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Emissions

Costs

Congestion

Commuting on a scooter

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)

Age Restrictions and Riding Licences

What to Wear

Basic Security

Finally…


Green Consumer Guide to scootering
Scooters are a great alternative to cars on the daily commute to work. If more people used scooters to get to and from work, several of the UK's motoring problems would be eased;

· Emissions.
· Costs.
· Congestion.

The Green Consumer Guide Introduction to Scooters offers an insight into what to look for, and what to avoid, when considering the purchase of a scooter.

Emissions.

It is always more eco-friendly to choose a scooter over a car, but there are vast differences in emissions between scooters. The best type of scooter to select for low emissions is a 4-stroke. These scooters solely use unleaded petrol, which produces far less particulates than a 2-stroke scooter. The combustion process of a 2-stroke scooter uses both petrol and oil, which in itself is quite polluting. The latest 4 stroke scooters have a very high miles per gallon ratio of around 70mpg. Combined with the low emissions, this makes 4- stroke scooters the most eco-friendly choice for commuters.

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Costs.

Scooter prices vary from around £1000 for a small capacity model to around £6000 for larger versions. There is a vibrant used scooter market in the UK, and most dealers and classified listings will have quality second-hand models for under a grand. Four stroke scooters (recommended), start at around £1600 new.

A valid tax disc is a legal requirement for scooters. New scooters will usually come with road tax included, but after the first year the following annual road tax charges apply;

50cc - 150cc = £15
150+cc - 250cc = £40
250+cc and upwards = £65

Like car insurance, scooter insurance depends greatly on the age of the user and the size of the vehicle engine. However unlike car insurance, scooter insurance is seen on the whole as quite reasonably priced. For a Third Party Fire & Theft (TPF&T) policy on a 100cc scooter, expect to pay between £30 (for riders aged 40+) to around £150 a year (for riders aged under 19). Fully Comprehensive insurance is usually double that of TPF&T.

Most 4-stroke scooters use unleaded petrol, and deliver a very economical fuel consumption, usually between 50 and 70 miles to the gallon. Coupled with the low emissions, this factor makes scooters an environmentally-sound choice.

As with any vehicle, a warranty is recommended in case any repairs are required.

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Congestion.

The daily commute to and from work has, for many of us, become a frustrating experience due to excessive congestion. Recent statistics show that the average vehicle speed in Central London is a depressing 9 miles per hour. When considering that most people walk at a speed of 4 miles per hour the unnecessary environmental damage of the commute is put into perspective. Using a scooter enables riders to breeze through traffic jams and gridlocks, increasing your time-efficiency and minimising travel frustration.

Riding a scooter can negate the incoming £5 per day 'congestion tax' in Central London, which may also be introduced in cities across the UK during 2003.

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Commuting on a scooter.

The main consideration when riding a scooter to work is the length of your journey. This issue directly relates to the engine size of the scooter. Choosing the most applicably sized scooter for your daily needs will benefit the vehicle's lifecycle whilst maximising your personal safety and comfort.

For trips around 10 to 15 miles 50cc to 100cc scooters will cope fine. Journeys longer than 15 miles will require at least a 125cc scooter. Scooters with larger engines, for instance 250cc and above, are built for long-distances and therefore will easily handle most people's daily ride to work.

50cc to 100cc scooters have a maximum speed of between 30mph and 45mph. 125cc and larger scooters are capable of motorway standard high-speeds.

Speed capabilities are an issue when considering where you will be riding your scooter. In a mainly urban setting, a 50cc scooter offers everything you need. Obviously on motorways, a bigger scooter is recommended.

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Compulsory Basic Training (CBT).

Before using a scooter on any public roads, riders must obtain a Compulsory Basic Training certificate. This is a legal requirement. CBT starts from scratch and is intended to introduce absolute beginners to riding. The course covers;

· Road Safety
· Introduction to the bike
· Maneuvering and Parking
· Slow Control
· Road Practice
· Compulsory Skills
· On The Road
· Assessment for further testing/training.

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Age Restrictions and Riding Licences.

To ride a scooter on public roads anywhere in the UK, along with CBT achievement, riders must abide by a series of age restrictions.

(The following age restrictions assume rider holds valid CBT certificate)

Age 16. You may ride a 50cc (or less) scooter (usually referred to as a 'moped') as a learner, whist displaying 'L' plates.

Age 17+ You may ride a 125cc (or less) scooter as a learner, whilst displaying 'L' plates.

Riders aged 17 and above can take their Motorcycle Test. Like the Driving Test, the Motorcycle Test also requires a theory paper to be taken before the practical assessment. A Full Restricted Licence can be obtained following a test taken on a 125cc motorcycle. This enables riders to ride motorcycles of 33bhp (or less) for 24 months. A Full Licence can be obtained following a test taken on a 47bhp motorcycle. Successful completion of this test allows riders to use any scooter of motorcycle without engine-size restriction.

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What to wear.

The law requires that when using a scooter on public road riders must wear a helmet. There are no other legal requirements for clothing when riding a scooter in the UK. Despite this, we recommend wearing a moderately protective jacket for warmth. Wind can be deceptively chilly even on mild days, especially at speed. Gloves are also highly recommended for both comfort and safety.

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Basic Security.

Unfortunately in today's world no vehicle owner can afford to be naïve about security. All scooters are equipped with a steering lock, but most scooter owners will not risk leaving their scooter with just this level of security employed. A lock and chain is the most economical way of securing a scooter, and a good set will cost around £50. Some modern scooters come with car-style electronic engine immobilisers, which is another good way of ensuring security.

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Finally…

1) Look at your travel needs; How far do you have to travel and on what type of roads will you be riding?
2) Select the most appropriate scooter; Don't opt for a large tourer if your main trip is short, and on the other hand, don't buy a 50cc model if you are traveling long journeys. There is a scooter for your needs, take time to find it.
3) Away you go!

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