For some reason, we answer a lot of bike trailer questions at the shop. “Can I carry an accordion in a dog trailer?”, for instance. Or, “Do you have a trailer I can pull behind my car, to carry an upright bass, so my bike can ride inside?” One we get frequently is, “Which trailer will work best with my scooter?”
This is a difficult one to answer, given that it usually comes from people who cobbled their scooter together from old bike, car, and chainsaw parts. Our hats are off to these intrepid engineers of the two-wheeled, fuel-efficient revolution. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers here. We do have some general advice for the motor-assisted, though.
In general there are three factors to consider when evaluating a bike trailer for your scooter: speed, connectivity, and the law. Depending on the size of your engine, the average speed of a scooter may run between 25 and 45 mph. Unless you’re Graham Obree, that’s a fair bit faster than a bike. And don’t forget that a bike trailer might weigh as little as twelve pounds when empty, which means an increased risk of rolling the trailer over.
Hooking the trailer to the scooter is another issue. For those who have a commercially built scooter, the drivetrain is usually located on the left side, the same side that most two-wheeled trailers attach to, and because most cargo trailers use some type of axle-mounted hitch, this means you will have to find a way to mount the hitch to the scooter frame. It also means that single-wheeled trailers are right out. If the scooter is actually a modified bike frame, you may have more success here.
Finally, there’s the law. Scooters are licensed vehicles in most states, which may add a few requirements to the use of trailers. Specifically, you need more lights. Here in Arizona, these are the pertinent bits of Title 28, Chapter 3, Article 16: 28-925. Tail lamps; 28-929. Additional lighting equipment required on certain vehicles; 28-931. Lamp colors; 28-932. Reflector and lamp mountings; 28-933. Reflector and lamp visibility; and 28-939. Signal lamps and devices. When you boil all of these down, they say your trailer needs to have rear facing reflectors, tail lights, and brake and turn signals, if the trailer obscures either, and they need to be mounted between 15 and 60″ off the ground.
Edit 2/01/10: And have a look at the Scoot Boot Scooter Trailer that we recently came across which looks like a great reasonably priced solution as well.
So, which bike trailer works best with a scooter? I dunno, how about the Burley Flatbed?