If you’re planning a trip to any European islands or main cities for the future, then you’ll probably notice a lot of people getting around by riding scooters – particularly in the areas that are popular with tourists. This can be a very fun and economical way of getting around on your trip compared to hiring a car or using taxis. But, bear in mind that scooters are quite similar to motorcycles, so you could be putting yourself at risk if you’re unsure how to ride one, or don’t know what to look for when renting. So, we’ve put together a handy guide to renting a scooter abroad.
Renting a Scooter: What You Need to Know
First, let’s cover the basics of scooter rental. You’ll find that rental companies vary in sophistication between destinations. If you’re visiting the Greek or Spanish islands, for example, then you can expect to fill out a rental contract similar to hiring a car, while in other areas, rentals are more informal and often less expensive.
Wherever you are renting a scooter, make sure to check some basics first. Check the tires to ensure that they are properly inflated and make sure that the brakes and ignition are working. Test all the indicators and the headlights and tail lights, and make sure that all the gauges are functioning properly. Also, give the bike a good look over to spot any damage to the seats or fenders.
Aside from staying safe on the road, keeping the fuel tank full will be one of your primary concerns – or charging the scooter if it’s electric. Typically, most scooters have around a one-gallon gas tank, which gives you around 60km of driving when full. Many scooter rental companies will provide you with some gas in the tank when you pick the bike up, but you may be required to return it with the same amount. Gas is almost always available from gas stations – the scooter company will be able to help you with finding the closest ones – or in some areas, usually outside of Europe, from roadside bodegas. To fill the gas tank, you will usually need to go under the seat by inserting and turning the key in a slot located at the back.
Different countries have different rules and laws for driving and when you’re on a scooter, you will need to make sure that you are following these rules of the road. Rules can be different for scooters, particularly closer to cities where you are more likely to be sharing the road with cars.
Bear in mind that bikes are also more sensitive to road quality than cars, so you will need to be extra careful around potholes, road bumps and other inconsistencies in the surface as it can become very unsafe. Check out this list of the most common injuries that you could be at risk of if you hit a dangerous patch of road, and you’ll see why driving carefully is so important. It goes without saying that it’s always worth hiring extra safety equipment like a helmet and gloves for riding.
Drive safely and have fun!