How to Ride a Scooter in Samoa
The quintessential image of road-tripping in an island paradise is on a scooter with the tropical breeze flowing through your hair (or around your helmet, as the case is likely to be). But if you haven’t ridden a scooter before, let alone in Samoa, then there are a few things you definitely need to know before “hitting” the road (or else our figurative phrase might turn literal). Don’t worry, we’ve come up with some essential tips for riding a scooter in Samoa that will make you more prepared.
Where to Hire a Scooter in Samoa
Scooter rental is available with a limited few vehicle rental companies on both Upolu and Savai’i, as well as one dedicated scooter rental on Upolu. Find out which companies to hire from in our complete scooter guide, Scooter Hire in Samoa: Where to Rent, Cost & More. Note that you need to be at least 21 years old to rent a scooter in Samoa.
1. Get Your Temporary Driver’s License
The first thing you need to know about renting a scooter in Samoa is that you will need to apply for a Temporary Visitor’s License (TDL). Those with a full valid driver’s license from overseas are eligible to apply for the TDL, which can be obtained from some scooter rental companies in Samoa. Otherwise, check out How to Get a Samoa Temporary Driver’s License to learn about other ways of getting your TDL, as well as what to do if you have an International Driving Permit (IDP).
2. Wear a Helmet
In Samoa, it is mandatory to wear a helmet while riding a scooter. All scooter rentals in Samoa include a helmet (or two if you have a passenger) in the daily rate.
3. Most Rental Scooters are Automatic and 110/125cc (So are Easy to Ride)
If you’re a little worried about whether you’ll be able to ride a scooter in Samoa, don’t be. They are incredibly easy to ride, as almost all scooter rentals for tourists are a) automatic transmission so there are no changing gears and b) have only a 110cc or 125cc engine so you’re unlikely to speed up too quickly to handle.
4. Only Two People are Permitted on the Same Scooter
Scooters only fit one driver and one passenger, which equals two people in total! Both riders must be seated astride; not sideways. The pillion (the name given to a motorcycle passenger) must be sat behind the driver.
5. Don’t Ride a Scooter in Samoa if You’re Afraid of Dogs
Driving in Samoa comes with the risk of dogs chasing after you; which is understandably much scarier on a scooter than it is in an enclosed vehicle. If you seize up at even the thought of this happening to you and you think it will impair your ability to ride a scooter, then perhaps rent a car instead.
6. Be Careful Not to Burn Your Leg
A common mistake for scooter newbs is burning a leg on the hot exhaust pipe. Most rental scooters have a protective casing over the pipes now, but still, don’t go flinging your legs around after a ride, especially if you’re the pillion passenger.
7. Watch Out for Animals and Children
As mentioned with the dogs, there are quite a few hazards on the roads of Samoa that you have to be extra careful of when riding a scooter. One of them (or many of them, should we say?) is animals. Pigs, horses, dogs and chickens are often on the roads. Just take your time when riding your scooter anywhere in Samoa – sticking to the speed limits helps – and you should have enough time to react when you approach a new friend on the road.
Check out the speed limits and other road rules in How to Drive in Samoa + 10 Road Rules You Need to Know.
8. You’re Allowed to Take Your Scooter on the Ferry
Planning on scootering around both islands in Samoa? Note that scooter rental companies do allow you to transport rental scooters on the ferry. You do not need to pre-book your ferry crossing like it’s recommended for other vehicles; just show up at the vehicle check-in booth at the ferry terminal no less than an hour before departure and purchase the appropriate number of passenger tickets plus pay the scooter/motorcycle fee. Stay with your vehicle, attendants will show you where to park when boarding the ferry.
Check out How to Take a Ferry to Savai’i to learn more about this island-hopping process.
9. First Time Riding a Scooter? Do a Test Ride
When hiring a scooter for the first time, have a few practice laps of the car park getting comfortable stopping, accelerating and controlling the bike before hitting the road.
You might also want to ask your scooter rental company to show you how to start the engine, depending on the model you have (usually, it’s just a key-in-and-twist sort of job). They should also show you how to refuel your scooter – if they don’t, just ask if you’re unsure!
For more tips on how to ride a scooter, head over to Scooter Hire in Samoa: Where to Rent, Cost & More.
10. Respect the Same Road Rules as Other Drivers
Finally, you’re riding a scooter; not a bicycle, so you still need to follow the same road rules as if you were driving a car. We cover some of the essential road rules in How to Drive in Samoa + 10 Road Rules but you might also want to wise up with the full Samoa National Road Code published by the Samoa Police.
More About Riding a Scooter in Samoa
So, that’s all of our top tips for riding a scooter in Samoa, but by no means the end of our advice! Check out some more guides to help your adventure run smoothly:
- Scooter Hire in Samoa: Where to Rent, Cost & More
- Samoa Travel Times & Distances: How Long Does it Take to Travel Around Samoa?
- Can You Drive in Samoa With an Overseas License?
Finally, check out alternative ways of getting around in our Samoa Transport Guide: 14 Best Ways to Get Around Samoa.