The scooter plays different roles in different places.  In much of Asia, the scooter is simply — transportation.  It is the family car.  The omnipresence of all manner of scooters does to a significant degree demonstrate that the scooter design is indeed more generally functional than the motorcycle, whose swing-the-leg-over design makes riding in a dress or skirt less elegant and makes the presence of a trunk or luggage box much less convenient.
In Europe,  the scooter has traditionally been a source of mobility for the young — an affordable first vehicle, though not by any means the exclusive property of youth (see Scooter Freedom).  Very common among students and others of limited means, scooters often dominate university car parks and often tend to become associated with those of little means, but with much potential.  A study involving random interviews of scooterists and drivers of other sorts of transportation would probably find far more of the former who can conjugate a French or German verb, take a derivative, or speak intelligently on Spinoza.  Such a study deserves to be carried out.

In America, scooterists are harder to categorize.  Certainly, as a percentage of the driving population, they are far less significant than are their European and Asian counterparts.   It does seem likely that the American scooterist does at least have a heightened sense of the aesthetic and practical factors of inexpensive transportation (See Motorscooter Return on Investment calculator).  Or perhaps we would just like to believe that of ourselves.


Much appreciation to those of you who with the requisite tolerance for unsubstantiated theses to have read this far.  Perhaps you agree and perhaps you don’t, but — well, it would be nice if true.