STATE OF THE SCOOTER SCENE 2017


2017 BRINGS JUST ONE NEW MODEL, WHILE OLD FAVOURITES DEPART
All the 2017 scooter lineups have been announced, and unfortunately there’s not much to get excited about with only a single new model, while several notable scooters are on their way out. For 2017, six of the nine major manufacturers we cover here are returning last years models unchanged or reduced (Aprilia, BMW, Honda, Kymco, Suzuki, Yamaha). Only Piaggio released a new model, while Genuine and Vespa made some updates.

Piaggio-USA-Liberty-50-2018
New Scooters
Piaggio Liberty 50 / 150

Updated Scooters
Genuine Buddy Eclipse
Piaggio MP3 Business 500
Vespa (red) 946

Discontinued Scooters
Genuine Blur 220
Honda Forza
Burgman 400
Yamaha TMAX

In each of the past five years, 7 to 10 new scooters were introduced. For 2016 that dipped to just two and now for 2017 Piaggio’s
Liberty 50 and 150 is the lone new machine. Even that is a bit of a stretch because the Liberty is actually a 2018 model, but we need to count something.

The Liberty (above) is a large wheeled scooter and it actually has a little history in North America, with a previous generation being offered briefly here in 2003 - 2004 using the
LT50 and LT150 names. The Liberty certainly has grown up since then, with less quirkiness in the styling, which now resembles Piaggio’s larger BV350. We’ll see if it catches on better than other big wheeled scooters in North America that didn’t last long, like Honda’s SH150i.

Thankfully a few other scooters got substantial updates. Piaggio unwrapped a “Business” version of their
MP3 500 with a brown seat and grey rims, Vespa debuted a new version of their 946 as part of the anti-aids (red) project, and Genuine released the next in a long list of variants of their Buddy scooter, called the Buddy Eclipse, which is a stylistic variant on the regular Buddy.

Unfortunately the list of discontinued scooters is even longer. It includes 4 machines: Genuine’s
Blur 220, Honda’s Forza, Suzuki’s Burgman 400 and Yamaha’s TMAX. Collectively, these four machines have 31 years of experience in the North American market.

Honda-Forza-2016-USAGenuine-Blur-220i-USA-Scooter

The Blur 220 was first offered with a 150 motor from 2006 - 2007 before returning with an extra 70cc from 2010 to 2016, so it’s an aging design and it’s no surprise to see it dropped. The Forza was only introduced in 2014 and it’s been a popular scooter, so hopefully we’ll see it return for 2018. It was voted by the readers here as the favourite new scooter for 2014, so hopefully Honda is just be reducing inventory or prepping a new variant. The Burgman 400 was in Suzuki’s original lineup when they returned to North American in 2003. While it was overhauled for 2007, it hasn’t been updated in the decade since so it’s not shocking that the end has come. Lastly, Yamaha has flip flopped with offering their TMAX since it was introduced in 2009, so unless it has more lives than a cat, this is likely the end.
2009 Suzuki Burgman 400 - WhiteYamaha-TMAX-2015-Canada

While 2017 isn’t blessed with many new machines, the numerous new models introduced over the past 5 years have meant that scooter selection remains near an all time high. In total, 49 different scooter models are being offered from all these manufacturers in 2017. That counts scooters available in 2 engine sizes as 2 models (fair? maybe not) and it includes the Liberty 50 and 150, which is sort of a 2018 machine. This total of 49 models is less than last year (52) but the same as 2013, so scooter selection has been largely stable for the past few years.

PIAGGIO RELEASES 2018 LIBERTY 50 / 150


PIAGGIO BRINGS LARGE WHEELS TO NORTH AMERICA
The large wheeled scooter segment has dried up in North America in recent years, despite being more popular than ever overseas. Big wheeled scooters like Aprilia’s Scarabeo series and Kymco’s People S series have been discontinued, while Honda’s 2010 introduction of the SH150i lasted just one year.
Piaggio-USA-Liberty-50-2018Piaggio-Liberty-50-Canada-White

Thankfully for people interested in a scooter that can dance across potholes and railroad tracks, Piaggio is bringing one of their top selling global models - the Liberty - the USA and Canada. This new model has been arriving at showrooms throughout the spring, but is being listed by Piaggio as an early release 2018 model.

Piaggio-Liberty-S-50-USA
The Liberty was actually sold in the USA way back in 2003 - 2004 (badged as the LT 50 / 150) when Piaggio was first getting started here, so its re-introduction is also a chance to reflect at how far Piaggio has come. The new 4th generation Liberty is quite a bit nicer than the old LT models, which certainly had a quirky look, and also offers far better technology like ABS and fuel injection.

The 2018 Piaggio Liberty will be available in both 50cc and 155cc sizes, and in two trims: regular and S. The S trim (top left) adds black accents (rims, mirrors) etc instead of chrome (top right). Full details on the new Liberty models are available on the new Liberty page.

For 2018, the Liberty costs $2399 (50) or $2999 (150) in the USA, with the S versions adding another $100. Canadian prices are even more reasonable at $2645 (50) and $3345 (150) - again the S versions add $100.

SCOOTER SAFETY: STAYING VISIBLE IN TRAFFIC


If you use a scooter for transportation, you are not alone. Scooters are a fun and economical form of transportation. Scooters are also environmentally friendly, which means you won't leave a big carbon footprint on the planet. However, scooters do fall into a category much like bicycles and motorcycles where they aren't as likely to be noticed by car drivers. It is often not entirely the fault of the other driver, but also relates to how the brain and eyes work together. To address this problem, you should do everything you can to make yourself more visible so you will be noticed by other drivers.

Scooter-Safety - 1 (1)
Ride With Traffic
You are riding a motorized vehicle, so you need to adhere to the rules of the road. This include riding with traffic. You need to stay in a place in the lane so you will be noticed and stand out. Don't stay over near the curb or cut around cars in bike lanes. Instead, place yourself in the center of the lane to let drivers know that you are there and holding your own spot in traffic.

Don't Weave
When you are riding your scooter on the road, you don't want to weave and out of traffic. If you are weaving, drivers don't know where you are headed and you are much likely to not be noticed and be hit. Instead, stay visible in the lane so you will be noticed by drivers as they maneuver on their way.

Ride at a Safe Speed
Most scooters won't travel at excessively high rates of speed, but you need to travel at a safe speed. Pedestrians might not see your scooter and they are quiet, so you need to make sure you can stop fast enough if a pedestrian steps out in front of you. Be prepared for pedestrians or animals entering your path because either can cause a crash if you don't get stopped in time.

Fluorescent Clothing and Gear
You need to stand out in the crowd. One way to do so is by wearing fluorescent clothing or a brightly colored helmet. Traditional colors such as blue, black, brown, or gray just blend in with the surroundings. You want to go with hot pink, lime green, neon yellow, or orange so drivers will see you. These colors can definitely make a difference when you are out and about.

Riding After Dark
If you are out before dawn or
after dusk, you need to make sure your bike has the proper gear to make it visible. Your white headlight and red taillight are just the start. Don’t remove reflectors from your scooter to make it look cooler. Rather, add reflectors to the scooter and your clothing. This is most easily done with
Scooter-Safety - 1
reflective tape, which is cheap and can be placed almost anywhere. These reflectors come in particularly handy if one of your lights burns out. You can also wear an LED light to help you stand out even more and get noticed by drivers.

Ride Predictably
You want drivers to be able to know where you are going. This means you need to always signal and well in advance. If your scooter is equipped with signals, use them. If it is not, use hand signals so drivers will know where you are going and when you are going to make a move. Do everything you can so drivers will know your intentions.

Intersections
Most
accidents occur at intersections. You want to make sure you stand out so you need to do everything you can to be noticed. Follow traffic signals and don't roll through stop signs. Make eye contact with drivers so you will know that they saw you. Always have your hand near the brake so you can stop, slow down or ride defensively if you need to do so.

Other Safety Tips
By knowing the traffic regulations and familiarizing yourself with the roads where you will be riding, you can help protect yourself when you are out on the roads. By understanding the laws of the road and proceeding with the proper caution, you can make sure you are less likely to be involved in a crash when riding your scooter on the road. Staying alert is the key to making sure you are noticed.

This article was written by the Outreach Team at Personal Injury Help, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice or opinion, and is intended for informational use only. To find out more about them, you can go to www.personalinjury-law.com or contact them at help@personalinjury-law.org