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wtfudge is a lovely weblog that uses blogger to track my thoughts, etc. it is an offshoot of hellaboss.com where mathew hoy does code, content, and creative for all things lovely.

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Location: London, Canada

a buddhist, vegetarian, and beta-geek, i build web sites, am an iconographer, write, doodle, and noodle. i like cookies and candy and fruit juice. do you?

Thursday, September 30, 2004

you have the right to be confused

yesterday a business card was left in the side-door of my house (the one i don't use and therefore didn't see it until this morning). from far away, it looked like a card from the canadian forces, a group i have nothing to do with. turns out, the card is from another group i rarely interact with - the london police department. there was a date, time, and phone number on the card, directing me to call the traffic office. after calling just now and discovering that the constable is on vacation for a little while (training, she said), i left a message for him to call me back on saturday when he can.

the entire ride to work today had me scratching my helmet as to what they could want and have broken it down into 2 things: 1) i got a traffic ticket 2 weeks ago while parking near the galleria. machinations undisclosed, it turns out the ticket was in error and i'm not required to pay it. that may not have gone through the system. 2) i'm driving a motor scooter and do not have a motorcycle (or class m) license.

the latter is more likely the issue (as it sounds rather insane to not have the proper papers to operate the motor vehicle). in order to operate a motorcycle in "yours to discover" ontario, you need a class m license, or a beginner's m permit while you wait to get the full thing. the law is very hazy about exactly what this means, however. i have heard from some people that you need a license if you're not riding a moped. i've heard that the moped classification covers any motorised bicycle that has an engine value of 49 cubic centimetres or less. i've heard lots of things that contradict each other.

one day last summer, i went to the source. i called the london police department the day i was going to buy the scooter. i called up and got officer x (i wish i'd gotten his name now). the conversation went like this,

"hello, my name is mathew hoy and i'm buying a motor scooter today from hullygully. i have a question about licensing requirements."
"okay shoot"
"do i need to have a motorcycle license to operate the scooter, or can i register it as a moped (and not require an m license to operate it)?"
"it depends on the size of the bike"
"the engine size is 49ccs."
"nope"
"nope i don't need a license?"
"right."
"so all i need is a helmet and insurance to operate my scooter?"
"that's right."
"well, okay! thanks!"
"no problem. have a nice day."

and that was it. we rocketed off to hullygully, paid for the bike (~$2300cdn) and left it there. i got all the papers (sans-one, in actuality) and took them to the license bureau in cherryhill near where my wife's pa worked before he moved his office. i went up to the counter with the documents and was told i was missing one that hullygully should have given me (don't get me started about hg!). back i went to hullygully to get the document. i then decided after the clerk told me, to head to the bustling metropolis of lambeth to the license office there to get my papers. i went in, gave them the documents and was issued a shiny red moped plate (which means i'm not required by law to have a class m license). i then drove back to hg, got them to put the plate on the bike and got my wife's bro to drive it home (i was nervous about it still and didn't want to mess up - i'd never ridden a bike before).

i've been driving around the city since the summer without incident. i've been stopped in traffic next to police officers, in front of police officers, and driving past their speedtrap spots. i've never been given more than a quick smile, shrug, or ignore.

i'm a little nervous about what'll be said. i expect that if this is about the bike, they'll tell me to take it off the road until i get an m-class license for it (or beginner's permit).

that said, here is the phase 2 problem with owning a motor scooter that requires an m-license in the province of ontario:

in order to get your full m license, you are required by law to operate your motorcycle on a 400-series highway where speeds are posted at 100km/h, but are laughingly ignored by speeding motorists during the driving test.

it is unlawful to operate my bike on such a highway because i can only go 60km/h. i plan out every route i take so that i stay on -=60km/h roads so as to keep up to traffic and not impede other motorists.

in order for me to get a full m license, i need to own (or borrow) a regular motorcycle and ride it on the 400 series highway system (something i've never done before). my bike has an automatic transmission. a regular bike does not. i don't know how to drive standard (boo-urns, i know) and will have to learn how to do that too.

i can do what my wife's mom does and get a class m beginner's permit (you can drive dawn to dusk, no passengers, no booze, stay off 400 series) and hold it for 90 days. at that time you have to repay to keep the permit ($57.50cdn) or go on to get an m2 license (which is $75).

what a silly billy! a rock and a hard place. a conundrum. out of the frying pan and into the... okay, sorry. to ride a scooter in ontario can be a difficult thing with lots of ups and downs that require specific challenges unrelated to the successful operation of my bike.

and session-two notes for my next class have begun. as has the turning in of homework assignments.

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