DUNEDIN, Fla. - Doug Vitello owns Sunset Scooters in Clearwater. He's seen first-hand the increase in scooters on our roads.
"Every type of person is driving a scooter now," said Vitello.
When you combine a weakened economy with rising gas prices over the past several years, scooters and their relatively low price have become a popular alternative form of transportation. But riding a scooter can be dangerous.
Vitello recalls what a person might be saying to themselves when thinking of jumping on their scooter for a quick trip.
"I just got out of the pool, I'm in my bathing suit. I can just jump on my scooter and go to the corner store," said Vitello.
Dale Glanzman accepts his risk riding without a helmet. But too often he sees riders that appear to not have any regard for their own safety.".
"Riding without a shirt. Riding barefooted. Always have good footwear on and be very, very careful," explained Glanzman.
According to a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office report, a 57-year old Dunedin man was cutting between lanes of traffic on his scooter before cutting in front of other cars to make a right turn Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Belcher Rd. and 580. The man died when he drove into the path of another car.
Still, it's up to each individual rider how they approach their own safety.
"I think there's the potential for people to think more recreative when they ride these scooters," said Sgt. Nicholas Lazaris, with the sheriff's Major Accident Investigation Team.
Keeping safety as the most important aspect of scooter riding could save your life. But some riders simply want a fun mode of transportation; not thinking of the consequences.
"Their legs are all chewed up and scratched up. They were riding their scooters in flip-flops and shorts and what have you. They go down and they're a mess," said Vitello.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a simple gesture that, while promptly downplayed by the White House, created a furor in Washington among critics of the Cuban regime.