Are you scooting on up Roman Holiday style? Boston seems to get a touch more European in the spring time when more scooters cruise the streets. It is certainly visible in the South End, where I snapped this shot.
For me, seeing scooters around the city awakens Euro trip fantasizing. As a plain cyclist, I hope to one day step it up a notch and zoom around Boston in a classic red hot Vespa--hair flying along in the back of my matching sleek fashionista helmet, saying goodbye to my goofy bike headgear.
The reality is that signs of scooter-friendliness are popping up around Boston. On Newbury and Boylston Streets, scooter or motorcycle on-street parking is just 25 cents per hour. This initiative passed in 2010 with the support of Mayor Thomas M. Menino. The parking spots show Boston’s openness to smaller and more green transportation options. Scooters are pro-planet? Here’s why.
The Vespa website states: “If Americans were to switch to just 10% of their total mileage to scooters, they would consume 14 –18 million gallons less fuel per day and carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 324 million pounds per day as well.”
If you want to buy locally, Scooters Go Green in South Boston offers environmentally friendly scooters with a selection of Euro classic to modern styles. They carry Genuine, SYM, Vectrix, Lance and Hyosung, and the prices range between $1,499 to $9,999, with most decent rides being in the $3,000 ballpark. Overall, the Yelp reviews are positive. Check them out here. The owners of Scooters Go Green, known as “Steve & Steve,” said, “Over the past five years more and more people are seeing that owning a scooter is cost effective, convenient and fun. Lots of people ask us if sales have increased with the higher gas prices. Of course this always makes some people think about a scooter, but we have seen lows and highs in gas prices.”
“The main factor of scooter sales are that Bostonians are ‘getting it;’ they see all the positives of scooter ownership. Many customers have come in after their purchase and told us that this was the best thing they ever purchased, and these are not isolated cases.”
Some people may think that Boston’s four season cycle and harsh winters are not the most stable climate for scooter ownership. Steve & Steve said that although they are busier in the warmer weather months, they are open year-round, since many scooterists are winter riders as well. Once you own a scooter, look forward to attending the meetups organized by Boston Scoots, Boston’s scooter club. On Saturday, May 26 the scoot club is rendezvousing at Park Street for a “Nautical Loop Ride” from Boston to Gloucester. Just imagine the fresh sea air and beautiful seaside views on the ride up the Atlantic coast.
“The scooter community is important to us. That’s why we started Boston Scoots. It’s a place for riders to meet, talk about their bikes, and most importantly, ride. We have many customers that tell us that their ride home after work is therapy from their high stress jobs, it’s their time to unwind,” said Steve & Steve.
According to the Boston Globe, scooter riders used to not need license plates or insurance, but since 2010 the Registry of Motor Vehicles requires scooters traveling between 30 to 40 miles per hour to have them. If you fail to register your “motorized bicycle,” fines can be up to $100.
What’s the difference between a scooter and a moped, anyway? A moped travels no more than 30 miles per hour, and mopeds can ride in bike lanes on the roadway (this excludes recreational bike paths). Sharing the road with scooters is probably not something cyclists are happy about.
Either way, make sure you know how to navigate city traffic before riding a scooter. Only, Audrey Hepburn can get away with almost hitting pedestrians in Roman Holiday.