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October 1, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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RIP Presents: The Great Salient Scooter Revolution

Being a proposal to drastically reduce the road toll, cut carbon emissions and oil consumption, and turn the youth of today from nasty boyracer-fellows into all-round trendy Italian types.

Deary me, young drivers have been getting some seriously bad press of late: fatal police chases through the streets of Auckland, disastrous runnings-over at a Christchurch party; why, just last month one night in New Plymouth, boyracers were blamed for another fatal running-over and a stabbing. The death of Paralympics champion Graham Condon after being hit by a 15-year-old driver – and the death of three dear 15-year-old girls when their car hit a pole on a straight Canterbury road – has led the vanilla king, Peter Dunne, to demand the learner driving age be raised by one year. Unfortunately, this solves nothing – besides the fact that learner’s license kids are not allowed to drive cars anyway, insurance companies will tell you that young’uns all the way up to 25 are poor drivers. Meanwhile, the government has just released its carbon emissions trading scheme and wants us to fight climate change; and the Listener recently ran a cover-article arguing that cars will soon become insupportable due to the peak oil problem.

All these issues may seem rather diverse, but imagine a proposal that would solve all of them – remove all the problems associated with reckless youth behind the wheel, can cut oil consumption? Well, here it is: the great Salient scooter proposal:

Raise the minimum age at which people can sit their restricted license to 25, while keeping the learner’s license age at 15, so that everyone between 15 and 25 will be forced to drive the one vehicle permitted under the learner’s license: the mighty 50cc scooter.

The youth of today will then be driving souped-up, modified but nevertheless 50cc scooters. Like the mods Ray Columbus sang about way back in the fifties! This way, any drunk teenagers who crash their vehicles may maim themselves, but are unlikely to hurt innocent bystanders. And if all this animosity towards young drivers turns out to be fuddy-duddy scaremongering, and our proposal does not actually reduce the road toll – well, at least we will have proven this to be the case. Yet, one suspects that it will be marvellous indeed.

Instead of ploughing into people at rowdy parties, we can watch as our youth take to loitering about juke-boxes, chasing pigeons and humming the latest bebop hits as they face off against the dastardly, leather-jacket-clad Rockers who drive the almighty Sinclair C5…. for some reason.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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