Baylor Chopper

Constance Atton | Lariat Photographer
Constance Atton | Lariat Photographer
By Ryan Finn

With students looking for an easier way to travel, mopeds are becoming increasingly popular on campus.

The growing trend demonstrates the alternative methods that students are taking in order to get to class, the gym or to and from a friend’s residence.

Scooters are also becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation because of their fuel efficiency. Constantly fluctuating gas prices, not being able to find a parking spot or having to pay $350 a semester for a parking permit are complications that mopeds allow students to avoid.

“The parking passes are becoming more expensive and parking is becoming harder to find,” Des Moines, Iowa, sophomore Jared Lowe said. “The convenience of a moped is great in both of those aspects.”

There are several types of mopeds, all with varying sizes of engines, styles and gas mileages.

One type of scooter is the Honda Metropolitan 50, which can get over 100 mpg. Small scooters usually range from 50 to 150 cubic centimeters (the capacity of the cylinder). The larger the capacity, the more powerful the engine is. A smaller engine will get better gas mileage than larger ones (200–700cc). Even some of the largest scooters, such as the Honda Silverwing, can get up to 52 mpg.

Mopeds are a way to significantly cut down on the problems that consistently arise from the parking issues on campus.

Designated spots for moped parking include the barricaded area at Fifth Street and Speight Avenue bike rack areas and student parking spaces outside of major buildings, according to Baylor’s parking website.

Parking permits for mopeds are $75. The charges go directly to the student’s bill, and the passes last for a whole year. If a moped is under 50cc and requires no license plate by law, then that moped doesn’t require a parking permit.

For all of the positives related to scooters, there are also some critical things a student should weigh when debating whether or not to purchase one.

While a majority of scooters might reach a top speed of around 60 mph, this does not necessarily mean they are adequate for driving on the freeway.

In fact, the way scooters are manufactured makes them unstable for high-speed driving. Most scooters under 150cc aren’t even legal for use on the freeway.

Scooters have relatively small, thin tires, slow acceleration and an uneven weight distribution, which cause an imbalance on the moped and result in less effective front brakes.

There are also many dangers associated with riding a moped on the streets on and around campus.

“People have been hit by cars because of a lack of knowledge on how to drive a moped,” Lowe said. “Also, people walking on campus often do not look where they are walking and mopeds have to constantly avoid them, which can be dangerous.”

Despite the possible dangers, there’s a constant debate on whether a moped would be a wise investment for students while at college. An advantage to having a scooter is that they can get a student from one point to another with relative ease and speed, much faster than if he or she chose to walk or drive to class.

“Driving a moped allows you to leave for class later,” Carrollton senior moped owner Connor Waggoner said. “Also, they are easy to use and it saves you money in the long run.”

Operating a moped on the streets surrounding Baylor’s campus requires a license. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, one must obtain a Class M driver’s license to operate a motorcycle on the roads.

However, if someone wishes only to ride a moped and not a motorcycle, they may choose to get a Class M driver’s license with a K restriction, allowing them to ride mopeds but not motorcycles.

Obtaining a license in order to drive a moped will ease some worries that parents might have if their child chooses to get a scooter while at college.

Many students are turning towards mopeds as a quick, inexpensive and easy method of transportation that allows them to relax and enjoy the ride.