When you think of the US you would imagine big trucks and automobiles, but when you think of Asia, particularly South East Asia, what comes to mind is an entirely different picture. If you have ever been there, all you would think of is rows and rows of motorcycles and scooters, causing traffic on the roads. Although the hazardous nature of these roads are often over-dramatized, the love for scooters that Asian countries hold is not. In this article, we shall explore the reason behind this phenomenon.
Of the top 15 countries in the world according to scooter use over half are in Asia, with the top 5 mostly in Southeast Asia: Thailand (87% of households), Vietnam (86%), Indonesia (85%), Malaysia (83%) and China (60%). To learn more about the rich history behind this phenomenon click here.
This kind of disproportionate showing is indicative of a larger reason why Asian countries prefer scooters to automobiles. I believe the main cause boils down to five main reasons.
The Cheap Price
The most obvious reason is that scooters are very cheap to own and run. The average electric scooter can cost you about 1000 dollars, while you can expect to pay 20 times more as the average car costs about 25000 dollars.
Another advantage is that you can park scooters anywhere. You can ride them on the footpath, on the side of the road against the traffic flow, and along alleyways that aren’t wide enough for a car. This is especially advantageous in rural areas, where roads typically just resemble dirt paths and can oftentimes be dangerous.
On an average electric scooter, you can fit five 20kg bags of rice on the tank, and still have room for your wife holding your baby on the back, with your young son sitting behind her. This may seem like an exaggeration, but many people find this to be their exact situation. Scooters are also more versatile during terrible weather. Usually, the weather in Asian countries is extremely nice, but even when it pours with rain, so you never need to change out of flip-flops, shorts, and a singlet to ride. In the same situation, car drivers would have themselves in a lot of trouble.
Perfect for the environment
In many Asian countries there are usually more local shops and markets rather than building, meaning everything is located in close proximity. Even in the capital cities, every community has local shops. So unlike the US or Australia, you are within easy walking distance or even easier scooter distance for all your daily living needs. Everything is within 1km of where you live. But when you do need to go to a bigger shop, the scooter will take you 5km to get you there. In fact, history plays a large role behind the popularity of scooters in Asia.
It is undeniable that scooters possess a certain stylish factor and give their users a cool look. The humble scooter is much more than a mode of transport – it is fashionable, stylish, and trendy. Furthermore, it comes in many different styles and is very customizable. Every scooter owner seems to give their scooters a unique style.
Although cars may be popular overall, the scooter finds a unique large user base in Asian countries. Due to many specific factors, the scooter has been getting more and more popular in not just East Asian countries, but in the whole continent as a whole.