Somehow, when Vanilla Ice was spewing the lyrical genius that was "Ice Ice Baby" (I couldn't write that without chuckling, have you seen these lyrics?), I've got to imagine this wasn't what he was referring to when he spoke of the wind blowing his hair ...
The Roanoke Times' Lerone Graham tried out one of these low-speed vehicles recently; I'm certainly no fan of the idea, and I thought some his quotes were telling enough to give Councils who are considering allowing them on public streets pause. Consider:
"Because the E-Merge has no doors and is lower to the ground than
normal-size vehicles, I felt exposed when vehicles would fly past me."
"... most of the time they will do about 18, which is only a little more than half of the speed limit."
"Though it was a very routine turn, a person in a sport utility vehicle who was several hundred feet behind me in the same lane soon had to brake to keep enough distance from me."
They have no exterior protection for passengers, only do half of the maximum speed posted on the streets they're allowed to drive on, and will be passing hazards for even the most attentive of motorists. Still smells of dumb, to me.
What's an insurance agent think of the plan? I asked Jon Hannah of State Farm Insurance what his thoughts were, and this was his response in an email ...
"As long as these vehicles are maintained with the proper equipment, according to state law, and are being operated in areas that allow these types of vehicles, per the Virginia Code, we have no issue with them being used. However, vehicle owners should make sure they are properly licensed and insured. I would encourage them to contact their agent, or any State Farm agent, for information about their insurability."
"Safety in any vehicle is a concern regardless of the size or how fast it goes. A recent Virginia Tech study showed that 80% of all vehicle accidents and 65% of near accidents involved driver inattention. I would encourage readers to log on to www.statefarm.com or www.drivesmartva.org for more information on driving safety."
Rule of thumb? Be careful. My hope is that the Christiansburg Town Council sends this one back to the golf course, but if they don't, be sure to call Eric Johnsen and get that thing insured. And don't be bothered by helmet hair - it's for your own protection.