Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Scooter Driving: My Current Nemesis

So I am learning to drive a scooter. It’s not very technical. You just have to turn on the ignition turn the handle to drive and there are two brakes for braking like a bicycle. That’s the easy part. Yes I can start the scooter and drive it around a parking lot.
The trouble is driving it on the roads in Samui is it can be very dangerous. There are more accidents and deaths from driving a scooter in Thailand (and Greece) than anywhere else in the world. Why? Well there’s the issue of tourists driving scooters around with no helmets, narrow roads and no set traffic rules. We’ve had friends who have fallen off their scooters and gotten the infamous “Samui Tattoo” which is basically a where the fall has scraped off skin from a large part of your body (arm or leg usually).
There’s also my personality that comes into play. My husband is terrified that I will just dream off at the wheel, just like I do at home, and hit something.

Why I want to learn to drive a scooter

So why if it’s so dangerous do I want to drive a scooter?
1. We own one
This is probably the main reason I want to learn to ride a scooter. We’ve already got it sitting outside the house. I just need to learn to drive it well.
2. It’s the most cost effective way to get around the island
Gasoline costs us 130 BHT ($4.50 USD) to fill up our scooter and we usually need to fill it twice a month.
Getting the “practice” in is what is the most annoying as it never really is a “convenient” time for me to take the scooter around for a spin in the parking lot. Usually when we take the scooter out, it’s to run errands and pick up stuff. I can’t take the time to drive the scooter around while Jonathan waits around with groceries in his hands.

Why not just buy a car?

Since I’ve been driving cars since I was 16 this seems to be the most sensible option. However there are a couple of downsides to having a car.
1. Parking is near impossible
We borrowed our friend’s Vios once and unless you’re at a mall, there are no set parking spots. It’s really difficult to park your car anywhere.
2. It is really expensive to own a car
Unlike the scooter, owning a car would cost us 3-4 times more than buying the same car in New Zealand. Used vehicles start at $10000.
3. The roads are incredibly narrow
... and the cars for sale here are usually large pick up trucks.

So I will eventually get this scooter out on the road… one of these days. *sigh*

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