I don’t know where the time has gone, but my oldest daughter has turned 16 and just passed her GCSEs with flying colours. I’ve been trying to think what to reward her with, and remember that back in my day, all of my friends wanted, and many of them got a moped for passing their exams (but sadly not me!).
Is this still a thing? Should we buy her a moped too?
So, I turned her loose on the Direct Bikes website, who have an amazing scooter range, and reckon they are the UK’s No.1 scooter brand. This would be a great place to buy the scooter for her, with online ordering and home delivery options.
I asked her to consider the pros and cons of whether we should buy a moped for her now or should she wait for driving lessons next year.
Over to Anne-Sophie:
Hmmm, tough one this – would I like mum and dad to buy me a scooter?
It was an issue that I hadn’t even begun to consider until she brought it up to me, as quite frankly I’m very in denial about the fact that I’m reaching the age where driving is an actual possibility.
A car had always been the obvious option for me, but I realised that I knew basically nothing about what owning a scooter even involved and so decided that I should probably do some research before deciding.
For anyone currently having a similar dilemma, here’s the summary of what I found out about buying and owning a scooter:
Here’s the good stuff about me getting a scooter
- You can drive a scooter a year earlier
This is probably the most obvious one, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. I already find myself on public transport at least five days a week, so the idea that I could start driving myself to places now is very appealing. This would possibly be more appealing to mum too, as she would not have to keep giving me lifts all over the place.
- A scooter costs less than a car, both to buy and to fuel
At 16 you can only drive a 50cc scooter and, from what I’ve found, a brand new 50cc scooter from Direct Bikes costs around £1000.
Though this is not cheap, it’s certainly less than I would have to pay for a car if I was buying it now. I’d also likely end up with something second hand, and personally I’m excited about the idea that I could have something that hadn’t been driven.
Furthermore, filling the tank on a scooter costs less than £10, and can travel up to 100 miles! This honestly shocked me, but obviously this is much cheaper than a car.
- You can still take a passenger on a scooter
Another thing that shocked me is that you are allowed to take one passenger on the back of a scooter. The idea of finally getting my own car only to become a chauffeur for all of my friends has been filling me with dread for some time, but I would also agree that only being able to carry one person could be quite inconvenient. This is the best of both worlds!
- You don’t need a full driving license to drive a scooter
You need to take a course called the CBT (compulsory basic training) and of course you need insurance, both of which I’ll mention again later, but otherwise you are free to ride the moped the moment you have your provisional license.
and here’s the not-so-good stuff…
- 50cc scooters have a speed limit of around 30mph
Although I can absolutely understand that many people, including mum, would view this as a good thing, because it makes driving it a lot safer, for me personally a lot of roads I would be driving on have speed limits of 40 or 50mph.
Although there’s nothing legally to stop me going on these, I’d be uncomfortable going that slowly on a fast road. There’s also the issue of motorways, which I wouldn’t even be able to get onto on a scooter; depending on your area this might be less of a problem for you, but where we live, there’s not many places I can go without meeting the motorway at some point.
- The CBT expires after two years
Unlike a driving license, this course usually only takes about a day to complete, and it is not a test you can pass or fail. However, I have to admit that I’m not particularly enthralled by the idea of having to retrain to be road-ready that often.
- The insurance (at my age) is not much cheaper than for a car
Having learned that maintaining a scooter would be substantially cheaper than a car, I had hoped (possibly naively) that scooter insurance would be the same. However, where mum said it will probably cost me around £400-500 per year to be insured to drive my parents’ ancient car (admittedly it would be a lot more if the car was my own or if it was new), it appears that the insurance on a scooter could also be anywhere between £500-£900.
So should I ask mum to buy me a moped?
Although I was quite excited by the idea of having my own vehicle now (I specifically love the Direct Bikes 50cc Milan Scooter in the picture), I’ve decided that I should probably wait.
I think that, for someone my age living in a quieter area with less reliable public transport, and a bit less traffic, a scooter would be an absolutely incredible investment, and would be very cool to drive too, but as I live reasonably near to London, and the roads are quite scary, I think learning to drive will be a more worthwhile investment when the time comes.
Having said that, looking more into the scooters you can buy now, I was very impressed by the range of choice and was very pleasantly surprised by the prices. Although I will be sticking to trains and buses for now, I’d recommend anyone in the same situation has a look at Direct Bikes for themselves.