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Guidelines for New Riders

With the gas prices at an all-time high, scooter sales are through the roof. The newspapers and TV news has been hot on the heels of this story and have played the role of salesman - informing the populace at large that scooters are cheap to get, easy to get, easy to ride, and fuel-efficient. What they DON'T tell you is that scooters are, in fact, motor vehicles. They are two-wheeled motor vehicles. This means (and I'm sorry to say) "Scooters are Dangerous." Most accidents occur at speeds around 30mph, and with new riders in their first year of scooting... this means "You." If you think this only happens to other people, please feel free to talk to other members in our club: more than half of us have already been in accidents.

As a new rider you have little to no experience, and you're much more likely to experience an accident than anyone in our pack. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can to help you gain experience and to develop better riding habits, but before joining us on a group ride we have the following guidelines for any and all new scooterists...

  1. We require you to read our article on Rules For Group Riding

  2. Unless otherwise noted, we recommend you have at least 100 miles' worth of practice before joining a group ride.

  3. We require you to have (at the very least) a valid learner's permit, and plans to acquire a motorcycle endorsement. If you're planning to milk your permit and "see how it goes" maybe a group ride isn't for you just yet.

  4. Your scooter must be registered, inspected and insured, and in good working order.

  5. If you have limited experience, it is your responsibility to inform the pack Leader of your capabilities. The Leader will decide upon how to tailor the ride, or if you'll need to attend one of our Beginners' Rides instead.

  6. We require that you wear as protective of gear as you can (see our Riding Gear 101 article for understanding of what I mean). You will be expected to wear a minimum of a helmet (and eye protection if the helmet has no face shield), leather shoes that cover your ankle, full-length jeans, a jacket with full sleeves (leather or denim is preferred, windbreakers and long-sleeved shirts will not protect your flesh from road rash) and gloves. Shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops are not allowed. This is for your safety and for our piece of mind.

  7. You may not ride with someone on the back of your scooter, even if you have a full motorcycle endorsement, unless you have an adequate amount of riding experience.

  8. Stunting is not allowed! We don't mind if you do it, but don't do it on a group ride - save it for the parking lot. Anyone stunting or otherwise squidding may be asked to depart from the ride. Repeat-offenders may be asked to leave the group entirely.

  9. If you're riding a 50cc moped or scooter, and are doing so without a helmet or a motorcycle permit or endorsement, you may not accompany us in a group ride.

  10. If, in the middle of a ride, you are having concerns or doubts about the ride or your abilities, please inform the pack Leader so they may assess the situation and find a safe solution. It's good to push yourself a little, but it's never OK to ride completely outside of your abilities.

The Vermont Scooter Club is a close-knit group of friendly people. We don't want to exclude anyone who genuinely wants to be a part of our group, but your safety is a major priority. You may not like some of these rules, but they are there for a very good reason. You'll be a competent rider soon enough, but for the time being you're "on probation."

Article by Kevin Montanaro

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