Monday, March 03, 2008

Scootering in the Wall Street Journal

No less a mainstream media institution than the WSJ ran a story recently about scooter usage by suit wearing executives in Paris.

For Parisians in the business world, motor scooters -- two-wheeled vehicles with engines that are generally smaller than motorcycles and have automatic transmissions -- are an acceptable means of transportation. The convention has moved into the highest ranks of some French companies and has gotten even more widespread as heavier traffic jams tie up the city streets. Scooters are cheap to drive, easy to park and, some say, the only way to arrive at appointments on time.

Scooters are really only news to Americans. From Madrid to Madras the bikes are an indispensable part of a typical street scene, and to urban dwellers in other major European cities, seeing a man or woman riding one in business attire isn't a surprise. But the spread-out cities and gaping highways of the U.S. make the bikes impractical, and therefore rarer.

They aren't as safe as cars. And helmet can quickly kill a good hairdo. But many Parisians feel the risks of riding a bike are worth taking, and expats working in the city -- as Ms. Oxendine discovered --will have to consider them, too.

"I used to be one of these executives," said Cyril Masson, a native Parisian who said he found himself trapped in a car. "I missed a few planes because traffic."

It's an interesting piece, though I wonder if the average American has advanced enough from their disdain of the "Cheese-eating Surrender Monkeys," to really consider this traffic solution.

via 2Stroke Buzz

see also this old post

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