Have you noticed the large number of mopeds, scooters and motorcycles on the road these days? My prediction is you will be seeing more. With the price of gas going higher and the price of insurance going up, people will be forced to find cheaper means of transportation. Two wheeled vehicles provide higher miles per gallon gas averages. Motorcycles range from 35 to 50 mpg and scooters can average up to 85 to 100 mpg.
    So what is the difference between a moped, scooter and motorcycle? A moped is usually defined by its legal classification and definitions differ state-by-state. In North Carolina motorbikes under 50 cubic centimeters are considered mopeds. Bikes that exceed 50 cc’s are considered scooters or motorcycles.
    Scooters are like motorcycles and require a license, tags and insurance. The difference between a scooter and a motorcycle is also defined by law. The big difference is capabilities. Scooters are generally less powerful and have a one-piece frame. I say generally because there are some manufactures that are producing scooters that exceed 600 cc!
     {mosimage}According to the N.C. Department of Transportation Web site, “You must be age 16 or older to operate a moped on North Carolina highways or public vehicular areas. A driver’s license is not required, and the moped does not have to be registered, inspected or covered by liability insurance. A motorcycle safety helmet is required by law when operating a moped on North Carolina highways. A moped cannot have an external shifting device or have the capability of exceeding 30 mph on a level surface.”
    Scooters are relatively easy to operate and most scooters are now automatic. If you’ve never ridden one before it is pretty easy — you just need a little balance and hand and feet coordination. When you look at the cc level, consider your travel distance and your weight and body size. The larger you are the more engine will be needed to move you. You will need to decide if you want a 2-stroke or 4-stroke engine. The 2-stroke engine requires you to mix gas and oil to run correctly. New models use oil injection systems that allow the mixture to happen automatically. Since you are burning oil and gas together you will have more smoke from this engine. The 4-stroke runs like a car and uses regular unleaded gas and is more ecologically acceptable.
    Consider storage. If you are using it to get to work you may need a place to store work items and your riding gear. The laws are also dependent on the type of bike you use. The moped is treated like a bicycle and a motorcycle. You must follow the traffic laws, you cannot drive on a sidewalk and you must wear a helmet. A scooter is treated the same as a motorcycle and the same laws apply.
    Finally, take a motorcycle class. No matter what you are driving the class will teach the rules of the road.
    If there is a topic that you would like to discuss, please send your comments and suggestions to motorcycle4fun@aol.com.

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