Increasing popularity of 'scooters' demands
Warm weather and soaring gasoline prices have more Idahoans parking cars and trucks at home and trying motor scooters as a less expensive means to commute to work, shop and complete other daily tasks.
Many recent motor scooter buyers in Idaho are new to riding and have little experience riding in traffic, do not wear proper safety gear and fail to understand the risks of riding two-wheeled vehicles, according to Pat Beale with the Office of Highway Operations and Safety.
“Statewide, motor scooter sales have steadily climbed since 2003,” Beale said. Sales in Idaho increased 24 percent during the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same quarter last year.
ITD makes no distinction between motor scooters and motorcycles.
“A scooter is typically smaller in size, has smaller wheels, an automatic clutch, and requires a step through. Mopeds always have pedals, travel slower than 30 mph and motors can’t exceed 50 cc in size,” Beale said.
Motor scooters require registration, a license endorsement for operators and will display a U.S. Department of Transportation decal certifying that the vehicle meets federal motor vehicle safety standards.
“All scooter riders need to have an endorsement on their valid driver’s license, their scooters must meet DOT standards, be licensed, and the riders must maintain liability insurance,” Beale said.
“Scooters are motorcycles, with all the same risks,” he said. Beale offered additional safety tips.
Motorcycle fatalities have increased in Idaho, from a record low of six in 1998, to 29 in 2007. Twelve motorcycle fatalities occurred in Idaho from January through May of 2008.