Why, I must have a special INVISIBLE Vespa…

you don't see them, they are ALL invisible

While today isn’t counting, the previous few days have been absolutely gorgeous outside. I finally have a locker on campus so I was able to ride my Vespa to school – and especially wanted to with the insane gas prices. I am a cautious, defensive rider. I assume I am invisible to everyone, even though I wear a pink and silver sparkly helmet. Well, yesterday, on my trek back heading south on Mission, a man driving a white Toyota 4-Runner was backing up into a space on the right hand side of the street. I am riding in the left hand side of the right lane and I see him. He see’s me, too, as I catch total eye-contact with him in his side-view mirror.

The back-up lights pop-off and he jams out into the lane. I blare my horn and check behind me to make sure I can hit the brakes. I then pull up to him at the next light and throw my hands up in the air and then flip my visor up. He rolls down his window, “I was pulling out”. “No, you weren’t, you were backing up, didn’t have a signal on, and looked right at me” I retorted. “Yeah…” was his reply. WTF?!? So, Mr. Yeah, you looked right at me and then punched it out into my lane. So, you saw me and I wasn’t really there. I am invisible, just as I assume to Assholes like you. Now, if I were driving my vehicle, I wouldn’t be as annoyed, but being on a scooter and out in the open for any jerk to pull out in front of is scary. I have many vehicles to worry about running over me.

What’s the point of this long-story-long? Be nicer to your fellow motorists. If you see them, acknowledge them and don’t assume the whole world revolves around you.

5 Comments so far

  1. Benjamin (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 2:31 pm

    I drive a vespa in the city too and use the “invisable” technique. I was driving home on laguna honda by the pond thing and it was flooded in about 6 inches of water about a month ago. Once I was in the water it was too late to turn around so I went for it (slowly) as cars were behind me fucking honking. One even sped around me, drenching me in a 6 foot wave. Invisibility is sweet, tangibility, and the ability to feel pain is not.

  2. John (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

    Vespa rider as well and I drive with the invisible technique. But what an ass that guy is if he clearly saw you.

    Get this…I was driving my car (I know it’s not a Vespa story but luckily I’ve been incident free – knock on wood) in that a little old lady made a left turn right in front of me and I had to swerve to avoid her. I mean how can you miss a car right? The thought of me riding my Vespa and what I would have done and what would have happened in that situation horrified me. Scooterist…be careful out there.

  3. Swerbo (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

    Let me start by saying I’ve ridden a motorcycle (not a Vespa, sorry folks) in the city for more than fifteen years at this point, and I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve had people look me straight in the eye, and then go right ahead and do something totally fucked like pull into my lane, pull out in front of me, whatever, you name it, I’ve seen it. I personally never trust anyone in any vehicle or even pedestrians unless I make eye contact, which is better than a lot of folks, but the truth is that that is not even enough. You have to anticipate the stupid action, you need to make eye contact, and you need to have a plan if they go right ahead and do something stupid anyway. I have a personal theory about this actually. These people fall into one of two buckets: (1) they just don’t care, and have no clue whatsover, and feel they can do whatever they want, and (2) they are actually people who do care, but were so not expecting a biker to be there when they looked, that they panic and just go ahead with the action they were doing already. #2 happens to me ALL OF THE TIME with lane changes on one-way streets. You see them thinking about changing lanes, you anticipate even, you see them start, you beep at them, they look you right in the freakin’ eyes, they hesitate for a split second in a panic, and then for some unknown reason have the panic reaction to just finish the move.

    My approach on lane changes into has changed over the years such that I now beep my horn sometimes before they even make the move just to say “hey, I’m over here”, which pisses some people off, but whatever, better safe than sorry. But more importantly, if they do start coming over, I don’t just “beep”, I lay on the horn and I don’t let go until I am absolutely sure they aren’t going to keep coming over. Lastly, I actually bought a new horn that was 20db LOUDER than my stock horn about five years ago at an autoparts store for $13, and now there is no freakin’ chance you aren’t going to hear me even if your windows are up, stereo is blasting, and you’re talking on your cell phone… Heh!

  4. Robin (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 6:42 pm

    I’d love to know if that 20db horn would work on my scooter…like how many volts it needs to run on. My stock horn is almost embarassing – and only somewhat effective.

  5. Swerbo (unregistered) on April 21st, 2006 @ 1:08 pm

    I just found my horn on my bike, unscrewed two screws and unplugged the electrical connector, and brought it with me to Kragen Auto Parts and asked if they had anything like it. Turns out they had a few that basically looked exactly the same, with the same kind of mounts, so I picked the one that had the louder Db rating, and re-installed it. It wasn’t that hard, but I got lucky that is was a standard thing I guess, who knows about how your horn works?

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