Vespa’s Worst Co-Promotion Ever

If you need more proof that VespaUSA is very nearly criminally clueless: co-promotion with Havaianas flip-flops.

I know, people ride in flip-flops all the time. But to PROMOTE that? To ENDORSE it? That’s just plain irresponsible. I’d love to see a flood of tweets to @Havaianas and @VespaUSA from safe scooterists. And as @scooterism points out: “Aside from safety, this is why drivers don’t take us seriously.” (thanks, Eric, for leading the charge!)

And don’t give me “Havaianas makes other shoes” and “You don’t have to wear them on your scooter,” Havaianas is famous for flip-flops, the ad shows flip-flops and a Vespa, their “Make your own” system only offers flip-flops, and the “other shoes” they make are also totally scooter-inappropriate anyway. On top of that, the copy says “You can stay in-style in your Make Your Own Havaianas and be eco chic on a brand new Vespa!” which certainly implies that you’d do both at the same time.

New NHTSA Helmet Decals

The New York Times reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced new safety labels for motorcycle helmets. The current “D.O.T.” Decal will be replaced with a new sticker reading “D.O.T. F.M.V.S.S. No. 218 Certified” The new design is intended to prevent counterfeit decals on non-compliant “novelty” helmets.

It’s worth noting that, as we understand it, the NHTSA does not test helmets or issue decals, manufacturers are responsible for meeting the D.O.T. F.M.V.S.S. No. 218 specifications, testing, and labeling their helmets on the honor system, though the government can prosecute manufacturers selling helmets that aren’t up to code. Unless the new law specifies some sort of government-produced holographic RFID-chip label, there is no “official” decal, so the use of the word “counterfeit” is strange, it’s a matter of illegally labeling helmets, not a matter of illegally duplicating stickers. A new sticker specification would seem to be a minor inconvenience (at best) to a manufacturer knowingly marketing non-compliant helmets.

It’s also worth noting that there are a variety of helmet tests out there, F.M.V.S.S. No. 218 is one of the less-stringent, though it is the standard minimum requirement for sale/use in the U.S.A. There’s much debate on helmet testing, especially since a 2005 article in Motorcyclist that implied D.O.T. helmets were safer than the highly-regarded Snell standard. While the article made valid points about testing procedures and helmet composition, it also sparked a generation of squids arguing their D.O.T.-approved cheapo half-shell is universally and indubitably safer than a full-face.

When choosing a helmet, there are many factors and safety standards to consider, and any motorcyclist should read articles from a variety of sources and make an informed decision.

Lambretta Helmets

It’s Lambretta day here at 2strokebuzz… Heritage Helmets in the UK are offering a handsome new range of vintage-inspired three-quarter Lambretta helmets in the anglo-italo-mod vein. The St. George Cross version (pictured left) is our fave. The lineup also features goggles and several more modern designs with a shorter profile (shall we call them “three-fifths helmets?”). The casques are manufactured in Italy by Project. We recommend and wear full-face helmets here at 2sb, and rarely even mention anything else, but these might be irresistible to a certain subset of our readers. I of course nagged the nice PR lady about the scooters themselves, she tells us there will be an unveiling next month, which matches the timeline in our earlier story.

2011 Gas-Price Scooter Frenzy Begins

POCPhil launches the 2011 gas price scooter media blitz. Fine, even Phil’s doing it*, I’m not gonna begrudge dealers for milking the gas mileage argument, scooter shops that lasted through 2010 really need the business, and I hope 2011 rivals 2008 for scooter sales. But if consumers do some research, they’ll see fuel prices are an excuse to buy a scooter, not a true justification.
Continue reading “2011 Gas-Price Scooter Frenzy Begins”

Scooter Riding Thieves Thwarted By Nora Batty

On a cool Northampton afternoon a small pack of thieves armed with sledge hammers attack a jewelry store with their accomplices awaiting their bounty on get-away scooters. Enter a fine citizen with her shopping bag loaded with what must have been bricks. The woman, seen in the video, charges down the street and scares off the criminals who clumsily try to make tracks. During their exit one of the gang was knocked off their scooter and was able to be pinned down until police arrived. Video shows that the rider who didn’t get a way was riding a Vespa LXV. A sad end for a fine scooter. The hero of the day remained un-named by news reports. Modesty prevails.

The New York Post report

Scooter Chavs on Roundabouts

I’ve posted at least one of these before, but fans of scooters, playground equipment, and european emergency rooms will be excited to learn that the “scooter roundabout” video has become something of a meme, with dozens of videos out there. I’ve collected a sampling below. I know 2SB readers are capable of some major stupidity, but hopefully you’re a little brighter than these lads and don’t try this at your local playground.

Roundabout of Death

Another Roundabout of Death

Death Roundabout

Another Scooter Roundabout

Ped on Roundabout

…and Yet Another Chav Roundabout.

Your Government at Work?

The cause of the several-months-long 4T Genuine Stella delay is revealed thanks to FOIA request. The emissions stickers weren’t sticky enough, and the idle mixture screw wasn’t sufficiently tamperproof. I don’t know if “Epoxy coating” means they were supposed to glue them in place, or if that’s referring to the dumb plastic cap that covers the 1/2″ hole in the airbox (Nevermind, looking at my photos of the prototype, the 4T carb isn’t inside the airbox), but either way, that seems like a pretty minor issue. And honestly, that screw is there because it sometimes needs to be adjusted.

I applaud the U.S. and California governments for looking out for our security, safety, and ecological future. I’m absolutely glad they’ve ramped up enforcement. But they basically screwed Genuine here, badly, after ten years of letting anything with two wheels enter the country.

The real irony? The pollution created by shipping these buggers back to India and back (1000+ scooters, by land and sea) has a measurable environmental impact that surely outweighs the infraction. But that’s (mostly) outside the U.S., so who cares, right? Way to save the earth!

Props to Ralph for taking the trouble to find out instead of speculating on the boards for four months, like the rest of us.

New York: A Scooter Perspective

If WYNC’s Jim Colgan report “New York: A Scooter Perspective.” is accurate, NYC scooterists act as entitled and above the law as scooterists in many other cities. I love how many scooterists complain about lack of respect and tickets, while showing no respect for the law, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Still, kudos on a well-done piece that at least makes it clear that lane-splitting and parking on the sidewalk is illegal.

Thanks to Scoot Lemont via Modern Buddy.

Annapolis’ ‘Scooter Watch’

Dealernews reports Annapolis, MD police have countered a rash of scooter thefts with a “Scooter Watch” program. Because some scooters aren’t required to be registered in Maryland, owners can get a numbered sticker from the police. The sticker authorizes police to stop the scooter to check that the rider is the registered owner.

Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like the owner would be inconvenienced regularly in the name of theft prevention, then if the bike was stolen, the thief would simply remove or cover the decal to prevent suspicion. (That’s my sharp criminal mind at work there!)

What Annapolis really needs is Chelsea Lahmers. Most good scooter shop owners can regale you with a few great recovery stories, but Scoot Richmond’s facebook page features a new recovery story about every three hours.