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Is Sally trading her Mustang for a scooter?

Posted: June 23, 2011 - 7:01PM
Author: Don Bain
Despite the current lull in gas prices and the government’s recently announced actions to keep prices low and stimulate the economy, the Motorcycle Industry Council has announced sales of motor scooters jumped 49.6 percent during the first three months of 2011. Inside info from Allstate Insurance suggests female buyers may be leading this trend. Almost three times more women requested quotes for scooter insurance in 2010 versus men.


As the lines blur between motorcycles and scooters when based on engine size – some scooters are now equipped with engines up to 800cc – the primary identifier is the "step-through" frame of the scooter.

"Americans continue to look for ways to trim their budgets and more are deciding two wheels cost less to drive than four," said Keith Rutman, vice president, consumer household unit for Allstate. "While economical and fun to drive, scooters can cost several thousand dollars. Adequate insurance coverage for the scooter and the driver are important and often-overlooked aspects of ownership."

Tips to avoid sacrificing safety for savings on your scooter:

• Since scooters are quieter and less visible than motorcycles, but can attain the same speeds, defensive driving is an absolute necessity.

• The typical tires on scooters are smaller and thinner than motorcycle tires, making them more susceptible to crashes from potholes and other road hazards.

• Protective clothing like leather, heavy denim and certified helmets used on motorcycles are better than typical summer wear, such as flip-flops, shorts and T-shirts, despite the warm summer weather.

• You should be aware that even though a scooter can access some non-street surfaces such as sidewalks, it doesn't mean it's legal to do so. Know the local laws before driving a scooter anywhere other than the street including restrictions on bike or other similar paths.

Scooters typically cost less to insure than motorcycles, but there are factors driving the price up or down, including age of the scooter, the experience of the rider, driving record and whether they’ve taken a safe-driving course.

So the old song warned Sally to slow her Mustang down – the new version might caution her to wear protective clothing and drive very defensively on her new scooter. Keep watching the charts for that one.