Friday, July 18, 2008
With the current rise in gas prices, I am seeing more and more people using motorcycles and scooters for their daily commute and general running around. I think this is great to see. The two-wheeled version of gettin' around is much easier to navigate through traffic, making your commute quicker, easier on the wallet and great for the environment. I welcome all the new riders to our two-wheeled "community". I honestly don't understand why more people don't choose the two-wheeled way of getting around.
What does concern me is seeing so many riders on scooters (as well as motorcycles) with no protective gear whatsoever (I know this is their right, so please, no e-mails explaining that to me).
Is there some unwritten rule that people do not change lanes into riders on scooters or turn left in front of them? I cringe, every time I see somebody zipping through an intersection on a scooter wearing no protective gear, no caution of even looking around as they go through their green light. I have learned long ago, that anybody can hit you at almost any time. Plain and simple, most drivers do not see you on the road and are usually doing many other important things than just driving (cell phone, makeup, eating, yelling at kids, etc.). I have survived as long as I have because I know that I am invisible and that everybody is trying to run over me. This may not always be politically correct to say, but it has worked so far. Most new riders would know some of these basic rules if they did their research and took some of the training classes available. The current MSF course is a great one that I highly recommend.
And this is where things get a little strange. I have talked to a few scooter riders that believe that they do not have to get an "M" (motorcycle) endorsement on their driver's license to legally operate a scooter on the public roads. Even heard rumors that some scooter shops have told this to their customers. I hope that is not true, but...
To put it simply, in Oklahoma - "Scooters which are built and designed for highway travel are recognized like motorcycles". This means that they are titled and registered just like any other motorcycle (and car for that matter) and must follow the same rules and regulations. In other words, you must have a motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license to operate one on a public road. And just as important, you must get as much training as possible. Just like anything else in life. The more you train or practice, the better you are at it. It is one thing if you can't throw strikes on the local softball team. End result; you walk a few batters. It is another if you aren't very good at riding a motorcycle. End result; at best, you crash and get to learn a lesson.
If you are a rider that doesn't have an "M" on your license, get one, it's easy. If you don't think you should wear any type of protective gear... well, I guess that is your choice. Although, you probably will, after you go down once and commence to sliding and tumbling down the pavement if you are still riding.
It's a Travel Show
Two Wheel Oklahoma is a television travel show featuring the motorcycle rides of Brad Mathison and Rex Brown along the scenic highways and backroads of Oklahoma.
Each episode highlights a stretch of road or historic route and explores unique destinations along the way. Tune in three times a week on the Cox Channel.
We hope you'll come ride along.