The previous posters are absolutely on-the-mark, correct. I’ve been commuting on my 2008 Adly Thunderbike 150 from Takoma Park to 7th & Penn NW since March 2012. I park on the sidewalk with no problems. I do ensure I don’t block pedestrian traffic and I try to pick somewhere that will not draw attention to my scooter.
I am very comfortable on the 150 cc scooter up to about 45 MPH. I usually ride on streets where traffic travels between 25 – 35 MPH. I have taken it to 50 MPH but did not feel the suspension gave me a safe ride above that.
With parking, gas price and Metro problems, scooters are increasing in popularity. I burn 4 gallons of gasoline a month, park free and don’t have to deal with Metro.
Maryland law does not require license, vehicle registration or insurance for scooters under 50 cc. A scooter that size is fine on Sligo Creek Parkway but not safe on New Hampshire or University Aves.
I strongly recommend taking the Motorcycle Safe Rider course. It will give you techniques for: ensuring you are visible; protecting your position in a lane of traffic; reacting to tailgaters; collision avoidance; etc. If you take the course you will be a more confident and safer rider. If you are not in a hurry you can take it very cheap at the Glen Bernie MVA. But MVA . . . well sucks. You can also take the course at many area Community Colleges for about $175. I spent a few dollars more and got into a class quickly at Old Glory Harley Davidson in Laurel MD. The Motorcycle Safety Course includes the MVA written & rider tests. You get a certificate to take with the license fee to MVA to get your license. Old Glory is WONDERFUL! Their classroom and training motorcycles are very nice. Their instructors are excellent. I had my scooter inspected there for the registration. I highly recommend Old Glory.
Redline cycles on New Hampshire Ave in Takoma Park sells Kymco. Kymco is a good Taiwanese company that offers a good selection of scooter styles. Kymco scooters are very popular and easy to get parts. I am happy with my Adly but parts are a challenge. If I had it to do over I would definitely consider a Kymco.
I hope you do go ahead and get a scooter that is appropriate to the roads you will ride on. Most of all, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.