Scooters and Mopeds in Ontario: Facts and Myths part 2
Back in 2018 we posted one of our most popular articles – “Scooters and Mopeds in Ontario: Facts and Myths” – that one is a popular search result, and has helped many readers get the facts about scooter and moped ownership in Ontario.
You can read that article HERE.
Over the last couple of years however – we’re realized while that article covers a lot of the basics of Scooter and Moped ownership in Ontario, there is some additional information that could be added, such as Insurance, Parking, Buying a Scooter to “Save Gas” and more.
Which, as you likely already guessed, is what this article will do. Starting now.
Parking a Scooter in Toronto:
From the city of Toronto website – HERE
“Motorcyclists/Motor Scooters can park for free at street meters or streets with “pay and display” machines (not parking lots) but only for the time period allowed by law (either 2 or 3 hours depending on signage).
Motorcyclists are not exempt from the parking bylaws, only from paying for the time allowed bylaw (permit parking regulations for residential streets still apply). For more information about the Permit Parking bylaw (Chapter 925)”
This means that a motorcycle (and remember, a Scooter is just a motorcycle according to the MTO – it might be a Limited Speed Motorcycle but basically any motorcycle law applies) can be parked at a Green P “Pay and Display” for the posted maximum time for free. Go above that time, and you may be subject to a ticket. Also, this does not apply to Green P parking lots – just street parking.
While there was some talk about ending this a few years back (See this article HERE from 2014), this has not gone through – but as always this is subject to change according to the whims of political climates and if/when someone else decides Toronto has a “War on the Car” and motorcyclists (despite reducing gridlock) have too much of a good thing going.
Also keep in mind in Toronto (and the surrounding areas) Scooters may get a blind eye compared to larger motorcycles when parking on the sidewalk/median, but that isn’t guaranteed. It’s still illegal, and you may find it towed or ticketed if you do it – and the city does tend to crack down every once in a while.
It’s unfortunate as many European cities actively encourage motorcycle parking in spare bits of median and sidewalk as a way to reduce gridlock – so long as you don’t block the actual sidewalk. But here, not so much – where scooters are seen as more of a toy and less of a serious commuting vehicle.
Insuring a Scooter:
Insuring a new, major brand scooter isn’t too much of a hassle – just call a *minimum* of three agents/insurance vendors to get quotes – because motorcycle insurance rates can vary widely and you always should get multiple quotes – and then pick the cheapest/best. Anything between 125cc and 500cc shouldn’t be a crazy cost if you have a good driving record going for you as generally scooters won’t fall into premium sportbike like categories of machines.
A couple of companies (last time I went around looking) don’t want to insure machines under 100cc for some reason – so 50cc machines may be more of a challenge, but generally 50cc machines are all lumped in with mopeds so again, for someone with some motorcycle insurance history it shouldn’t be a crazy rate.
Used scooters and mopeds can be more of a hassle – and may require a lot more groundwork. For example several years ago I went to insure a Honda CT90 – not exactly an unknown brand, right?
Not right at all as it turned out. One issue was that some insurers will not insure machines over 30 years old. Others would not insure machines under 100cc’s. For “Vintage” motorcycle insurance, you have to ride under a limited number of KM per year or to/from events, imposing limitations on your riding. They also wanted an appraisal of the machine – even with basic liability.
I was getting quotes of $800 CAD from some insurers, and then I had an agent check Facility (The insurance of last resort usually, and it is quite often more expensive and a last resort) and it turned out to be only $400 for that.
Finally however, I went to Scotialife automotive insurance and (if I recall correctly) ended up paying $200 per year – much more reasonable even if I did have to go through some further steps as the CT90 wasn’t in their system.
So for vintage scooters – it may be a challenge.
“Saving Gas Costs” by buying a Scooter or Moped:
This is a bit of a tricky area to get into because there are a lot of variables – but generally speaking, if you are riding a scooter just to save gas cost and avoid driving your car or truck – you aren’t going to save much of anything.
Remember, motorcycle insurance is paid out for a year – you can’t get coverage for a partial year or suspend the insurance over the winter.
Since our climate (generally, there are some brave souls who are exceptions) doesn’t allow for year round riding this means unless you take public transit during the winter you’ll be driving your car or truck for a minimum of 3-4 months per year.
This means even if you buy a 50cc scooter on sale (I’d personally recommend a 125 as a starter as it gives a few more options of where you can ride) you will end up having a minimum of 3-4 years before you break even – at best. And that only if you do your own maintenance and work on it.
You DID remember scooters, while cute and approachable still need maintenance and work on occasion, correct? A lot of the work is quite simple – oil changes, filter changes, etc – but things like tire changes and valve adjustments (depending on the machine) may require mechanic visits if you can’t/do not want to do it in your driveway.
Also, you need riding equipment – at least a decent helmet, gloves, jacket, boots, etc. These don’t have to break the bank, but even getting some budget friendly but safe brands are going to cost you at least $800-1000 when you factor everything in. And avoid those used helmets – that’s one area where saving cash might cost you brain function.
With all that being said about not saving much if any money – the convenience and smile per mile factor of a scooter is pretty damn high if you ask me, and it is a cheap second vehicle option (about the cheapest) so while it may not *save* a large amount of money, it probably isn’t going to cost you a great deal either.
“Scooters don’t require training”
Scooters are undeniably easier to ride than many motorcycles. The lack of gears, simple controls, generally low centre of gravity and (usually) lower power mean they can be ridden more easily than a full blown motorcycle.
Most of the time anyways.
But that doesn’t mean you should skip the training. For new riders, getting training can dramatically increase your chance of passing your tests on your first go.
Insurance will often treat you as having an extra years riding experience if you complete a rider training course – reducing your rates potentially.
And most importantly of all – it will teach you an important skill set, and make you a safer rider. I mean, let’s face it – motorcycing is a dangerous sport and you will need all the assistance you have to improve your skills and make sure you are ready for the road. Because other road users may *not* be watching out for you, or you may get into a situation where you go down due to not being aware of road conditions or other situations.
I actually recommend (even if you plan on riding an automatic CVT scooter) taking the full motorcycle course as you’ll learn the basics of operating a clutch/manual shift motorbike in a controlled environment. This will give you more riding options, and improve your skills as a rider – and that is always worthwhile.
We hope this “Part Two” of our Scooter Myths and Facts article helps answer questions for a few of you out there – because there can be a lot of misinformation.
From sellers who tell you “You don’t need a license” to others who tell you “You don’t need insurance” or “Just hop on and ride, you don’t need practice of training.” – some of the common knowledge out there could get you ticketed or hurt.
And we scooterists need to stick together. Because while riding, while advocating – we’re a small segment of the population and a small vehicle on the road.
We have to look out for eachother, because much of the time nobody else is looking out and seeing us.
- Scootering in the time of Isolation: Thoughts on the Pandemic April 23, 2020
- The JunkRun update: We’re definitely doing it. (Probably. Well maybe.) April 17, 2020
- The Junk Run: Update and Registration Open Date March 10, 2020
- The Junk Run 2020: The Plan so Far February 24, 2020
- The Junk Run 2020: Thoughts on the Bikes to get, plus updates! February 15, 2020