Scooters For Survival


To escape mayhem or disaster, you will need transportation. Many survivalists have grand visions of a bulletproof, tracked vehicle that mimics the functions of a tank while matching the size and comfort of a luxury RV. I am no exception from that crowd. However, like most people, my reality is something on a much lesser scale — assuming that someday I will even be able to have a dedicated survival vehicle.

If you have a limited budget and because there are no special qualifications required to operate one in most areas, a feasible solution for a survival vehicle could be a scooter. Yes, a scooter. I am not a student, a hipster or European; but it seems that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages and support the philosophy that a scooter could be a viable option as a survival vehicle.


The cost of a scooter can vary greatly, depending on the manufacturer, model and specifications. While a new scooter can cost well more than $10,000 for a top-of-the-line, highway-ready model, some of the imported models can be as cheap as $600. It is also not uncommon to find an old, used, name-brand scooter that is still running and listed for sale for $200 or more. In addition to a low purchase price, the cost of operation and maintenance are minimal. Most States do not require any endorsement to operate a scooter, and registration and insurance fees are minimal.

Most small scooters weigh less than 300 pounds. The heaviest models weigh about 600 pounds. Because they are lightweight, scooters are easy to get around on. Also, they can be moved and even lifted over obstacles with minimal or no assistance.

A scooter can easily be navigated through the tightest of areas. In the event of societal collapse, a scooter may be the only motorized form of transportation that can be maneuvered through an urban environment. The size advantage will allow a scooter to pass through roadblocks that a car or truck could not. If your survival vehicle of choice is not a scooter, you could put a scooter in the back of a truck, van or SUV. This will allow the use of the scooter if an impassable area is reached or if your first choice of vehicle becomes incapacitated.

Scooters are very efficient in the amount of fuel that they consume. Many of the 50 cubic centimeter models can get more than 100 miles per gallon. Because of the fuel-consumption advantage, a scooter can be a good survival vehicle. For example, a scooter with a full tank of gas and a 2-gallon gas can in reserve can travel nearly 400 miles. This should be a plentiful distance to reach safety in many survival scenarios.

The range of a scooter on a single tank of gas is not all that impressive on its own. But many scooters have additional luggage or cargo racks available that will easily facilitate the carrying of additional fuel.

Many preppers are concerned about the possibility of electromagnetic pulses (EMP) or coronal mass ejections (CME) from the sun that could potentially wipe out the electrical grid and destroy any machinery or equipment that operates on an electric system. As a result of a scooter’s size, it is possible to design and build a faraday cage that will protect the scooter and keep it operational after an EMP or CME. Having a source of transportation following such an event will offer significant advantages versus not having a mode of transportation.

Scooters are quiet by design. Their small engines do not produce a large amount of noise or emissions which make them great vehicles for keeping a low profile.

A scooter can be easily concealed. They are small and easily hidden, and they are typically covered in plastic panels that can easily be painted with basic spray paint. This allows for a custom paint job to blend in with a variety of environments. Additionally, cheaper models of scooter don’t usually have any chrome or bright metal components. That means less risk of light sources reflecting on the scooter and giving away its location.

Scooters are not inherently designed to carry large amounts of cargo, but they do offer the opportunity to carry cargo in several different configurations. In addition to cargo racks, saddle bags and various other bags can be strapped to the scooter’s frame, handlebars and panels. It is even feasible that a bicycle or motorcycle trailer could be pulled by a scooter to allow additional cargo capacity.


The small size of a scooter makes the payload that can be carried extremely limited. This includes limitations on the number or weight of passengers carried, the weight of cargo and the space available to carry both. In addition to cargo restrictions, the scooter’s small wheels make it susceptible to falling into potholes, which can ruin your mode of transportation. Because of this possible complication, it may be advisable to maintain an inventory or extra parts for your scooter. This is especially true if you are depending on a scooter for survival purposes. Some of the spare parts that should be stocked include wheels, tires, spark plugs, oil, engine lubricants and electrical components (bulbs, fuses and wires).

The average size of a scooter engine is somewhere between 50-150 cubic centimeters. This is great because it means that a scooter will only sip fuel as opposed to guzzling it, but it also means that the maximum speed of a scooter is very limited. Typically topping out at a speed of 45 mph (on a good day), a scooter will not allow for quick transportation. The speed of a scooter will be decreased even more when attempting to ascend a hill or traversing rough terrain.

Disaster Applications

There are many potential applications to use a scooter in the event of a disaster. Besides point to point transportation, scooters could be used for:

  • Scouting and reconnaissance: Because of the potential to get around in a quiet and stealth manner, a scooter could be a great recon vehicle.
  • Evasion: In the event of a confrontation, a scooter could offer a quick means of evading a threat. They also offer the potential in assisting in an effective getaway by traveling on sidewalks, through alleyways, etc.
  • Hunting and gathering: During difficult times, hunting and gathering food and water sources may be the main method of survival. In this case, a scooter could greatly increase the effectiveness of these efforts. It is also possible that some resources could be used because of the additional capabilities offered by having a scooter.
  • Assisting others: Rebuilding after a disaster often revolves around the efforts of an entire community. If there is limited transportation available or if environmental conditions limit the use of conventional vehicles, a scooter could offer an opportunity to assist your neighbors and help rebuild the community.

Is a scooter a viable option to get out of dodge? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I would rather ride a scooter out of chaos than strap on my hiking boots and walk an unending number of miles to safety.

–Thomas Miller

Personal Liberty

Thomas Miller

lives with his wife and three sons on an island in the Pacific. He loves fishing, woodworking, hiking, swimming, golfing, and generally anything that he can do with his family. Using his skills and knowledge acquired in the Army, honed through multiple combat deployments, and gained through the ongoing study of survival and preparedness, Miller shares his knowledge and thoughts on his blog, You can also connect with him on Twitter, @preparedninja.

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  • independent thinker

    I would rather have a 250 Honda or equivalent motorcycle. More power and less affected by uneven roads than a scooter. If you do not ride it on public roads routinely but only on private land there is no need for licenses or registration and if the SHTF you will not be concerned about legalities such as licenses. In a non SHTF emergency situation you should be able to argue that the cycle while not purchased for use on public roads was the only transportation immediately available to you and promise to register/license it as soon as the emergency is over. Of course as soon as the emergency is over you can conveniently forget since it is no longer needed for routine transportation.

    • Underhill

      Aside from seat height issues I would think ”dirt” bike. Choose the commonest, cheapest, easiest to find parts for and to repair. Suggested reading ”Footfall”.

    • Quester55

      dirt-bikes sound good, however they still consume great amounts of GAS & if they Break down, may be very hard to Find someone to repair it!

      • Jimmy the Greek

        Try fixing a scooter !

    • independent thinker

      I might add, if I had a choice I would have 4 or more horses all trained for both riding and packing. While I do live in the country I do not have access to enough land for the horses to survive with little to no supplemental food.

      • Smee

        How bout a mule or two, sure footed and can pack.

        • independent thinker

          I should have included mules as well. Properly trained they are excellent for both riding and packing

  • JLouisK

    A Horse, a horse is what I would want. I live in the country.

    • Quester55

      The only Problem with a horse is that IT is Also on the FOOD CHAIN & there are libel to be packs of once Friendly Dogs to Contend with!

      • Jimmy the Greek

        All good eating !

      • JLouisK

        I’ll shoot the dogs for dinner then. And if old faithful dies, well we will have a big barbeque. Ya can’ eat a dirt bike or scooter….

  • Motov

    Bicycle doesn’t need gas, or a license to get around.

    • Smee

      old legs don’t work pedals well.

      • Motov

        For those with Parkinson’s disease, it is a great way to get exercise

        • Smee

          I do shake, but the VA doctor told me it wasn’t Parkinson’s

  • SteveG

    As SMaj. Kearns always told us, “Yo’ transportation is attached! You’ll by traveling via the shoe leather express.”

  • dan

    I was a bicyclist for 50 years and I’ve had horses…I’m too beat up to walk far or pedal…so I bought a Harley (Roadking) The seat heighth of dirtbikes is a problem ,too , but the step throuh scooters won’t go through snow,either.
    My solution is a Yamaha TW. i’ve had four-wheeler ATV’s and they’re fine for trails,but i can drive my Taho anywhere I can take an ATV…but a two wheeler can follow a deer trail or pull out of a trail where ATV’s cant follow as well as lay down and hide easily.

    • Jimmy the Greek

      I still have two HD that have magneitos a 1962 XLCH , and a 1974 XL that is a stroker ,so bring on the EMP

  • AlG.

    Seems that even in countries in the middle of war gasoline is always available, even if sold in quart motor oil bottles at high prices.
    If you can, get a scooter with large wheels rather than the little “Vespa-Lambretta” size. Larger tires ride better, have better traction, and are less vulnerable to potholes and lumps.
    Front brake is essential. In an emergency stop, the front brake does 90% of the braking.
    4 stroke engine is preferable to 2 stroke. No mixing expensive 2 stroke oil with the gas, and get better mileage.
    Always wear a helmet even if state law doesn’t require it. Protective clothing is a good idea, too, especially “day-glo” lime green with reflectorization.
    Some states do not require registration and insurance if the mfr’s rating is 49cc or less, or 5 HP or less. You still are wise to add it to your auto insurance.

  • Tom Miller

    There are plenty of different options available for transportation. Many of you have made several great points and they are all valid. My point in writing this was merely to point out an often overlooked method of transportation that could be a viable option in a disaster or survival situation. Think about the advantages of a scooter in a mandatory evacuation when traffic is bumper to bumper and stopped on the interstate. It would certainly give you the ability to squeeze through traffic and maybe even get you out of danger.

  • trugrits

    I really wonder where people think they will escape to if SHTF? Over 200 miles of bumper to bumper traffic and over 400 miles away for lodging. And that was even for a threat that didn’t even pan out. You better have something for off road because someone on the roadside with a tree branch will quickly end your trip to safety. People see you coming will be like a hot dog on a stick to a hungry dog.

    People become less than animals during hard times. If you are open to assault then you are screwed. IMO an off road bicycle would be your best bet. The average person couldn’t pedal five miles on rough terrain without falling off exhausted. You will not find gas and lucky to find a place to plug in an electric scooter. Don’t fall asleep while it is charging. Realize you will be like one ant among thousands trying to get away and survive.
    People would be better off staying put with supplies and guns to protect what they have.

  • YourAntithesis

    While I do commend the author for thinking outside the box, in most of these SHTF scenarios, some of which are mentioned here where there would be packs of dogs running around and people looking to kill to survive, a scooter, motorcycle, horse or donkey would be terrible to have because of both the lack of protection that you find in passenger vehicles and the inability to carry much of anything. Sure, they’re great for all the reasons mentioned and could work if you’re just looking to get outta dodge quickly until order is restored, but if we’re already at the point where we resemble a remake of the Road Warrior and society has completely collapsed, you’re very likely to get brought down and having the crap beat out of you by an angry mob.

    • TheSilverRanger

      True, but that’s where speed comes in. Especially with a motorcycle. It’s fun when your enemy cannot see or catch you.