If you’ve just gotten your first scooter or you are looking to purchase one of those fancy foldable electric scooters for adults, you’re probably wondering where it is safe to ride them. In the following article, we will explore what you need to know before taking your moped on the highway and other roads.
Know your highway and your scooter
It is important to know that not all roads are the same, and riding on a rural highway that has very little traffic is very different than trying to ride on a main transportation artery that often times can be jammed with trucks and cars. Thus, getting on a scooter on a highway has much to do with how confident you feel to ride it in conditions like those described above.
As far as the legality of the question, scooters are free to go on the highway in most states as long as they can achieve highway speeds. This means that you will need to purchase a scooter with 150cc of displacement or more. Most drivers recommend a vehicle in the 300cc class or more if you intend to do some serious highway riding.
Furthermore, most 150cc scooters tend to be too small for highway riding since they must be ridden at full-throttle constantly in order to compete with the highway traffic. Since they are air-cooled, rather than water-cooled, the motor wear at high RPMs is increased considerably.
If you are a new scooter driver, you will also need to make sure you read about the safety requirements that each state has. Most states prohibit riding a scooter on a highway without protective headgear.
Similarly, there may also be certain engine sizes or horsepower minimums, and you will need to make sure that you meet them before you venture on the highway. A highway that is part of the American Interstate system, for example, may not be the best route to take since it can be impractical to ride on it except for short distances between exit ramps.
On the other hand, a rural two-lane highway that has a modest speed limit can offer a good ride for longer periods, especially for beginner riders.
For most people, the biggest problem with riding a scooter on the highway is stability, which is also why larger vehicles are recommended. It is much easier to feel stable when you are on a 500-pound motorcycle than on a scooter that can weigh half of that.
Even so, you should not be afraid that a lighter machine will not be stable since it is still able to stick to the road and follow a line. The thing you will need to be careful about is the wind resistance which can be quite tough to handle on a highway when you are riding at speeds of over 70mph.
While scooters are free to go on the highway, the rider needs to be prepared mentally since for a beginner this experience can be quite frightening. Even if they may seem scary at first, highways are not more dangerous than any other road. In fact, most riders are of the opinion that the danger of being clipped is higher on local streets at rush hour.
Even so, riding on the highway requires extra experience. You will need to be comfortable traveling at higher speeds, maneuvering, and stopping in case of emergency. These are important skills that may take time to nurture, so if you don’t yet feel confident enough to handle the highway, you will just need to give yourself more time.
When riding at speeds ranging from 50 to 75 mph, things happen very fast and you need to have the skill to make a quick decision that can then translate into action on your scooter, and each second matters. Low-speed skills can apply to higher speed riding, but you will need to train your response time.
If you want to test yourself and see if you are ready to ride on a highway, you can do some practice during the early morning weekends. There you can get comfortable with the speed and the way your scooter behaves at higher speeds without having to worry about the road being jammed with cars.
Furthermore, while riding a scooter you will need to do it defensively, as there is no need to be an aggressive rider, especially on the highway. Your main focus should be to keep yourself visible at all times and learn how to anticipate when you are most vulnerable. While all this may seem daunting at first, with time and patience these skills will become second nature.
Other aspects to consider
Not every highway is the same, they are differentiated by the amount of traffic, speed and the quality of the road surface. For example, if you are moving at speeds of over 70 mph on a busy road with a surface that is badly crumbled, you will have a much harder time than compared to a relatively empty highway that has a perfect surface you can ride on at any speed comfortably.
Thus, it is very important to know ahead of time what you are getting into. Furthermore, you will also need to make sure that you have enough power to move at a reasonable speed while also taking into account other traffic. Commuting at rush hour in areas where the traffic crawls along won’t be difficult for your scooter.
Things can get a bit difficult when you are considering riding on the main artery where there is a lot of fast-moving traffic. In these conditions, you will need to ensure that you have enough power to travel at a reasonable speed without inconveniencing the other drivers.
The idea that scooters don’t have enough power to go on the highway is the main reason that this mode of transportation gets dismissed so easily. The good thing is that you can find scooters that are fast enough to handle the highway at very reasonable prices nowadays.
In the end, deciding whether you should ride a scooter on the highway is ultimately a personal choice that is dependent on a wide variety of issues. There is no wrong answer, you are the person that knows you the best, and if you feel ready and confident enough to take your scooter on the highway you should definitely do it.
There are tons of scooter riders that choose to ride on highways and freeways every day, and they enjoy it.
Others choose to avoid big highways since they find it is not much fun to ride on a scooter since they can’t enjoy the scenery and need to be alert at all times and pay great attention to the crowd of vehicles. People also tend to feel safer in their car when driving on the highway.
Thus, the answer to the question of whether you can ride a scooter on the highway is a qualified yes, but whether you should do it is something that only you can answer.