Morons on the Road: What Scooters Wish Cars Knew Print
Written by Heather A. Owens   

morons on the roadIn contemplating our topic, “what scooters wish cars knew”, I realized that there are really three categories to this subject. First, the obvious stuff, like rules of the road and its laws. Next we have the more philosophical stuff, the ‘who I am as a scooterist’ stuff. And lastly the more literal stuff…how it feels to be a scooterist, going over the hood of a car that just pulled out in front of you. Let’s take them in turn.



The Obvious

When I asked this question to a bunch of friends they first went with knowing the rules to the road, stuff that is as important to cars as it is to scooterists and pedestrians. Things like stop for red lights, stop for zebra crossings and vehicles going straight have the priority. You know, right-of-way laws. Then there are the common sense/safety rules; do not text while driving (in most states) and playing with the radio instead of watching the road is deadly as well. There is less technical stuff too. I do have as much legal right to this road as you do. There are no “fast lanes” on city streets (a friend had a car pull up to her and tell her to get out of the “fast lane” on a four-lane city street, wtf?). Without spiraling down into a libertarian debate of government, laws are there to protect us; and it benefits all of us to follow them.


Dedicated Rider

Philosophically, I would like cars to know that I ride a scooter because I want to, not because I can’t afford a car. In fact, I own a car, but I didn’t for six years because I didn’t want to. I see riding a scooter as just as viable a form of transportation as you see your car. And I can get a hell of a lot of groceries home on one. I’d like them to understand that some scooterist define themselves by the fact that they ride scooters, some don’t. It isn’t all Quadrophenia, but it can be for some. Related to that, my amazing mod-style is just…my style. It is as relevant as your Old Navy/H&M/Business Casual style because that is the point…it’s style. I am not (necessarily) making a political/social/economical/philosophical stand because I am wearing a parka. Oh, and lastly, it isn’t a moped it’s a scooter!


Bona fide

And then there are the experiential things I would like them to know e.g., what it feels like to go over the hood of a car that pulls out in front of you. Not that I am hoping that people in cars get hit, but there is nothing like relating to someone by feeling what they feel, literally. Maybe cars would be more careful, remember those rules in the first category, if they knew what it feels like to look down at your now crushed precious vintage scooter with the “Oh my god, I didn’t see you!” sound track in the background. Perhaps a hospital bill would do it? Or to suddenly not have a time-efficient way to get to work because some moron was texting while driving and rear-ended you? It seems like I hear about more and more accidents every day. Maybe by making cars feel what we feel they will be more careful.


miss vespa 2Is one of these categories more important than the other? Is there an innate hierarchy here? Seems like it to me. I would instantly say knowing the rules of the road is most important. Then again, knowing the rules but not following the rules is almost insult to injury. It would be nice for people to understand me as a scooterist, instead of judging me on some sort of preconceived notion. But isn’t all of life that way? A bigger topic than my little article. As for secretly wanting moronic motorists to feel the pavement like I’ve felt the pavement, well, that’s really a last resort. My ultimate hope and message to cars would be to simply respect my right to ride and share the road.