Sunday, May 10, 2009

PUMA Needs Exclusive Lane

I am sure you have heard about the GM and Segway joint venture called Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility). Just this weekend I read an interesting article titled Will GM Design Your Next Car? In this article Parade Magazine interviews Larry Burns, head of R&D for GM, and asks some great questions about the future of mobility. Larry hits on many key points supporting a shift towards smaller vehicles, including the PUMA high-tech electric scooter. Most notably, he points out that sustainable transportation is about more than petroleum and global climate change, its also about congestion and safety - which, coincidentally, are the two underlying reasons for developing motorcycle infrastructure.

So, Larry, GM, and Segway, I would like to make a suggestion. If you really want to design the vehicles of the future you also need to help with the infrastructure of the future. PUMA will not be successful if you are asking customers to drive in in mixed traffic alongside SUVs - its too dangerous (according to the NHTSA, you are 35 times more likely to die, per vehicle mile traveled, on a scooter or motorcycle than you are in a passenger car). We need to develop priority lanes for new innovative electric scooters like the PUMA that can be shared with bicycle commuters and other vulnerable road users.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

WW2 German Motorcycle Track

This image of a motorcycle track near Rochefort, France was sent to me by a couple biking through the area and can also be found on their blog ( I was aware that the Germans used motorcycles during the war but had never before heard of a motorcycle track used in this manner. Apparently, these narrow concrete tracks were built by the Germans to patrol large areas of concurred territory. They are now used for cycle paths.

My interest in posting this image is to provide some historical context and also show that a motorcycle track can be a highly efficient option to move a single person - not unlike the 80% of American Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) commuters.