Scooters are an inexpensive, fuel-efficient way to get around town. Sales are more than ten times higher than a decade ago.
Unfortunately, the number o accidents has increased, too. Consumer Reports just tested a half-dozen.
Testers found, scooters deliver 55 to 70 miles per gallon around town. But...
"They can only go about 50 miles per hour." said Consumer Reports Jon Linkov. "That means they're not allowed on many highways and it could be difficult to keep up with traffic."
Even on the streets it's pretty intimidating riding alongside faster, larger vehicles.
Safety is an important consideration. Road imperfections and varying surface conditions you don't notice in a car can be hazardous on a scooter.
"Even the smallest car give you some level of protection while on two wheels you're completely exposed," said Linkov.
Even so, fluctuating fuel prices and a tough economy have sent sales of scooters through the roof.
Consumer Reports tested six-three entry-level ones with 50 c-c- engines and three others with 125 to 150 c-c- engines.
The prices range from $1,000-$4,400.
When all the tests were done, the $3300 Vespa LX-50 and the Kymco People 150 c-c- scooter for $2800 were best in their class.
Each has a smooth engine and rides comfortably.
Consumer Reports says you always want to wear protective gear on a scooter-ideally gear that's brightly colored to make you more visible.
Also, avoid traveling in bad weather.
And if you're a new rider, Consumer Reports says get some professional training.
It's available through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at MSF-USA.org.