Friday Question of the Day

Moped, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Continuing along the transportation theme, let us talk about the moped. A friend of mine had noted how unusual it was to see people riding mopeds in DC. Yet in the rest of the world in metropolitan areas mopeds are quite a common form of transport. So why don’t we see more mopeds on the streets of DC? Is it just not socially acceptable or “cool”? Is DC not congested enough to warrant the use of mopeds? Is gasoline to cheap?

17 Comment

  • I would totally get one because I have a quick 7-10 minute commute! Unfortunately, there is not room for 2 car-seats. Ah, well

  • i’ve heard of many thefts of them in my hood.
    i bet a lot of people are deterred by that.

  • Hm. Isn’t that a Vespa? In any case, I want one and would ride like the wind!! except I’m scared of vehicles with no doors and airbags.

  • PoP, are you going to become a scooterist? If so, would you please not park on the sidewalk and be sure to register your scooter, no matter the DC tag rules.

  • i would not think of getting one b/c the drivers are so bad here. even if you are a careful, conscientious moped driver, some dumb-ass who isn’t paying attention could kill you–you have no protection as you would inside the frame of a car.

  • I ride a motorcycle. I get a LOT of “Ooooh, aren’t you SCARED?!” from people. So I think people are simply too chicken to get out of their cars.


  • Those Vespas cost too much. I’d ride a $250 Chinese knockoff (with extra lead paint) but Lil’ Gal says I ain’t allowed to. 🙁

    It seems strange that in a city like DC, where you pay through the nose for everything at the DMV, that they let scooters slide through the cracks.

    Question though: why are some folks so steamed about scooters being parked on the sidewalks? As long as they don’t drive on the sidewalks, like jerky DC bicyclists do, I don’t care. Bicycles are more of a nuisance in DC than scooters.

    And why aren’t bikes banned from riding on sidewalks like in every other modern city?? I’ve nearly been killed by at least twice by jerky frat boys pretending to exercise on their $5000 Cannonspecializetrek. Waaaaaaay more annoying than scooters.

  • I don’t care about scooters being parked on sidewalks–in fact, I’d rather they park there rather than take up space in a street spot.

  • Not that I’m against them in any way, but we thought about getting my wife a scooter, and last night got further reason why we haven’t.

    There was a horrible looking accident at the corner of 14th and Florida when we were coming home around 8:30. A truck ran into a girl on a pink Vespa.

    I have no idea who was at fault, but they were spineboarding the poor girl when we went by. Hopefully she’s okay.

  • I see a decent amount of them around. I mean it’s not exactly Italy, but I would estimate I see at least 5 a day going to and from work. I see a lot of them in Mount Pleasant.

  • I used to have a Honda scooter, way back when I was Mlle. Adams Morgan and not Mme. Crestwood et fils. A motorcycle license is needed for anything over 50cc in DC, at that time, anyway. Not that the motorcycle test was hard to pass, mind you. But yeah, my cute little scooter was stolen from the parking garage OF MY BUILDING. Sheesh. I did get it back, had it stolen again, and gave up. Sure was fun while it lasted. Never did tell Mom & Dad about it, tho :o)

  • I was thinking for last few weeks to buy one; probably one with a 49cc engine.

    I know if you buy a bike with an engine 50cc or bellow (in DC), you would not need to have a driver license (or Motorcycle Endorsement on your license).
    However, you have to register the bike with DMV
    What other criteria that I need to look into if wan to avoid the driver license endorsement issue?

    I went to DMV website, but could not get a clear idea.

    What about the insurance? How much it usually cost.
    How about the law in Virginia and Maryland? If I drive a bike with DC registration, which does not need a driver license in DC, in Verging and Maryland?

    Does anyone have answer to the above questions?

    I checked some 49cc mopeds’ description online, most of them have 70-90 mpg.
    For 49cc engine which produce about 2 H.P. would only go 70-90 mpg? I think this is not a very good mileage.

  • I want one but sadly the chica says hayul nah. I do wonder what you do in the rain? I guess I could just take public transport or the bus. It does seem like it would be incredibly convenient though.

  • p.s. i forgot to mention, i know two people who have motorcycles in dc: (1) has been in 3 accidents (none of them his fault); and (2) one just decided to have most of his leg cut off after an accident (not his fault) rather than having dozens of painful surgeries that may not have fixed him completely. again, it’s not the motorcyclist–its other dumb *ass drivers that worry me….

  • PoP, That is a scooter not a moped. There is a significant difference…

  • It’s one of those things that everyone wants to the other person to be the first. Those that have better year-round weather: Rome or San Francisco. Have large amounts of scooters. But in Europe and Asia the incentive is that it’s nearly impossible and unbelievably expensive to get a license for a car. In japan, you can’t register a car unless you can prove that you have a parking space for it. And there is no street parking (oh, to dream). Also most of the rest of the world does not let 16 year olds drive. So you begin your motorized career on a scooter or motorbike. I think though that once you get to a critical mass of riders, drivers get better at dealing with them. This is the same with bicycles too. Of course the city could offer more motorcycle and scooter parking — that would help as well. In San Francisco’s financial district, several blocks are motorcycle only. And since garage parking in the financial district is like $27 an hour. Having the option to ride a motorcycle makes sense. California also allows motorcycle riders to ride between cars when there is congestion (this is an old rule from when motorcycles were air cooled and had to keep moving or freeze up), so that’s another incentive. People’s choices don’t operate in a vacuum.

  • That’s it. That’s all I can stand and I can’t stand no more!!!! Things are definitely wrong with this city. We all know that. Things could improve. We all know that. But if DC did everything like NYC, Houston or San Francisco THEN IT WOULD BE NYC, HOUSTON OR SAN FRANCISCO!!!!!

    I’m not sure who’s worse with this – Odentex or DC1974. But if DC is so awful, why are you here?

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