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Buying a moped or scooter

When Troy Hayward visited Thailand years ago, he rode a scooter for the first time. Since then, the owner of Fada Scooters purchased six scooters for his personal use and now drives a scooter as his main form of transportation when getting around Toronto.

"I was renting scooters [in Thailand] and I fell in love with them," he says. "Picture getting on a scooter and going right in front of the store you want to go to, you get in the store, get out, get on your scooter and you're on your way again."

He adds, "[When] you do that in a car in a downtown environment, you have to look for parking for 20 minutes and then pay $10 to $15 and then you're on your way 45 minutes later. It's quicker to do it on a scooter and also it's fun."

The definition of scooters and mopeds differs from province to province. Typically mopeds are defined as motorcycle-like vehicles with bicycle pedals, while scooters are motorcycle-like vehicles with a step through platform and no pedals. Both vehicles travel at speeds of either less than 50 km/h or 70 km/h and have a lightweight 50cc engine.

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According to Transportation Canada, both vehicles are now grouped under the term "limited speed motorcycles." The vehicle must have steering handlebars, travel at a maximum speed of 70 km/h or less, have a driver's seat height of 650 mm and must not have a structure that partially or fully encloses the driver.

Limited speed motorcycles are popular in Asia and Europe, but sales are picking up steam in urban Canadian cities, says Robert Ramsay, president of the Markham-Ont.-based Motorcycle & Moped Industry Council or MMIC.

Moped registrations have grown to 42,214 in 2010 from 20,289 in 2000, according to MMIC's 2011 annual industry statistics report. But it's difficult to track the sales numbers because each province has their own definition of what a moped is, adds Ramsay.

The benefits
Scooters are a good urban commuter option because of their low initial and operating costs, says Ramsay.

"They're very low maintenance, there's very little you have to do other than regular checkups," he says.

"In crowded urban areas, it's easy to find parking because they don't take up as much space as a car or some other vehicle. They cost very little to keep gassed up."

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-- Posted August 10, 2012
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