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Old 02-16-2007, 01:18 AM   #1
Anthøny OP
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Scooters more dangerous than motorcycles?

Assuming that one rides a motorcycle "sensibly", shouldn't a scooter of equivalent power be more dangerous due to less visibility and smaller wheel size?

In other words, are scooters safer simply due to the fact they are purchased by more "responsible" riders, who are less likely to hit the mountain twisties? Or is there some critical factor that I'm missing from the equation?

The lower center of gravity is the only real advantage that I see in something like a Burgman 650.
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:37 AM   #2
Ricardo Kuhn
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:57 AM   #3
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It think all 2 wheeled vehicles have inherent dangers and safety benefits to them, for example:

Big Scooters (Burgmans, etc) are large and visible just like motorcycles, plenty power and plenty breaking. With all the body paneling it can provide some extra protection, such as legs being protected.

Small Scooters can be definately harder to see, but make up for it in agility, the small tires and smallness of itself can be of benefit also. Also many (not near all though) do not leave the confines of the city and many ride in groups all the time, creating better visibility.

Plus, for me for example, driving standard takes alot of concentration on my part, with the twist and go I have more time to see what is around me, be it beautiful views or SUV's.

Either way though, all 2 wheels have danger in them and there have been alot of accidents with scooters, just like MC's no matter how safe you drive.
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Old 02-16-2007, 07:18 AM   #4
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Personally i think riding anything two wheels is dangerous and anyone riding should have taken rider courses and have sound judgement. Furthermore one should develope "eyes in the back of there head" as well as have survival insticks and very fast reflexes.

Its more about rider ability than the choice of two wheels. Road selection, cc's, are far more important rather than scooter vs. motorcycle selection.

Just my .02$
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Old 02-16-2007, 07:55 AM   #5
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True that. First thing I did was MSF course.

But, us Canadians are sefety conceious, we even have helmet laws! Problem is my helmet covers the eyes on the back of my head.
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Old 02-16-2007, 07:58 AM   #6
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Big scooters are easier to see than typical low black cruiser. Colors help. As does gear.
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:39 AM   #7
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I think one of the biggest safety factors affecting scooters and scooter riders is not the scooter itself but the misconception that they do not carry the same risks as motorcycles.
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
I think one of the biggest safety factors affecting scooters and scooter riders is not the scooter itself but the misconception that they do not carry the same risks as motorcycles.
Well said....
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Old 02-19-2007, 08:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricardo Kuhn
The lack of Gyro will Kill you. . .

Good point, almost.

Big wheels have more mass so stuff like centerfugal force makes bigger wheels into gyroscopes. Hitting unseen bumps will throw a little wheel further off track... inertia and whatnot, large masses take more force to change course. This is one of several reasons to go fast over jagged rocks, potholes or loose sand. Anyone who has any seat time in dirt knows that you weight the pegs in iffy terrain so you can flick your weight around to correct balance quickly. Scooting encourages all weight on the seat and ZERO flickability.

Lots of scooters have really bad brakes also.

I still want one.
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Old 02-20-2007, 06:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLK
Anyone who has any seat time in dirt knows that you weight the pegs in iffy terrain so you can flick your weight around to correct balance quickly. Scooting encourages all weight on the seat and ZERO flickability.
If all the weight was on the seat, you'd not have floorboards. and since it has handlebars, just like any other bike, countersteering works.



You can counterweight a scoot all day long in slow stuff.
While the small wheel vs. big wheel physics are there, they are not insurmountable off road--scoot trials are common in europe.



You can toss it around a turn like any dirtbike.





Vespa built an ISDE model in the 80's and ran it in Dakar.



The biggest difference is in adjusting the inputs. It takes MUCH less input to move the scoot around due to all the different things going on--wheelbase, tire sizes, etc. The upside as I've discovered is that once I get back on my big bike I'm much more precise and smooth.

On most scoots you can also move your feet fore/aft by quite a bit and experiment with that as well.

I've done a fair amount of off-roading on my Stella out of morbid curiosity. It'll trundle along quite well on singletrack and is fairly stable on gravel once you get used to what it's doing. Obviously noone is saying it's designed to supercross, but neither is an FZR.
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Old 02-20-2007, 07:24 AM   #11
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Addendum...

I always ride with SWMBO so this affects my choice in motorcycles--we're always 2-up so she chooses and purchases the back half of the bike, and I get to use the front half.

I'd like to do some off-roading, and that isn't going to happen much without her along, so I've been looking at getting us a pair of TW's.

She rides motorcycles (she's a good rider), but absolutely loves scoots. I'm not gonna try and change that, so Plan B might be Plan A: a pair of dirt scoots.

So if the TW's don't happen, I'm gonna see about building up a pair of Zumas or something. Anyway, my post about the off-roading capability isn't to say they're a purpose-built off-roader, but that they're pretty adaptable critters, and that's what I'll probably start SWMBO on for off-roading which will mostly be camping in the NC mountains.

Anyone remember these? Honda EZ90. Fun little thing.

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Old 02-21-2007, 02:00 AM   #12
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It's all relevant and a trade off! One thing that makes the scooter feel safer, is the lack of manual controls. It has no clutch or foot controls. Most have a CVT transmission. The illusion of control makes us feel safer on a scooter! With a regular motorcycle, if you have to stop on hill, you may have to manipulate the throttle, the front brake, or rear foot brake and the clutch all at the same time. Sometimes balancing on one foot, if you haven't though far enough ahead! With the scooter you can hold either brake and it's twist-n-go, baby! The lack of these controls let's us look around a bit more and enjoy the ride that much more too. We are not thinking about what we need to do next, and what the proper procedure for coming to a stop or moving away from a trafficlight is. With experience this becomes second nature and thus easier, but we still need to do it and this makes it more difficult compared to a twist-n-go scooter.

In reality, a scooter is no safer than a motorcycle! Your body is experiencing the same risk as a motorcycle rider. You are out in the wind. On a scooter only gravity and your hands are holding you on the machine. If your momentum is upset you could easily fall off. With a motorcycle can use your legs to hold the tank section of the bike with.

The bigger question would be are you safer in a car or on a motorcycle? More people are killed on cars than on bikes! Of course, there are more cars on the road. So, again it's all relevant.
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:36 AM   #13
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The thread wandered from safety to off road and scooters aren't that great in the dirt. Id' get a nice TW and lube the chain all the time if i wanted to ride off-road a good amount of time.
The constant hum about safety makes it sound as though scooters are plopping on their sides all over the country owing to small wheels. Alcohol, tiredness, stupidity trump small wheels every time when one is considering safety.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthøny
Assuming that one rides a motorcycle "sensibly", shouldn't a scooter of equivalent power be more dangerous due to less visibility and smaller wheel size?

In other words, are scooters safer simply due to the fact they are purchased by more "responsible" riders, who are less likely to hit the mountain twisties? Or is there some critical factor that I'm missing from the equation?

The lower center of gravity is the only real advantage that I see in something like a Burgman 650.
Actually I'd say it largely depends on the individual scooter, where you are riding, how you ride, and your level of experience.

In traffic downtown, a scooter can be (IMHO) a little more safe for a rider with the right outlook - you are sitting nice and high up generally, have a good field of view, and with a CVT machine have a ride where you can concentrate more on idiot drivers than on changing gears. (Something you need to watch for on all bikes of course - but good if you are a newer rider not to worry about stalling it while doing stop and go on a steep hill - and instead worry about keeping an eye out for cagers trying to run you off the road)

I have a 150cc I ride every day 30-40kms during the riding season (usually a bit beyond what most people would call the riding season, but I stop short at ice and snow!) - and I definitely like being able to see over cars, and I feel it is a good combination of maneuverable and easy to drive. I do like a manual shift geared machine as well (and plan to get one in a couple years as an alternate rider for longer trips) but right now the CVT scooter is a comfortable, fun and decent ride. It won't stop like a sportsbike for sure, but I've pulled off with mine (front and back disc brakes) some pretty hairy stops when someone has pulled out in front of me just fine.

Main thing is to remember on ANY machine the following rules:

1. Know your machine - know how it brakes, steers, and know the limits.

2. Assume any driver out there is trying to kill you and make it look like an accident. (I tend to watch all the cars around me and see if they show any signs of really aggressive or clueless behaviour... in which case I will change lanes, slow down, speed up, or even pull off if someone is making me really nervous and I don't want to be around them. Like if I see an SUV driver with a cellphone in one hand, and the other hand making animated gestures while talking on the cellphone, and no hand left to steer with!)

3. There is no safe two wheeled vehicle. Sportsbikes are definitely better at braking, evading, etc - but I've seen at least a fair percentage of riders get tempted into irresponsible riding by the power of the machine. (And I've seen some 50cc moped riders who scare me because they can't ride 30 feet without wobbling all over the place)

To sum up what is probably a very overlength post - I don't think scooters are any less safe depending on where and how you ride. Too much depends on the rider and the area where you ride. (You wouldn't take a goldwing offroad, and you wouldn't take a 50cc scooter on a major highway - but in the right place, with a rider aware of the limits.... each is as safe as you are likely to get.)
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:13 AM   #15
pee wee
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Im gonna guess that because your all on an Adventure Website and not a strictly scooter site, that your not some N00bs right ??

I have the Dis-pleasure of seeing the Lowest of the Low in scooter riders...it's sad really. I see at least two a week come in on the flat decks and straps or a towing company...

Students and Commuters buy them here and treat them like Toys...disrespect the bike and usually smash the shit out of them and themselves. Is it safer that you can't get out of the way with the throttle....or the shit drum brakes...I doubt it.

It's about attitude..being a safe rider is Attitude....and the Dumb ones will Pay for it!!

I think Sport bikes are way more dangerous than scoots.....just look at the squids on them. I owned them for 10 years, fun but useless on the street. We bury one of two a year in Victoria from speed related crashes. Won't see that on a scoot will ya ??
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