02 March 2011

Second Class Citizen

I lost my parking spot at work a few weeks ago and have had to squeeze in wherever my Vespa could fit which normally consists of very undesirable spaces in the parking area. My normal space has unfortunately been taken over by bicycles after their own assigned space was needed for an exhibition on Smarter Travel. "Smarter" in this case, roughly translates to the use of public transport, car sharing, bicycles, electric bicycles, electric cars and Segways.

Depending on where one lives, I'd doubt the use of public transport could be considered a smart move. Yes, smarter for the environment but for one's mental health? I honestly doubt it. Bicycles? Well, as annoying as some lycra-clad cyclists can be, bicycles are actually a very viable option (shock, horror!). Seriously, they are smarter and way healthier. But what about the electrified variety? They've been around for ages but as far as I can tell, they just come across as a fat person's bicycle. The people responsible for marketing such a thing might as well go with taglines like this:

Not fit enough to keep up with other real cyclists? Why not cheat? Get yourself an electric bicycle and level the playing field.

Yeah. See my point? So, until some advertising genius comes up with a novel idea of marketing electric bicycles, I don't think they're going to sell in large numbers any time soon. This then leaves us with the Segways. Admittedly, I've never been on a Segway but have seen quite a few of them - there 's the tourists roaming around Phoenix Park in the summer and security guards who can be seen whizzing around the IFSC and Dublin airport.

We can safely excuse and ignore the tourists because we all go a bit la-la when we're off holidaying in a foreign country. Some of us decide to wear funny hats while some of us might even opt to put on some bright green trousers for a change. Some just decide to jump on Segways.

So, to give us a better idea of how Segway users would be like in real life, we'll have to look at the security guards. Most security guards that I've come across are by nature, an insecure bunch. My theory is, they're just wannabe policemen who didn't make the grade because they are either too short, too fat or just plain stupid. Other than being aggresively defensive, insecure people are also extremely volatile beings and on Segways they're insecurity can be multiplied to the extent that they turn into outright ponces and douchebags. In short, the Segway isn't actually going to pick up on sales while these power-crazy security dudes are Segway's face to the real world. Smart? In theory maybe.

My Vespa might be a piece of ancient engineering with its incomplete combustion, 2-stroke engine but at least it gets me to work efficiently using less petrol than any of the Range Rovers and Aston Martins that unfair as it seems, still have their parking spots. So, let's be smart and give me my parking space back.

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