Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A new kind of rider: Wrap-up


Well, it looks like I've stirred things up a bit here. I'm okay with that. Katie tells me with a big wink that I need to learn to come out of my shell and quit being so shy. These last couple of posts have wandered a bit. Which means some folks have reached their own conclusions without waiting for mine. So be it. However, let's wrap this up and get to the point.

You see scooters tucked in everywhere like this one at Lloyd Center Mall in Portland. I use malls as a type of field office. This scooter is frequently there and I have to presume it's being used as a work commuter. In the last couple of posts I outlined how we're seeing a new kind of rider. One who views riding a scooter as purely a function of economics and nothing else. They look at things in a different way than most of us. The riders don't want to be considered motorcyclists and don't see themselves as riding any kind of motorcycle. As some have stated in the comments, the scooter is looked on as one step up from a bicycle.

Another contributing factor to this situation is how the scooters are presented by those who sell them. I'm not going to hit that very deeply here. Dru Satori has done an excellent job of covering this on his blog. You can see the post here. Dru has also left a comment on the second part of this series which adds a little bit more to it. Click here if you wish and scroll down.

Gear and training are two areas where the difference really makes itself evident. The new kind of rider doesn't feel a need for either one. Again, I'm not going to go too far down either of these roads. I want to wrap this up and move on to something else. However, I am going to make one little detour here.

I've been disparaged on the Scootdawg forum. There's another thread here. Among other things I've been called thin skinned and smug. I love it. One of my greatest fears is being considered a mild mannered guy that nobody ever notices. You call me Mr. Milquetoast and my fist will be down your throat. Go ahead and say what's on your mind. I'm thrilled to have done something to make you feel that way. I have to say that I really appreciate that folks on the forums are at least man enough to take credit for their remarks. There haven't any cowardly bite and run attacks. Either there or here.

So, to prove how thin skinned I really am, I'm offering this chance to flame me once more.

These economically minded scooter riders don't see a need for gear. That's not their domain alone. The difference is that the first group don't see themselves as motorcycle riders so there's no need for motorcycle gear. The others see themselves as motorcycle riders, at least, who choose not to use adequate motorcycle gear. It's the same outcome either way, interestingly.

Why is gear such a hot button for riders? Let me be plain about this. No beating about the bush. Anything on two wheels can crash. Road surfaces, hard objects, and the laws of physics rip human bodies apart. I don't think anybody can truly deny the truth in that statement. Then why so much resistance to gear that goes a long ways in protecting said frail human body? It's a discussion for another time but the forces that cause a rider to shun proper gear must be pretty damn strong given the actual facts.

Okay, the last area where I'm really seeing the difference is in the attitude about getting proper training. Again, there's motorcycle riders who don't believe in training. The scooter people I'm talking about don't even remotely connect their transport with any sort of need for "Motorcycle Safety Classes". They're not riding a motorcycle, after all. It's just a scooter.

Time for a quick recap. I'm talking about a group of people who ride scooters merely to save money on fuel. They don't see themselves as fitting in with a group like in the picture above. They see themselves on a glorified bicycle and their attitude about gear and training reflects that stance. So where do we go from here?

The fact remains that these people need adequate gear and proper training. Period.

See, personally, I don't really care how people see themselves. Not that I don't get offended. I'd like to share fellowship with other riders if they're willing. Yes, I think it's stupid that people on sport bikes will wave to me when I'm riding Elvira because she looks more like a sport bike, yet ignore me when I'm riding Sophie who looks more like a touring bike. I've also been known to get my knickers in a knot when I'm seen but snubbed by Harley riders. I know, you can't lump everyone together and I don't. I appreciate that there's a lot of Harley riders that consider themselves real people and not just posers. I'm just saying that the greatest percentage of riders who've dissed me have been on Harleys. That's all. The feelings only last a bit and then life goes on. To each their own. Seriously, it's no skin off my nose, if you know what I mean.

Professionally, however, it's a different story. I have to put aside any personal feelings and do my job as a trainer. Believe, me, we get riders with all kinds of attitudes. Some make it extremely difficult to feel any warm fuzzies for them. Doesn't matter. They deserve my best once they're in training. And that's the key. Getting them to take training. Whether or not people admit it or are even aware of it, anyone on two wheels needs professional training.

Our instructors have a double expectation when training scooter riders. On the one hand, the trainers need to be familiar with the way scooters work and handle. Riding instruction needs to be tailored accordingly. On the second front, the trainers are tasked with not making a distinction in the classroom. Mental skills and strategies are equally vital no matter what a person's riding. Each student needs to come away from training with the greatest understanding of these skills as is possible.


Remember this guy? He's a very personable young man. The reason he's riding the Ruckus, though? It's 49cc and doesn't require an endorsement. He's pretty plain about that. A lot of people take our classes in order to get endorsed. No endorsement required translates to no training required. At least to their way of thinking. If the scooter's large enough to require an endorsement, they're looking for the "easiest" way to do that. So here's the 64 million dollar question and the whole point of this discussion.

How do we get people who ride purely for economical reasons and don't see themselves as any kind of motorcylist to come take the training they need whether they know they need it or not?

Believe me, our training program has looked at this issue long and hard.

Stacy asked in the first part of the series if we've considered "scooter only" training. Yes, we have. It may happen down the road but it's not in the cards in the near future. It's a long story but our main thrust is motorcycle training and that's taking up most of our resources right now. We have, however, applied for funding to add a few scooters to the biggest sites which will be available for student use. We're hoping that being able to ride a scooter for training will encourage them to come see us. Students are also allowed and encouraged to bring in their own scooters for training classes as long as they meet the size requirements.

Some commenters here have mentioned the intimidation factor. That holds true no matter what a student is going to ride later. We've been encouraging instructors to avoid soliciting the student's previous riding experience. Brand new riders are intimidated by so-called experienced riders whether the brand new rider is going to be scooter mounted or big cruiser mounted. Besides, which, a lot of riders have been doing it wrong for years so that doesn't really put them too far ahead anyway.

We've got a person on staff who's working hard on public awareness campaigns. That effort is aimed to kindle a recognition of the importance of training. Time will tell how much affect it actually has.

The thing that will end up making the biggest difference is the personal touch. Riders are going to rub shoulders with other riders. Face to face encounters still have the greatest influence.

So I'm looking for two things here. One is suggestions to us on how we can encourage these riders to come into training. Maybe there's some aspect we haven't thought of.

Secondly, I'm going to challenge everyone to do what they can in their own personal encounters.

To those who said less than kind things about me, I'm going to ask a couple of direct questions.

Do you care about helping other riders be successful? If so, are you willing to step up to the plate and do something positive? Seems like forums would be a good place to touch base and see how you all can be effective in offering such help. I offer these questions with the utmost kindness and respect behind them. Seriously.

That's it. It was a long way 'round but, hey, it's my blog. It's been a fun trip but I got where I wanted to go. Will it be the end of this road? You all will decide that, I'm sure. Right now it's pouring rain outside and Elvira needs washed. There's got to be possibilities there. See ya!

Miles and smiles,

Dan

33 comments:

Steve Williams said...

There is no accounting for some people and the way they think. Scooters, motorcycles, they're all over the place.

You've been a consistent and sane voice of reason in terms or training, safety, practice and experience. And it applies to everyone.

Not your fault if your rational approach does sit well with some.

I'll keep taking whatever opportunities that present themselves to talk up the informed and safe ride.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Baron's Life said...

Training, gear, safety, practice, experience and more training is all part and parcel of riding whether you ride a bicycle, 49cc or a Hog.
Riders not only owe it to themselves to take training but to others on the road by presenting less of a risk to everybody if trained properly.
You pose a very good question here: How do we convince everyone to train? let alone bring them to class. Not easy unless legislated by LAW.
But a thought just occurred to me in which you might be interested...how about someone like you, actually making training videos and then some basic classes could be taught on line or someone could purchase the video at a dealership or the dealers can give them out to whomever purchases a scooter..but on-line or some kind of Video/CD type of basic safety lessons would be a start

Stacy said...

Dan, it's a good thing you've got that 'stich since you're so thin-skinned!

HAH, I kill myself!

Seriously, most of the ScootDawgs seem level-headed. What irks me is that we're on the same side here, folks.

Read this news article, then read the comments left by the unwashed masses and realize that this is what we're up against!

Woman guilty in scooter accident

bobskoot said...

Dan:

I've been thinking a lot about this same scenario for a while now and from my observations I think that you can Never get some to take a course or training under any circumstances and this mostly applies to those who ride those 49cc "mopeds" . The ones who don't find it to their liking drop off fast and are gone from the scene. Then there are those others who find that riding is enjoyable and wish to upgrade to larger machines to expand their riding area(s). It is these riders that you could target for training and they will eventually move up to larger machines whether they be scooters or motorcycles. I know of a few who have endorsements and have purchased motorcycles as well as keeping their "small" scooter for urban/commuting use.
I remember the "old" days when I first obtained my driving license. At that time there were 2 classes of car licenses: 1) automatic, and 2) manual - and if you took your test on an automatic transmission, you were restricted to automatics only. You were considered a "sissy" if you had this restriction on your license. I don't believe that it is Motorcycles VS scooters, but rather the notion that you can drive a real M/C with a shifter and clutch vs auto CVT transmission. It sort of makes you less of a man to drive anything automatic. A biker by choice of machine considers themselves superior. Also there was discussion recently on our local (BCsportbikes.com) forum regarding motorcycle licenses and the fact that to obtain a motorcyle endorsement they had to go through a lot of Hoops to be able to ride, yet with merely a drivers license anyone can ride a 49cc machine with no training. Also without this training they do not know the rules regarding lane domination/positioning, countersteering, etc, and many scooter riders change lanes without doing head checks, nor do they signal, and often ride on sidewalks and do other dangerous things of which they are oblivious. So all scooterists, in their opinion are all bundled together as one group, even though, riders with larger machines have full m/c endorsements and have gone through the same training they have. But then there is still the automatic vs CVT thing. I know that many scooter riders wish to upgrade but there are no facilities here in Vancouveer which offer training specifically for scooterists. I also believe that scooter classes should be limited to scooters only, thus will eliminate the perceived threats of superiority that is cast down from the sportbike riders. There was a plan last year to offer scooter classes through an approved Motorcycle training school. The local scooter shop offered to supply a number of scooters at cost and a plan was almost approved by ICBC (the government insurer for BC, I think but not 100% sure) As I consider myself fairly active in the local scene I expressed my desire to host a few of these classes, after instructor training), but alas, it was not to be. There are too many things wrong with our licensing system. If we were smart we should adopt the UK system which issues license classes by HP, and limited to 125cc for a year or two. This would stop newbies from obtaining their license and getting that Hayabusa or R1. Too many thoughts to ponder, and too little time . . .

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Bryce said...

Splat, it happens when falling hits
terra firma either while object is moving or not.

Doesn't matter if it's a motorcycle, scooter, bicycle or a ripe apple falling from a tree.

We should cushion those objects as they fall since usually it is one of us! Apples not included.

As an old in terms of chronological age person, minus about 12 years for motorcycle experience I worry more now about an accident that I would've some years ago. We are so vulnerable, when we bounce. Full leathers, full face helmet proper boots and gloves on a scooter?
You've got to be crazy!

And yet the same criteria applies be it motorcycles or scooters, same balance principles and same counter
steering techniques are used.

And as you've mentioned Dan, the same attitude and care must be applied. We who ride should not turn our noses up at those who are snobs on scooters or anything else.

Chat them up and talk to them and remind them they too some day will experience the pull of gravity and they best be prepared for same.

American Scooterist Blog said...

Here in Minnesota if it rides the center of the lane legally its got to be insured. That's the best way to describe it.

Since even scooters of 50cc displacement fit this description, maybe the ideal situation for the states that require insurance on scooters, it would be of interest to have all dealers inform prospective buyers that taking the MSF course would potentially lower their insurance if they took it and passed. Here in MN you can get a lower price with your insurance company if you pass the course.

Since these new riders are into "saving money", maybe we need to remind them that a fun course can help them save even more money.

And if they're not insuring their bikes, whether or not those things are "just" 50cc's, scooters are as easy to steal as they are to die on and well, it sucks to be them is all I gotta say. :(

Harv

Allen Madding said...

I guess I'm just ignorant enough to wear AGATT because I've tested my skills a time or two. :)

I'm a little thin skinned on the back of my wrist and the cheek bone under my eye so I have learned.

I guess some folks prefer to learn the hard way rather than from the experience of others. So be it. Perhaps their skin is tougher than asphalt.

-Peace

David said...

In my years of riding I've had one serious accident (Ok, not that serious, I rode away from it and didn't break anything important but my bike.) I was wearing a helmet and gloves, but no other gear. I never made that mistake again. Road rash hurts whether you get it from a motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, or from running down hill (My brother!). Teaching this lesson sometimes requires a Darwinian approach, i.e. the smart survive and the stupid perish.

When I bought my wife's scooter (a 50cc Yamaha Vino) I made her take the basic training class in Washington, get her endorsement, and she wears full gear. Then again, she had the gear because she rides with me on the 'Strom. She KNOWS what happens to people who go down, we've helped pick up too many of them.

The only other way to make this new kind of rider take training will be to legislate it. Require it to get a license and require an endorsement to ride any single track vehicle. Then again, that ain't gonna happen.

Dan, or should I say Mr. Milquetoast? ;) Sometimes you have to lead that horse to water, but let it do it's own thinking.

DaveT.

Dave said...

Dan

Wile there was a lively discussion over at scooterdawgs
A lot of them started riding scooters as a way to save money an became riders as apposed to some one who rides a scooter heck that is how I started out.

Scooterdawgs is a rider site
You will find that every new poster on that forum who is thinking about getting a scooter an is asking what is the best fit for were there will be riding.

Will hear all the gear all the time an they should check out the MSF BRC.

This is for 49cc all the way up to the 650s.

I believe if you had included people who own Motorcycles for the same reasons you would have ruffled less feathers.

But I wholeheartedly agree RIDERS no matter what two wheels are under there butts should step up to the plate.


Dave aka oldf

Agent22 said...

have you ever heard the phrase "don't hate the player, hate the game"?
If you really want to do something instead of write about it get a law change by writing your congressmen and petition.
i mean, are you really doing so much by telling people what they probably know?
So please don't blame the scooter rider, yes i agree they should wear all gear and take classes,blame the lawmakers.
I am in the military and it is mandatory to take the MSF class and wear my gear at all times on my scooter.
when I lost control in the rain one day ,I was very glad I had on all my gear also.
Personally I see more motorcycle riders with no helmets than scooters.
I don't understand why this is focused just towards scooters...please explain, I'm sure they are not the only ones guilty of being unsafe on 2 wheels.

Dru_ said...

Cogent and reasonable as always.

The key here (IMO) is that we need two things to change. One, the law needs to be changed, nationwide such that if it goes on the road, it get tagged and licensed, no exceptions Two, sales of vehicles that fall into category one must be handled by licensed motor vehicle dealers.

Neither would be popular, but both are necessary.

The first would mean that the endorsement loophole goes away. If you ride, you get the endorsement. This would, at the very least remove those unwilling to take a test from the roads. The second, and probably more important would remove part of the education barrier by getting the scooters and 50cc mopeds out of PepBoys and back into motorcycle and scooter shops that are equipped to educate new riders.

Both actions would reduce the number of 'economy riders' but would in theory also reduce the number of new rider accidents.

The problem here as I see it is that Agent22 is discussing on behalf of the average scooterist and feels like Dan is singling out scooterists.

He is not. The issue is that scooters make up the overwhelming majority of 49.5cc street legal vehicles and as such make up the majority of the vehicles that these economy riders are buying.

Understanding that, venues like Scootdawg are heavily populated by buyers of the least expensive options, and many started on these very cheap 49cc options.

It is a problem, one that can not be easily fixed, as the 49cc loophole exists for a reason, and it is unlikely to be closed any time soon.

Because of that, education and training falls on the riders of the communities. Those of us with road rash scars to show can make good examples of what not to do.

In my case, my road rash scars come from hitting the pavement on a bicycle at 40 miles an hour. I have road rash from ankle to hip, elbow and arm. Scars that will not grow hair and have the texture of a cheese grater. These scars are almost 20 years old and show no signs of fading. With those, you think I would risk worse on a scooter? not without due consideration.

The problem in my mind is that most of these economy riders that associate a scooter with a bicycle have never been down seriously on a bicycle. If they had, they would consider these risks more seriously. But then again, human nature and the 'it can't happen to me' mindset, maybe they have, but don't think it can.

Me, I assume not only that it can, but most probably will. All I can do is gear accordingly and work really hard at improving my skills to mitigate the risk as much as I can.

What I can do, is help these riders by doing to the right thing. Wave, Smile, Support, advise, wear the gear, set a good example. Really, that's all any of us can do.

Dave said...

Well we have 50 states an 50 sets of laws for two wheelers

An it doesn’t help that the cost of the BRC can vary from 25 dollars to close to 400 dollars for the same coarse. Its 25 dollars in Ohio

I keep hearing that people are using the MSF BRC to do an end run of the state DMV.

Here in Ohio the BRC is harder than the DMV test you can do one or the other to get your M.

Until we can sort this mess out all we really have is grass roots get out there an spread the word .

Dave
Aka oldf

Conchscooter said...

One big difference between the US and every other industrialized nation is that they have Government funded medical services. That gives the government the obligation to reduce costs and require helmets etc. In the US where medical bills bankrupt people routinely, be it cancer or road rash, wearing gear becomes a private choice (which is the only benefit I can think of of our expensive system of non-coverage). Taking training is a choice and personally I think it should be mandatory for car drivers, as well as motorcyclists.
Puerto Rico tried to enforce the wearing of safety gear and Puerto Rican motorcyclists rejected it en masse. Did anyone in the US mainland notice the Puerto Rican stand for personal choice? Mind you education is at a level where most people in the US don't know that Puerto Rico is part of the US... lots of training to be done! Oh, and to mis-quote a British politiican being ridiculed on a web forum is like being savaged by a dead sheep. Forums are circle jerks.

Dave said...

I am all for private choice
But at the end of the day when it comes to safety gear not wearing even the bare minimum is a fools choice.

Stacy said...

agent22: It's called a discussion. Ever heard of it?

I find it amusing that you come here just to criticize the content on one particular blog out of millions of other blogs.

Don't like what you're reading here? Stop reading! It's very simple, and not worth getting your panties in a twist.

Or, start your own blog and complain about all those squids you mentioned.

harrywr2 said...

The author got flamed on scootdawg for his characterization that somehow we are some sort of 'new kind of rider'.


The vast majority of Scootdawg membership owns 125cc and up bikes. As such most of us have endorsements and most of us have been thru the MSF course.

Anyone who says the MSF course is a waste of time, or a helmet is a waste, or proper riding gear is stupid gets flamed badly.

Where someone buys a bike is irrelevant. We just had a story a couple of weeks ago of a woman who got blown into oncoming traffic on her scooter riding it home from the dealer. Her husband was following her on his motorcycle.

Very sad and unfortunate incident, an experienced motorcylist following a novice scooterist in high cross winds not realizing that scooters do not do well in crosswinds.

Ignorance isn't about scooter safety isn't limited to the scooter community.

I'll quote from the MSF Scooter Riders Guide


"Strong winds can create problems. A constant 25 mph wind from the side can make for a challenging ride. Gusty wind is the worst. You
might have to lean a bit into the wind to maintain your position."

From personal experience "lean a bit" for a 25 MPH crosswind on a scooter is a gross understatement.

-Tim said...

I actually had a chance to talk to a scooter rider yesterday as I stopped for coffee...no, I did not talk down to him, which helped a lot. I just asked him why he wasn't wearing any safety gear. His reasoning was that it was too expensive. He had taken the BRC, and had his endorsement, but his only gear was a pair of gloves, and a half helmet...which is better than most out here in Utah.
So I pointed him to a great web site, a site where I have gotten most of my gear. www.leatherup.com ...
It is freakishly cheap. They have great CS, and a great return policy.
I love riding, and hate to see people riding with little more than shorts and sandals, when I know how much it hurts to crash.
I try to respect two wheeled commuters whatever they ride...Keep it up Dan, stirring the pot is sometimes the best way to get people to be aware.

Dave said...

Way to go Tim

I am a member of several scooter forums an they all push safety.

An you will find this is asked a lot ( I am on a tight budget where can get the best price on gear )

In a heartbeat they will have a list of the who has what on sale as long as you arm : )
The one you mentioned comes up often

Forums like scooterdawgs can be great clearing houses for this kind of information.
We just need to get the word out.

Dave
aka oldf

Dru_ said...

the hidden truth here, is that the rider that Dan is talking about is the hardest to reach because they don't frequent forums as a rule. That's is an activity of someone that has commited to the act of riding.

Where we have to reach out is through outlets that have a hope of reaching them

On the road, and in the media.

Dave said...

Ohio makes it easy for me.
If it can go over 20mph on flat ground it’s a motorcycle .
Most if not all 49cc can easily do 30 to 35 an you would need your M
Even a true moped needs a plate an proof of insurants to be legal on the road.

So every third Sat of the month This is when they they hold the range test

I could load up my bright red non intimidating scooter with free hand outs Of web sites that could be of interest to new licensee .
An head down to the DMV test range

Hey Ferb I know what we are going to do to day : )


OldF

cpa3485 said...

I have this coffee cup, given to me by the local college where I do some teaching, that has a quote on the side that says:

"who dares to teach must never cease to learn"

I think about this quote often. I think it has some potential meaning to this duscussion.
To me it says that learning is a journey and all of us are at a different place on the journey. When I try and relate this to two wheeled transportation, I realize that I personally may be only a few miles down the road on this. journey in terms of my level of knowledge and experience. There are a few people behind me and there are many that are miles ahead. To me it is essential that I, and for all of us, to continue to gain more knowledge and experience. It is not necessary to worry about where each of us are on the journey, but just recognize that we should help each other along the way.

I know I have been guilty of a lot of bad habits as I first started on this journey, but I am resolved to learn and get better as time goes on. This quest for additional knowledge has led me to these blogs from which I have learned a lot.

WRT Gear:
I have to give credit to Steve Williams for getting me to think about gear. He was kind enough to answer a question I posed on his blog. His answer showed me how dedicated he was to wearing gear and I was impressed with his response. It got me thinking and moved me further down the road to buying gear. I have some Tourmaster gear picked out and am saving up for it. It's not outrageously expensive and I figure that if it even moves me a few percentage points away from the possibility of being severely injured someday, then it is money very well spent. I honestly did not know anything about gear when I started scootering.

WRT Training:
Today I called 3 local places that offer the training course. The prices are $200-250. Two of them require you to use their bikes which of course are not automatics. These two potential barriers to training (cost and clutch) wpid not be a problem for me but I do wonder If it is a problem for other scooterists. It is also intimidating because one of the courses is offered by the local Harley dealership. Not that I have any particular dislike of Harleys, but riding my scooter up to the front door of a Harley dealership0does not give me comfort.

WRT Scootdawg comments:
I find it difficult to believe that there has to be some sort of 'Us vs Them' mentality. I am convinced that Dan did not intend for this to happen. I am also sure that part of his motivation was to raise awareness and to encourage all of us to help each other out. Just knowing that people read this and other blogs indicates to me that they too are trying to better themselves and move down the road of knowledge.

And finally:
Dan, I think your final points are excellent, especially the one about the personal touch. The journey we are on can be more rewarding and fun If there is a spirit of cooperation among all two wheeled riders.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad, Esteemed Friends, and Two-Wheeled Colleagues:

1) There was nothing in any of the previous posts written by Irondad worthy of the criticism that he was making rash generalizations regarding scooter owners. I make rash generalizations all the time and saw nothing here that qualified.

2) There is ample evidence that "some" scooter owners (and probably a substantial number of them at that) are "type" specific and do see themselves as a breed apart. This evidence is manifest in "scooter clubs" and "scooter social groups" that cater specifically to "scooter riders, people who are only interested in ridng scooters (for whatever reason), and even 'brand' specific scooter owners."

So what?

The same sort of social networks exist for balloonists, trout fisherman, and exotic pole dancers. Those folks are generally pleased to be recognised for their specialized interests. Technically, they are all sporting enthusiasts, but the parameters of their individual intersts separate them from other kinds of pilots, anglers, and dancers.

I belong to a group that is offically chartered to cater to the interests of BMW owners. I joined it because I ride a BMW, like the BMW riding philosophy, and because I like what these folks stand for.

I have a strong opinion about this... So do many other people whosee us as elite doucebags. So what? We have to go through life looking down at everyone else in smug silence. I have learned to do it.

3) If Charles Darwin were alive today, I would suggest that all governments, federal and local, engage him to write the riding gear laws.

I will not tell somebody that they have to wear a helmet. Because then, you will waste weeks explaining to others why a helmet like a skullcap is equally pointless. And all the statistics in the world are useless against the notion of "cool."

The same goes for wearing ballistic clothing. all you can do is explain the facts, show a few films, and have a neuro-surgeon present a Power-Point lecture -- highlighting the "vegetable patches" in the back rooms of most hospitals. Even so, certain percentage of the population will take all this in and say, "Wow! Did you see that guy? What a loser!"

It is easier to change the sexual orientation of the average person than it is to change their opinion on helmets or riding gear. Make them fill out donor cards.

4) I believe that the folks who get scooters purely for the economy will go the way of the motorcycle riders who think riding a bike will give them a larger penis. I do not say this to sting. Sooner or later, the pure joy of riding anything with two wheels becomes the ultimate justification for riding a motorcycle or a scooter.

And when two riders pull up next to each other at a traffic light in a driving rain, and exchange a look that becomes a laugh, they are recognizing this joy in the others' soul. The economy riders and the penis extenders never have moments like this.

Does anyone think scooter riders look at each other and smile over what they saved in gas? If so, finding asparagras in the supermarket for $1.99 a pound must have them "high-fiving" everyone in the produce aisle. And anyone who puts any serious mileage on a motorcycle will tell you what you save in gas is spent in tires.

5) There are two primary means of expression between two-wheeled riders. The first is the wave. The second is the middle finger. Use one or the other as applicable.

6) When a person maliciously makes fun of your ride (not the way that Conch did by referring to my K75 as a water buffalo in his Key West Diary blog), they are admitting they have not been laid outside of prison for years. Remember that.

7) I quit a forum whenever I encounter the follow question: "I have never ridden a motorcycle before but have seen people do it. Should my first bike be a red Hayabusa or a blue one?"

This discussion was a lot of fun. And if no one comments after this point, I will have had the last word.

Fondest regards,
Jack
Twisted Roads

abraxas said...

I've just come from the funeral of a 16 year old girl who was run over by a taxi on monday on the way to school.

We started at her school, and ended at the cemetary, 200+ bikes gave her a guard of honour, and Think Bike marshalls were honoured to handle the road closures, with the pretoria metro police, who i've spoken highly of before.

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=181&art_id=vn20090225030613512C950778

Coming in here and finding this, attempt to give scooter riders better training and a better chance of survival ...

Please, i'd like to ask you all to take a moment's silence for Bernadine .... and the other young scooter riders who have fallen.

Dad .... you just keep it up, everyday there are new young riders who need the guidance.

peace and love

Pistolmom said...

I agree with you!
www.freedoms-fight.blogspot.com

irondad said...

Steve W,
Thank you for keeping the faith and sharing with others. You've been a never-ending source of wisdom yourself!

Baron's Life,
You make a good point about presenting less of a hazard to others, as well.

We have entertained the idea of a DVD. The MSF at one time was talking about doing something similar with their classroom materials. Don't know where that went.

One problem we saw with the training video is that it might work with classroom stuff but it wouldn't for the riding part. Students need someone to offer real time feedback.

Great idea to explore, though!

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Stacy,
You kill me, too. It looks like I'm going to have to wear the 'Stich more of the time.

I looked up the cited article. It bums me out. It's like "Oh well, it's only a rider". Geez.

Take care,
Dan

irondad said...

Bobskoot,
Wow, what a mouthful!

No matter what they ride, everyone needs training. Not everyone is aware of it, though. My goal is to spread the word. At least they can then make an informed decision.

We struggle with that manual versus automatic thing. It doesn't seem right somehow to have a rider take a class on a scoote and then be endorsed to ride any motorcycle. Yet, people can take the DMV test in an automatic car and be licensed to drive a manual shifting truck.

People can also take the test in a small car but be licensed to drive a fast sports car.

We just do the best we can in our teaching and hope they stay responsible.

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Bryce,
You're right. A fall is a fall is a fall and we can fall off anything!


Harv,
We have a similar thing here. Even the 49cc scooters, or even mopeds for that matter, need to be licensed. Which means they then have to be insured. There are a few dealers here who hand out training brochures. Trouble is, some of these small scooters are being sold at places that sell things like lawn and garden tractors. There's no "motorcycle" atmosphere at all.

That's an interesting comment. How do you link "as easy to steal as they are to die on"? I like it, though!

Allen,
How could you be so ignorant as to wear gear? What's up with that?

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Dave T,

We're getting pretty close to that legislation situation here in Oregon.

Mr. Milquetoast? That's it. I'm coming to Spokane!

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Dave, aka oldf,
I made that statement more clear in the next post. The fact that the riders at scootdawg are there participating shows they're somewhat serious.

Agent22,
Your questions warrant an answer. See the next post.

Dru,
You've nailed an important point regarding where some of the scooters are sold. When you don't buy something from a motorcycle shop, it makes it even harder to think of it as a motorcycle.

My goal is to prevent folks from becoming gear and training converts.... Right after they crash!

Keep it up, we need evangelists like you.

Conchscooter,
Here's a question. Would making medical costs a lot less expensive make people not as concerned about hurting themselves?

Was it you that said we're no longer taught how to think but what to think?

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

harrywr2,
You didn't come away thinking I was saying training was a waste of time did you? That would be totally absurd. Read the next post and you'll see you've misunderstood my whole point.

cpa3485,
Thank you for your support. You get it in that we need to help others along no matter where we are in the journey.

In an interesting twist on what you said about training being at a Harley dealer, there's a Harley shop in Salem advertising Italian scooters. I know it has to do with the new ownership arrangement, but talk about intimidation! Go to a Harley shop to buy a scooter?

Dear Mr. Riepe,
You are a prince and well spoken! I'm sorry you didn't get the last word, though.

Abraxas,
Amen.

Pistolman,
Thank you!

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Tim,
Sorry, I missed your comment. I like to stir the pot and see what comes to the top. Thanks for being a positive spokesperson out there!

Take care,

Dan

HappyPuppy said...

I agree with some others thoughts. We need a graduated license based on class, from 50cc up to 200 HP Sport Bikes. A local scooter dealer and one of the larger ones told me most buyers of scooters do not even know that need a endorsement to ride anything over 50cc in WA. He also said he did not mention it either when they bought scooters over 50cc , but he did "encourage them to wear at least a helmet" I am not one to push for laws, as i think the industry can regulate itself but if they fail to do so laws are needed.