V is for Vespa

09 Vespa LX 50 4T, originally uploaded by vespaofficial.

No, I don’t own a Vespa, but I wish I did.  I look at them longingly when I see them around town.  They are all the rage these days and I see a lot of them around.  I would say that 90% of the ones I see are the small 50cc size (like the one above).  I think that has more to do with Dutch laws than anything about the Vespa itself.
In the Netherlands you can drive any motorized 2 wheel vehicle of 50cc motor size or less without a special license and without a helmet.  Anything larger than that and you have to abide by motorcycle laws, which means taking lessons and passing tests, all of which is pretty expensive.  A “brommer” (Dutch for scooter) has to share the bike lanes with normal bikes, although sometimes I see them driving on city streets.  It’s confusing as to when you can and when you can’t do that.  Typical for Dutch laws I think.  There’s always a grey area.  As a bike rider, I hate brommers on the bike lanes.  They are often aggressive and drive much faster than bikes of course.  If they CAN drive fast, they WILL drive fast.  
I would really like to have a Vespa that is big enough to ride on city streets, but I don’t have any desire to drive one on the highway.  Vespa makes all sizes of bikes and there’s one just right for me, I’m sure.  There are only two things that hold me back from buying one.  First, and biggest reason, is money.  They aren’t exactly cheap.  A small one like the 50cc above runs about 2,500 euros new.  They go up from there.  I don’t have 2,500 euros laying around that I have no other use for.  I like my toys and I have a list of toys that, at this point, have a higher priority than a Vespa, especially when you consider reason #2 for not getting one – it rains a lot here.  How often would I really ride it?  I love the idea of riding it to work and back, but how often is the weather nice enough to do so?  In the summer I’d ride it to the beach.  How often?  Maybe I should rent one and just see how I like it before I continue with my Vespa fantasy.  Maybe our next vacation should be somewhere nice and sunny and DB and I can both rent scooters to see how we like it.
For now I will just look at them parked on the street, or driving by, and think about being young and foolish and zipping along on my red Vespa, happy and carefree.


3 thoughts on “V is for Vespa

  1. Anoniem November 16, 2008 / 14:15

    You do need a helmet on a bromfiets (=<50cc, <45km/h). On a snorfiets (=<50cc, <25km/h) you don’t need one. Bromfietsen are not allowed on the bicycle paths unless stated otherwise. Snorfietsen always have to use the bicylce paths. A bromfiets has a yellow thingy somewhere above the front wheel; the snorfiets an orange one. Anyway, Anoniem wants a Vespa too – in black of course!!!

  2. earlybird November 16, 2008 / 15:32

    Hey thanks for the clarification! This is really good to know. Now all I need is a 50cc Vespa that will do 45km/h and I’m all set. Oh yeah, and some extra cash laying around that won’t be going towards a new laptop, or camera, or Wii, or running watch, or……
    A black one is nice too. With lots of chrome.

  3. Zwaalie November 19, 2008 / 17:48

    Did you know that the sales of these Vespa’s (especially the black ones) soared after a Dutch high profile criminal (Willem Holleeder) was spotted on one of these. Nowadays people actually refer to these scooters as Holleeder scooters.

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