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News chunks 10/23/07

October 24, 2007

  • A Korean student in England decided riding his scooter back to Korea would be less uncomfortable than a 13-hour flight.
  • The Times of London is digging the new Vespa S. Current rumor is 50cc and 150cc versions to the U.S. in the spring.
  • The Age of Melbourne, on the other hand, may be the first media outlet to see through the façade of Piaggio’s “green” marketing, after receiving a life-sized non-recyclable promotional piece featuring the MP3. Australia is hot for scooters this month. A University of Tasmania team has assembled the first Australian-made hybrid scooter, powered by Ethanol and batteries, and Sydney is apparently searching for its identity as a scooter city.
  • The Sun rides Aprilia’s new Mana 850cc automatic motorcycle.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend sideswiped a photographer’s scooter in Israel. Oh, sorry, that’s not even interesting to E! Online readers.
  • If you’ve always thought “Sure, Segways are great, but man, I hate standing up, and I wish they were uglier, lower-tech, and more expensive,” Toyota has a concept vehicle for you.
  • In London suburb Croydon, citizens are teaming up to document “antisocial” scootering and report it to police in the wake of the death of a local police officer.
  • D.C. police are on the other side of the fence, after a scooter cop was hit-and-run by a white van. (Fact: recklessly-driven white vans now outnumber all other vehicles on Chicago streets, 6-to-1.)
  • For some reason there were at least… let’s see… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… five stories in the press last week about Piaggio’s new plant in Vietnam, without any new info beyond the announcement they made in February. Thanh Nien News had the decency to follow up their PR-wire story with a fairly interesting story on the vintage scooter scene in Vietnam.
  • A New Jersey yoga instructor and mother of six becomes the first woman in America to eat thousands of dollars of depreciation and trade in her SUV, replacing it with a $11,000 Vectrix electric scooter. The expense is totally justified by her reduced carbon footprint and the dozens of dollars she’ll save on gas between now and the first day it snows and she has to make six separate trips to drop her kids off at soccer practice, girl scouts, and karate. Yes, that’s pretty cynical. As Smarthouse points out, the Vectrix has many merits, and it’s a positive step for ecology, but as I’ve said many times, it seems that consumers aren’t considering all the factors when looking at the economic benefits of scooters, like this Wisconsin couple who seem to be ignoring the fact that riding a pair of 60mpg scooters isn’t really any better than driving one 30mpg car.
  • In that same story an Oshkosh, WI urgent-care clinic director estimates that scooter-related urgent-care visits will rise to 5,000 nationally this year, up from 1,300 in 2000. If the national urgent-care industry is actually keeping stats like that, we’d love to see them, but it seems a little unlikely that anyone would have been accurately tracking nationwide motorscooter injuries in 2000, or that any study of that sort would differentiate urgent-care visits from emergency-room visits.
  • A new SYM dealer has opened shop on the Incriminators’ turf. “You see them all over Hollywood,” store manager Tonya Stewart says, “[Scooters are] in movies and music videos, and stars are riding them as well.” Well, sure, Tonya, but those aren’t really SYMs now are they? God, I’m bitchy tonight. This is like 2strokeTMZ.

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