Alright. We all see them, we all hate them. When gas was spiking above $1.37, every dick, freak, and moron seemed to be turning up on pissing little scooters. Frankly, the very sight of the things makes me want to go and beat the crap out of something (lucky I've got good impulse control).
What I don't hear is anybody at all discussing the dangers of riding one of these rotten little things (feel free to point out any articles I might have missed). How safe are they? Have there been any studies of the stupid things at all?
A few concerns:
1. Minimal road presence. When a VFR or Gixxer is rolling towards you, you at least know it; these things have the frontal area of a paper airplane.
2. Severe lack of power. For the most part, I rely on cager-shaming acceleration to get me out of jams more than slamming on the brakes; I dodge before I skid, as it were. What happens if that power isn't there?
3. Speed-limited engine (sort of goes with two). On the faster roads, the scooter riders I see either impede traffic in the slow lane (suicidal with the wrong guy behind you) or trundle along the shoulder (raising the issue of moving at something other than the flow of traffic).
4. Lack of rider education. There's a reason we have to have a separate license than a car driver: our vehicles function far differently and require a new (and arguably more specialized) skillset to operate. How can letting someone onto a functional duplicate of a motorcycle with only a class five license be justified? Isn't that tantamount to a death sentence?
Friends don't let friends ride scooters!