Many locals and tourists in Hawaii enjoy getting around on motorcycles. However, if you’re looking for a smaller vehicle, a scooter could be a more convenient option. Many people believe that scooters are inherently safer than motorcycles, but the truth is more complicated.
Scooter or Motorcycle: Which is Safer?
It’s easy to assume scooters are safer due to their smaller size and lower speed, but this is a misconception. The truth is that scooters can be just as dangerous as motorcycles.
The top speed of most electric scooters is 15 miles per hour, while 50 cc scooters (also known as mopeds) can reach 30 to 45 miles per hour. Like motorcycles, scooters lack a protective frame, seat belts, airbags, and other safety features found in passenger vehicles. This means that even at relatively low speeds, the rider could be severely injured if they are struck by a vehicle, collide with an object, or encounter a hazard in the road.
Some might say motorcycles are more dangerous than scooters because they can easily reach speeds above 100 miles per hour. Others might argue that motorcyclists are better prepared and protected from accidents because they are licensed and subject to strict state insurance laws. This is in stark contrast to many scooter riders, who may have little to no experience riding before they hop on and set off.
Factors That Contribute to Scooter and Motorcycle Accidents
Some of the common factors that contribute to both scooter and motorcycle accidents in Hawaii include:
- Smaller size: Drivers often fail to notice motorcyclists in traffic due to their smaller size. Scooters are even smaller than motorcycles, making them more difficult to spot. Lack of visibility can put both motorcyclists and scooter operators in great danger when surrounded by heavy traffic.
- Attitudes toward safety: Proper safety gear, such as helmets, can protect motorcyclists and scooters from serious injuries when collisions occur. Operators of both types of vehicles should take every precaution to avoid injury. However, attitudes about motorcycling and scooter safety may differ from drivers of other vehicles. Some motorcyclists oppose helmets as restrictive and even a safety threat, arguing they limit their ability to scan the road properly. Similarly, some scooter riders tend to view their vehicles as recreational “toys” and take the task of driving them less seriously. This is not a universal feeling among riders but contributes to accidents for both groups.
- Roadway defects threaten both riders: Scooters and motorcycles are vulnerable to road hazards, including cracks, potholes, bumps, and debris, due to their smaller wheel size and lighter weight.
Scooter Safety Tips
Consider following these tips to stay safe while you are riding a scooter:
- Make yourself visible: Wear bright-colored or reflective clothing while riding.
- Practice defensive riding: Always be ready to alter your course if a driver makes a sudden maneuver or fails to check their blind spots.
- Wear a helmet: They significantly reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury and death.
- Think of the scooter as a motorcycle: Apply the same safety tips and wear the same safety gear you would if you were riding a motorcycle.
If you were severely injured in a scooter accident in Hawaii, you could seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses if someone else’s negligence was to blame. Contact a Hawaii scooter accident attorney at Recovery Law Center to discuss your case during a free consultation. We serve clients in Honolulu, Waipahu, and throughout Oahu.