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Support For Scooter Riders

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on February 23, 2011 in Other

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Bondi this summer. I purchased an apartment there recently because I was sick of doing the drive from Point Piper and spending hours trying to find a parking space for the Porsche then worrying about copping a fine. I figured, why not just spend summer on the beach?

I also splashed out on a scooter so that I can easily zip between the beaches when Bondi gets too busy. In retrospect, I probably should have bought the scooter first and then I wouldn’t have needed to shell out on the Ramsgate Avenue penthouse. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

As it turns out, the scooter has been a far more costly investment than I ever would’ve imagined. It’s not the servicing, spare parts or petrol that are causing these growing expenses either, norwas it the initial outlay (I got the Vespa onroad for under $5000). Rather, it’s my old nemeses the parking inspectors that have pushed my cost of living beyond expectations.

When purchasing the scooter, I figured I’d be able to park it basically anywhere without fearing the inspectors’ wrath. At my end of Ramsgate Ave (on Ben Buckler) there are no meters, just time limits, but residents are exempt.

Given that it was a scooter and it takes up less than one quarter of a car space I assumed that it was safe from any restrictions. And upon talking to a couple of relatively approachable inspectors this was reaffirmed when they said in no uncertain terms, “I don’t fine motorbikes or scooters”.

So it was with complete shock that I pulled from the front of my scooter an orange envelope having left my bike parked for a little over two hours while I worked on my tan (bearing the same fine that a car would receive mind you). When it happened a further two times over the next week I’d had enough and was ready to throttle one of the fluoro-vested fine-givers.

After a world-class temper tantrum that saw my parking ticket torn into a thousand tiny pieces, I eventually bit the bullet and ventured up to Bondi Junction to purchase a parking pass, but the saga didn’t end there. Because my license and registration display my Point Piper address, Mrs Personality behind the counter at the ironically titled customer service centre refused my application. I had to go back home, grab the appropriate documents, drop into the RTA to change my registration, then head back to the council customer service centre to pay the measly $20 for my pass (after waiting for over twenty minutes for my number to come up) – what a pain in the Khyber!

Surely motorcycles and scooters should be exempt from these silly rules. We’re out there on the roads putting our lives on the line to reduce the traffic congestion problem and we’re still being punished for it. There are nowhere near enough dedicated motorcycle parking places in Waverley either. So Sally Betts and friends, what are you going to do about it? I suggest that if you want to solve the local traffic crisis you start by supporting scooter riders, not fining them for stupid reasons.