters are rarer and require a motorcycle endorsement on your license, but they will provide more power at similar mileage rates to a 49cc. If you are a heavier rider or if you plan on carrying a passenger, a 150cc scooter might be the best choice for you.
- Proper paperwork and insurance. As mentioned above, you may need a special motorcycle endorsement on your license depending on your purchase. Your scooter dealer will be able to instruct you on the proper paperwork. And just like for a car, you’ll need insurance. Luckily, insurance for scooters only costs around $100 per year, which is peanuts compared to the cost of insurance for motorcycles or a car.
- Keep in mind it’s difficult for cars and SUVs to see you. Accidents happen more often to motorcycle and scooter riders because the vehicles are physically smaller and just that much more difficult to spot. When you purchase a scooter, make sure it has everything you need to make yourself visible, and also make sure that when you’re actually driving one, to drive defensively, even if you have the right of way.
- Considering what cargo or other people you may need to transport. Practically speaking – what and who are you going to transport on your scooter? Are you going to purchase groceries? Will you be giving friends rides to class? Or do you need to just go to the gym?
- Test, test, and test again. Just like buying a car, you’ll want to test different brands at your local scooter dealers. Check how comfortable your seat is, how easily your feet reach the ground, and how difficult it is to move the scooter back and forward with your own power while seated.
- Buying the right gear. Some people like to go all-out with safety equipment, while others prefer to take risks in this regard. You may want to at least purchase brightly-colored clothing to make yourself more noticeable to drivers. Other gear you may be interested in purchasing includes helmets and visors for protecting your head and face.
Follow these tips for purchasing your next scooter and everything will be okay. Above all, be sure to enjoy your new scooter!
Mike Cushing is a recent graduate of the University of Florida and a freelance writer for Bintelli, a brand of wholesale scooters with industry leading features and superior customer service.