According to insurance data gathered by newspaper Het Parool, some 95% of all Vespa scooters are stolen off the streets of Amsterdam within five years. Throughout the rest of the country only about 4% of Vespas are stolen in the same period of time.
I once had that Roman Holiday vibe and seriously considered buying a Vespa. British comedian Eddie Izzard made owning a Vespa (video excerpt) even more appealing to me during one hot Dutch summer and after a memorable trip to southern Italy.
The NLTimes and other sources claim that “Piaggio brand scooters are also a hot target, with 12% of them being stolen within five years”, but then Vespa scooters are made by Piaggio, so that sounds off. Het Parool does explain that Vespas and Piaggios (not Piaggo dear Parool) are registered separately by Stichting Aanpak Voertuigcriminaliteit (SVAC) who handles stolen vehicles.
The Eindhoven University of Technology has taken the win in the Cruiser class at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia on 18 October 2015 for its solar-powered four-person car, the Stella Lux. It’s the second time in a row that the team from Eindhoven has won in a category that’s only existed for two editions, meaning the Dutch team is still undefeated. Here’s a quick video in English of the Dutch taking the win.
Besides speed, other things such as being environmentally friendly and having comfortable seats also count, which explains the Cruiser class win for the Stella Lux. It consistently had two people driving in the car, which the others did not. Oh, and the car has cup holders.
A Namibian photographer in Amsterdam, Max Siedentopf, has been going around the West part of town pimping up cars and taking pictures of them. For his project Slapdash Supercars, he picks ordinary cars and makes them look suped-up using cardboard he cuts up in advance and masking tape.
Siedentopf has not yet been caught in the act and doubts anyone would have a problem with his artistic motives of showing people what their car could look like or say about their owner. It would seem that Siedentopf imagines these owners are twentysomething males like himself who may enjoy ‘Fast & Furious’ movies.
The 24 oranges headquarters is in the West, so if ever we see one of these cars, we’ll snap it for you.
In a race inspired by French author Jules Verne’s book ‘Around the World in 80 days’, students of the Eindhoven University of Technology are getting ready to go around the world in 80 days on an electric motorbike. On October 1st, the students will unveil their new design featuring a battery that can last twice as long as existing electric motorbike batteries.
The entire point of the trip is to prove that sustainability is an option for the future. Find out more about the the 80 day race here. As explained by team member Texas van Leeuwenstein, electric mobility sometimes has a dull image and they really want to kick that out.
Here’s an interview with Van Leeuwenstein, explaining the work on the prototype leading up to the race:
On 9 October a 1974 Porsche 911 Targa will be up for grabs to the highest bidder at Bonhams’ Zoute sale in Belgium (and not the Netherlands, as the source claims). The classic car used to belong to the Algemene Verkeersdienst (AVD – traffic cops) and was one of the few European states to use the Porsche for motorway patrol. They also had their own uniforms, white instead of the usual blue and orange helmets (see short photo session video).
According to Autoweek, before the Targa model was available, the AVD used Porsche 356 cabrios, but the 911 Targas remained in use through 1993 when the unit switched to Volvos. The AVD preferred the Targa model to the 911 coupe as it allowed for a greater range of visibility and officer passengers could stand in the car to give traffic directions in emergencies or while moving slowly.
This car was restored with as many original parts as possible and is known as ‘Alex 12:85’. It is expected to fetch between €98,000 and $143,000.
Traffic lights generally exist to regulate car traffic, so it doesn’t always makes sense when cyclists have to obey them too.
As part of the campaign Utrecht Fietst (Utrecht Cycles) the city asked its citizens which traffic lights were redundant, Verkeersnet reports. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians rose to the occasion and sent in a whopping 4,760 reports between February and April. The city then presented responses for each junction on an interactive map (click the “i” icon hovering over each traffic light).
In June the city started to experiment with disabling the traffic lights of seven junctions with a further three junctions scheduled for an experiment later in 2015 in which traffic lights will be shut down during quiet times. These experiments will last six months before evaluation. Cyclists will get an additional free right on red at four junctions.
Fundamentalist Christian political party SGP in the city council of Ede have decided to complain about paying for parking on Sunday at a local hospital, claiming that it’s not Christian. The hospital introduced paid parking on Sunday only recently, and it’s safe to assume nobody likes to pay for parking especially on Sunday, which is often free in many parts of the country at least on the street.
The SGP argue that more people will park on the street near the hospital most probably for free and hinder the locals. This implies that Christians like them would gladly annoy the locals for free parking and that’s their possible argument for making parking free on Sunday at the hospital.
What if SGP people visited the hospital on another day than Sunday, say Saturday? Problem solved. What if city council makes no exceptions for the SGP who also pay to use electricity, water and their car on Sundays? Problem solved. What if they went to the hospital by bike or walked? Problem solved.
Dutch satirist Johan Vlemmix, who brought us questionable songs about wearing a burqa and buses full of Polish people, is currently designing a phone app.
Motivated by the amount of fines he has had for using a mobile phone while driving and causing minor accidents ‘with no injuries’, Vlemmix’s app would provide the equivalent of an ‘out of office’ reply but then an ‘I’m driving’ version for all incoming messages, including social media. The app would be available in September for Android and iPhone, and it will be free.
Besides replying to the recipient who wonders why you’re not answering them back quickly, Vlemmix would leave his phone alone much easier knowing a reply was sent. Maybe he needs to tell his recipients to chill or needs to learn to let go of his phone while driving and realise that it is illegal to drive and text because it’s dangerous.
Boffins at the Eindhoven University of Technology have designed motorway noise barriers that are colourful instead of dingy and that also collect solar energy instead of just cutting down on noise and being dingy. Sonobs (Solar Noise Barriers) can be made cheaply, made resistant to vandalism and come in many colours.
The special panels built to make the barriers are made of luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs), coloured panels that receive light and direct it to the edges of the panels where traditional solar cells collect the solar energy.
“A year-long test project was launched on June 18 on two sections of noise barriers, each 5 metres wide and 4.5 metres high. The barriers are partially covered in the LSCs and partially covered in semi-transparent panels holding conventional solar cells, so that they can compare the performances of the two technologies.”
Initial research shows that a kilometre of the solar noise barriers can generate enough electricity to power 50 Dutch homes.
The province of Gelderland will try to achieve a world first in May 2016 when it hopes to run a shuttle service on public roads using self-driven vehicles.
The vehicles are called Wepods and should drive guests of the University of Wageningen from the nearby rail station of Ede-Wageningen to the university and back. Currently however the vehicle laws of the Netherlands don’t allow self-driven cars on the road. The province hopes to convince the relevant ministries during a demonstration in October. The first Wepod, produced by Ligier in France, was delivered in June.
Rotterdam was the first city in the Netherlands allowing self-driven vehicles on its territory. The Rivium shuttle bus however does not mix with other traffic and has its own road — it operates a bit like a train without the rails.