Wally Wonders Why No editor, no publisher, you get what you get

July 7, 2008

Traffic Guy on scooter parking

Filed under: Scooterism — Tags: , , , — wally @ 5:45 am

scooter park“Can more than one scooter park in a parking spot?  Are scooters allowed to park on the sidewalk if there is ample room?” The Herald digs for answers to a couple of burning questions in their article Scooter query requires clarification.

And now right to the legal answer.

State law gives motorized foot scooters the same access to roads as bicycles, however many local jurisdictions have added restrictions.

The more traditional Vespa-style scooter fits the legal definition of “motor-driven cycle.” Drivers must have an endorsement on their driver’s license and obey the same laws and requirements as motorcycle drivers, which includes not parking on sidewalks. As far as parking more than one scooter in a parking spot goes, the state doesn’t have a specific prohibition against it, but it might be good to check with the local jurisdiction.

So, now to the not so legal answer.

  • I’ve had people shoe me off an obviously well used parking area on a sidewalk
  • I’ve had people yell at me for taking a spot when there is a wide open sidewalk to park on
  • I’ve had police in Seattle ask me to park on the sidewalk
  • My brother was once ticketed for slowly riding across the sidewalk to park in front of his house.
  • When parking spots are few, I’ve shared spots with other cycles, only to have them take off before me, leaving me to receive sneers, jeers and an occasional comment, because with the other cyclist gone, it looks like I wasted a car size spot on a little scooter.
  • And then there was the time that I dove into the bushes to avoid getting run over by the driver of a car who darted into what looked to him like an empty spot, but really was home to both myself &  motorcycle.  No one hurt, but I wished I’d opted for illegally parking on the sidewalk.

So the legal and not so legal answers add up to you being damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  And  even if the law is black and white, the black and whites seem to be either ill informed or they are playing the gray area.   Considering my experiences, the general confusion that probably led to this question, and even the answer which if reported correctly, means that the officer is ill informed, because last time I checked Vespa style scooters under 50cc didn’t require an endorsement.

I have never been pulled over on my scooter and have never been cited, so my parking advice, regardless of the letter of the law, is to be courteous, careful, safe and think of the other guys first.  You may still have to endure jeers, sneers and rude comments, but in my experience you will not likely run into trouble with the law.

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