The Lonely Scooter
Traveling around the world, I have become more appreciative of the lonely scooter. I have always owned motorcycles for my pleasure and a means for traveling to new destinations and to be with fellow motorcyclists.
How often do you see a family of six riding on a Fatboy? On a scooter, It is a common sight in countries like Vietnam Nam, Cambodia and most Indonesian and Malaysian cities. It is a necessity, not for fun … most families will never own a car.
There are over 30 million scooters registered in Vietnam Nam and only 2 million cars. I have had the opportunity in trying to cross the street in Hanoi and believe me, it is not for the faint-hearted. “Just look straight ahead, keep a steady pace … and do not stop! I felt like I was in a giant game of Frogger.
In Java, when a scooter is worn out, it is put to pasture literally!
They will be rebuilt, stripped down and large baskets welded on and put to use on coffee and rubber plantations.
There is no place you can go in Indonesia without seeing hundreds of scooters in traffic. It is quite a sight during rush hour as they travel in swarms like bees heading to a hive.
Indonesia has over 94 million registered scooters on the road and the numbers grow every year. It does not come without major problems.
Traffic accidents are the number one cause of death in most Asian countries. There is not enough riding skills training, police enforcement and smartphone technologies are making it worse. You would not believe how many people are taking selfies while riding done the road!
I had a chance to sit down and talk to a man who was born in Java and is a farmer. “I am the son of a farmer and that is what I will be for the rest of my life. When crops are not good, I have to supplement my income to support my family. I get up every day at 3 AM, make the rice for the family, then jump on my scooter and head into the city where I have learned to be a tour guide. This would not be possible without my scooter,” he said. “I will never leave this island, never fly on a plane … that is O.K. I am happy here with my life and my family.”
I will never complain again about bad roads, bad traffic or anything else when I’m riding my motorcycle. It is my choice and my privilege to do so, I am very lucky to be living in the USA.