Car vs Scooter

Your usual method of transportation.

  • Scooter
  • Car
  • other (MRT, bus, bike, footin’ it, etc.)

0 voters

What are some pros and cons? I know there must be a lot of scooter riders out there, but how do you car drivers feel about your purchases?

I’ll get the basics out of the way early:

Scooter Pros: Cost (cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, etc.), convenience, parking isn’t such a hassle.

Scooter Cons: Not safe, could get stolen.

Car Pros: Safe, good for long distance traveling, A/C, can take more the 2 other friends with you :wink: .

Car Cons: Cost (maintanence, gas, etc.), parking is a hassle, I assume insurances and such woulds suck.

I’ve been considering buying a scooter for a while. Some days I’m all amped and feel like buying one “Right now!”, other days (after witnessing an accident or something) I tell myself “You know, maybe I’ll save up and buy a car.” I’d like to hear from people from booth schools of thought.

My current thinking is having a scooter around the house for weekend chilling (but not for going to work) and a car for weekend trips (would I ever really use it?) I’ve met many people that feel strongly one way or the other.

Ok discuss. :smiley:

I stopped driving a scooter for anything more than a trip to the convienience store after I saw someone dead on the street after getting hit by a truck (leg twisted behind the head [human pretzel]). Ask around, almost every one that has been in Taiwan for a while and uses a scooter often has been in a serious accident or knows somethat that has.

Besides safety, you forgot to mention driving in the rain, fatigue on long trips, non-adquate storage, sucking bus fumes and getting your clothes dirty as scooter cons. Also, you can’t use the highways to get around on a scooter. Contrary to popular belief the highways are not marred in traffic.

For short trips and to places where parking is far away, a scooter is a good call. If you can afford it, I would suggest both a car and a scooter.

Only drawback of driving all of the time, is that you tend to go to areas that have parking, Breeze Center area(free parking with a Breeze center card), Warner Village Area, Westin area, the Mall on TunHwa and so on. You learn where all of the parking lots are.

I guess it depends on where you live too. I prefer to live in the suburbs on a mountain in a 3 story Western style townhouse. There is nothing like it downtown and if there were it would 3 to 4 times the price. I can zip into the city on any number of highways and be just about anywhere downtown faster than most of you guys can get around.

With all of that said, living downtown and walking or taking public transport is nice. Taking taxis all of the time might even be cheaper than having a car and a scooter really is super convienient and safe if you are careful. Downtown Taipei seems safer, some of the anything goes suburbs are crazy no matter what you are driving and the way people drive here driving a car induces stress. Cars are also over priced here although repair is relatively cheap. After driving a car for so long I couldn’t go back to only a scooter, but depends on where you live. If I lived donwtown, I might use a scooter and public transport more…blah blah blah…

I’m ashamed to say that I am a two-vehicle one-person household. Even the doorman says ‘Two vehicles are too many! They use too much gas!’ (does he think that when I take one out, the other goes out for a sneaky little drive by itself like the brooms in Fantasia?)

BUT… both my vehicles are two-wheeled. One is a tiny little Dio 50cc scooter. The other is a rather bigger Yamaha FZ150 motorcycle with a tall black top box welded on and a frame which looks bulkier than a meagre 150cc would suggest.

They have distinct uses. The Dio is for everyday use; shopping runs, trips to the swimming pool etc. It’s convenient, easy to park and quick enough for the job. The FZ is for weekend trips in the mountains, scaring dogs and other kinds of fun.

Regarding safety; you are undoubtedly safer in a car, the bigger the better as people will steer clear of you. (Although I’m sure cars are also thief magnets and petty vandalism such as paint-scratching is common).
Yet there are a number of things that every 2-wheeled vehicle rider should consider doing;

Get a decent, full-face helmet. 2000NT is a minimum in my opinion; you should really pay more. Around 3-4000NT you can get a reasonably strong Taiwan-made helmet but it will probably be quite heavy, and hot in the summer. Around 7-8000 is the entry price for a DOT, CE and Snell certified helmet made by Arai (the best), Shoei or maybe Suomy (supposed to be nearly as good as the first two but a fair bit cheaper - there’s a dealer in Taipei - let me check this out and get back to you).

A protective jacket, worn at all times while riding the motorcycle, would be a very good idea, not only to protect your skin but also your internal organs. I’m in the process of ordering one now. There are modern ones which have a lot of polyester mesh in their construction and are cool to wear in the summer. Any jacket should have CE certified armour in the shoulders and elbows, and preferably the back as well. Some manufacturers are Brosh, Fieldsheer, Joe Rocket, Triumph and Marsee. Expect to pay between 4000-8000NT.

Perhaps the most important thing; a defensive riding mentality. Some good, experienced riders (even one in Taiwan) have said that you should regard any ‘accident’ you get into as your fault. This may sound a bit crazy but it indicates the type of thinking you need. You must look at the current road situation and anticipate possible happenings at all times. Expect someone to pull out in front of you, etc. There is some useful information and 3-d simulations at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s website;

although some of their recommendations seem a little optimistic given the crowded state of Taiwan’s roads.

I really enjoy riding both bikes, and riding a bike on weekend trips is a great way to see Taiwan’s countryside close up. It’s not so nice in the rain though, and of course you can’t take more than one friend along unless your friends are also into bikes.

Hope this is of some help.

I have both and swear by it. For work, I have a scooter. Reliable, faster than any car in the city (or even out of it - during rush hour), and relatively safe IF you’re confident about your skills. My car is great for weekends, for drinking (My sober wife drives, and I fiddle with the stereo), and for when it is pouring buckets. Parking isn’t so bad if you know where to go. I love having both.

crappy bakers boy bicycle for the city - cheap and ugly, doesn’t need locking and quicker on many short city trips than any scooter (being unfettered by the laws of the road)
mountain bike for outside the city.
scooters I hire every few weeks for weekend trips
every month or so knick the in-law’s 4WD to get to the places in between.

Scooters are dangerous here and espically with kerb crawling taxis and betel nut drivers. I have seen several people getting creamed and I know on a couple of oocasions I have been lucky.

I guess it also depends on what time of the day you are moving in the traffic and where you are.

Rush hour is the worst on roads like Keelung, Nang Kang, Ba De and some others carry a high volume of traffic and not just cars, you also got cement trucks, 18 wheeliers. I drive on Keelung road everyday to Hsin Tien from Nangkang and it is dangerous. You really have to focus on what his happening. Really, people here do think signal lights and wing mirrors serve but a cosmetic function

So I think a scooter is fine… just not in rush hour traffic… if there is another way to get there use that

On cars… I had my boss’s car for two weeks when he went home. 5 series BMW… very nice on open roads… not so nice when you are sitting in traffic and having to be extra vigilent… it sucked having to find a car park to park it

Then I have my wife’s cousin’s car… pretty old and rough looking… no A/C…but it is great for getting around the place… you can park it anywhere… who is going to steal something that you double the value of each time you put 200 NTD’s worth in the tank. Unless you are going to pay for a secure parking space… it is not that advisable to get a big new expensive car cause if you park it in the wrong place… in a public space that some Taiwanese has claimed as theirs, you may end up with a keyed car requiring an expensive paint job and get a stupid grin from that neighbour saying" you shouldn’t have parked in my space"

I also have a scooter and a motorbike. If you are keeping a motorbike for fun (ie speed), and are White, Aria helmets are supposed to be the best fit. I doubt you will get one under NT$12,000, mine was NT$15,000 and heavily discounted (the Arai site gives it at $694 :shock:). If you are Chinese, I am told (by a guy who runs a motorbike club here) the Shoei helmets are a better fit. They are a similar price I believe. A good lid will be lighter and cooler than a Taiwan special. Be careful the lid you see in the shop is not already 2 years old. Just don’t drop it on the floor !

A scooter is very useful for little jaunts around the hood, but I find riding them at speed terrifying compared to a motorbike.

I agree with joesax. You need to assume when riding that every other vehicle is going to deliberately try and hurt you. Many times you will be right, but forewarned is forearmed. Get decent tyres. Spare no expense on the rubber.

Joesax: have you found a better (stickier) tyre than the Dunlops for the FZ ? I enquired about Bridgestones (hoping to get Battleaxes) but they didn’t seem to have ones small enough.

Re. tyres - I will ask my Eric, my mechanic, who really knows his stuff and trained with Yamaha for five years.

My mate Don has just replaced the stock tyres on his SYM vintage-style motorcycle (you know, the one that all the young guys ride around town with the silver petrol tank and brown leather seat) with far stickier models and says he finds them much better.

Eric has put nitrogen in my tyres. He says it aids the suspension although I don’t feel any difference and I doubt this. It does have other benefits, however;

There’s an interesting page of FZ and FZR add-ons at

They even have what appear to be ABS modules for your brakes! I’ll ask Eric about them; I wouldn’t mind having ABS for real emergency use; there’s no way human braking can be as good as a computer.

I think my bike has the carbon fibre muffler on that page. It’s loud, but that aids safety and apparently will also aid high-mountain performance due to putting less back-pressure on the engine. Another important modification is a slightly larger back wheel sprocket. That lowers the gearing, reducing top speed somewhat, but improving acceleration and power - very useful for the mountains and when carrying a passenger.

I asked Eric today about tyres. He seemed to think that Dunlops were already pretty good and that a cheaper but roughly equivalent in quality make is Maxxis.

He also thought that Michelin should make something to fit and that the quality (and price) could get very high according to the particular line, as high as 8000NT for a single tyre.

As a fairly new biker, and a pretty timid one at that, I don’t anticipate regularly coming even close to the performance limits of my tyres, so I can’t really give first-hand advice on this!

Scooter for work days and in town travel. Bigger scooters like the Dink are good 'cause they have loads of storage space (good for shopping) and are very comfortable even for 2-3 hour drives out of Taipei.
Whenever I need a car (if i want to go somewhere further on the weekends, have visitors etc.) then I rent one. I guess if you have kids or a family, a car is pretty much a must.

I’ve had tons of accidents, and only one that was really someone else’s fault - rearended by a kid in an urban assault vehicle while sitting in traffic in San Diego.

Since calming down about ten years ago I’ve been pretty incident-free, so I add my voice to the ones saying ‘accidents are your own fault’. Since moving on to 2 wheels in TW I’ve had a few near misses and 2 departures from the bike. The first I blamed on the dog, but it was really down to me being inexperienced. The second was the classic ‘not being able to see as far as it takes me to stop’ failure. Totally my own fault.

Learned my lesson, got used to the bike, look around in fear every 3 seconds, hang back, and shake my head in disbelief at the young loonies on their motorised bar stools zipping through narrow (closing) gaps with no idea what’s on the other side of the bus. These day I feel pretty safe and can’t see much point in getting a car, unless it rains.

While we’re talking tyres, I have one of theose Kymco/Honda Harley lookalikes. The damn thing locks up very easily in the rain. Any recommendations please?

Also, the chain has started coming off the rear cog. I replaced the chain and both cogs a few months back. Later I had someone else adjust the chain because it seemed very loose. Now it seems very loose again and has started jumping off at odd moments.

I thought it might be my club-footed gear changing, but it happens as often when I’m cruising along at average speed in the right gear. One minute I’m puttering happily along, the next I’m rolling to a stop. What’s going on?