Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Price of Gas..

If you have been reading/watching the news lately, you'll know that reports are up on people buying scooters to combat the high price of gas. I can say that I have no problem filling up my tank with supreme unleaded when riding my scooter. Why not? I barely notice a difference on a 2-gallon tank.

Being a scooter owner for over a dozen years, the savings are fully realized by me. Those who are putting out $2-5K for a new scooter thinking it will "save" them money, may find out that the gas savings only offset the purchase price if they drive the scooter each day and keep the car parked for an extended amount of time. No matter...they'll be having fun, enjoying the freedom of scootering, marveling at convenient parking and cheap liability insurance, that they won't even think about it.

Check out some recent news items from around the country:

Channel 10 News in San Diego, CA

Citizen-Times of Asheville, NC

WLBT in Jackson, Mississippi

WGHP, North Carolina

The one thing this type of mass scooter-buying brings to mind is safety. Look at this quote from the Asheville news story:
Scooters are still easier to drive than motorcycles, Williams explained, with no gears to shift and all the controls at your fingertips. “Anybody who can ride a bicycle can be riding a scooter comfortably in five minutes,” he said.

While it is true, I do hope that all dealers are giving their customers a firm dose of reality by instructing them on proper safety gear and by encouraging them to take a safety course. I know that once Piaggio came back to the USA, I felt really unsafe riding with packs of new scooter riders who were squirrelly at best with their new bikes. I also know several people that picked up fairly new, but slightly damaged GTs that were offloaded once their new riders had a minor spill and were scared off.

I'm concerned that without proper training and awareness we'll see a lot more of these:

Woman dies in wreck
By Antonia Robinson

Staff writer

A woman died in a motor scooter accident on Mt. Olivet Road, April 23.

Darla Kupfer, 57, of 34 New Hope Road, was riding east on Mt. Olivet Road, said Trooper Anthony Coleman. She was going around a curve and the scooter drifted off the road and into some nearby trees.

Kupfer was taken to Hart County Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

She was often seen riding on her scooter by residents near the accident, said Sheriff Mike Cleveland. Kupfer lived about three miles from the accident and would mention to others how she saved money on gas with her scooter.

If you are a new scooter rider, please make the effort to understand how to ride safely. Buy good quality riding gear, study up on proper riding, and practice riding outside of just your commutes to work or on errands. I suggest going to an empty parking lot to ride around. Make tight turns, weave in and out of tight spaces. Create your own obstacle course. Perhaps even get a group together to practice.

And if you are a long-time scooterist, don't be afraid to kindly and gently offer advice to new riders who could benefit from your experience. It's better ( and a lot less painful)to learn from the experience and mistakes! of others.

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