Europe has always been a pioneer in the field of smart transportation. The streets of European cities are bicycle highways, and it’s not uncommon to see recharging stations for forward-thinking motorists who drive electric cars. As well, European cars are small and fuel-efficient. But on my recent visit to Amsterdam, I noticed something new: more people driving a really, really small car.
I’ve seen Smart Cars before, of course. But these ones seemed even tinier, just barely big enough for an adult or two to squeeze into. Which raises the question: how do you protect a really small car from theft? A full-sized car is too big and heavy to just up and take without starting the engine. But a tiny vehicle like this, not much bigger than a golf cart — you could pick it up, put it in the back of your van and drive off.
The question was answered when I turned the corner one day and saw the car pictured above. It was a Dutch-made Canta LX, so small that you don’t need a license to drive it, or a permit to park it on the street. And since it wasn’t much bigger than a bicycle, the owner thought: why not lock it up like one? So he got a lock and just chained it to the nearest post.
The world keeps changing, and that’s as it should be. And it’s good to see people who don’t have the North American addiction to big, showy cars. But now and then, the evolution from one era to another produces some strange sights. And some of them just make you stop and laugh.