They're everywhere. They go beep-beep.
When they rev up, their tiny motors sound like lawnmowers.
They yearn to be motorcycles. But they're not.
They're going viral, and why not? They get a million miles to the gallon. And if you have a scooter with an engine under 50 cubic centimeters, you don't need a motorcycle endorsement (though you do need a driver's license and liability insurance, and while they need to be registered, it is only $5 for three years.)
And you can motor in the bike lane in some areas, which is better than putt-putting on the road and sending drivers of conventional vehicles into a fury.
For riders, it's a love affair. They are brave people, unshaken by the preference of most Americans to go bigger, better, louder, faster, more powerful.
For the first time since 2002, sales in all four segments of motorcycle sales - scooter, dual, on- and off-highway - were up in 2012, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, a trade group that tracks 19 leading manufacturers. The council doesn't break down the numbers by specific segments.
"Estimated vehicle miles traveled were 29 billion in 2009, an increase of 8 billion miles since 2003. All of this signals that motorcycling is an increasingly mainstream mode of transportation and fun," MIC President and CEO Tim Buche said in a news release.
Retail sales overall were up 2.6 percent.
Most of the uptick nationwide has been in larger metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles, New York City and closer to home, in Denver.
Steve Clark, general manager at Rocky Mountain Cycle Plaza in Colorado Springs, said his scooter sales depend on the weather. March and April were unusually cool and rainy, so sales were down.
In May and June, when weather was better, sales were up.
His scooters are the more expensive and larger Hondas and Yamahas. Running around $2,200.
But, he added, "you can buy one for $600. I think a lot of people are buying those."
For some riders, Clark said, the cost of gas is the driving factor to a scooter purchase.
And some buyers are folks who got hit with DUIs and can't drive cars, so they buy the cheap scooters just to get around.
"People also just look into the recreation," he said. "They don't want a motorcycle, but they figure it will be fun to ride around the neighborhood on a scooter or something. I do see a lot of them around town."
And you're in good company. Among low-powered scooter riders: Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lopez.