Not sure if your motor scooter can survive some time in the elements? Rest assured, scooters are prepared to handle some degree of what Mother Nature can throw at them.
Scooters are made to handle outdoor conditions like a standard vehicle, so it’s safe to ride them when raining. However, leaving a motor scooter or moped simply left outside daily (particularly when not ridden regularly) will lead to mechanical issues and likely ruin it cosmetically over time.
Although outdoor conditions will not damage the cosmetics of your scooter, it is essential to know that sometimes riding in harsh weather conditions might be risky.
Riding in The Rain
Riding in the rain is a possibility, but there are some things to know before taking it on.
Risks that Might Accompany Riding in The Rain
Riding in the rain can be dangerous. Wet roads can definitely add a layer of risk on top of the normal riding risks.
Here’s what to watch out for in rainy conditions if you need to ride:
- Wet roads can make your scooter more likely to skid. The tires no longer make the same contact with the road as they do in dry conditions.
- Dirt and oil that have been accumulated during the dry period get lifted back to the road surface and cause a drastic reduction in the friction between the tire and road.
- During a downpour, it becomes difficult for the scooter rider to see properly. The better you can see, the less likely to have an accident!
- Even in a light rain shower, wet roads will make it more hazardous to brake, accelerate, or turn as when the road is dry. This means an increase in the chance of getting involved in a road accident.
- Strong winds that can happen during a storm may lead to hazards – especially for scooter and motorcycle riders.
Never ride in standing water! Scooters are very lightweight compared to standard vehicles and likely to ‘float’ off. People can be swept off their feet in 6 inches of fast moving water. I can’t imagine where a scooter would fit in this conversation.
Tips For Riding Your Scooter in the Rain
I personally try my hardest to avoid rain, but I’ve been caught in rain many times after work & while running errands more often than I care to! Freaking weather forecasts!
Now, my preference is to wait for it to pass by riding it out in a store or under a safe overpass or something, but that’s not always possible.
If you find that you NEED to ride in the rain, here are some tips to help you weather the ride (pun always intended).
Adapt your riding style to suit the situation
No matter the conditions, you need to be on the lookout for other drivers and obstacles. That said, being extra vigilant in wet condition is even more important.
If you’ve understand that riding on 2 wheels makes you semi-invisible to car drivers, then know it is amplified when weather conditions are bad.
Additionally, you’ll want to reduce your riding speed to suit the rainy situation.
Avoid high speeds and conversely – avoid braking suddenly. Remember – your scooter tires aren’t making great contact with the road and all components are wet. Grabbing those brakes too hard will certainly cause you some issues…
Also, I know you’re taught in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course to apply both brakes evenly. This is generally great advice, but be aware that the front tire is the one you really want to avoid making your front tire skid. Use the rear brake more aggressively than the front if you need to do anything aggressively AT ALL in the rain.
With that, leave ample room between you and the vehicles in front of you.
In the same spirit, you’ll want to avoid anything too hard – sharp bends, angles, turns…. anything abrupt in the rain has additional risk.
Ride smoother than you normally do!
Leaves can be super slick. Rocks, debris… you have likely seen things blow in the road from a storm.
Good visibility, appropriate speeds, and just paying attention will be helpful here. I heard someone say they keep their head on a swivel when riding in the rain. They were implying they are hyper alert for oncoming issues when riding in the rain.
Oh and the paint used on most roadways is also slick. Even when dry this paint can be trouble for scooter tires, and this is especially true when wet. Steer clear of riding on paint on road surfaces (yes, the lines and directional indicators).
Rain hurts. When you’re riding that scooter, know that rain drops literally hurt on bare skin!
Be sure you can see your environment clearly. This is when a full face helmet really comes in handy. (Helmet guide here)
Even better if you can use a treatment to help repel the rain. It will bead up and move off of your visor much better.
The same goes for fog. My full-face helmet tends to fog up in rainy conditions when I keep it closed, so the treatment helps in that regard, too.
You’ll also be much more comfortable if your protective gear is at a minimum water resistant. Waterproof is the way to go, but the general consensus is that GoreTex gear is the only way to really be waterproof (which is also super warm).
You’ll also find that most protective gear suited for rain also has some reflective elements built in.
I am all about wearing gear, but I keep a cheap rain suit in my underseat storage box big enough to wear OVER my gear, as well.
I don’t want to be caught without some way to be comfortable in random bad weather, and here’s some rain gear options from Amazon. Rain panchos, full on suits, leg covers (aka leg blanket or scooter skirt), there is a ton of options to get try to be comfortable.
Don’t forget gloves & foot coverage or the rain will make the ride more miserable without coverage!
The rain is one thing, but cold and damp is another. Read about staying warm while riding your vespa here.
The brighter your scooter, the more likely you will be seen in stormy weather conditions. Brighter colors work, but I am keen on adding reflective decals on my scooter. Around the license plate, on racks, and reflective elements on the gear I wear.
I keep a list of reflective decals available on Etsy, if you’re into that.
Also, ensure that your headlights are properly working and bright. I don’t find many scooters with stock headlights to be very bright, and this is a solid place to upgrade if you will be riding in poor conditions regularly.
You also need to check the conditions of the scooter. Make sure your tires are inflated to the psi on them with solid tread. Proper inflation means better grip on those slippery surfaces.
Having a scooter in good working condition is just safer all around – brakes, suspension, etc. If your scooter is in bad repair, it makes even good weather riding riskier – much less heavy rain!
Can You Leave Your Scooter in the Rain?
Leaving your scooter in the rain (while you hide out waiting for the rain to pass!) is totally fine.
Scooters are better protected when covered or stored indoors in general. However, your scooter is able to be in the rain. The sensitive components are sealed and materials are generally not at risk for quick deterioration from rain.
If you are in an area where there is frequent rainfall or snowfall, it’s always better to park your scooter in a garage.
The next best thing would be to park your moped under a covering – like an awning – with a cover over the scooter, too.
If you can just work out covering your scooter, that is certainly better than nothing over the long term.
Check out these motor scooter covers on Amazon if you’re in the market.
Keep your scooter covered as best as you can. Side note – you can read how a cover serves as a theft deterrent here, too!
Exposing your scooter to harsh weather conditions repeatedly over time can do a lot of harm over time.
Although you will not notice the damage at once, your scooter is still being damaged little by little and one day you will just see the aggregate of the damage.
Rust or electrical components getting wet from a seal that deteriorated in heavy downpours – there is definitely a risk to long term time outside.