Monday, 20 May 2019
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

In a hurry to get nowhere as fast as possible

By  Jun 09, 2018

Just as the summer begins and finding a parking space becomes like finding a needle in a haystack so the scooter season reopens. Buzzing around my car like bees around honey, or flies around s***, that your pick, I am constantly on the lookout for these two-wheeled menaces.

It would seem that many of them believe they have an invisible shield of protection around them, like some superpower that Ironman has. They throw themselves, almost literally, between vehicles with a belief that everyone sees them and every other driver should get well out of the way. On the roads there is one rule for car drivers and another for those on scooters, oh and a third one for that special breed – the pizza delivery scooters.

When I lived around the historic walls then owning a scooter was a must have. But now I am out in the wilds on Zupa my 50cc is just about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Once, or in fact twice, I rode my scooter into town from Zupa, never again.

Limited by my speed, or more precisely lack of speed, I was forced to eat dust at the side of the road as Libertas buses flashed past me. I am pretty sure that a tractor would have passed me by the speed I was going. As soon as you can’t keep up the speed of traffic then it seems to become extremely dangerous. Thinking about it I also feel sorry for the poor cyclist chugging up the road at walking speed with a nervous driver inches from his back wheel. Until some kind of cycle path for scooters is introduced, and that will be on St. Never, my scooter will not see my backside.

However, I still have to deal with them buzz, buzz, buzzing around me. Just the other day I was minding my own business, driving well within the limits, on a Dubrovnik road when I saw a scooter parked in front of a café bar with the rider seemingly chatting to his friends in the bar form the back of his stallion. I moved over slightly to pass me and just as I reached me his grabbed on the gas and jerked out into the middle of the road right in front of me. To make matters worse he had one hand on the scooter and the other waving at his friends. Yes, he was one of those so called “jacks.” I slammed on my brakes and swerved to avoid him. It was close. Really close. My wife screamed as we seemed to brush him.

The look on his face when he realised what he had done was one of complete horror. If we had been a few metres closer there is no doubt we would have hit him, no doubt at all. Of course he hadn’t used his indicators, because we all know that drivers here think indicators are optional. He pulled over. I wound down the window. I was just about to give me a volley of abuse when he shouted “I haven’t seen you for ages,” to my wife. “Oh it’s you,” she replied. It turned out that they old school friends. I felt like replying “If you had pulled out a second later then she wouldn’t have seen you for even longer.” I didn’t. he apologised for being a “kreten” I just nodded my head in agreement. He isn’t the only one riding a scooter.

I remember once being asked by a foreign journalist to describe drivers in Dubrovnik. “Predictably unpredictable,” was my answer.

They aren’t the worst I have seen, but they would be in the top three. I strongly believe that the major problem is that they become complacent. They get so used to driving the roads, and let’s face it there aren’t that many, that they could do it with their eyes shut. And it would appear that many of them do!

If something is not how it normally is then they become nervous and that’s when mistakes occur. Buzz, buzz, buzz. Strap on a helmet and they feel invincible. Of course I am not saying that all scooter riders are irresponsible, but it seems like all the ones that buzz and fart around me are. It seems that they are all in a terrible rush to get somewhere, to some life or death situation, when really most of them are just late for coffee with a friend. As Mahatma Gandhi once said “There is more to life than just increasing its speed.”

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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