Sunday, December 10, 2006

The scooter blues

The scooter blues

Finally a local newspaper scooter story that's not all about high gas prices, with cut and paste factoids, and mistakenly attributing the creation (instead of popularization) of scooters with Piaggio. This one is definitely penned by a scooterist, the experiences elucidated, and self-deprecating humor prove that.

I wish I knew why Harley riders stare straight through me when I'm coming down the street on my scooter from the opposite direction.
Sadly, I'm beginning to suspect American motorcyclists of subscribing to a caste system in which Harley-Davidsons occupy the top tier, followed by the Euro-touro blends, the bullet bikes, dirt bikes, and finally, the dung of motorized two-wheeled transportation, the scooter.
I own a scooter. Americans are buying and riding more gas-saving scooters. Do we have to organize our own rally just to get a little respect?
It may be that a manifesto tooled into leather and nailed to a dealership door could make our case for a new age on the streets. Not everyone who chooses to ride a scooter is a wimp; clearly, not everyone who rides a Harley is a rugged individual. I've seen the ladies with blue hair driving their two-wheeled Buicks, and believe me, it takes guts to scoot around on our public roads with only 49 ccs under our seats.
I'm proud of my comrades for staying alert, being cautious and sucking up less gasoline. It's time the big bikes realized they're representing the Hummers and SUVs of the motorcycle world. ...

Being ignored as a bipedal without pedals only makes matters worse. The scooter rider already feels invisible at the traffic light, but here's the most embarrassing part. I've arrived at intersections early in the morning when no traffic is forthcoming, especially from side streets. I pull up to the crosswalk where the weight-sensitive traffic signal should get some sense of my presence, but nothing happens. The light stays red for me, green for the rest of humanity. I could sit a full five minutes wrapped in my invisibility cloak, waiting for the signal to change, waiting for another vehicle to pull up. Once, I even put my scooter up on its center stand and jogged over to push the pedestrian crosswalk button.
Lately, I've taken to simply looking both ways for traffic and scooting across the intersection regardless of what the light tells me to do. Hey, what I'm doing amounts to a blatant disregard for authority - just like any good Harley rider.

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