May 24, 2008

Another Silly Law?

I noticed a ticket in the row of bikes. When I got close up it was a scooter. The motorized bike owner made the mistake of treating the small two-wheeler like a bicycle. If I owned one of these things – which I doubt will ever happen – I wouldn’t want to pay $35 a day in a downtown garage for SUV’s to knock it over because my mode of transportation was taking up a whole space.

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This ticketed mosquito hardly compares to a rumbling Harley, a humming BMW or one of those other gawdawful screaming machines. SUV’s aim at them too. Of course, SUV’s seem to aim at everything. Maybe Chicago needs to set aside parking areas for motorized two wheelers. Think about it, how many of these would fit into a regular parking space?

21 comments:

Craig Gernhardt said...

Hey, lay off us two-wheelers.

Toni said...

Did you miss the point about this scooter not taking up a whole vehicle parking space?

Have you ever found your bike laying on its side on the pavement because some vehicle knocked it over?

Doesn't matter what I like or don't like, its a space issue.

twestgard said...

Good point. We should review the traffic laws to see if we can tweak them to encourage more use of little scooters like this one.

Toni said...

We? Not me.

The North Coast said...

Yes, it is time to allocate parking spaces for these gas-saving scooters and even motorcycles.

These vehicles take up very little space and shouldn't be made to pay for an 18' parking space.

Time to start charging people with extra-large vehicles extra to park AND for city registration. A sensible system would charge according to horsepower and/or gas mileage; or by curb weight, for large vehicles are harder on the pavement.

Fargo said...

I have mixed feelings about scooters.

On the one hand, they take up a lot less space than cars - in traffic and in parking spaces. They use a lot less gas. Those are very positive things.

On the other hand, scooter riders often take up multiple bicycle spaces at downtown racks. Scooters tend to be noisy. Some of them have very noxious exhaust, as bad as a lawnmower.

I think there should be parking spaces striped for scooters and motorcycles - downtown and in other areas where there is high demand for such parking. One car parking space could accommodate several two wheelers.

There should also be some emissions standard for scooters. When I'm riding my bicycle and I hear a scooter coming, I dread the stink and the coughing that will follow.

Dan L said...

Scooter drivers are generally have less whine than cycletards, so I've got no beef.

Dan L said...


Time to start charging people with extra-large vehicles extra to park AND for city registration. A sensible system would charge according to horsepower and/or gas mileage; or by curb weight, for large vehicles are harder on the pavement.



I think they're already higher paying in taxes just based on what they pay at the pump. Anything further would be transparent and viewed as punitive.

The North Coast said...

Uh, Dan, we non-car-owning taxpayers are paying more to maintain highways that we don't run any car on, than SUV owners for the wear and tear they put on the roads, AND the way they waste our resources.

Sorry, it is specious to say that they are "taxed at the pumps" , when gasoline taxes not only don't cover the cost of maintaining the ridiculous amount of highway mileage we have in this country, AND these taxes are about to be lifted.

Sorry, but these people are not being taxed in the gasoline prices by themselves. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DRIVING UP THE GASOLINE PRICES, WASTING OUR RESOURCES, AND MAKING MIDDLE EASTER WARS NECESSARY.

I hate to sound self-righteous, but anyone who owns a gas-guzzler car, boat, or other RV, is helping to get our soldiers killed in the middle east and is also helping to drive food and utility prices higher for the non-car-owning, non-energy-wasting population.

I think of these people everytime I see a rate hike for my 125KwH per month power bill and a 20% increase in the price of milk. I also think of these folks when I see vast tracts of farmland being diverted from food production to ethanol production, the better to produce a famine in this country.

We pay way more per driver to subsidize auto ownership in this country than we do to subsidize vastly more economical and efficient public transit, already. Worse, if gasoline taxes are removed thanks to the pandering of John McCain and Hillary Clinton, we will consume MORE gas and the prices will go HIGHER, for non-carowners and non-fuel wasters, as well as the wasteful and piggish SUV and RV owners.

Dan L said...

Oh dear? I killed the troops? I'm causing wars over Middle Easter? Are me and my H2 responsible for hurricanes and other natural disasters? Oh - and don't forget the Great American Famine I caused.

Let me help you: write a letter or hold a bake sale or something. You've got a lot of work to do. Maybe you should go hang out with the Amish or something to make sure that you're not responsible for all the wars in the world.

Dan L said...

Wait. This is fun.


Sorry, it is specious to say that they are "taxed at the pumps" , when gasoline taxes not only don't cover the cost of maintaining the ridiculous amount of highway mileage we have in this country,


Where does your food come from?

The North Coast said...

My, my, I triggered some defensiveness here.

Why is it that people who believe in the economical use of our resources and in policies that don't encourage and reward waste are regarded as luddites?

I'm no technophobe or luddite, and I fully support advanced technologies that will help us maintain our level of tech amenity with the minum of fuel usage.

However, it is only logical that clunky, wasteful technology that only burns more fuel while doing nothing to increase comfort or efficiency are helping to hike energy costs and keep us dependent upon enemy countries for one of our most important resources.

No wise government subsidizes waste and misuse, yet we continue to heavily subsidize auto transport at the expense of public transit; short-haul air travel at the expense of rail; and low-density suburban housing at the expense of high-density urban development.

I'm sick at the waste in this country because I do NOT want my tech amenities taken from me.I don't want to have to live like the Amish because fuel costs have ratcheted so high and there are so many spot shortages that half the population has to choose between heat and food. We use twice as much fuel per capita as the denizens of Western Europe, yet we don't live quite as well.

You seem to equate waste with good livin', like most Americans.

Dan L said...


Why is it that people who believe in the economical use of our resources and in policies that don't encourage and reward waste are regarded as luddites?


Oh no, it's not an issue of being anti-waste that makes you a luddite, it's really more this delusional vision that somehow, my car is causing wars, famine, earthquakes, and your high electric bill. Because, if you really believe that, you're nuts.

And, I don't consider driving to work in the loop to be a wasteful thing. What do you want me to do? Take public trans like I'm poor? Why on Earth would I want to be in an enclosed space with somebody like you? Who knows - you might think (much like your cycletard colleagues) that showering is wasteful.

I can hardly stand the stench.


You seem to equate waste with good livin', like most Americans.


Yup! I equate personal property ownership with good living! I guess to you that's wasteful. God bless America.


If you'll excuse me, I have to go start the H2 and let it warm up while I hop in the shower. I wonder how many wars I cause when I idle my car for a half hour.

twestgard said...

Hmm, cycletards and warmongers. Is there a third option?

The North Coast said...

For the life of me, I can't figure out what the connection is between "personal property" or "private property" has to do with a requirement to pay for what you use, in proportion to your use?

A parking space on a public street is definately NOT private or personal property belonging to you, and neither are the interstate highways that cost north of $20MM a running mile. These are things we are ALL taxed to pay for, even though they are not available to all on equal terms, unlike public transit buses and trains.

The highways and parking spaces, for example, are only very partially paid for by use taxes charged only to vehicle owners. They are financed mostly by the taxpayers at large, who must support them whether or not they can afford to spring for a large, fuel-guzzling vehicle costing $15K at the minum.

It's arguments like this that have made me advocate the Libertarian approach to ALL transit funding. That would mean we de-fund ALL transportation and Let The User Pay the FULL cost of all transportation, including all interstates, all public parking spaces, all limited access streets and roads, all trains, buses, ferries, water taxis,airlines, airports, air controllers, whatever. No tax funding for any of this.

Now, I don't possess the accounting program that could mine so large a database or do the calculations, nor the wherewithal to hire about 1000 CPAs, but I'm willing to bet, that were we not heavily funding auto and truck transport through our taxes for 80 years past, that auto and truck transport would quickly become unaffordable for most people and things, and the buses and trains would once more be operating profitably. The railroads would once more flourish, and most of our freight would go by rail, vastly more efficient than over-the-road trucks; and the airlines would mostly fold up and die, which they are already doing no matter how much subsidies we toss at them.

I'm a big supporter of private property rights, and I'd like to hold on to mine, which means not supporting other people through my taxes in a manner of life and consumption that this country can no longer afford, whether we're talking money or exposure to hostile foriegn powers to whom we have gotten ourselves into hock in order to keep on consuming resources in huge quantities, that we can no longer afford.

Dan L said...


For the life of me, I can't figure out what the connection is between "personal property" or "private property" has to do with a requirement to pay for what you use, in proportion to your use?


LOL. Of course you wouldn't.

Let's recap all of North Coast's whoppers:
-Motorists are responsible for all the wars in the world.
-Motorists are responsible for a so-called "famine" that is occurring, here in the United States due to the development of green technology.
-Somehow, despite any actual look at supply/demand, the trucking industry would "fail" without "subsidization" by the government.
-Suggestions that we should go to a "libertarian" approach (DING DING DING!!!! WE FOUND CRAZY ON THE INTERNET!!!): Pulling all tax funding from all forms of transportation.

In answer to your question about how your views relate to personal property rights, allow me to explain: you're basically suggesting that we enforce some draconian punishment on motor vehicle owners based on your painfully absurd, factually incorrect, and jealousy driven, myopic view that somehow my car is "wasteful".

Wasteful to who? Certainly not to me. I have to get to work. I have to get groceries. I have to take the kid to visit her grand parents. It's hardly wasteful. It's a necessity.

Wasteful to you? One who yaps about how sad it is that there's all this waste as you're typing away on your E-Machine that was delivered to your courtesy of good oil fashion oil driven transportation.

Indeed, the only waste here is the bandwidth you're taking up spewing this incredible horse manure.

Back to your little dream of making "libertarian" transportation - I'm just curious here:

In your fantasy, who is going to be the air traffic controllers?

No no. Seriously. If the government isn't contributing a single penny (which, as we know, providing for transportation is a major and basic function of government) to transportation, who is going to regulate and maintain air traffic controllers? Who's going to enforce speed limits on high ways to keep those safe? Who is going to enforce regulations to keep railway fit for travel?

Lemme know when you figure it out. Something tells me though we'll have to wait till next semester when you finish political science 2.

The North Coast said...

If funding transportation is a government obligation, then the government is obligated to do so in the most economical fashion possible, which is by rail and buses.

Were we not funding auto transportation, we would not have spent 80 years building low-density communities that render this country auto dependent, and most people could shop, run errands, go to school, and go to work by public transportation. Only a wealthy minority would own cars and fly on a regular basis, and the bulk of the population could live comfortably with much less fuel consumption than currently.

And fuel prices just might be lower.

The fact is, were it not for government subsidies, air travel, the biggest waste of fuel in the world, would scarcely exist, and the few airlines could provide their own controllers. The fares would have to be very steep to pay for this, of course. That means the user would be paying, to the extent of his use. We would not have airports clogged by short-hop flights of less than 500 miles while our railroads die off, and we would not have the massive buildout of auto infrastructure we have now.

We've turned this country into a Welfare State for automobile drivers and frequent fliers, at the expense of much more economical forms of transportation, and comfortable, walkable communities that could operate on much lower fuel consumption.

And don't confuse government safety regulation with government funding of transportation. We have a right to impose safety regulations that it is binding upon the user to pay the cost of, and it is in the public interest to fund law enforcement. At this time, the airlines get a massive break on the cost of funding air controllers, while the railroad provide their own towers and controllers. Subsidies massively favor airlines over vastly more efficient railroads, just as they favor auto drivers over transit users.

Instead of funding these things through taxes, they need to be funded through user fees. I'm in the financial industry, and my firm must pay hefty yearly fees, regardless of its income, to the regulatory body, FINRA, that governs our operations. We receive NO government subsidies- we are not a huge firm, so we don't get bailed out and we don't get tax breaks. We must pay our way.

A system of user fees for highways that truly reflected all the costs of the system would provide a powerful incentive to switch to rail from trucks, and for auto owners to reduce their car use drastically and move to denser, more closely knit communities. We wouldn't have nearly so much sprawl to deal with, and we would be better positioned to deal with escalating fuel costs, which are going to force us to rearrange our transportation whether we want to or not.

Dan L said...

Wait. So not only are you anti-personal property ownership, you're also anti-capitalist, and you also think that people shouldn't be allowed to live in low density areas.


And don't confuse government safety regulation with government funding of transportation.


Do you have any concept of what you're talking about? Or do you just pull this stuff out of your arse?

And by the way, how exactly are you defining "wasteful"?

This is just too funny. I've found crazy on the internets!

Toni said...

What happened to the concept of providing separate parking areas for scooters and other 2 wheelers?

Just wondering since that's what the post is about.

Dan L said...

Sorry Toni. We were just exploring how to punish those uppity rich white people who dare exercise their mobility without clearing their method of transportation with North Coast.

But let's keep her going. Maybe she'll tell us that we should all turn off our furnaces in the winter too.

Toni said...

Winter? Some people had them turned on to take the chill off in the month of May.