I ride around a little 100cc scooter, and it is pretty awesome. Many things that bother other people about traffic and driving and parking and stuff don’t bother me, but then there’s the down side. Here’s a list of pros and cons of using a scooter (in Auckland/New Zealand).
- Cheap petrol – it costs me about $5 to fill my little tank, and that’ll last me a week, on average.
- Free council parking – you can park in any city parking that isn’t privately owned, for free. That includes parking buildings. And you can also do sneaky little parks in nooks and crannies.
- Bus lane – you can drive in the bus/motorbike/scooter/pushbike lane, which often means zipping past long lines of traffic during busy times.
- Sneaking between lines at the lights – if you know the lights won’t change any time soon, you can zip between lines of waiting cars up to the front. It gets messy if the lights change while you’re halfway up, and gets in people’s way, so don’t do that.
- Can’t carry much – neither in terms of stuff nor people. You can generally fit someone on the seat behind you, and there’s often a little seat trunk, but it’s not much good for carrying home your new TV.
- Fucking road sensors – just don’t seem to sense you. It’s annoying as hell. A very smart idea, putting coils under the road near traffic lights, magnetically sensing when cars are there and adjusting the lights accordingly. The problem is that, for some seldom-used directions through otherwise busy intersections (such as the right-turn to Hopetoun well heading down Ponsonby from K’ Road), they don’t bother giving a green unless someone’s waiting. That’s all very clever and all, but scooters seem to be just a bit too small to be detected, so you’re faced with the choice of running a red when no one’s coming, or sitting there going more and more insane as the lights change back and forth for everyone but you as you wait for someone in a big strong car to come right up behind you and set off the sensor.
- Jealousy – other road users sometimes get jealous of your ability to do things like go on the bus lane and give you dirty looks and will occasionally try to get ahead of you and then cut you off by turning down a side street, just to let you know that you’re not so special after all.
I think the pros outweigh the cons, unless your work or family requires a lot of carrying many things and people.