Thursday, April 22

Bumper Cars

I will never forget the absolute thrill of being able to drive my own car around the tracks at Ohio’s Cedar Point.  I was probably only 9 or 10, and loved getting behind that wheel and tooling around the park! Heck, I was so thrilled I could drive without  a license, I ignored the fact that the car was on a sort of track and I could only accelerate so much.  That driving experience was enough for me that at 12, I took my dad’s little sports car to the local mall to pick up a bathing suit.  Never mind that it was 15 miles away.
Since amusement parks on the order of Cedar Point (the best thing Ohio has to offer) don’t exist in Italy, Italian parents like to offer their kids that same experience.  Thus the moda of the microcar.  Just because it looks like a car, acts like a car, and goes on roads like a car, parents pretend that it’s not a car.  Unlike my dad, who pretended I was actually driving a real car, in topsy-turvy Italy, parents pretend their kids are driving fake ones.  So it’s the ‘must-have’ item on any 16 year old’s wish list.
It took not one - but two - fatal accidents in the same weekend to finally shock the Romans out of their collective cognitive dissonance.  In true Italian style, of course, it’s not the fault of the person who doesn’t need a driver’s license to drive their toy car – no full-fledged patente, just a mini-patentino will do; it’s the mechanics’ fault for souping them up a bit so they’ll drive just like a real car.   
Instead of cracking down on the cars, the parents, the kids, they’ve decided to go after the mechanics.  
As for me, unless it’s your 13 year old on the tractor in the fields of Puglia, these kids should never be on four wheels - in Roman traffic - under any circumstances. 
Take them to Cedar Point instead.

the popular microcar - just for kids! in Rome.






Cedar Point's cars are larger.

8 comments:

Dave514 said...

Francesca:
The car in the photo and the three-wheeled version are correctly labeled, "Half-Smart."

Davide

Anonymous said...

I contest just one thing in this entry "Cedar Point (the best thing Ohio has to offer)"

In response to that lie, I say (with a smile:-) 'muck fichigan"

Your fan from Ohio,
Carol

cuz liz said...

@ Carol - LOL!!

Francesca Maggi said...

I knew I'd finally get a comment outta you!
OhowIhateOhioState...

Anonymous said...

when did this start? How can kids drive in traffic???

Francesca Maggi said...

It's so crazy. Started when they came out with the minicars & convinced the govt they were not really cars cuz they go slow...But, they're still on the roads!!!
So, they consider them like mopeds...

lingualitybooks said...

I thought they were changing the law on these.

Francesca Maggi said...

Just wait n' see, it will be only cosmetic while they crack down on the mechanics...those little blue cars will be everywhere (just go to Ponte Milvio and see)...