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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Junking a Scooter

Older model Hexagon (not ours)

In previous recent posts, we've covered the basics of scootering in Rome: renting, riding, and parking.  But what about getting rid of a scooter that's seen its better days?  How do you junk a scooter in Rome?

The Italians have a word for it: rottamazione, a word related to other words that have something to do with breaking: rotto (broken), rottame (scrap, fragment), and rottura (breaking).  Behind the word rottamazione is a legal and bureaucratic process, and one that we experienced first-hand several years ago when our beloved Piaggio Hexagon bit the dust (or so we thought) on via Cristoforo Colombo.  We ended up in a parking lot just off Piazza dei Navigatori, took a bus the wrong direction, and...well, it was a bad day. 

Saying goodbye to the Hexagon
In the next few days we learned the word for junking and contacted one of the small agencies that facilitate things.  For E50, these guys showed up with a van and took the scooter away, presumably to a junkyard or demolition site.  Then we waited for the head guy to show up at his little office, where we gave him the info while he filled out the paperwork, all this complicated by the fact that we didn't even really, legally, own the scooter we were junking (that's another story).  Finally we were told that the scooter might find a new life in the Marche, where polluting 2-cycle vehicles were still valued, and that if we agreed to consign the vehicle to him, he would find it a new owner and return our E50.  Five years later we got a ticket, which originated in the Marche, for having failed to have the vehicle inspected--four years ago, after it left our hands.

Unidentifiable techno-carcass

Anyway, from the looks of Rome's streets and the country roads outside the city, the official process described above is seldom used.  When scooters get old, owners dump them in the countryside, where one sees the remains on seldom-used hiking trails (most hiking trails in Italy are seldom used) and in ravines. 

Unofficial disposal method

Urban disposal, which must take place where ravines and hiking trails are few, is accomplished differently.  Inside the city, the standard technique is to leave the offending scooter wherever it happens to be--usually chained to a signpost on the sidewalk--and walk away, confident that months and years of simple neglect, and those eager for free spare parts, will reduce it to a pile of junk.  E50 saved.  A scooter in the same place, day after day, with a thick layer of dirt and dust, has been junked. 

Almost a work of art

Junking a bicycle is easier, and always follows the "chain-it-and-walk-away" method. 

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