The so-called “anti-Vespa law” is about to become reality, the city's mayor said, after years of struggle between authorities and local scooter enthusiasts.
The new rule means older two-stroke Vespas, produced before 1999, will be banned from some parts of the city centre.
City mayor Marco Bucci announced today that the law was ready and waiting for the “green light” from the giunta, or municipal council.
City authorities first tried to bring in a similar restriction in 2016, provoking widespread anger in the city on the Vespa’s 70th anniversary.
Vespa enthusiasts protested the ban, first taking to Twitter under the hashtag #lamiavespanonsitocca (“Don’t touch my Vespa”) before launching a local campaign. The city council eventually backed down.
But the new mayor, Marco Bucci, this year resurrected the idea as part of his efforts to modernise the city.
He emphased that the ban will prioritise a transition to electric vehicles, saying subsidies and funding for replacement vehicles would be made available.
“Let me be clear, many other Italian cities including the capital have banned the use of the most polluting two-wheeled vehicles, but it is only in Genoa that a normal municipal ordinance has taken the character of anti-Vespa crusade,” the mayor told local media today.
“Here, the number of vintage Piaggio scooters that circulate is enormous and – in fact – there are no two-stroke old scooters apart from Vespas.
“No one says there should be no bikes, but they must be four-stroke,” he added.
Photo: Alberto Lingria/AFP
The Vespa itself, in addition to being available with four-stroke catalysed injection engines, also has an electric model available.
The earlier two-stroke engine burns a mixture of oil and gasoline, producing as much pollution as 30-50 four-stroke engines according to some estimates
While the classic Vespa is an iconic design everywhere, in Genoa the model is ubiquitous. Scooters in general play a vital role in the city, where public transport coverage is sparse; the city’s single metro line has only eight stations.
The city’s three Vespa clubs, along with local motorbike associations, argued in 2016 that the older models only numbered around 3,000 and were responsible for a tiny fraction of the city’s pollution, especially when compared with the emissions of the cruise ships that dock in the city’s Porto Antico.
But the new mayor is not convinced, and says the city needs to “take a leap forward”.
“We want to adapt to be among the best cities in Europe with regard to respect for the environment,” he said.
This year, Amsterdam banned pre-2011 models from its low-emission zone and Paris in 2016 banned all pre-2000 motorbikes and scooters from the city centre during the day on weekdays.