A couple of years ago we went to England on vacation. I too noticed alot of scooters and small motorcycles. I will say this. The roads there are extremely narrow.. Traffic is horendous. I'm sure that driving a scooter is much more praticle then a car there. Also, that year they started charging a "toll" for anybody riding "into" London. Because of the traffic, they were pushing hard for using the transit system, of which I must say was/is awsome. You can get anywheres on there underground rail system. Easy and cheap.
To give you an idea of how narrow there lanes are, all the trucks, busses and most cars have there side view mirrors mounted in front, not sticking out the sides like on our cars. If they were sticking out the sides, they'd get clipped off right quickly.
Well I don't live in Europe but I believe it's partly due to the cc restrictions that they have in there licencing program. They have a graduated licencing program over there so new riders are restricted to lower displacement engines.
Another contributing factor is there road structure is so much older that the roads are narrower and tighter in the cities.
Again I don't know for sure , it's just my opinion.
I think that the fuel costs are a serious consideration as well as, insurance, tax and maintenance costs. Commuting distances generally are much shorter in Europe than here in Canada or the USA. In North America we tend to have long commuting and travel distances. We are also spoiled when it comes to purchasing scooters/motorcycles as they tend to cost less than in Europe.
Those prices must be in Canadian Dollars. I remember when I was stationed in Germany long ago that gas prices were many times higher than they were here and insurance was based on the CCs of the vehicle.
I would also suspect that parking must be a major headache.
The oil industry in Europe is not as strong as here and it's in there best interest to keep big autos on the road here in the US.
But that's only to add to the rest of the posts, it's not the only reason.
This is going to sound like a smart ass answer but Europe has more scooters because they sell more scooters in Europe. The USA is a totally different market and you can't make direct comparisons but the simplest answer is our driving conditions over here are enough different that small scooters are less useful. Heavy fuel taxation and use fees also enter into it but basically the small scooters are just not as usable here as they are on the old narrow streets of European urban areas.
I live near Paris (France) a 12 billion people area and commute every day and I will buy a Burgman as soon as my BMW K1200RS will be sold :
- going to work is a 1h30 min pain by public transportation, assuming they are not on strike and it remains a little place to enter in the train.
- by car, it means from 1h30 to 2h30 for 23 miles every morning because of traffic jams. Perfect when temp are too low to ride a two wheels like as the first week of the year when I striped the fairing and the footrests of my bike on ice.
- driving my K1200RS, is a 45 mn trip but I use approx. 150 times the gearbox during the trip because of the jams, the lights and stops.
The tyres and insurance costs for a 1200, are too high to afford only for commuting.
Sometimes, I can top to 100/110mph but this happens only once a week.
So I prefer selling my k12 and buying a Burgman.
I think that I am not the only one to think like this. This is why there are so much scooters in Europe.
May be a 650 Executive in a few days.
Luc, where we are in California, I have seen a motorscooter only once
in the 6 years we have lived in this area (a honda silverwing). It's 40
miles to the nearest city and KMART is the biggest store up here in our
community. Everyone owns a car and a pickup truck, and or an suv.
Somehow, my area is 25 years behind the times. I will soon join you as
a 650 owner.
When we were in Paris, we did notice the many mini-cars (smart cars)
and scooters. The metro was fun too (except when the gypsies practiced
their craft on my wife and I). Looking forward (as soon as the Euro
reverses) to enjoying the people, food, and sights there again. Tapis!
Russ is correct in saying that dealers simply do not SELL scooters. Dealers, if they have any scooters at all, place them in the back of the room or off to the side. There has been no advertising of scooters, promotions or deals. It is a rare event that motorcycle magazines will do an article about any kind of scooter, large or small. There is a total lack of awareness among the nonmotorcycle riding public that the Burgmans or Silverwing even exist.
And the fault for this is simple:
They arn't being sold by those that are supposed to be selling.
Sorry for the gypsies. The Metro is insecure at night, especially for tourists.
I hope you enjoyed Paris as much as I enjoyed California 10 years ago. So much that I wanted to live there. Can't explain why but my dream was Santa Barbara.
As I understand, owning a Burgman in the crowd of suv and full-size trucks is being a precursor.
I have spent some time commuting to Paris, from a small town called Maurepas and I tell you this. The French public transport is terrific - punctual, clean, cheap - Brilliant! In fact think of everything that is wrong with British public transport systems - and the French is the opposite. Don't talk about American public transport - they do not have it.
So they have a few strikes now and again - that is a small price to pay (and a good excuse for a day off work :wink: ).
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