Monday, February 25, 2008

Wht are Scooter Drivers such berks?

I spent a couple of hours today at a bike repair shop having the brake pads and back tyre of my Triumph Tiger replaced. Which gave me ample opportunity to observe the stupidity of scooter drivers. Here is my gripe – they think they ride in a different world from motorbike riders.

They do not wear protective clothing, and show scant regard to head protection. One arrived to collect his repaired Vespa wearing shorts, a T-shirt and slipslops. He then placed a small pisspot helmet on his head, and declined to strap it on. No gloves in sight. He revved his scooter into the traffic as if he was immune to injury. Another arrived wearing a spaghetti-strap top, tiny shorts and sandals.... no problem with this except that she was riding a chinesesomething two wheeled vehicle. Again, no gloves, and a helmet that looked like it was bought in a toy store. The final example of idiocy was the dude who rode past wearing a vest, shorts and MX boots – no gloves and a helmet that must have been rescued from a trash can.

The rule of the road is always dress for safety:
Do not ride without gloves; wear a decent helmet; wear a padded jacket; preferably choose padded pants (I know, I know, I often do not wear these); and wear boots. These are simply not negotiable. But scooter drivers seem to think that because scooters are not the same category as motorcycles, they do not need to dress for safety.

Oh yes – there are many, many motorbike riders who also ride as if they are invincible to tar burns and smashed limbs. Sliding across the road on your butt or chest causes a huge amount of heat to be generated. This means that skin and cotton will melt when in contact with the road surface. Let us support the culture of dressing for safety by wearing all the right clothes all of the time. “It is better to sweat than to bleed”.


Eliza D Hunter said...


i am laughing coz i too have a vespa a 1964 primavera i might add :)

and yes i ride as if its not a motorbike, with shorts, T's and crocks.

if i were on a bike i would wear jeans, boots and my very nice retro leather biker jacket.

its amazing how our mind set changes with the degree of cc size.

thanks Pete, needed to get reminded a bit of the facts.



Paddy said...

I had forgotten what a great word 'berk' really is! Thanks! Going to try and reintroduce it, along with 'chump' and 'muppet'.

digitaldion (Dion Forster) said...

Hey Pete,

As always a challenging and thought provoking post!

I agree (in part) with what you're saying, and with what 'crimson' says above.

It was only once I started riding a larger bike again, after some years (I got my BMW a year and a half ago) that I started wearing 'appropriate clothing' on my Vespa as well!

Yes, I own a 'pee-pot' helmet, and yes, I too used to ride in shorts with sandals! This is where I agree with 'crimson' - there is something about the laid back feel of a Vespa that makes one want to ride as if you're free! I'm not sure about loncin's and singyongs, and other plastic scooters. They'll have to comment for themselves ;-)

Sadly, however, as I have discovered EVEN when one wears 'protective' clothing it is the CARS that are the problem... Not the bikes (whether scooters or bigger bikes). When I was knocked off my Ves[a a week ago I was wearing blue jeans, a biker's jacket with padding (a Christmas present from my wife), leather gloves (more for sunburn protection than anything else), leather shoes, and a full face (open chin) AGV helmet... I still got smashed up! Whether I was on my BMW or my Vespa I think the result would have been the same (the clothing would have been the same), plus the first time I knew I had been hit was after the accident had happened!

Just as an aside, when the orthopedic surgeon (himself an owner of a BMW 1200GS) was checking my leg the day after surgery he asked if I was wearing jeans... He said that he sees more broken legs with jeans than without them - apparently denim twists when it gets caught on the tar and snaps bones quicker than many other materials. So I guess either wear cotton pants (that will give some protection, and rip if snagged on the tar, or leathers that won't twist and break your bones).

So Petie, it may be time to start wearing protective pants (even if they are just leg covers) over your denims! It is a schlep, I know!

So, Paddy, it is CAR drivers that a berks, muffins, biscuits, dingbats, and many, many, many other terms we have long since stopped using!

I think Vespa riders are the very best 'bikers' out there, followed by BMW riders... But, then I may just be hugely biased!!! Ha ha!

No riding for 12-18 weeks...

When I get to Cape Town, however, we'll go for a nice long (protected) ride!!

Blessings friend!


Paddy said...

Definitely car drivers that are the berks, Dion, as I have discovered by biking (minus an engine) to work for the past month!

You're just so vulnerable on two wheels. My tactics - if you wobble around like a lunatic cars tend to give you a wide berth... not sure it would translate to powered bikes though!

Leslie said...

I had no idea that under all that leather, bikers where such girlies! ;-)

Ever wonder why cyclists wear skintights and not leather from head to toe?

I guess us scooter riders who cruise around between 40 and 60 km/hr kinda gravitate somewhere in between!