Monday, July 11, 2011

Scooter Safety

Whether you are the one on the scooter/moped or in a car and dealing with mopeds around you, here are some thoughts from a scooter-rider on how to be safe.

-Follow the rules of the road. That means no passing when there's a double yellow, no matter how slow the scooter is going. If you are caught, YOU will be ticketed. The speed limit is a LIMIT, meaning scooters do not have to go that speed, just close to it, when possible. If your scooter is super slow and you can't stay within a reasonable range of the speed limit, maybe you should not be driving it on that road and halting the flow of traffic.
-Be courteous. A lot of people tell me that scooter riders are jerks and cut people off. Being aggressive or defensive is personal preference, but I find it best to stake your claim and be cautious. I don't get over for people to pass (because it's not legal for them to pass anyway) because I'm going 27mph in a 30mph zone. Deal with it, car, it's rush hour anyway. I don't cut people off because that's dangerous in many ways and I can't accelerate fast. Be aware of your vehicle's limitations.
-Don't generalize. SOME people can be jerks, but not all are. So it follows that not all people in cars will honk at you, try to pass you, or scooter riders will not hog the road because they're mean. They're just looking out for themselves. They're very exposed, after all. If you're stuck behind a scooter that just will not get up to speed, deal with it or find a different route to get past them, but don't compromise their safety for your impatience.
-BE SAFE, MORON. So many scooter-riders (and motorcyclists, for that matter) don't' wear proper safety gear when riding. Legally, you only need a DOT rated helmet, but gloves, long pants, a jacket (leather is good for skidding, armor is good for impact), and covered shoes (boots!) are recommended. I wear sneakers, jeans, and a light leather jacket most days, since I wear the sneakers and jeans to work anyway, and the jacket is light enough that I get a nice airflow as I'm riding in the heat, but would at least protect me from abrasions if I got into an accident. I have a thicker leather jacket that I'll wear when the weather cools. I am still without rain gear, but generally it's recommended you wear your normal riding gear underneath it so you are protected from the elements and accidents.

Commons misconceptions, because I'm tired of explaining.

Q: Scooter? Moped? Motorcycle?
A: A motorized vehicle with two wheels built to carry one or two passengers on main roadways with an automatic or 1-stage transmission is a moped/scooter. As far as I'm concerned, the terms are interchangeable. A motorcycle has a manual transmission. Legally, anything with a motor under 50cc (that's the size) is a moped (in MA anyway) and anything over that must be classified as a motorcycle. That requires a motorcycle license to ride, even if it is, by design, a scooter.

Q: What do I need to ride it, license-wise?
A: In MA, you need only a license of ANY kind to ride a scooter. It can be a regular license or class M license. I only have a regular license right now, but intend on getting class M added when I can spare the cash for courses.

Q: And registration?
A: A moped in MA can be registered one of two ways. One is to get a moped sticker instead of a plate, that gets renewed every 2 years. You can ride in bike lanes, park on sidewalks, but you CANNOT exceed 30mph. You cannot ride on roads where the speed limit is over 45mph. You do not have to have insurance, but obviously it's recommended. You can also register as a limited use vehicle, which makes you like any other vehicle on the road in regards to laws for lanes, except that you still cannot ride on roads where the speed limit is over 45 mph. You cannot exceed 40mph. In fact, your vehicle is not supposed to be CAPABLE of exceeding 40mph. You are asked the maximum possible speed upon registration (I very honestly answered "about 30"). You MUST insure a LUV in MA. I could only find a couple of companies in MA that would insure a moped and had to go with Progressive. It was $187 for the year up front (I've had my license for 5 years with no accidents).

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, my friend! we have a little Scoots of our very own and love it but you can never be TOO careful. :)

    Following your darling blog!