Recently my girlfriend’s car was stuck behind one on a sizable road with no passing lane. We had no choice but to follow the puttering thing at a slow and inefficient 30 mph., as it was squarely in the center of the lane and we had no means of going around it.
A few days ago when I was riding my bike to work, I was attempting to merge from a bike lane into a proper lane so I could merge. With cars, this isn’t a problem. However, an obnoxious scooter was right beside me and would neither accelerate nor decelerate in order to let me in. I made a forceful effort of it, passed, him, and got in fine, but there was the brief temptation to go all Ben-Hur and his puny vehicle so I could get myself a spot in the lane.
Lastly, I saw a scooter while waiting for the bus the other day, and it simply looked and sounded dumb, as if a grown man were riding Baby’s First Motorcycle.
The scooter seems to operate in a weird netherworld between bikes and motorcycles, embodying the virtues of neither.
With a bicycle, you get exercise. You can use bike lanes, don’t consume any gas, and produce absolutely no annoying “put-put-put” or “whirrrrrr” sound as you ambulate about the metropolis. Bikes are virtuous, green, and allow their riders a totally deserved measure of smug satisfaction as to why they are Part Of The Solution. Scooters, however, go about as fast as bikes and offer none of the benefits related to the environment or personal fitness.
Motorcycles are awesome. Even though they’re somewhat dumb vehicles, I have a soft spot for motorcycles, and the chrome-plated two wheeled machines would probably be my preferred method of dealing with a hypothetical midlife crisis. I implicitly assume that all motorcyclists are killer badasses, and probably know some weird, messed up way to kill a man using only one’s own left pinkie. Scooters, however, are about as intimidating as a basket of doe-eyed baby otters.
If you’re riding a scooter, the message I get is “I’m too lazy to ride a bike, and too much of a poncy Little Lord Fauntleroy to ride a real motorcycle. I don’t like making physical exertions when I move, and neither do I wish to wear full length man-trousers.”
I know The Who rode them. I know that they were chic and mod and all that back in the sixties. Whatever. They hold none of the virtues of other forms of assisted movement, and for that, they will get nothing but my sneering derision as I pedal past them on my bike.