"Mopeds Kill": Interview with spokesperson!!

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"Mopeds Kill": Interview with spokesperson!!

Postby Micronaut » Fri Jul 07, 2006 9:24 pm

Mopeds on Martha's Vineyard


by Dawn Aberg

Gas prices are exorbitant. Parking is almost non-existent. It costs $ 104 to get your car on and off the island. And even then, it's almost impossible to get a summer ferry reservation. With all the problems in getting around on Martha's Vineyard, you'd think people would welcome compact, energy efficient little vehicles, mopeds. But Sam Feldman, who heads up an island group called Mopeds are Dangerous, has been working for years to ban them here.

Feldman: These are lethal instruments. Many people call them instruments of death. It's been terrible. People on the Vineyard are very upset about this issue.

There are in fact dozens of moped accidents on the Island every year. Opponents pin the blame squarely on moped dealers for putting profit ahead of safety. Dealers respond that the vast majority of moped riders don't get into accidents. And they claim that safety is not the only thing that bugs opponents. Moped owner Fran Alarie says many people simply don't like them.

Alarie: From my opinion, from the beginning, you always had opponents against mopeds always trying to pass legislation, always trying to ban them, always trying to do various things. And I completely thought that from the beginning that it was more of annoyance issue to the people against mopeds more than a safety issue.

Last spring, dealers and opponents worked out a truce with the help of State Representative Eric Turkington, a nine point safety plan to benefit moped renters. But the controversy heated up again in the wake of two serious moped accidents last month, one of them a fatality. Are mopeds really unsafe? I decided to find out for myself. I strapped on a microphone, and went out to Fran's shop.

(Arriving at moped place)
Bystander: Good morning young lady.
Me: Good morning, how are you?
Bystander: Good and you?
Me: I'm going to have an adventure.

The guys at Two Wheel Traveler showed me lots of written material. There were warning signs all over the shop. And I got over ten minutes of one-on-one training from an attendant. The scooter wasn't brand new, but it seemed to be in good running order. Except for the fact, as I noticed later , that the speedometer didn't work. But I did get over ten minutes of personal attention before my jaunt. The attendant warned me about problems I could encounter: sand, oblivious car drivers, and bumpy roads. And he even mentioned the moped fatality last month. Then he made me take a practice run around the block.

Attendant: I'm going to walk you over here, and get you to do a lap of the block for me.once you get a little bit of momentum, you lift your feet up to the sides.

Back from my test drive he asked me whether I felt comfortable and competent. Once I assured him I did, I was off on my own.

Me: Whoa! here we go!

On the road, I saw quickly that moped problems go beyond training and risk awareness. You should see what narrow little roads look like as you tool along at 25 miles an hour on a moped. You should see how big a cement mixer looks as it zooms by you on a narrow two lane road. And last, but not least, you should see the way people look at you out there. People glared at me. Cars cut me off. I was reminded of a recent road rage incident in Edgartown, when a pick-up deliberately cut off a mopeder, slammed on the truck brakes, and sent the guy flying. Once I stopped, though, people were helpful. No matter how they had looked at me on the road. Refueling at DeBettencourt's, before I turned the scooter back in, a mob of concerned father figures came out of the woodwork.

Conversation: I don't want to say too much, cause I might lose my temper. (everybody laughs) Do they bug you these guys? Some of them do, if they don't know how to use them. If they know how to use them, it's good. I wouldn't drive one myself, cause I don't feel safe out there. Not just because of the moped. I don't trust drivers either.

Bottom line, I realized as I squashed by a line of gridlocked motorists waiting to turn up Circuit Avenue, there's just not enough room. The basic transportation quandry. People need to move from place to place, and there's not enough room to move in.

Dawn Aberg reports for WCAI-WNAN from Martha's Vineyard.
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re: "Mopeds Kill": Interview with spokesperson!!

Postby Smitty » Sun Jul 23, 2006 1:32 pm

Mopeds aren't any more dangerous than anything else!!!
I just gotta' say it... "Mopeds don't kill people... people kill people!"
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