5 Reasons You Should Own A Scooter At Least Once In Your Life
— Updated on 13 September 2023

5 Reasons You Should Own A Scooter At Least Once In Your Life

— Updated on 13 September 2023
Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon

The keenest Boss Hunting readers might have noticed, that at the end of last year, I made the move to live in Vietnam, specifically in Ho Chi Minh City. While it’s been a great experience living here for the best part of a year, one of the biggest changes in my day-to-day existence has been the purchase of a scooter (a small motorbike or moped, not an aluminium Razor), and I’m loving it.

So much so, that I think everyone should buy a scooter at least once in their lives. Of course, there’s a much stronger incentive to own a scooter if you’re living in Southeast Asia, say, compared with a capital city in Australia, but that doesn’t mean owning one won’t change your life for the better in a number of different ways.

Without scooters, mobilising the 97 million people in Vietnam without scooters would be impossible. The country has the fourth highest number of motorbikes and scooters in the world, thanks to an enthusiastic uptake over the last three decades that saw the number jump, “from 1.2 million in 1990 to over 58 million in 2018”.

should buy a scooter

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In Vietnam, it’s almost impossible to get by without knowing how to ride and having access to a scooter. The roads are a little crazy, but the sheer scale of the traffic jams would be incomprehensible to most Aussies, making cars a non-starter for your average person in Vietnam.

For Aussies, there’s been a strong 33% jump in registrations for scooters and motorbikes over the last decade (661,000 in 2010 to 881,000 in 2020), and I’d be very surprised if that number didn’t continue to grow as the cost of living increase. Most won’t have considered a scooter if they’ve driven cars their entire lives, but the benefits are significant.

Scooters Are Faster

I appreciate that scooters will be most practical if you live in the inner suburbs of a big city, and if you need to get on a freeway for your commute, it’s probably a good idea to stick to four wheels. However, if you live within 10kms or so to work, mostly travel on smaller roads, and have to battle traffic every morning and afternoon, a scooter will almost certainly get you there quicker. And it will definitely get you to your inner city meeting, later that day, quicker than anything else.

In every state in Australia, lane filtering is legal when you’re travelling under 30km/h, which will get you through traffic much faster than if you’re stuck in a car. You’ll almost always find yourself at the front of the lane at a set of traffic lights, and gone are the days of missing the green light because someone is distracted by their phone.

Parking Is Easy

should buy a scooter

If you live in Victoria, parking your scooter literally couldn’t be easier — you can park on pretty much any footpath, so long as you aren’t obstructing walkers or there’s a sign telling you not to.

In NSW it’s a very different story. You can park (usually for an unlimited time) in a designated scooter or motorcycle parking bay or you can park anywhere passenger vehicles are entitled to park. While you don’t have to pay for your parking as a car owner does, you must adhere to the same time constraints. There are buildings around the city with perfectly sized alcoves for a scooter, and you may see other bikes parked there but do exercise caution. The moment your bike obstructs the footpath you will be fined.

In summertime in Sydney, it’s an absolute game-changer for beachgoers – you’ll never find yourself looking for a park again.

Cheaper To Buy & Run

To buy a brand new scooter, you can expect to pay upwards of around $3,500 depending on what you want. If you’re buying one second-hand, you’ll almost certainly pay a lot less than that, with decent options starting around $2,000.

As far as running costs, larger scooters will generally get between 20km and 30km per litre of fuel and for the common tank size of 5L, will get you between 100km and 150km per tank. This is about twice as far per litre than a car, and with fuel prices where they currently are, you’ll be paying a little under $10 a tank.

In terms of servicing, a minor service might cost between $150-$200, while a major service and tuning could cost $450-$500. Insurance is a variable beast, but for a 33-year-old in inner Melbourne riding a ten-year-old Honda, AAMI quoted $670 a year, while QBE quoted $440.

Tolls are always a consideration, especially if you live in Sydney where you’ll need to pay $360 per year for unlimited travel on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

Reregistering your scooter is paid on engine capacity in most states, and while it’s cheaper than registering a car, it’s definitely more expensive than it should be. All up, the cost of getting your motorcycle licence over five years will come in a little over $600.

All up, you could realistically be on the road for a year for less than $6,500.

Scooters Handle The Weather Better Than You Think

One of the biggest barriers to riding a scooter or a motorbike is bad weather because getting wet is the last thing you want when you’ve just finished work. However, if you’ve ever been to Vietnam, you’ll know it rains a lot. Like, five times more than Australia.

So, how do the Vietnamese avoid getting saturated on the bike every day? Everyone has a rain poncho in the seat of their scooter, and as soon as a few drops begin to fall, everyone pulls to the side of the road en mass and dons their poncho. You aren’t going to be winning any fashion contests with a plastic poncho, but as far as staying dry, they do an excellent job and you’ll arrive at your destination looking the same as when you left.

Obviously, you’d rather wait for the rain to stop, but it’s certainly not something that makes riding impossible. Most modern scooters also come standard with a number of safety features that make riding in the rain a lot less dangerous, including ABS, traction control and more.

More Storage Than You’d Expect

If you need to carry a lot of tools to work every day, a scooter isn’t going to be your daily driver. However, if you get a scooter as your commuter to the office, you’ll also be able to use it for the odd trip to the supermarket, and running errands.

Most scooters will have at least 50L of storage (enough to carry two full-face helmets), which can be used for whatever you need. If you have a backpack too, or you buy an extra storage pod for the rear of your scooter, you can easily do a weekly food shopping trip — so long as you aren’t bulk-buying liquid laundry detergent that visits.

You’d also be very surprised at what you can carry at your feet, sitting larger items on the deck and hugging them with your calves.

So after nearly a year of using a scooter for almost daily transport, I can confidently say I love it. It’s fun to ride, very affordable and super convenient in terms of parking and transporting things.

If you’ve been thinking about a scooter, or your car costs are getting too far out of control, I’d recommend you give it a try. Sure, it won’t be for everyone when they have a go, but I have no doubt in my mind that when I return to Australia, I’ll be getting another scooter.

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Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon is the Editor of Boss Hunting, joining the team after working as the Deputy Editor of luxury watch magazine Time+Tide. He has a passion for watches, with other interests across style, sports and more. Get in touch at nick (at) luxity.com.au


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