Can Scooters Be Driven on Freeways?

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Most states allow scooters on highways and freeways, believe it or not. Access to the large conduits has nothing to do with the scooter itself. Generally, most state highway rules require a certain engine capacity to be legally on the big road. On average the minimum engine size needs to be at least 180cc. This is because any vehicle traveling on a freeway needs to be able to consistently maintain the minimum safe speed for that road, usually 55 mph. Riding on the freeway with a scooter has other issues to consider, however, which can affect your riding ability and choice to be in the "fast lane."

Safe Highway Riding

Taking a scooter on a highway means traveling fast on a pair of 10-inch wheels and hoping that everything in your scooter engine continues to work consistently the whole time. For that reason, you want to be sure your scooter has been thoroughly gone through mechanically before trying high speeds. Piston seizure due to overheating can result in an instant engine lock-up and skidding. Without knowing how to deal with these instances you will surely crash before being able to get off the freeway lanes. A tire blowout can have the same results.

Safety: Consider Your Environment

The highway is no place to mess around when riding a two-wheeled vehicle. You are completely exposed to the elements and environment. You are traveling at a high speed, at least 55 mph, and any immediate stop will likely propel you off the scooter and directly to the pavement.

It is absolutely critical for the rider's survival in an accident to be wearing top-notch motorcycle armor and gear when riding on the highway. Sure, you can ride without it, but at high speed, contact with pavement will essentially melt and shred ordinary clothing off of you and will tear skin and muscle down to bone in a matter of seconds. Motorcycle gear and armor, similar to that worn in actual motorcycle racing competition, is highly recommended. In a nutshell, it can be the difference from getting up and walking away from an accident with bruises to not getting up at all.

Armor includes a top grade motorcycle helmet, leather jacket and pants with thick, crash-resistant leather build and hard shell inserts at shoulders and joints (knees and elbows), good thick boots, well-designed gloves with padding, and a back protector armor worn inside and cinched at the waist. All these items allow the body to survive an initial skid impact with pavement far better than any ordinary clothing. Armor will not prevent broken bones, but it can tremendously dampen impact and reduce damage received.

Sensory Deprivation

The biggest cause of accidents for scooters on the highway is usually not the scooter driver him or herself. It often is the cause of a car driver. The reasons can vary but they usually have to do with a couple of critical problems:

• Car drivers don’t see scooters near them. • Car drivers don’t hear scooters near them.

The first two problems are sensory. Drivers have a hard time seeing a vehicle as small as a scooter on the highway. They are used to seeing cars and large trucks and have great difficulty noticing regular motorcycles. Scooters are half the size of a motorbike, which only makes the detection problem worse in car drivers. Further, scooters are not very loud. Take the highway sound, the car engine itself, or noise and music inside with the driver, and the scooter itself just doesn’t exist sound-wise.

Driver Courtesy

American drivers have primarily grown up with the idea that cars dominate the road. Motorcycles and scooters are oddball things that just don’t belong on the freeway. Some characters actually believe it’s their job to convince riders of their mistake. They cut off riders, make immediate lane changes, block their access, or generally insult them passing by. A rider not expecting this behavior can be quickly surprised and distracted, causing an accident.

Alternatives

Generally, if you can avoid it stay off the highways. Many regional roads reach the same destinations as highways. If you feel the need or benefit, however, make sure to ride safe and keep your scooter at optimum performance to avoid critical failures and accidents.

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