Motor Scooters in California: issues and solutions.



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Motor Scooters in California: issues and solutions.

California Scootering
California Scootering.

Riding Motorscooters in California

Riding a motorscooter in California is quite a different prospect than scootering in any other state or country. The climate, the freeway culture, and above all the excessively restrictive and sometimes irresponsible machinations of the California transportation regulatory system, all combine to mould a scooter culture that is at the same time ideal and very difficult (See Legislation-Happy California Shoots Itself in the Ecological Foot). It is very common to see advertisements for economical scooter advertisements which state: "Legal in all states but California." Compliance with the requirements of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. The fact that these roadblocks to scooter proliferation in the state are effectively keeping potential scooter riders from making the shift away from large inefficient poluting vehicles does seem to belie the the purposes for which the CARB was created. It would seem that CARB would streamline the approval of ecological vehicles and even solicit their participation in the California marketplace but this is not being done. CARB did at one point attempt to mandate a minimum shift to electric vehicles in California, but buckled under intense pressure from the automotive industry and the development of electric cars in California was at least temporarily curtailed. (See Who Killed the Electric Car?) However, electric scooters are still a very viable alternative in California.

LA Freeway
Freeways in Los Angeles

The California Freeway Culture

Most scooters, the 150cc and 250cc freeway-legal motorscooters included, are not really freeway comfortable. Often filled to capacity with large vehicles including SUVs, and massive trucks, the dimminutive scooter is rather out of place and, indeed, a dangerious choice. At the same time, freeway culture is so much a part of being a Californian, that it is often very difficult to plot a course to your destination without going on a freeway. Punch the particulars of your California journey into Yahoo maps or Mapquest, and the route you are given will almost certainly take you on a freeway. There seems to be no choice.

The Ideal Motorscooter Climate

RoadRunner   50cc Economy Moped $839.00  On Sale
RoadRunner 50cc Economy Moped Less than $900

Nonetheless, California, certainly Southern California has an ideal climate for motorscooters. With its limited precipitation and consistently warm climate, it is an ideal place for year-round, every-day scootering. I live in Southern California and have learnt how to navigate everywhere on my TANK Sporty without the use of freeways. It is one place that one can count on being able to use one's scooter on a daily basis with only very rare fits of inclement weather.

What Motorscooters Are Legal in California?

The choice of economical motorscooters in California is severely limited. The Roadrunner, perhaps the best of the lot at minimum price, has a number of minimalist scooters that are California legal, but the larger engines have not yet been CARB approved.

LA Freeway
Freeways in the Sky
The more expensive scooters including Vespa, Piaggio, Honda, Yamaha, Kymco, Bajaj, and many more have achieved California legality but these scooters have much heftier price tags. There are some worthwhile California legal motorscooters. See California Legal Motorscooters. TANK Motorscooters from Allpro Powersports are both reasonably priced and California legal but are often backordered due to high demand. Allpro also sells Kymcos and ships within California., Inc. has a number of California legal Roketa Motorscooters. Eagle scooters, available from Green Earth Scooters are also Available in California. GS Motorworks, has a page devoted to CARB approved scooters. There are also a number of local dealers including Noho Scooters in North Hollywood, Scooter World in Glendale and , and Allpro in Ontario, who are both online and local. With the exception of Allpro, we have no basis for endorsement of these local vendors.

Several good but not so inexpensive California-legal scooters are available from Neoscooters, including some excellent electric scooters at very reasonable prices, some of which require no license nor registration.

The Coast Route
Big Sur from the Coast Route, California

California Is A Great Place To Ride

Whether traversing the old historical Route 66 (which goes right by Allpro Powersports in Ontario), or historic Highway 395, or weaving one's way to the San Francisco Bay area up the coast route, Highway 1 along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, some of the greatest rides in the world are in California.


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