Scooter restrictions in Jordan
In 2005, and based on directives from HM The King, scooters where allowed into Jordan for the first time. This was supposed to help alleviate the transportation problems of Jordanians by providing a cheaper alternative to cars. Scooters where also expected to reduce Amman’s escalating traffic problems.

Investors in the sector (who invested millions of JDs in stocks, shops and maintenance centers) expected 100,000 scooters to be sold in the first year.

Scooters, which are a great transport solution in cities all over the world, where expected to be the next big thing in Jordan’s transport..

Now, two years later, according to scooter industry insiders, the market lays in ruin. Of the sixty scooter companies that opened, 40 have reportedly gone bankrupt!

Only 1000 scooters where sold!

Thousands stand idle in stores or in storage.

The reason, according to the scooter dealers: extremely restrictive government regulations that make owning a scooter almost impossible.

The regulations are totally weird, by the way. For example, even if I have a driving license for a car (or a truck!) I still can’t drive a scooter unless a do a scooter driving test (complete with theoretical traffic test).

This is ridiculous! In many Western countries you don’t even need a license for a scooter and 16 year olds can drive one.

In Jordan, without a ‘scooter license’ you can’t even go and buy one (but you can go and buy a car in your name even if you don;t have a car driving license. Go figure).

I have spoken to scooter dealers who are saying that their business is on the verge of bankruptcy because of another crazy law that prohibits them from selling scooters that are more that 1 year old. This means that probably hundreds (if not thousands) of scooters which are in storage in free zones will be “un-importable” soon (if not already). Even worse, dealers cannot display unsold scooters in their shops without paying custom duties on them (which in themselves are quite high!)

The losses of the industry are already huge. And our streets are filling up with cars (and an amazing amount of 4×4s, Hummers, etc).

Instead of killing the scooter, the government and the police should have cooperated with the industry, making ownership easy and working together on safety awareness and traffic law enforcement.

The market is almost dead. But it is not too late to rescue it by removing these unreasonable restrictions. Giving more Jordanian the freedom of transport is worth it.

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11 responses to “How government regulations are killing Jordan’s scooter market”

  1. Dave Avatar

    A fine post. Good job.

  2. Anas Rababah Avatar
    Anas Rababah

    i think that the modern countries you are talking about already have scooters since many years and many of them have specified for scooters .
    here in jordan its not possible to let a 16 years old kid to take the scooter and drive it without knowing any driving rules within our overcrowded streets which a man with a car driving licence is in danger while driving there in his 4×4

    its not essential that if we import any rule from what called ( modern countries ) will be useful here.

    and something else, ppl themselves here are not accepting scooters in the steets and they see it something odd. that’s the main factor of preventing them here

  3. Humeid Avatar


    Are you saying it is impossible to teach Jordanian 16 year old how to drive properly. It;s time to trust our youth more. If other countries had scooters for years, when will we start.

    Anyway.. no one is actually talking about letting 16 year olds drive.. What about all those people who already have car driving licenses.

    I think we will see another raise in fuel prices soon. Even more reason for young and (older people too) to consider scooters.

    Something odd? Being a woman nurse was “something odd” for Jordanians till the 70’s. We had indian nurses. Now look at all the Jordanian women who are nurses. Odd today, normal tomorrow.

  4. Anas Rababah Avatar
    Anas Rababah

    is it a matter of 2 years of age? or about the license the driver should hold? or what ?
    in ur post u said that any 16 years old kid can drive it. so that meant to me there should be no license at all so anybody can drive it even if never learned how. ( sounds like it will be ” 6a3a wgaymeh” )
    and ok, i have driving license and driving a car for more than 7 years. does that make me able to drive a scooter ? ( which is more dangerous than any car)

    and about learing and license the lessons are 6 and the dealers give the customers them for free . so 6 hours would not prevent anybody from buying a transportion, but would prevent from buying an extra fun machine

  5. nasimjo Avatar

    but its relevant ahmad! I know how to drive a car, but never succeeded in riding a bike, though i spent over 2 years trying that! So I guess it is relevant to have people wanting to buy a scooter having a license for that before.

    from my observation around, (and if u dont believe just take a day off to Marka, Sweileh , or Bayader’s industrial zone) even most of the existing scooter drivers drive crazily, without having a head protection, and between the huge traffic and trucks that are heavily available in those areas.

  6. bambam Avatar

    simply we are not a scooter or bike nation, we are too superficial for that :D and we will never be one.
    Parents find it too dangerous and are against the idea, kids find it degrading and a sign of being stretched for cash so yeah get over those two issues then we can talk scooters
    on the other hand if they allow high end bikes we might see less traffic just because we will have less people on the street by comparing our driving skills to those required by a high end bike which is pretty good deal in my opinion

  7. Sid Vicious Avatar
    Sid Vicious

    okay first it’s a scooter not a freaking harley davidson, and second it’s not like big brother always has the most logical and practical rules, sometimes they just don’t make sense (like that one about someone falling from above on your parked car; it’s the car’s fault)

    And I don’t know about selling 100k scooters, sounds like a lot and i never saw any marketing of any sort. Besides scooters won’t fix the traffic problem, a Better Public Transportation System will, they should start looking into that already.

  8. Basem, the usual non-sheikh insight Avatar
    Basem, the usual non-sheikh insight

    Humaid, I speak as someone who actually tried owning a bike (and hence getting a class 1 bike license) and failed, this is a highlight of my experience (experiment actually):

    – I believe the unexplained resilience by the PEOPLE against the adoption of scooters as a “normal” if not out right perfect medium of transport is what stagnates the industry.
    – passing the theoretical exam and the practical one have its hurdles (no licensed and professional schools to start with), but it’s much easier than that of a car license, people are just not interested.
    – the people must rid themselves from the stigma against scooters and the you-cant-be-serious-about-riding-a-scooter-to-work mentality (coincide with oh-nice-4×4-you-got-parked-outside-the-offce) before they hit the brick wall of reality when petrol price hit the 1 JD mark.
    – scooter dealers themselves burnt the market by allowing non experienced new entrants who are in the bulk container business buying low-grade Chinese/Indian scooters by the ton and flood the market with it, the government guideline of not accepting 1 year old scooter is to filter the already bad quality goods, perhaps they could extended it for another year.
    – Scooters are easy to drive that’s true, but i think a license is important to instill discipline among those who will ride it.
    – I failed my practical exam due to a stupid mistake and couldn’t repeat it as I traveled away, but Amman; be prepared for my come back… on a scooter.

  9. Hamzeh N. Avatar
    Hamzeh N.

    How hard is the test? Anyone has details on what’s involved? For example, learning to ride a motorcycle in the states can be done in one weekend at the end of which you do the test and get the endorsement.

  10. Lamees Avatar

    i’m 16 years old, if i was in USA i would’ve got a driving licence but in jrdan we can’t even get a scooter licence, we are not that small, i’m capable of driving a car, why can’t i drive a scooter to school or anywhere else, i believe that someone should address the government or the police department about this but first we hae to show them that we can andle the resposibility of driving a scooter, but not many of my age teens are responsible or will to go with the rules that might be applied.
    when i knew scooters where to be introduced to Jordan i believe it was going to kill the car population, and take over jordan, because most of our generation is avalabile more in jordan, but with the new laws that were put destroyed even the slit hope of owing a scooter.
    my cousin opened a shop where he sod scooter, but it turned out to be a failure, no one was able own one.

  11. Maria Avatar

    Hey!)) Great to find ur blog!
    Am planning to move to Amman and get a scooter, since I can’t live without.
    But true, living in Moscow I don’t require any license, even a regular one. But for now there’s only one question: could you please advise me a web-site of one of the dealers? and do you know if it’s possible to get a Vespa or something retro-style?

    Loved your journal. :)