I was given an English assignment to write a pursuasive arguement letter I will expect "significant resistance" to. Being a motorcycle rider, I thought of an arguement why people who ride scooters should take a mandatory training course. At this point, I have no intention of really sending this letter to someone. (It's kind of long though....)
Any feedback is good.
The reason for this letter is primarily to save lives. As a motorcycle rider, with many years of riding and surviving the dangerous streets, I feel that scooters should not be exempt from the type of survival training that motorcycle riders must take. This letter will explain why I feel this way, and what solution I feel is necessary to reduce the amount of accidents by these “Limited Speed Motorcycles” .
With the current system, anyone who has a car license is able to go out and buy a 50cc scooter, and ride it on the road without taking any special training. The common misconception is that having a car license means you already know how to be safe on the road, and since you can’t go much faster than 60kmh, you can’t really get hurt. In my opinion, this is falsely relating speed with danger. There are many motorcycle riders that are killed or seriously injured while riding at a modest rate of speed. Riding a scooter does not make a person exempt from this problem.
When people are first introduced to riding motorcycles, there is a lot to learn. The controls of a motorcycle are different than a car, and learning how to change gears smoothly, and operate the brakes safely takes time to master. Also many motorcycles can weigh hundreds of pounds and have enormous amounts of power. This is why motorcycle testing is separated into two phases; the skills test, and the road test. The skills test is for the rider to demonstrate their ability to master the operation of a motorcycle, and the road test shows that they have learned how to ride safely on the street.
By comparison, scooters have no gears, are very light, and have very little power. Learning to ride one can be accomplished in minutes or hours, rather than days or weeks. However, they are still a two wheeled machine, with all of the dangers that riding a motorcycle on the street would have at 60 kmh.
While car drivers are able to drive over small debris in the road without too much concern, the same cannot be said for a motorcycle or scooter. A large rock, stick, or other object in the road, can cause a loss of control that could be fatal. Gravel and oil spills can cause a loss of traction that can also bring a rider down. Riding in the rain is even more dangerous. Painted lines on the road and metal utility covers can be very slippery, and I speak from experience on that. It is also very easy to lock up your front tire under hard braking on wet roads, and again, I know from personal experience.
As I mentioned earlier, speed is not the issue with these kinds of accidents. Once you part company with your scooter or motorcycle, you become an instant horizontal pedestrian, and possible speed bump. Surviving a fall at 50 kmh isn’t too hard, but surviving a truck running you over is a completely different matter. Motorcycle riders that take training courses are knowledgeable in spotting these kinds hazards, so they have the skills to avoid these types of crashes. This is not the case for people riding scooters.
Although having knowledge and skill to avoid the hazards mentioned above is very important, knowing how to avoid being hit by other motorists is equally important. Motorcycles and scooters are not as easily seen as other vehicles, because they are much narrower. In motorcycle training courses, lane positioning, as well as other strategies are discussed and practiced to ensure that the risk for these types of accidents is reduced. Although 50 kmh may seem very slow if you are on a straight stretch of open highway, it will seem pretty fast if you are embedding yourself into the side of a car. With this type of accident, whether you’re riding a motorcycle or scooter doesn’t matter. In either case it could mean serious injury or death.
As gas prices continue to increase, more people will be drawn to the cheap and convenient transportation offered by scooters. This will mean more untrained riders will be at the mercy of the roads, and other motorists. Without the knowledge that full sized motorcycle riders are given, many of these scooter riders may be involved in serious accidents. I’m not suggesting that scooter riders on their meager budgets, be forced to pay hundreds of dollars in training, the way motorcycle riders do, but a full or half day of training at a modest price, should be enough to help reduce these kinds of accidents among scooters.
In my opinion, the only thing more heart wrenching for someone who has lost a loved one, or someone else that has just been told by a doctor they will never walk again, is to know that it could have easily been prevented. For this reason, I encourage you to consider the benefits of implementing a mandatory training course for “Limited Speed Motorcycle” riders (who do not already have a motorcycle license). I assume there may be some resistance to this proposal, but I’m also assuming there was some resistance when wearing seatbelts became mandatory, but look how many lives have been saved.