Despite their apparently anti-social aspects (eg overtaking on the inside at gutter level), motorised scooters could have a role to play in solving urban congestion tomorrow.
In California, 40 employees at Patmont Motor Works make 20,000 Go-Peds a year, half of which they export to the UK. Weighing in at 9 kilos, the Go-Ped is propelled by a two-stroke engine: it can reach nearly 20 mph and does 100 miles to the gallon. All for about $500 ( £310). You just step on, as you did as a child, and throttle or brake by twisting the handlebars.
It also folds away and its rubber tyres never go flat.
Main snag? A low centre of gravity and relatively high speeds make Go-Peds scary in traffic. Enter the Zappy from zapworld.com. Electric, it can reach only 12mph and has a band/drum brake, pneumatic tyres and shock absorbers - altogether a smoother, safer beast.
Though a hefty 16 kilos, the Zappy costs only $600 and emits nothing.
It can take you seven miles and charges up in less than seven hours.