Ever since my daughter turned 6, she has begged for me to take her to school on the family hog (Vespa Scooter). I’m so proud that my little girl wants to follow in my footsteps and that she wants to become an easy rider.
I learnt from my mistakes and my previous encounters with the law and other instances of CCTV technology. So, I wasn’t going to throw my little girl on the scooter without checking with the local law enforcement agency.
I therefore paid a visit to the local sheriff to ask if it was ok to bring a child on the scooter. The local deputy reminded me a bit of Sheriff Rosco, but nevertheless, he gave us his blessing. And to make it clear, he saw the size + age of my daughter, so there was no confusion or mis-interpretation of my question. Everything was ok – or was it?
Mr. Not-So-Robocop listed the minimum requirements for a child to be a passenger on a motorcycle or scooter:
- The child has to be able to sit on the seat unsupported
- The child should be able to hold on to either the driver or supporting handles
- The child must be able to fit an authorised helmet
As on multiple choice questionnaires, I was able to tick to all the criteria as compliant.
Not too far back in the past, we were getting ready to go to school. We were taking the mean machine. We dressed in all the right gear, placed the school bag on the allocated storage area and put on the helmets as directed by Mr. Rosco. All safety checks were completed and the engine was turned on. My daughter jumped on and off we went.
We normally drive slowly through the estate. We then get on to the main road for the last 0.5 mile. I did spot the sheriff’s deputy in his Skoda 130 with turbo wheel-caps, parked at the traffic lights. He must have spotted us, but he casually drove off.
Despite the interference from a possible law enforcement, we continued our journey towards my daughter’s school. We obeyed the various traffic rules and parked calmly at the school entrance.
I’m sure he had parked on some side street so he could catch us. He clearly had to wait until we arrived at the school.
As a ninja, the police Skoda pulled up next to me and a young boy was staring at me through his reflective sun glasses. He rolled down the window, manually, and asked me calmly “how old is she?”. I was not too sure what the intention was of that question, but I replied that she was 7 years old. To which he replied “She shouldn’t be on the scooter!”.
Well, it’s not like she was driving the scooter on her own. She wasn’t joy-riding to school. I replied to the ‘friendly’ officer that we had asked for advice at the local police HQ and they had confirmed that she was ok as long as she fulfilled the minimum requirements – which she did.
The copper was not too sure how to reply, and said hesitantly after a few seconds of ackward silence “She shouldn’t be on the scooter”. Was this just an automated answering machine I was talking to or was this guy actually incapable of saying any other words?
He then rolled up his window and drove away as slowly as he had approached me.
So, did that mean that we could or couldn’t continue our daily school run routine?
Are we in direct violation with the local traffic laws?
The police officer didn’t really make it clear, so I guess we have to disobey a direct vague order and continue driving to school on the scooter. But, we might just cool it next week, just in case Rosco’s henchmen are waiting for us to return.
"Breaking the law, breaking the law ... breaking the law!" - Judas Priest