Global Solutions to the Getting-Around Problem
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because even if the world is getting flatter, there’s still plenty of ground to tread — and you might as well do it in style.
Harleys aren’t just for long-haired dudes on the great American highways. One of the motorcycle company’s biggest markets? Asia. And more specifically Vietnam, where 40 million motorcycles are registered and where Harley-Davidson has found a niche market. Amid new buildings and other signs of economic investment in what used to be called Saigon, Harleys are roaring through the streets at occasional weekend road rallies, yet another sign of “Vietnam’s growing middle class.”
An extensive cycling network in Bogotá, Colombia, stretches from the poorest areas to its affluent suburbs to the bustling city center. Parks, which had largely been privatized by the end of the 20th century, have been reopened, creating shared spaces for the entire community. On Sundays, large swathes of the city are closed to motorists. Car usage has been reduced by 40 percent during the week by the ”peak and plate” system, which bans certain license plates from the roads on certain days. Since 1998, the number of cyclists in Bogotá has quintupled, and only one-fifth of journeys are now made by car.
It’s a foldable car, brought to you from the Basque lands (and kinda MIT). Yes, it’s called Hiriko, which sounds more Japanese than Spanish, but it’s the kind of thing that’s about to go super-global. Or we hope, anyway, because it’d be superb for city living. It’s all-electric, weighs under 1,100 pounds, and folds down from 98 to 59 inches (smaller than many bicycles). Plus, with its four wheels that can turn 60 degrees left or right, it can drive nearly sideways into the smallest street spots. The Hiriko emits no fumes and can cover a range of 75 miles on one charge. It’s practically a dream vehicle for city dwellers — so long as you don’t mind having a car with no side doors and stepping in via the front windshield.