Commonly seen on the roads in the United States (aside from motorcycles) are scooters, or motor scooters. A scooter is defined as a two-wheeled vehicle with a step-through chassis and footrest platform. They were first developed in the early 1900s and have continued to gain popularity since their debut. The most common brand associated with a scooter is the Vespa, which was developed after World War II in Italy and has since been exported worldwide.
Scooters are powered by a small engine that provides all of the propulsion, with displacement ranging from 50cc to 250cc. Scooters typically operate on small 10-inch wheels and uses an electrical charging system, which powers the lights and ignition system and replenishes the battery. In comparison to motorcycles, scooters are more maneuverable due to their low speeds and are easier to ride.
Scooters generally have engines ranging between 50cc and 250cc. However, you can find a scooter with an engine up to 850cc in some western markets. With an engine that large, some may think it should be classified as a motorcycle, but the key difference is that scooters have a ‘step-through’ chassis design.
Scooters have a mixture of automatic and manual transmissions, but the automatic or CVT is the leading favorite with newer models due to their ease of use. They’re fuel-efficient, lightweight, and easy to handle, and unlike mopeds, many scooters have large enough engines that are far more capable of daily commutes.
Despite their physical attributes, there aren’t any differences in its legal classification. Scooters abide by the same rules as motorcycles. One must be at least 14 years of age to ride, but some states require a minimum age of 16. People who ride scooters are required to have a motorcycle endorsement to ride on the streets, motorcycle insurance, and proper riding gear including a helmet and eye protection. They obey motorcycle laws and complete similar, if not the same tests at the Department of Motor Vehicles, so be sure to study the motorcycle instruction manual and laws if your state does not have a specific test on scooter riding and ownership.