Thursday, July 23, 2009

Government knows best...

Or so they think...

I've mentioned changes in scooter regulations from state to state in previous posts, and was unsure of changes to Massachusetts regulations. I now have a little more information, thanks to a post over on Urbanscootin.com.

Due to the growing popularity of scooters, especially in the Boston metropolitan area, Massachusetts decided it was time to change their regulations to account for 50cc scooters capable of exceeding 30 mph. On the surface, since I live in a state that already has registration and insurance requirements, it seems silly to become upset about this particular change, since registration and insurance can serve as a bit of protection for the motorist; however, the big picture reveals the major thorn in the side of all scootsters: Parking. Up until this point, scootsters in Massachusetts have been able to park their 50cc scooters on the sidewalks. As of August first, they will no longer have that privilege.

Ok, no problem, they can park in the spaces that the various cities have provided for two wheeled vehicles...Wait, nevermind, those spaces don't exist. So scootsters in Massachusetts are left in quite a predicament. If they park on the street, their scooter could be stolen, or moved, or hit by an inconsiderate cager. If they park on the sidewalk, they could recieve a ticket.

Of course, this is a predicament that scootsters face all over the country. Steering locks and disk brake locks offer minimal protection since the former can be easily broken and the latter only works if you have a disk brake and a heavy bike that isn't easy to pick up and throw in the back of a truck. Not many folks are able to carry a rotweiler around on their scooter, so that option is out of the question. Parking on the street gives no options for chaining the scooter up to anything (not that chains, no matter how stout, offer a 100% guarantee of security, but they are better than nothing and should deter most thieves in broad daylight, at least in better neighborhoods).

Some municipalities offer scooter parking. Lancaster City has scooter parking in two of their parking garages; however, the parking spaces have nothing to chain a scooter to. When they first unveiled the scooter parking, several people used it on a regular basis, but over the last several months, whenever I have gone past the Prince Street garage, the spaces sit there, empty. My guess is that most folks, like myself, do not feel comfortable parking their scooter in a public place without locking it up.

Unfortunately, until such a time as scooters become much more common here in the U.S., it is unlikely that these concerns will change. Our numbers are growing, if slowly, but with each individual who trades in their Escalade for a Vespa, change becomes more likely.

3 comments:

Conchscooter said...

Accountability through a tag seems sensible for any motor vehicle. Lobbying for two wheeler parking could be effective. Sitting at home and bitching to the computer about "government" is ineffective. You are lucky enough to live in a democracy. How about living up to the responsibility of being a citizen? Peaceful assembly to petition government is one of your inalienable rights. Use it.

Paul said...

I, personally, am not complaining, but rather, I am analyzing. I have voiced my opinion on a local level and will continue to do so as opportunity arises. I also have made a point of suggesting scooter and motorcycle parking to business owners. Unfortunately, until there are enough folks pushing for adequate scooter parking, there is little likelihood of equitable change.

It would certainly behoove all scooter riders to voice their opinions where it will matter.

Since I live in this republic (not a democracy), I am also exercising the right to freedom of speech and the press, as protected in the U.S. Constitution.

There is no reason to write such a belittling and presumptive comment on another person's blog. This is my blog for sharing my thoughts. If you disagree, that is your right; however, making unfounded assumptions is unseemly.

kz1000st said...

I think most people who read these articles in other parts of the country miss a central point. A convenience is being taken away. There are a VAST number of scooters in a place like Boston that will now have to find a place to park off the sidewalk. We're not talking five or ten, but hundreds. People who have reserved spots like Politicians say, "Let them eat cake" in big cities. Keep in mind that scooters compete with Mass Transit for dollars in moving people since people would use cars or take a bus if they weren't on a scoot. It's the same acrimony MTA has in New York City about bicycles. "Those stinky people would be using the subway or a bus if they weren't ridng a bicycle through Midtown for free." Hey, maybe it's a conspiracy, make it a problem to park your Vespa in Boston and you'll take the train instead. Today Boston, tomorrow Philadelphia. I hear there alot of scooters there too.