Scooters: Great Gas Mileage and Low Insurance Rates

Scooters are becoming more popular as gas prices continue to rise. While there are dangers associated with being a scooter owner, many people are turning to alternative forms of transportation such as scooters and motorcycles in an effort to save money.

A lot can be said for scooters. They are cheap, usually running around $3,000 for a new one and $1,500 for a used one. Scooters are also efficient: easy to park and small to ride. However, scooters are dangerous because they are not easily seen by drivers of gigantic SUVs, Hummers and minivans (even many cars). In addition, scooters usually only reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour: not exactly fit for navigating the interstates of Atlanta.

Despite the downfalls of scooter ownership, the alternative motorized vehicle can truly be a benefit to college students, particularly at places like Georgia State. Scooters can be parked like bikes, get up to 100 miles to the gallon of gas, and are perfect for the slow-speed, gridlocked roads of downtown Atlanta.

People from all over the country are turning to scooters to save money on gas. Fort Worth, TX scooter owner Bret Bolton told msn.com, “My old truck got about 19 miles to the gallon. Insurance ran $100 a month, plus tags. – I now pay under $100 a year for insurance, I get over 90 miles per gallon. I sold the truck last year.”

Owning a scooter is, for many, as much a “cult” phenomenon as motorcycle ownership. Many motorcyclists get together for trips, go to bars, and ride around in packs. Scooter owners are following in the footsteps of the motorcycle enthusiasts and starting online message boards like www.scooterbbs.com. At message boards like this one, owners can share stories and safety tips with fellow enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, scooters carry with them a great many dangers. Often, perhaps because of the slow speed of scooters, owners do not wear helmets (even though they are recommended) and can get seriously hurt or die in accidents. Many of these accidents are collisions with other vehicles. A much higher percentage of scooter accidents than regular motor vehicle accidents are solely from colliding with other cars, usually because car drivers simply do not see the rider in such a small vehicle. The statistics are evident in motorcycles as well, being that the forms of transportation are so similar.

According to msn.com, “NHTSA figures showed that collisions – 50 percent with another vehicle, 25 percent with a fixed object – were the cause of two-thirds of all motorcycle fatalities.”

Many of these deaths could be avoided if riders chose to wear helmets. In Florida, where there is no longer a helmet law, motorcycle and scooter deaths greatly increased once the law was no longer in place. Across the United States, 4,000 people died from motorcycle accidents in 2004. This was an increase of 8 percent from 2003.

Ultimately, scooters can provide an amazing money-saving opportunity to students if they are used efficiently and correctly. Helmets are a must for anyone thinking about a scooter or motorcycle and careful attention to the road is also important. With scooters, riders must be acutely aware of other drivers on the road, since drivers of larger vehicles can easily overlook smaller vehicles. The benefits of scooters are ones many students can appreciate, particularly in the age of billion-dollar-per-gallon gas. It is important, however, to remember safety at all times whenever one is on the road.

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