Buying a scooter: the best move you ever make
Terrible traffic, the high cost of fuel and the slow pace of public transport are factors that many women have to contend with when getting themselves around a city. But there is a way to get past all these obstacles and be the coolest gal on the block as well and that is by buying yourself a scooter.
Scooters are affordable, cost efficient to run and are now considered so stylish that they instantly convert any stretch of tarmac into a catwalk. If you need to deal with your transport woes, you'd be wise to give scooters serious consideration. Here's why:
They cost next to nothing
A brand-new scooter can cost as little as R8 000, with even top of the range models coming in at under R20 000. This means, at the cheaper end, that a scooter can be financed for as little as R310 per month. Even if you add fuel and insurance costs, this still works out cheaper than almost any car and most public transport options.
You'll save on fuel
While fuel costs vary wildly from car to car and scooter to scooter, some assessments say that you get five times more mileage to your fuel on a scooter than in a car. So the savings you get in running costs are enough to slash your fuel budget down by four fifths. And this will become even more important as the fuel price goes up.
You'll beat the traffic
Because you can pass cars in traffic jams, zippy little scooters generally get you through your rush-hour commute faster than any car would manage. Of course, it's important to be a responsible and cautious driver, but those extra minutes you gain every day are one of the main reasons that people love their scooters.
Scooters are stylin'
We've mentioned this already, but scooters have a whole new hipster appeal. In the past, scooters might have been considered cheap and nasty, now they have their own space in the cool market. If you own one, you'll be the hottest thing on two wheels (other than all the other scooter riders).
You'll be doing less harm to the environment
While scooters may not have the most efficient emission reduction technology, the lower amount of fuel required to power them naturally makes for lower emissions. Building, running and recycling scooters all cause less harm to the environment than the same processes for a car (unless that car is a bus full of people who would otherwise each be driving cars).
It's easy to get started
In South Africa, you need a motorbike learner's licence or motorbike driver's licence to ride a scooter. If you want to carry passengers, you will need the full motorbike driver's licence. The learner's licence is just a simple written test, and some scooter sellers even offer you coaching to help you to pass. You do not need to have your licence to buy a scooter (but you will need one the moment you're on the road).
And now for the downsides
Unfortunately driving a scooter isn't all rose-pink hues and chrome finishes. There are some drawbacks, which it's important to be aware of. Safety is one of the leading concerns for scooter drivers, since other drivers often do silly things and scooters offer their riders almost no protection.
Vehicle theft is also worth considering, although you can buy security products to make your scooter more secure and insurance to cover your loss. Your personal safety is also a concern, since you are more easily accessible to passersby and criminals.
There are also practical considerations like the weather (although you can buy rain gear) and whether a large portion of your commute is on a highway. Scooters are allowed on the highways in South Africa, but at that speed and traffic density, riding could be unpleasant.
So should you or shouldn't you?
Many scooter riders swear that buying their bike was the best thing that ever happened to them. However, scooters aren't for everyone. If you do a big daily commute on a highway, if you live somewhere with consistent bad weather, if you are extremely concerned about your safety on the road and if you frequently give lifts to other people, then a scooter probably wouldn't be the best option for you.
However, if you want to reduce your costs of transport and vehicle ownership, avoid getting caught in heavy traffic and reduce your carbon emissions (and look darn cool while doing it), then get down your nearest scooter dealer for a test drive, right away!