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   Undertoad  Monday Feb 17 12:26 PM

2/17/2003: London scooter

OK, this is not all that mind-boggling an image at face value. What's more interesting is why this scooter has come out at this particular time.

As of today, London has adopted painful measures to try to stop their terrible traffic problem. Every day in the city is deadlocked, because its ancient and thin streets were never intended for cars. People say it's much faster to walk than to drive around London at rush hours.

So they've instituted a fee; if you're going to be driving in the congested areas it's going to cost you about $10 per day. They figure if they can get a decent percentage of people to give up driving in town, the problem can be solved. Their scheme is complicated, and involves taking pictures of offending license plates...

But two-wheeled vehicles are not part of the ban, and so the above item was introduced as a way to get around the town and get around the fee. Called the "bubblebike", it's based around a Yamaha scooter where they've added the roof bit to make it more comfy in the damp Brit weather.

The scooter is about $2500, so just a year's worth of fees makes it worthwhile.

Of course, the Segway is just another $500. But James Likeks pointed out in an online column on Friday: Imagine if the Segway had caught on by now, and there was an attack in a major urban area - the sidewalks would be clogged with hordes of people on Segways, leaning forward, hastening their steeds to give all they had. It would be the dorkiest evacuation known to mankind.

He has a point.

slang  Monday Feb 17 12:40 PM

Yea-but let's see you put this in the back of your car, or climb stairs with it. Can you ride this thing into an elevator? Does this scooter use the "evil" petrol as it's fuel? How can you shoot your handgun at some fuknoid while riding the scooter with the mini-windshield obstructing your line of fire? Can the scooter be operated with *either* hand grasping the controls?

The Segway rules, get over it.

wolf  Monday Feb 17 01:24 PM

well, maybe. Thinking tactically ... look at how much more ammo you could carry on the scooter vs. the Segway.

Under average circumstances the Segway would be great, but for a large scale insurrection, I'd go for the scooter. there would likely be ample abandoned vehicles you could siphon gas out of, and when civilization falls, what are you going to plug your Segway into to recharge it? They haven't come out with solar battery recharger yet.

I also think it would be a much better platform for shooting a rifle. Steer with left hand, brace barrel against the windscreen ... which, incidentally, you can probably have made out of lexan for additional protection and utility.

Looks like the scooter probably has a higher top speed too.

goethean  Monday Feb 17 02:12 PM


what's the only thing better than the Segway?

The way it pisses off conservatives.

Serk  Monday Feb 17 04:21 PM

Hmmm, me thinks if the Segway pissed off conservatives, we'd have heard about them being banned in Dallas and Houston rather than San Francisco... :\

I do get a bit of a chuckle on the whole 'bikes are okay' thing... I ride a bike... a Honda Valkyrie... 6 cylinders... 1.5 liters... My car gets better gas mileage, but since I'm on a bike, I can ride in the HOV lane by myself... Not complaining, mind you, just commenting...

BTW... Howdy... Long time reader, very VERY rarely poster...

wolf  Monday Feb 17 05:37 PM

Hiya Serk! Hopefully you'll be posting more now that you've crossed the threshold of inhibition ...

Slight  Monday Feb 17 08:54 PM

Anyone else notice the foldable ladder in the back seat? Very strange!

adrian hassall  Monday Feb 17 09:49 PM

a vehicle designed ror the relief of traffic problems photographed in a muddy paddock. wha

Elspode  Tuesday Feb 18 12:36 AM

Originally posted by wolf
They haven't come out with solar battery recharger yet.
Well, actually, they have, but the ones I've seen that are large enough to do any sort of efficient recharging job on a Segway would require a small trailer to tow it around in.

Clearly, though, the scooter is no replacement for the Segway when it comes to future high tech gladiatorial lacks the dignity and the jaunty good looks, for one thing, and would probably not support spiked, spinning axle hubs.

wolf  Tuesday Feb 18 12:39 AM

Not to mention the obstruction presented by the windscreen. I would not be able to wield my electric bullwhip efficiently. You need to be able to make a full circle around your head ...

cynthetiq  Tuesday Feb 18 11:36 AM

Singapore had a measure like this in the Central Business District in the late 80's. They did it low tech and had officers at the entrances looking for cars that didn't have the daily sticker affixed to the front windshield of the car.

I'd love to see them implement something like this in NYC to help alleviate the traffic here.

BryanD  Friday Feb 21 01:55 PM

these scooters have been used for a number of years in Japan (Tokyo specifically). They also come in a 3-wheeler variety, with the two rear wheels always on the pavement and the body and front wheel leaning from side to side.

I always thought they'd make the perfect urban vehicle.

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