And then frustration set in. Local business man Jason Liff started Motoscooto on Wayne Avenue at the height of gas prices- and since then, prices have been dropping steadily- as unemployment has gone up. His selection of quality scooters has improved- adding the Genuine Scooter brand and CFMoto to a line up of LinHai and Fly Scooters.
In a conference call the other day with some other Genuine dealers, he found out that their bread and butter scooter sales is in a scooter he can barely sell- the 50cc variety. And it comes down to State laws- with Ohio having some of the most byzantine of options.
In many states (note, I can find a definitive list for Mopeds, but not for scooters) two wheel vehicles under 50cc’s don’t require anything but a valid driver’s license – and if they have pedals, may not require a license at all if they can’t go over 30 mph.
In Ohio we’ll allow a 14 or 15 year old on the road with a Moped- with a “probationary license”. Yet, we don’t require a motorcycle helmet or the completion of a motorcycle safety course for adults, we require a Motorcycle license to ride anything without pedals. This adds a level of bureaucracy that severely hampers sales of the most energy-efficient scooter- the 50 cc- which all get over 90 mpg. Buyers realize that if they have to get a license- they may as well opt for a 125cc or larger scooter.
It also changes insurance costs- lumping the two types together in one category- motorcycle.
It’s time to make a uniform law across the nation that allows 50cc scooters to be ridden by any adult with a valid driver’s license with a helmet to encourage use of these energy-efficient vehicles.
The quickest and easiest way to reduce the need for foreign oil is to use less of it. Inexpensive, quick, fun, 50cc scooters are a huge step in the right direction. Because California banned the 2 stroke scooter- unless it meets its tougher emission status these small scooters can cut oil consumption and emissions. If we all just took 10% of our trips by scooter- in the summer months- the effects would be … (I’ll leave it up to our math quant reader to calculate the impact).
Other laws should also be changed: free parking of scooters in garages, on sidewalks (as long as they don’t impede pedestrian flow) and permissible use of bike lanes- with cyclists getting preferred rights- can make this a more scooter-friendly nation.
In Europe where gas prices have been in the $7 gallon range for a long time- scooters are everywhere, year round. The Federal government has already standardized driver’s licenses and forced States to comply with drinking ages, and your driver’s license in one state works in others- it’s time to put a nationwide standard for scooter licensing, with incentives for scooter commuters.
Our dependence on foreign oil is an issue of national defense- it’s time we tried the 50 cc solution.