I've just have a couple of unseemingly related news items for you today. I will be writing more about Italy and scooters soon but didn't want to pass these up:
Item One: TMZ, a Hollywood gossip magazine has video of actress Gwenyth Paltrow riding her Vespa in LA. She and her husband were picking up two kids at school on their two Vespas. That sounds good so far, but Paltrow cut in front of a school bus to beat it into traffic, and the bus reportedly had to brake. Not cool. The magazine named Paltrow "the a-hole driver of the year."
The Globe and Mail in Toronto picked up the story, making it mainstream. Oh, Gwenyth.
Item Two: HeroMoto Corp, the giant of two-wheeled vehicles in India (where it produces 6-million of them a year), the largest manufacturer of scooters and motorcycles in the world, has announced they will begin selling products in North America next year. The models will no doubt be quite different to meet tougher safety standards and certainly not as cheap as they are in India.
Still, if HeroMoto is betting that it's time to enter the market here, that's good news for scooter riders who will have more options. And it's good news for the future of scooters as a player in the vehicle system here. But back to Gwenyth. If automobile drivers, particularly in a car city like LA, are ever going to accept scooters as a legitimate part of the road scene, then riders better behave. There may be few rules for scooter riders in some countries in the world like Vietnam, but that's never going to fly here.