Monthly Archives: February 2018

Study Shows Hearing Loss From Motorcycle Riding

Man yelling in another's earCan you hear me? I said: CAN YOU HEAR ME?

I must admit to being on the wrong side of the fence with this particular issue. I never use earplugs when riding my scooter, and never have. It’s not because I have anything against them. I just never think about it.

I may have to rethink this after having looked over the unsettling figures that came out of a study recently conducted in Germany.

According to the research by Germany’s automobile association (ADAC), riding a motorcycle (and that includes scooters) for just fifteen minutes at 62 MPH (100 KPH) can cause permanent hearing damage. Riding at this speed without earplugs generates 95db, according to the study.

As speed increases, so does the risk. At 74 MPH (120 KPH), that noise level increases to 98db, which can prove harmful after just seven minutes.

For those people fortunate enough to be able to ride at 87 MPH (140 KPH) (I’m looking at you, Germany), you can do it for just three minutes before risking membership of the cloth-eared biker club.

Many riders simply don’t like the feeling of things in their ears. Others complain that it makes them feel isolated—as if they’re riding in a bubble. Like everything else in motorcycling, technology has improved, and there are now models available which protect the rider from the damaging sounds while still allowing ambient noise to filter though.

As for me, having spent all my life riding motorcycles and scooters by day, and being on stage with speakers at night, this particular ship may have sailed. Or maybe I missed it because I didn’t hear the announcement. Either way, I don’t suppose I’ll be changing my habits while riding these mountain roads which are my stomping ground. I may think about it more when setting out on any freeway journeys!

No mention was made about selective hearing—which is something us scooterists also fall prey to, but I fear that will take a whole other study.

Vespa’s First Electric Scooter is Coming this Year!

Vespa made an exiting announcement at the Milan Motorcycle Show. This year, they are launching their first all-electric scooter.

Called the Vespa Elettricra, the new scooter retains the famous delectable lines of its “analogue” stable mates, but sports an electric motor capable of pushing the Italian lovely (and rider) sixty-two miles before needing to suckle at the electronic teat.

I wouldn’t expect sports bike performance out of this. Vespa claims it will have “superior performance” to a 50cc scooter. Still, we can at least expect that zero-revolution torque that makes electric motors so delicious. Vespa’s parent company, Piaggio, hints at its urban intent by saying that it will be “perfect for city environments”.

Vespa Elettricra

For those who would like a little more range, there is also going to be a model, called the Vespa Elettricra X, which has a four-stroke petrol engine on board as well. The petrol engine does not power the machine directly, but serves to charge the battery, bringing the usable range to 124 miles.

There’s an App for That

Vespa Elettricra DashThe Vespa Elettricra sports a gorgeous new 4.3″ TFT display, and will sync with a Vespa app. The app will allow you to view diagnostic information and range data, among other things.  You will be able to access your phone’s voice assistance and control music in conjunction with a new helmet they are going to release at the same time. This helmet contains bluetooth connectivity, speakers and a microphone.

We have no information on price, or exact release date at this time, but you can be sure we’ll be letting you know as soon as we do!

Girl on CityScoot Scooter

CityScoot Raises $50 Million for its Electric Scooter Service

Girl on CityScoot ScooterIt’s no secret that in Europe, scooter riding is far more commonplace than, say, the United States. The Europeans are also at the forefront of on-street leasing schemes with their public bicycle rentals that have been on the streets of countries such as Denmark and Sweden for many years. It was only a matter of time, then, before somebody came up with the idea to rent scooters on a per-minute basis.

That company is called “CityScoot”, and they’re renting electric scooters, no less.

The French startup currently rents some 16,000 electric scooters in Paris and nearby cities,  and plans to extend the scheme to other cities in France. and other countries in Europe with this latest round of investment.

These scooters, which are now commonplace on the streets of Paris, are completely silent. They come with a helmet in the under-seat storage. In a very Uber-esque manner, you use a smartphone app to rent the scooter. When you start the rental, you are given a code to unlock the scooter. When you finish your ride, you simply park it, and walk away. The cost is €0.20 per minute (about 25¢).

Riders don’t have to worry about charging, as a fleet of (electric) cars run around the city changing the batteries on the scooters as their system notifies them that the charge is low.

CityScoot claims 70,000 users—taking 7,000 to 9,000 rides every day. The average ride is said to last fifteen minutes. They are about to launch in Nice, and three other cities—including cities in Switzerland and Italy.

From the outside, renting electric scooters on a per-minute basis would seem like a logistical and liability nightmare, but they seem to be making a go of it, and I say that’s great news!

What do you think? Would a scheme like this work well in your city? Would you use such a service? Let me know in the comments below!

Motorcycle and rider against a large moon

A Full Moon Means More Fatal Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycle Rider in Front of the MoonThere are lies, damned lies, and statistics. That’s the quote famously attributed to Benjamin Disraeli.

However you interpret that phrase, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal claims to have statistical proof that more motorcyclists (and, presumably, scooter riders) die during a full moon than at other times.

Canadian researchers used the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, an official registry of fatal crashes in the US, to analyse all deaths caused my motorcycle crashes between 1975 and 2014. They then cross-referenced those data to dates when a full moon was present.

More Deaths Occurred During a Full Moon

There were 13,029 motorcyclists in fatal crashes over the 1,482 total nights they assessed. Of the 1,482 nights they referenced, 4,494 fatal crashes occurred on the 494 nights with a full moon, and 8,535 occurred on the 988 control nights without a full moon. That is an average of 9.1 deaths occurring during a full moon, versus 8.6 at other times.

These results were then checked against data from the UK, Canada and Australia. The results were the same.

Of course, it would be easy to question these findings—given that other factors, such as rider age, weather conditions and the cause of the crash were not taken into account. It does tend to add credence to the phenomenon—well reported by emergency services workers—that it’s always a crazy night when its a full moon!

Reference: Redelmeier, Donald A., and Eldar Shafir. “The full moon and motorcycle related mortality: population based double control study.” BMJ 359 (2017): j5367.

 

 

80 Year Old Grandmother Thwarts Scooter-Jacking (Video)

Scooter Thugs Wrestle the Public

An 80 year old grandmother leapt into action on Friday to save a scooterist from being scooter-jacked.

Rosemary Bodger was shopping early on Friday morning when she witnessed two criminals trying to wrestle another Vespa from a rider in North London. They had already taken the keys from the rider, theatre worker Stefan Cooper, 47, and were trying to get the scooter away from him.

That’s when she leapt into action. She took hold of the handlebars as other members of the public rushed to the scene.

Two builders working nearby came out wielding copper pipes, and a suited gentleman chased off the beleaguered bullies.


“I don’t think I’m a hero, I just want these two caught. I can’t have them snatching phones off my grandkids. The poor chap on the Vespa was very shaken up. He couldn’t ride home because he had no keys so he had to push his bike to the police station. Luckily he had a spare set at home.”, said the feisty Scottish grandmother. “I didn’t think twice. I don’t run away. I was in the Wrens and I thought: ‘No way are they having that’. They would have had to run over me to get it.”

An eye witness said: “It was amazing to see so many people step in to help. Even this old lady waded in. These builders came out holding copper poles, like spears. The muggers took one look and scarpered.”

No arrests have yet been made.