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  1. #1
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    Default Safe to commute on scooter?

    Hi all,

    My girlfriend and I are relocating to Johannesburg, and my girlfriend will need to commute to university in Blairgowrie.
    Is it safe to commute on scooter? In terms of;
    - Hijacking
    - Theft (when parked)
    - Road accidents

    Our budget does not allow for a car for her, so her options are a scooter or the metrobus system (which severely limits the areas we can get housing).

    Very excited to hear your thoughts and experiences!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    I commute daily but I have to say.. I wont do it on a scooter.
    Just seem so much more exposed and less visible
    Some car, some bike and two legs

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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    A lot of factors will influence the advice.

    What type of scooter?
    How experienced is she as a rider?
    Distance of commute and type of roads?
    Times she will have to commute?


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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    I am putting my Think Bike cap on here.

    JHB in general is unsuitable for underpowered scooters unless over a very short distance. If the thinking is to buy a cheapie to commute on a daily basis, I would advise against it and rather say buy a slightly bigger machine. 250cc would work well and would allow for highway riding and keeping up with the traffic flow.

    There is not a lot of respect for bike riders in general in JHB.
    Stranger

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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    From where will she be commuting?

    Blairgowrie is pretty accessible without having to use any major roads, but it depends from where and what roads need to be used.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    I have ridden bigger bikes (Triumph and Moto Guzzi) and nowcommute around on a Yamaha 100 BWS scooter. Some points to consider before youmake any decisions:


    1. Statistically (compared to a motor cycle) you are more likely to fall off a scooter due to the inherent instability of the (usually) smaller wheels. Statistically (compared to a scooter) you are more likely to have a serious injury on a motor cycle due to the generally higher speeds that are attained .
    2. As mentioned in (1) scooters with small wheels (10 – 14 inch) are not that stable, especially on a bumpy surface. Hitting a pothole on a scooter is a scary experience!
    3. Don’t be fooled by the “cool” look of riding around in shorts, flops and a T shirt. WHEN she falls off she WILL injure herself badly – torn muscles and tar burns are VERY painful. She must be prepared to wear proper shoes, gloves, jeans (as a minimum), helmet and protective jacket at all times. The mantra All The Gear All The Time is not negotiable. As an aside I fell off at about 15km/h after the scooter slid out from under me when I hit some loose sand. I was wearing jeans, jacket, gloves etc. and still managed to bruise my shoulder and ribs, and had friction burns on shoulder and knee through the protective gear – I hate to think what my skin would have looked like without the clothing I had on.
    4. Scooters below about 170cc are quite slow. Fine for normal suburban streets but not fine for bigger roads such as Main or William Nicol in Fourways. Cars do not travel at the 80km/h speed limit – much closer to around a 100km/h – so they are continually trying to ride over you. My BWS is quicker than most but it still gets quite hairy at times. Also given the instability issue the faster you go the more it is affected by bumps etc.
    5. Acceleration is important from the point of view of keeping up with traffic from traffic lights. You need to be able to keep up with general traffic up to at least about 50km/h so that the cars are not all over you from the get-go.
    6. Scooters are easy to ride but if your girlfriend has not ridden before it is quite important to get some lessons. At the very least she should find an empty car park and practice slow straight riding, emergency swerves and emergency braking – she will need all of these in traffic at some stage. Then get out onto the road on a Sunday morning just to get used to some traffic.

    Good luck!

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    If you love her, don't put her on a scooter in JHB.

    For all the reasons already stated as well as escalating opportunistic crime in Gauteng where people on bicycles and scooters are being mugged for cell-phones, laptops, you name it.
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    I commute on a bike daily, and I definitely wouldnt put my wife on a scooter in jhb traffic.

    Some idiot will ride her over while looking at the latest cat meme doing the rounds on whatsapp.

    Just from personal observation, over 50 percent of drivers are texting in traffic.
    One Wife - Livid

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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    Definitely NO ! I am typing here with a seriously messed up wrist, spent 4 days in hospital and have tar burns that make hot coals put on top of me feel like ice cubes - all because the idiot in front of me did nor secure his IBR sheet securely and hit me on my bike while traveling at fairly low speed.
    Her life is worth more. Bikers always say its not IF you fall but WHEN you fall, thought it wont happen to me as I am very safe biker and drive slowly....... well, a week ago all that changed

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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    I commuted on a scooter for a 18 months to Sandton.
    17200 km when I sold her. ATGATT (all the gear all the time)....no exclusions
    Decided on a Sym 150 based on my needs (no highway). Quality, cost and warranty (sold with fsh and 6 month warranty left)
    No accidents on the scoot.
    I do come from riding bikes and have since upgraded to bike.
    Do courses. Increase confidence and awareness.
    First upgrade is to get better rubber. Upgraded to Michelin and made a moerofa difference to the handling and my safety.
    Scooter teaches you humility in traffic...
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  14. #11
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    If you love her, don't put her on a scooter in JHB.

    For all the reasons already stated as well as escalating opportunistic crime in Gauteng where people on bicycles and scooters are being mugged for cell-phones, laptops, you name it.
    Yip +1

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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    Rather spend some extra on a 250 motorbike and send her to do all the courses applicable to her at swartkopz riding Academy.

    Then buy the best safety gear that money can buy.

    Do not attempt any highway riding with anything less than a 600cc.

    Scooters is not safe, fast or manoeuvrable enough.

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  17. #13
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
    I am putting my Think Bike cap on here.

    JHB in general is unsuitable for underpowered scooters unless over a very short distance. If the thinking is to buy a cheapie to commute on a daily basis, I would advise against it and rather say buy a slightly bigger machine. 250cc would work well and would allow for highway riding and keeping up with the traffic flow.

    There is not a lot of respect for bike riders in general in JHB.
    I used a scooter for commuting .... probably the most dangerous method of transport. Purely because of the lack of power. You are just too slow and all kinds of vehicles are constantly forcing their way past you .... If you do go for a scooter, PLEASE follow Stranger's advise about a larger (stronger) unit




    Currently about 40% of my commute is done by bicycle. Due to the options available to stay off the main roads I find this safer than a scooter. But obviously limited in terms of distance - she will be carrying bags and laptops etc .... That said, have you considered the new generation of e-bikes ? BUT, you better have access to VERY secure lockup facilities ...

  18. #14
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    If its a Japanese or European maybe even a Kymco/Sym - 250cc and up, it should be fine. Scooters arent underpowered though, underpowered scooters and bikes are underpowered

    If she can ride a proper bike though I'd get that. CBR 250 -300 or Kawasaki Ninja 250-300. Easy to ride and has a bit bigger wheels than the scooter for stability and potholes/bridge gaps etc.

    Scooters can at least put the handbag etc in a trunk, you can however get a top box and the stuff should go in there.

    Biking is dangerous, so is living in South Africa, or crossing the street while walking your dog. Cycling is even more dangerous. No protective gear (that helmet does nothing if you fall on your face) more inclined to get hijacked or robbed at gun/knifepoint or driven over by a car.
    She is probably also more likely to get hijacked with a car than a bike.
    Wear all the gear, be vigilant and she should be fine.


    I have been commuting daily from January 2012 till now and love it - rain shine wind, you name it. Once or twice i,ve had to take the cage (car) and really....not great at all to spend all that time just trying to get to work or home where you could have been doing something else.


    100% correct though are the $%&** C**&#& that sit and text on their phones oblivious to what is going on around them. R800 000- R1mil vehicles, R20 000 cellphones but to *%^^ cheap to get him/her self a hands free and actually call the person.
    Last edited by Nox; 2017/09/15 at 09:45 AM.
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  19. #15
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    Well said guys.

    I would like to say that if biking is not 100% in your blood don't do it. Saving money on fuel or even, I think I don't have any other choice, is not a good enough reason to get onto two wheels. It is a different lifestyle that requires a constant state of alertness, requires much more money than you think, a skill set different from any other form of transport. There has to be an acceptance of the risk from both partners.

    I would rather advise to get a 4 wheel skudunk than get on two wheels unless you are 100% committed.

    Gear alone could cost you ten K easy, another 20 for a decent scoot, for that you can get a car.
    Stranger

    Lusted for a Landy but the Pajero was sexier and bigger in the right departments, just like my Missus.

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  20. #16
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    If you love her, don't put her on a scooter in JHB.

    For all the reasons already stated as well as escalating opportunistic crime in Gauteng where people on bicycles and scooters are being mugged for cell-phones, laptops, you name it.
    That...

  21. #17
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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    I have ridden bike in JHB and believe me it gets hairy..! That was on a big bike and I'm an experienced rider.

    First off - Has she ever ridden a motorcycle before i.e. is she an experienced motorcyclist? I would'nt even consider putting my wife on a bike in JHB traffic if she isn't a very very confident rider.

    If she is going to drive in suburban areas, yeah a scooter will suffice, but stay away from highways.

    Like previously mentioned safety gear is a must... Good quality helmet, proper riding jacket and jeans/pants, proper boots and riding gloves.

    With all that said... IMHO a scooter in JHB would be my very last option if I had to choose.

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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    For the same price a a bike you can get a car. Would not send my wife out on a bike in jhb or Windhoek.

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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    Thank you for the overwhelming number of responses.
    I truly appreciate it, and I have to admit, guys, you are not making my life very easy!


    Quote Originally Posted by Rainier Vermaak View Post
    A lot of factors will influence the advice.

    What type of scooter?
    How experienced is she as a rider?
    Distance of commute and type of roads?
    Times she will have to commute?
    • What type of scooter? We are considering a 150 CC, similar to this http://scooters.co.za/index.php/prod...o-sunny-150cc/
    • How experienced is she as a rider? Completely inexperienced. But I assume she can do training.
    • Distance of commute and type of roads? She will be commuting a maximum of 8km each way (still have not found housing). This will mostly be suburban roads (i.e. between Sandown and Blairgowrie).
    • Times she will have to commute? She will commute in the morning (8ish) and early afternoon, I assume.


    Quote Originally Posted by Erwin Schimper View Post
    For the same price a a bike you can get a car. Would not send my wife out on a bike in jhb or Windhoek.
    Unless I'm looking in the wrong places, you cannot get a usable car for the price of a scooter. The scooter is ~15,000ZAR (including a few extras) from brand new, and cars at that price have >200,000km on them http://www.cars.co.za/searchVehicle....=0+-+24999&os=

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    Default Re: Safe to commute on scooter?

    To echo most of the comments here if she has no experience riding bikes then its not even worth the consideration to be honest.

    I have been riding motorbikes since PW50 when i was small and now commute 140km a day - give me half a chance to work closer to home with easier access and i wont think twice about parking the bike for weekend rides only.
    You can only guess and predict correctly so many times what the idiots in-front and around you are going to do before you guess one wrong and the consequences never end well for a biker.

    people on cell phones and just the general disregard for other road users and road rules means the close calls keep getting closer and closer - that coming from someone who knows how to ride a bike with confidence.

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