Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From Your Friendly Neighborhood (New-ish) Scooter Driver

Three weeks ago we bought a scooter. It's been almost two years that we've only had one vehicle and buying gasoline has been a tremendous financial strain. Noting that much of our driving involved only getting Darin or myself (without kids) from one place to another, we decided to get a scooter.

I bought the 1,000th scooter from The Scooter Lounge, so I won some prizes, which is super cool. My Velo Bag is awesome.

Driving a scooter is interesting and fun. The interesting part comes from people's reaction that I drive a scooter. It's been one of two reactions:

1. A shriek, "You drive a scooter?!? That's so cool!" or "That's yours?!? Awesome!" or "I love scooters! How fun!" or something like unto it.

2. Raised eyebrows. "Ooooookay," followed by thoughts and concern about how dangerous it must be, and they hope I don't get hurt.

I'm glad people care. And, yes, scooters can be dangerous. My brother was hit by a car while riding a scooter a few years ago. That said, I'll say it again: my brother was hit by a car while riding a scooter a few years ago. I'm going to talk about this for a minute.

For a little over a year, I've noted an interesting observation: I am a better driver because I'm a runner. I like running on the street (more than trail running, or worse, treadmill), so I take the necessary precautions: wearing reflective gear, being alert, not assuming any driver will do what I think they will, or even what they signal they'll do.

It's the same with driving a scooter. I have to drive super defensively, especially this time of year when all the students have come back into town. I don't assume a car with its blinker on will turn, and I don't expect any car without their blinker on to keep driving straight. I pause and look in every direction at every intersection. I avoid main roads and take kind of obscure routes to where I need to go (giving myself extra time for this) and I always drive the speed limit. I look to make eye contact with any driver around me, and I do a lot of nodding and waving to communicate with those drivers.

You would not believe what I've seen drivers of cars do while I'm driving my scooter. (Just one example: I watched a car blow right through a 4-way stop intersection.) I'm not saying that every scooter accident isn't the fault of the scooter driver. But in my (admittedly limited) experience, car drivers are looking at their stupid phones far too often (read: at all) while they're driving. Yes, while. Not (just) at red lights, but while their vehicle is in motion. If you're someone who does that, I'm begging you: knock it off.

Other than that, driving a scooter is really fun. Helmet, yes. And glasses. I've had more bugs peg my face than I care to mention. And if I could add any features to the scooter (which I probably could) I'd add a clock and a thermometer...I never realized how often I think about time & temperature while I'm driving. It gets 90 miles/gallon, which means that even with the monthly scooter payment we're saving hundreds of dollars per month on gasoline.

I do need to get used to scooter maintenance. I was told to bring it in for its first tune-up at 500 miles; when we bought it 3 weeks ago it had 4/10 of a mile on it, and as of this morning, we're at 611 miles, so I should make that appointment, eh? We sure do drive a lot.

Good thing we bought a scooter.

**The Scooter Lounge is seriously awesome. Dave and the crew there (crew? Team? What do I call everyone there?) really know their stuff, and they're NICE. It's on State Street in Orem. Support local, cool, nice business. Disclaimer: I wasn't paid, or even asked, to say that. I really mean it and think you should buy a scooter there.

**Stop looking at your phone while you're driving.


Courtney Killpack said...

I used to live in Orem and loved driving by that place everyday. My sister bought a scooter from there and she loved hers. Be safe! Make sure you wear your helmet!

Kami said...

Great post! We all need to be more aware and cautious while driving. You make an adorable scooter chick!

Kacy Faulconer said...

I've been thinking about getting a scooter,too, as you know. I want to gt it from the Scooter Lounge because I met Dave once and he introduced me to his wife and told her I was funny. He knew. Just like that. Fan for life. Be careful! Let's scoot together soon.

{natalie} said...

we bought our scooter there too. we love it. it needs some maintence though and hasn't run all summer :(

i bet you look super fly riding that thing around town. i love it!

Whit said...

I have been wanting a scooter since college I thought it would be perfect in a college town. Now that I have kids it will have to wait. Loved reading your post

CKW said...

She took all of my kids for rides around the neighborhood and now they think she is officially cooler than me. Which is true. :-)

Emily said...

My response? AWESOME. Also, since I've been a cyclist, I definitely drive better and am more aware of others on the road whether driving, biking or running.