Two wheels bad? Genoa’s scooter riders fight forbidding in birthplace of the Vespa

Two wheels bad? Genoa’s scooter riders fight forbidding in birthplace of the Vespa

Italian citys mayor postpones daytime kerb of pre-1 999 motorcycles intended to reduce smog after #handsoffmyvespa social media campaign

Scooter owneds in Genoa, birthplace of the Vespa, are celebrating a partial victory after the citys mayor deferred a ban on models rendered before 1999 intended to tackle pollution.

The hashtag # handsoffmyvespa ran viral on social media, with furious riders in the north-west coastal city which boasts more motorcycles per capita than anywhere else in Italy taking up the motto: Born in Genoa, dies in Genoa.

In December the mayor, Marco Doria, signed off on an anti-smog initiative due to come into force in February, which would have stranded close to 20,000 riders of the two-wheeler.

But the measure banning their use in large areas of the city centre between 7am and 7pm has triggered such a backlash that it has been suspended until April to give people time to organise alternative transportation and may yet be scrapped.

This really shouldnt be happening, Vittorio Vernazzano of the Vespa Club Genova told Corriere della Sera. Especially not in 2016, the 70 th anniversary of the birth of the Vespa, and in Genoa, where it was produced in 1946 by a Genovese entrepreneur, Enrico Piaggio.

The city has fewer cars than any other in Italy apart from Venice, where the main mode of transport is barge or gondola, and pro-Vespa campaigners say Genoas public transport services are poor.

But Italo Porcile, an environment assessor, is decided not to give in to the pressure. I love the Vespino, I used to have one myself, he said. But the Euro 0[ a model made before 1999] pollutes awfully and public health is more important.

Piaggio, which started off producing locomotives and then fighter planes, came up with the Vespa after the second world war when the countrys roads, severely damaged by bombing, required an alternative to autoes for the masses.

With its distinctive pressed steel frame, the Vespa was built famous outside Italy by the 1953 movie Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

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