Matt Greenop on motoring

Matt Greenop is editor of Driven magazine

Matt Greenop: A smarter option for scooter newbies

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Photo / Duncan Brown
Photo / Duncan Brown

There seems to be a bit of a mismatch between skills and education that will see more and more people scraped up off our roads unless something is done.

Now I could be referring to most groups of road users here, but those who have me wincing in expectation of an accident most often are people with car licences on underpowered scooters. Not only do these things sound like depressed bumble bees, but they're about as visible when they're cutting their own paths through urban traffic.

Barely a day goes past when driving in the city without a cringeworthy moment as a scooter flukes it and wobbles through another potentially crippling incident.

Sure, these scooters are frugal and zippy and all the rest of it, but the riders are often young and reasonably inexperienced road users who don't always exercise the best judgment. Those with a solid grounding in two-wheeled roulette know only too well the dangers that await them on the road - and that if you're on a woefully low-powered machine in the midst of car drivers often oblivious to their presence, things can go very pear-shaped indeed.

Once they're moving, the chances of keeping safe are a bit higher, but getting a 49cc powerhouse off the line swiftly is about as realistic as winning an F1 race in a pedal car.

Electric scooters are now available on the market - even big hitters like BMW are in on the action - and these are capable of delivering near-maximum power as soon as the throttle is twisted. In terms of safety, to me these present a far cleverer option for motorcycling newbies expecting to survive on the roads.

The other important area to concentrate on is education - the more you teach riders, the fewer payments they'll be getting from ACC.

Have you got any two-wheel horror stories or ideas to bolster the survival rate for scooter riders? Let us know below or on Facebook at facebook.com/DrivenNZ

- NZ Herald

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