What should I know about riding a moped in Brooklyn?
September 30, 2019 1:39 PM   Subscribe

I tried a Revel moped in Brooklyn this weekend and loved it—so much so, I'm thinking about just buying a similar moped. What do I need to know about owning and operating one in Brooklyn?

After a decade in the city and being a frustrated cyclist, the moped honestly made me want to give up on cycling here altogether. It was quiet, efficient, I could ride in the street and not be relegated to narrow dangerous bike paths, it made it fun to explore new neighborhoods.

Mostly, I'm curious about the downsides to owning a moped here. I know I wouldn't ride it nearly as much in the winter. I'd need to park it outside (covered, obviously) in inclement weather. Any other reason more people don't just own a similiar transport? Or is it ultimately just cheaper to joyride a Revel on the weekend for fun (about $20/hr) and forget buying one?
posted by critzer to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The New York DMV rules for mopeds are here.

Just a warning, as a frustrated cyclist, I'm sure you already know: All drivers are trying to kill you. It's nothing personal.
posted by Marky at 1:58 PM on September 30, 2019

^ I didn't sense this at all this weekend, fwiw. I went on 2 hourlong rides from Downtown Brooklyn to Red Hook over to Mapleton and back, stayed inline with the cars at about 25mph most times. No one was impatient with moped traffic (lots of Revels out). Felt a lot more integrated with car traffic, less blind spots, less frustration overall.
posted by critzer at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2019

I'll be watching this with curiosity, because I almost asked the same question. So I'll piggyback with some other questions of mine:

- Going over the bridges (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Pulaski) seems nightmarish. How do people go from borough to borough? Or do people do not?
- Insurance - how does that work?

Also, the NIU scooters are coming to the US soon, tariffs or not.
posted by many more sunsets at 2:37 PM on September 30, 2019

Motorcyclist here. I do feel safer taking up a whole lane on my tall bike than I do on a bicycle. But I still drive as if everyone is trying to kill me. It only takes one person to not see you and you're down.

Owning your own you'll have to store it in the winter. Or at least know how to pull the battery and keep it charged.

Tire pressure. Chain lube (do these things have chains?). Regular maintenance isn't hard but it is a thing that needs doing.

You will fall. It happens. Consider a jacket that can take some scrapes, and wear boots to protect your ankles. You'll learn what to watch for - metal grates, wet leaves, tar "snakes," giant potholes. All those sneak up on you faster at speed.

The above sounds negative, but it's not. Get a bike. Love it. But also train yourself, manage your risks, and be safe.
posted by Wulfhere at 2:43 PM on September 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Not Brooklyn-specific or electric-specific, but I commute and otherwise travel on a 49cc scooter (doesn’t go over 30mph) in Boston. I freaking love it. Not sure what NY moped laws are like but around here a 49cc can use on-street bike lanes and pass on the right, which saves me SO MUCH TIME getting through traffic.

I used to bike commute every day, but my commute got a bit longer and now I scoot as long as the weather holds. You do get REALLY COLD on the scooter compared to other forms of transport, and they’re bad in rain and snow. Realistically you probably won’t be able to ride in January and February (and you will need to keep it somewhere - I’ve kept mine behind the house under a cover or in a garage depending on my circumstances, and I use a trickle charger for my battery when I’m not going to be using it for more than a couple weeks, not sure how that works with electric).

Wulfhere raises a lot of other good points in addition to storage/battery. For instance, I took a spill the other day on a weird metal seam on a bridge. I was really glad to be wearing a denim jacket. I don’t always. Probably next summer I’ll be wearing sleeveless tops on the scooter again even though I know I shouldn’t.

What else? Get a serious lock and a cover, especially if you’re parking it in the street/sidewalk overnight.

Anyway, I love my scooter/moped, and if I were buying new I would probably go for an electric one. They are totally fun and convenient.
posted by mskyle at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

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