Which is safer: a motorcycle or scooter?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It is a debate that rivals the “Great taste! Less filling!” arguments still raging at backyard barbecues around the nation. Which is safer to drive? A motorcycle or a scooter? You may be having this debate with yourself right now as you look into buying a more economic mode of transportation. These two-wheeled wonders get far more miles to the gallon than a car and you can find cheap motorcycle insurance fairly easily.

But the question still remains. Which one is safer?

The Pros

Motorcycles have several advantages over scooters. First, their larger size makes them more likely to be seen by cars. You may have seen the bumper stickers saying “Start seeing motorcycles,” and it’s true that cars often fail to see motorcycles in their blind spots. They are even less likely to see scooters.

Secondly, motorcycles have bigger tires and are less likely to face problems with potholes, cracks in the road or seams in pavement. Motorcycle tires simply roll right over these imperfections. Scooters may hit a pothole and immediately go down or throw the rider off the scooter.

Motorcycles can move faster, too, because they have more horsepower. With cars regularly cutting off, pulling in front of and simply not seeing motorcycles and scooters, the vehicle that can move more quickly to avert an accident is the safer one. In this case, it’s motorcycles.

A motorcycle is also more stable on the roadway because of the way your weight is distributed. Straddling a motorcycle provides more stability by spreading out your center of gravity. With scooters, your legs are together making for a narrower—and less stable—center of gravity. Stability can help when running into those potholes and other road problems.

The Cons

Now, there is a lot to like about a motorcycle. It is faster, more powerful, more stable and you can find cheap motorcycle insurance. But motorcycles come with one major downside. Simply put, you are more likely to die from a motorcycle accident than a scooter accident. About 4,500 people die each year in motorcycle accidents, a rate that has gone unchanged for several years despite efforts to boost safety. The most recent data on scooter deaths from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported just three scooter deaths in 2001. Scooters, because of their speed restriction, cannot travel on highways or at fast speeds, where many of these deaths occur.

So the debate rages on. As you shop for motorcycle insurance, you will have to weigh the pros and cons yourself and decide which is safer for you. A motorcycle with it’s power, speed and agility, or a slower scooter with it’s track record of causing fewer deaths.

Happy riding and always wear a helmet!

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