The New Kind of Rider Debate?

Dan over at Musings of an Intrepid commuter has a good summary of an issue that I think most of the scooter community already knew about.  

The Economy Rider

These are the folks that are not, and do not want to be, associated with any of the existing community.  They bought the cheapest scooter they could find and they use it because of it's economy.  To them it is just a motorized bicycle, and as such requires nothing more than what a bicycle does in terms of training and safety.  

Dan makes some great and coherent points, but there is another side of this that, to my mind is even more destructive.  

These riders are encouraged by the media and the retailers.  First, every time we get a good gas price spike, we have the media outlets out there showing scooters and talking about the benefits, but rarely do they talk about the fact that these things ARE motorcycles.  

Since 2006, this video is pretty much a staple in the scooter communities to underscore the issue. Take a moment to go watch it.  It is the end of a live segment in Chicago talking about how great scooters are for gas and the usual fluff.  At the end of the segment, where this video begins, we have the reporter hopping on with a helmet, no gear and no training.  Do we need to see the video to know she is going to hit the pavement?  not really.

None of this changes the fact that every year, we get the same fluff pieces, and a new crop of people that buy a scooter under these pretenses.  Complicating the problem is the people selling them.  Not the reputable scooter shops.  Not the motorcycle shops. They are preaching safety and responsibility, but they aren't the ones selling to this group of riders, and that is the root of the problem.

These riders are not buying from the bigger, reputable shops, they are buying from Pep Boys, or similar vendors that are putting super cheap chinese built products that are questionable at best.  They are sold by people that know nothing about them, and do not care if they are educating the customer to be safe. 

Unfortunately, it is not a problem you can readily address, and it is a problem that continues to be a growing problem in the scooter communities, particularly as these owners get the passion.  I have seen them show up at scooter events, wearing flip-flops, shorts, t-shirts and not even DOT certified helmets and get very offended when some proper gear is suggested.  "It's just a scooter".  

Dan is right, it is a problem, but I'll be darned if I have a solution.

Content by dru_satori, edited on a Mac using SandVox (because I'm lazy)