Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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Keith McCord Reporting...When the weather gets nice, school not only gets out, more and more people start riding their motorcycles. And lately, you may have seen some bikes that are a bit smaller -- "motor scooters", basically.
With gasoline prices still way up there, and temperatures climbing too, you're seeing more and more of *these* on the streets these days: scooters! They amount to a fun and economical way to get around.
Angie Birkelind, Scooter Enthusiast: "Q-HOW OFTEN DO YOU RIDE THESE? EVERY DAY. I'VE PARKED MY CAR SINCE… SINCE THE WEATHER'S BEEN NICE. I'VE PARKED MY CAR FOR ABOUT 3 WEEKS. I'VE PARKED MY CAR. I HAVE NOT USED MY CAR."
Angie Birkelind and Chrissy Lassen bought their Honda "Metropolitans" about two months ago. They bought them the same day -- together!
There are several companies that manufacture scooters. Vespa, from Italy, has been around since the end of World War Two!
During the war, the company made airplanes.
Morgan Smith, Manager, Vespa Salt Lake: "AND AFTER THE WAR, IN AN EFFORT TO REMOBILIZE ITALY… WITH THE BOMB-STREWN STREETS… STREETS WERE PRETTY RIPPED UP BY THE WAR... IT WASN'T FEASABLE TO HAVE A CAR."
Nothing fancy about the scooters. They have simple designs, with bright colors. The instrument panel has a speedometer and gas gauge, and not much else.
And speaking of gas -- the tanks are tiny!
Chrissy Lawson: “LIKE 1.3 GALLONS...”
Angie Birkelind: “AND IT GETS 93 MILES PER GALLON.”
Q: “SO WHEN YOU GO TO THE GAS STATION TO FILL UP, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST YOU?”
Angie Birkelind: “ABOUT A BUCK 50 (laughs)."
Great gas mileage is a big reason for the new popularity of scooters. And the sticker prices are attractive too-- between 2 and 4-thousand dollars.
"I'VE HAD PEOPLE COME INTO BUY THESE COMPLETELY ON AN IMPULSE.. AND SAY HEY I JUST SAW THIS VESPA DOWN THE STREET, WHERE DID YOU GET THAT... AND THEY TOLD ME, SO HERE I AM!"
Hmmm... Not a bad ride ... easy to steer... goes forever on a gallon of gas. Maybe the boss will pick up a couple of these for the newsroom!
The popularity of scooters has also resulted in the formation of scooter "clubs.” Members get together periodically to ride and enjoy the attention they get when cruising down the street!