These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of SwampRentals.com or any of our advertising partners.
Gainesville stands above the rest when it comes to motorized convenience. No, not for public transit (though that isn't bad) or driving (that can be bad at times) or even parking (that can be VERY bad!) - but for scooting. What is "scooting" exactly? Zipping a motorized scooter around town. Sometimes tandem with your buddies. It's the quintessential college experience to own a scooter in Gainesville.
Buying a scooter can be daunting. There are the cheap imitation brands ($500-900) that constantly need repairs or the more expensive name brands ($2-3,000) that last for years. The investment choice is up to you (because they do end up evening out over time) and there are plenty of options to look at in Gainesville's many scooter retailers. The Honda Ruckus and Yamaha Zuma are popular choices for the more expensive brands. One of the most popular brands in Gainesville though are Bintelli Scooters. They are affordably priced yet have the quality and warranty support of the higher priced scooters. Locally Bintelli is sold through the New Scooters 4 Less dealership in Northwest Gainesville. If you buy the right one, you may not even need a car at all in Gainesville.
In the long run you may actually save money owning a scooter. Not only is this a gas saver over time (100 miles a gallon!) but you can commute to campus conveniently from a further away (and likely less expensive) apartment. Any first or second year student can tell you that commuting from off campus is extremely difficult. With a scooter it's a matter of getting up and going to class... from pretty much anywhere in Gainesville.
Safety is a big concern when considering a scooter. If you're a defensive driver that wears the proper safety gear and is extremely aware of the environment, you will flourish in Gainesville. Driving will be a challenge on wet roads so be wary of the environment and plan ahead. There are a lot of erratic, college-aged drivers in Gainesville so also always be wary of the drivers around you. I also highly recommend wearing the proper helmet gear and clothing. It's not fun slipping off your scooter in shorts... or busting your head open.
Protecting a scooter at your apartment
No matter the location, there are thieves that target scooters. Don't be a statistic and be always aware of where you park your scooter at your complex. Because gated or not, "safe" or not, a thief can hit anywhere. Buy a proper scooter lock that wraps around the wheels. If you have to, wrap the locks around a pole. Additionally, most brands of scooters have the ability to lock the steering column when not in use – take the extra second and do it!
Even better, if you're on the first floor you may be able to park your scooter right near your balcony. Other apartment complexes offer motorcycle parking so speak to your individual apartment manager before moving in to check the rules and general advice of where to put a scooter. Every complex is different when it comes to the best areas to park a scooter.
Just buy one...
When you're marking down your school supplies for your first year in Gainesville, you might want to put down a motorized scooter. It might have its pros and cons, but it's the most convenient option for commuting and getting to class on time. There's no better way to roll out of bed at 7:50 and make your 8 am class without worrying about the meter maids (because trust me... they will get you).
To learn more about transportation in Gainesville, check out our UF cost of living guide to get good idea of what life is like at the University of Florida.