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.

June 28, 2008


Filed under: Scooterism — Tags: , , , , — wally @ 8:08 am

06-27-08 fillup

I guess I love my roots in the British culture because I can appreciate their humor and life perspective. Take joyriding, usually where someone young, stupid or drunk, or young, stupid and drunk, steals a car just for the pleasure of driving it. Some end in joyriding tragedies like jail time, injury or even death as witnessed locally with teens joyriding a steamroller. Amusingly, the British don’t call joyriding theft as we do here in the colonies, they refer to it mildly as twocking, from the acronym TWOC for Taken Without Owners Consent. Your not stealing, your twocking. Twocking kind of, sort of puts the joy back in joyriding.

Well today another sort of joyriding needs to have some fun put back in it. Rising petrol prices, as we all are certainly aware of, are making even legal joyriding (aka the Sunday drive) difficult to enjoy. How do you justify the cost of a purely for fun 100 mile excursion. Especially living out in the county where even our shop local buy local options are 20 mile round trips. It’s a matter of managing resources, i.e. money. Although, as a resourceful family we could twock someone whose just filled up? but with kids, booster seats and the dog, I just don’t think we would make a clean getaway.

We could take a Sunday drive on WTA, after we walk 5 miles to the nearest transit center, but that doesn’t sound at all joyful. And what about the freedom to just turn left or right and see where a road leads; how’s the driver or fellow riders going to deal with you saying “hey, what say we hang a left here and just see where it takes us.”

What’s a guy to do when there is no more joy in joyriding? Scooter!

What a great evening we had yesterday for taking a joyride, for no other reason than joy. And with a scooter it’s all joy. There isn’t the petrol price spectre looming over you, or a little red faced Al Gore sitting on your shoulder giving a carbon-footprint lecture. I filled up my trusted Chinese steed with mid-grade oats for about 5 bucks. I’m now good for another 80 or 90 miles of joyful joyriding.

** And it’s a joyful bonus when I see a passerby do a scooter double take on my Rossi sticker.

March 22, 2008

Puig 992 touring windscreen

Filed under: Scooterism — Tags: , — wally @ 5:27 pm

puig 992 b It took me about 15 years of street bike riding before I gave into a small windscreen. I was young, and thought it wasn’t to cool have one. With the scooter I had one ordered within the first week. What I’m saying is that I was really stupid in the past and I’m not as stupid now, at least as far as windscreens go.

A windscreen offers protection from rain, flying debris and constant wind buffeting. The right windscreen can do all those things and also make your scooter more aerodynamic. At any normal speed the lack of aerodynamics on a motorcycle just means that you have to hang on tighter. With a scooter’s modest power, wind resistance plays a big role in top speed. With the Puig 992 on my 150 cc scooter, I think that I am seeing 4-5 mph increase in top speed. Out on the 50 mph county roads that means I am part of the traffic rather than an obstacle.

puig 992 By the way, the windscreen I choose was the Puig 992 touring model. At letsgoscootin.com, I saw a few photos of the touring model on a scooter that was very similar to mine. I thought it fit well and looked good. Additionally, the author gave it good marks. I purchased it online through CBXMAN Motorcycles for the going price of $129. Whether it was the going price or not, I still thought it was expensive. Everyone was out of stock, so I didn’t expect to find discounting and I ended up waiting about 7 weeks for delivery. Customer service at CBXMAN was great, even considering the long out of stock time. I’d gladly shop there again.

So, bottom line is that the Puig 992 windscreen offers protection, improved aerodynamics and a little bit of style. I give it a thumbs up.

March 21, 2008


carpi.jpgToday many people, yes even middle aged conservative Christian white guys, are stepping through two-wheelers for one reason or another. Maybe fun, maybe practicality, maybe $3.50/gallon gas. For me, it might just be in my blood. I grew up riding everything from a 2-1/2 hp Lil’ Indian minibike, to a Solex Moped, to various, mostly sport touring, motorcycles. I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of miles on real motorcycles and even tens of thousands of miles on pedal variety two wheelers. But, with real life setting in, those motorcycling days soon faded into the distant past. I became a used to ride guy.

Last spring my wife suggested that she get a fun little scooter to ride around. I was all for her having fun, but when she suggested I get a scooter also, my thoughts were of embarrassment, not fun. So we bought her a nice little silver scooter and you have never seen a perma-grin until you’ve seen the one on my wife’s face while she is riding. I didn’t get a scooter. However, I did have to swallow my pride a few times and ride her scooter over to the high school so she could do some parking lot riding practice.

fiji-150.jpgIt was while making these rides, that some peculiar things happened. First, I found that 2 wheels are fun even without a clutch nor anything resembling horsepower. The second, and more peculiar thing came one day when a Harley rider gave me the courtesy wave as we approached each other. I thought what the heck, and waved back. But as he got close, he realized that he was waving to a scooter ; so he quickly pulled his wave and looked down as we passed. The irony hit me like a brick; I was on a scooter having fun while he was riding a Harley, a real motorcycle, and feeling embarrassed. A few days later I ordered my own red sporty Roketa Fiji 150 scooter from Urbano Moto.

As weather allows, I scooter for fun and often commute to work. My wife still scooters just for the grin. Our kids are still too small to reach the pegs, so as babysitting allows, we scooter together for fun.

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