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Scooter accident rates are not reported separately, but are included in statistics compiled for motorcycles. Keri Gibson, a safety specialist for the Utah Highway Safety Office, said the number of motorcycle accidents is increasing along with the number of motorcycles on the road.
In 2005, the latest year for which Utah numbers are available, the rate of total motorcycle crashes hit an all-time high at 3.9 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. That translated into 969 crashes, 23 of which were fatal. Nationally, in 2006, motorcycle riders were involved in more than one out of nine of all U.S. road fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Training and experience are the keys to safety. While Utah requires scooter drivers to get a motorcycle license endorsement, they are relatively easy to get.
"You can get your motorcycle endorsement but that doesn't mean you have adequate training for the size of the engine," she said. "Experience is a big thing."
Gibson and scooter dealers recommend that new scooter owners take a $180 motorcycle safety class. Schedules are available at http://www.utahridered.com.
Classes typically take 15 hours, with five hours of classroom work and 10 hours of riding on a range where instructors teach the basics of how to ride a motorcycle or scooter as well as defensive driving skills.
Under the law, scooters are treated like motorcycles and drivers are required to have a motorcycle endorsement, which involves a special written test, and are encouraged to wear helmets.