A few months ago I adopted a beautiful blue Vespa by the name of Blue Diamond from a friend who moved back to the U.S. As someone who doesn’t even have a driver’s license, getting used to zipping around the city on two wheels took some getting used to. Three months in, however, I have cancelled my Navigo pass and could not imagine ever going back!
We have had a few clients inquire about renting scooters during their stay in Paris, whether it is for a day of sightseeing or for a few months for a test-drive before buying one of their own. Here are some things that I have learned while riding Blue Diamond throughout the streets of Paris the past few months:
1. Always Lock-Up
While Vespas are by far the prettiest scooters in town, this does come with constant fear that I will wake up one morning and find the Blue Diamond was not where I left her. I have been warned and warned again and heard many stories of other Vespas getting stolen so I lock the front wheel with the U-lock every time I am staying somewhere longer than 30 minutes. If I can, I park in designated scooter parking and lock the Vespa to one of the posts for even more security.
2. It WILL get Broken Into
Another Vespa woe is the seat storage. I was warned that this was very easy to break into and even the more secure top-case has been broken into in the past. I never leave anything inside the scooter and be sure to take everything with me at all times.
3. Other Moto-Riders
Many people have asked me how safe I feel driving Blue Diamond. The reality is that I feel perfectly safe with the other cars as most of them use turning signals, drive in proper lanes, and are aware of how much smaller I am. The biggest danger on the road are the wreckless motorcycle drivers, particularly delivery men and moto-taxis, that swerve in and out of lanes, zoom past you without any notice and generally scare the heebie-jeebies out of me!
4. Learn the Rules of the Road
For someone like me who does not need a driver’s license to ride a 5occ scooter about Paris, it might not occur to new riders or tourists that the traffic laws differ here than in your home country. Driving around one of those famous Parisian roundabouts can be incredibly daunting if you do not understand the right-of-way rules. Take the time to learn this and you will feel much more in control on the roads.
5. Dress the Part
Even if it is the dead of summer and everyone around you is in shorts and t-shirts, try to wear jeans or a leather jacket and cover your bare skin. This could help prevent some serious damage if you were to get in an accident.
6. Don’t Be Too Confident
Most accidents happen when you are overconfident about how you drive. Keep in mind that you are on a small two-wheeled object reaching up to 50km/hr on the small windy streets of Paris. Be cautious and drive smart.
Paris is so much prettier at street-level and we are huge fans of exploring Paris on a super cute scooter so don’t hesitate! Zoom zoom zoom!