Driving Differently, Again…

Driving, Differently, Gibraltar

They are everywhere...

Since moving from Ireland, I’ve overcome my abhorrent distaste for roundabouts and replaced it with my even higher dislike for mopeds. Where I come from (Dallas), mopeds wouldn’t even be a viable form of transportation thanks to the dangerous highways and high speed traffic. However, Gibraltar is small and lacking highways, so mopeds are the desired vehicles thanks to their mobility and easy parking. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there are far more mopeds in Gibraltar than actual cars. I, myself, hate driving my car in Gibraltar, so I can understand their appeal. Yet, I wouldn’t dare attempt the stunts they pull, so I’ll stick to walking or cabs. Here are my reasons to hate mopeds:

1.) Oh, the noise: Trying to sneak out of your parent’s house in the middle of the night? Don’t drive a moped. When Matt and I were staying in the corporate apartment in Gibraltar, it overlooked a busy roundabout and crosswalk. This is when I first learned to hate mopeds. With each acceleration, their engines rev and scream, all day and all night. After a week in that apartment I was ready to move out. I couldn’t take the constant noise; it was irritating, distracting, and with the constant honking (everyone knows everyone else here), it was just too much. Sitting here at my desk, with the windows closed, I could tell you every single time a moped passes.

2.) Oh hey there, Evel Knievel: The drivers of these noise machines consider themselves daredevils, I swear. In America, I’m used to seeing a motorcycle stop behind a car at a red light, like any other vehicle on the road. Here, mopeds weave in and out of traffic, and cut just about every line. It’s the most dangerous thing I’ve laid eyes on. I’m constantly referring to my rearview and side mirrors to make sure the next Evel Knievel isn’t going to pass me on the left, as I try to make a left turn. The next move they make is as good your guess as mine, because it’s absolute madness. Also, I will be stopped at a red light, when four or five mopeds will weave their way to the front and park themselves in front of my car. Sometimes, before the light even turns green, they’re off like Mario Andretti!

Gibraltar, Driving, Differently

The moped on the right could follow proper roundabout rules, or he may go flying in front of the car on the left. You just never know...

{On that note, I’ll share a side story. I’ve been complaining about mopeds since we got here, especially because they drive so dangerously. We’ve already seen two accidents (both parties were okay). I’ve been wishing that the government would lay the foundation for some better driving laws, but I know it’s to no avail (most bicycles do not even stop on red lights at pedestrian crosswalks). Well, we recently witnessed the mother of all traffic jams, thanks to irresponsible mopeds. Four mopeds crashed on the airport runway, that also acts as the entrance/exit to and from Gibraltar and Spain. As it is the only way to get in or out of Gibraltar, traffic was completely stopped on both sides of the border as emergency response vehicles worked at the scene. Imagine if an airplane was scheduled to land! We would have had land and air traffic jams! For the record, as irritating as these mopeds are, I’m not heartless – I was concerned and worried about the drivers, and my first question to a knowledgable source was whether everyone was okay (luckily, they were). Yet, I think there’s a real lesson to be learned from this…}

3.) Slow Mopeds: We also have the opposite of the above – slow mopeds. These pesky, little drivers will cut to the front of the line at a red light, and when it turns green, they’ll putter along at about 20 miles per hour. While I was once happily going the speed limit at about 40 miles per hour, I am now the hare stuck behind the tortoise. Why, oh why, couldn’t they just stay at the back of the pack?!

I know that over time I will get used to this new atmosphere and unique way of travel; I spent a year driving on the left side of the road for crying out loud! Until then, my poor blood pressure will see some spikes as I play a unique game of “dodge the two-wheeled vehicles.”

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Categories: Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Driving Differently, Again…

  1. Gina

    Feel better? LOL

  2. Dad

    These are not mopeds! They are scooters.

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