I don't think I'm alone when I say I am passionate about the degree that I despise mobilettes/scooters/hair-dryer powered bikes. Call them what you like, I hate them.
Ever since moving into the house 16 months ago I've had to get used to the noise of them doing the circuit around our road. But it's got more sinister recently and I felt I had to react.
There is a small park next to my house that connects my quartier with the town centre and it's beautiful walking through it on a crisp cold morning or hearing the frogs croaking in the tributaries of the Somme that run through the park.
But you can scrap this peaceful mental image when the mobilettes pass through. The kids in the area race through the park and pedestrians have no choice but to jump out the way and walk on the grass to avoid getting run over. They very often don't have helmets on, I doubt that a lot of them are actually old enough to ride anything with an engine, and last week I saw one doing a 200m long wheelie through the park. Not to mention the noise that they make - they often tune up their engines so they make lots of noise and which allows them to go much faster than the engine is meant to allow. joy.
Last week was the final straw when I was brushed by the arm of one such mobilette. I'd heard it coming, got out the way by walking on the grass and yet the idiot still found a way to brush past me at speed. I jumped a mile and was frankly a bit shaken up. Yesterday on getting out the way for two very young motocyclists without helmets who were racing each other I decided to do something about it....i went to the police.
I went to the police municipal, pressed the buzzer, and was directed to press another buzzer...the second person told me to go to the police national. So I went to the hotel de police (a little less confident this time) and explained my thing at the desk....and guess what?! Well, I'm sure you can imagine.....I didn't get anywhere! The woman told me that I should call the 17 next time it happened and a patrol car would swing by. It's funny how even with the police, you get the run around and told to go to see someone else. Let's face it - how important is it to send a police patrol car to some idiot kids zooming around a park on mobilettes? Not very on the grand scheme of things.
To be honest, I didn't expect much else for my efforts but I am quite proud that I was brave enough and confident enough to speak to different police departments. That wouldn't have happened a while ago. Ringing the 17 is a different matter though....I think they'd laugh at me!
So, I will continue to wince and jump from fear each time I hear that screechy engine sound approach. One of these days I am sure there will be an accident and I for one will be able to say sadly 'I told you so'.