*wham* *crunch* *ow*
I first encountered this alarming phenomenon in Taipei, while stepping off a bus. As I did so, a scooter zoomed by in the 18 inch space between the bottom step of the bus and the curb. I narrowly missed hitching a ride on the scooter by snagging my foot.
dirque says he loves the scooters but all the riders need to die.
It looks like scooter riders go through the following thought process, which I hesitate to dignify with the term "logic": "I'm not a car, so I don't need to obey rules of the road for cars; I'm not a bicycle, so I don't need to obey bicycle rules; I'm certainly not a pedestrian. Therefore, I don't need follow any rules! Besides, I can dodge anything."
So what it is it? The more analytical part of me believes it's because in most places you don't need a licence to register or ride one of these things. Also, in most places where these devices are a significant part of traffic (Thailand, Italy, etc.) most everyone is in a state of denial about traffic laws, so it'd be a stretch to expect a scooter driver to pay them any attention.
The rest of me is just amazed I don't see more dead scooter riders strewn about the roads.