5 Sep 2014
Scooters are a firm favourite in the developing world – but they are noisy and polluting, and can be dangerously overloaded. One company has come up with a cleaner, safer option.
In many parts of the world, the scooter is one of the most popular ways to get around. City streets are crowded with the small two-wheeled vehicles, sometimes carrying one passenger, but often carrying two or more people, their children – and their cargo. Small motorcycles can be a vital form of transport for farmers to get their produce to market, or parents to get their children to school or medical care. So, drivers and their families, pets, livestock and boxes and bags often have to balance precariously on two wheels.
More and more scooters are taking to the streets of South American cities – faster than new cars, in some cases. In many Asian cities they’re the dominant form of transport. They can be cheap to own and operate, and they can be faster than the car in congested cities. But scooters are also a source of urban pollution, in terms of both emissions and noise. Their small engines burn a combination of oil and gasoline relatively inefficiently compared to an average modern car, and routine maintenance isn’t always carried out.