Motor Scooters and Potholes

 

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The Pothole -- a serious bain to the scooterist

Small motorscooter
The tiny radius of a small scooter wheel
makes potholes a major hazard.

Potholes, just a minor bump for cars and not a serious hazard for large-wheeled motorcycles and even bicycles, can be a very serious problem for scooterists whose wheels can be quite tiny. If one's wheel goes right down into a the hole at any speed, unjury and damage are almost certain. On several occasions, a pothole has appeared too rapidly to avoid but fortunately, the tire can skip over a fairly short pothole without getting trapped. A larger one is much more serious.

Road Hazards and following distance

Mobility Scooter
Freedom to go whither thou wilt! See Mobility Scooters

Everyone knows and presumably follows the safe following distance guidelines, often described as three seconds of space between you had the vehicle ahead, the theory being that if the car ahead of you suddenly comes to a stop, three seconds should be long enough for you to reac and apply breaks fast enough to avoid colliding. However, the potential of dangers upon the surface of the road adds another dimmension. If, when following a vehicle at a safe distance, a large hole emerges from under that vehicle (or perhaps a two-by-four, a brick, a rugby helmet, a melon), how much time would you need in order to avoid it safely? One cannot just flick the wheel suddenly to the side as one can in a car. Three seconds is probably not enough.

Following distance and night driving

Scooter with cargo trailer
A scooter trailer for pizza delivery.
See cargo issues.

Driving scooter at night is more dangerous yet if your headlights do not show clearly enough road to stop or swerve in safely. Add to that a vehicle in front which obscures the view of a dangerous road obstacle until just before you are upon it, and there are some serious issues to be considered. Bottom line: drive no faster than a speed at which you can stop, slow, or evade upcoming hazards in that window of time from when they appear until your wheel encounters them. This may mean going quite slowly at night and leaving much more than three seconds between you and the car in front. Try watching a spot upon the road from the time you see it and can react to it until you reach it, and try simulating evasive maneuvers. Common sense will tell you whether it works or not. The scooterist must also exercise constant vigilance in watching out for road surface degredation.

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