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Thread: Let's talk about e scooters

  1. #1
    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Default Let's talk about e scooters

    I mean yeah, I know we are the BIKE forum, but really, I can't think of a better informed group of people to talk about this with.

    Lets NOT talk about where they should be parked (which is the same argument, almost, as the dockless bikes) or whether they should be used on certain crowded trails (a similar argument to the ebike argument, I guess). I want to talk about riding them on streets, in bike lanes, on sidewalks (yup, though I haven't, yet) in more or less urban areas. (there was already some discussion in the dockless bikes thread, but I think it will get lost there)

    Personally while I found riding one interesting, I think I would always prefer a bike, dockless or CaBi, human powered or electric, over a scooter. I found starting it awkward, footing awkward, and hard to get used to having only the one brake, and how the hell do I signal? OTOH I think that is both because I am an "avid" cyclist (so don't find mounting or dismounting a bike to be a big deal at all) and because as someone born back in the good old days, I missed the scooter craze (and snow board craze, and never did skate boards) So riding with my feet flat down like that is not natural, and the kick to get started is not natural.

    Where to ride - I tried it around the Capital Riverfront area - so quiet, griddy streets, and relatively empty bike lanes. Felt odd riding (and esp making left turns) "vehicularly" but that is what you are supposed to do, I guess?

    They are not supposed to be used on sidewalks, per Limebike, though I gather its legal to use scooters on sidewalks (does the CBD sidewalk ban apply to scooters as well as bikes). I did not violate that rule, but there are places I would be tempted to.

    It said you should wear a helmet. I did not, and gather most users do not?

    You could "pause" your ride, which is a fascinating feature. Though I chose not to use it.

    I trust we all welcome them into bike lanes? I mean I don't know about the actual crowded bike lanes (like 15th Street) but I sure think more use of our infra is good (surprise!) and they seem compatible. And, ONE LESS CAR.

    Seems like one benefit is you can ride them without fear of getting your clothes caught or dirty with a chain - but all the bike share bikes have chain guards, maybe?
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 08-15-2018 at 03:31 PM.

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    One less car, so I support them in the big picture.

    I see a few a day, and they've never bothered me in the slightest. They go about as fast as a slow bike in the bike lane, so I just pass them when I can if I encounter one. They don't go fast enough to bother me on sidewalks when I've encounter them there.

    I think if perhaps hundreds suddenly showed up in the bike lane I'd be ticked, but that hasn't happened yet so I'm not really concerned. I'm more worried about all the f*cking cars parked in the bike lanes than I am about the occasional scooter I see.

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    I noticed that Bird eScooters occupy less footprint than a bike.

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    Two wheels good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    I think if perhaps hundreds suddenly showed up in the bike lane I'd be ticked, ...
    But wouldn't that be preferable to hundreds of cars next to you on the street?

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    eScooters are sort of the present day Segway, really. Open-air personal transportation without exertion. Certain limits apply - they are not very stable, you have to have both hands on the bar pretty much all of the time, and if you want to carry anything, its either using a backpack or *nothing*. Of course, the feeling of cutting through the air feels good on any machine, and one need not sweat while using an eScooter, so I can see some appeal. Overall if these help get folks out of cars, then bring 'em on.

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    I have seen e-scooters on the bike paths; yet, on the W&OD, at least, signs say "No Motorized Vehicles". The logical implication is that e-scooters do not belong on the W&OD because they have motors. Same with motorized bikes, electric or gas. I've also seen motorized skateboards. I don't get it. The signs are quite clear, yet I see more and more motorized bikes/scooters/skateboards. And even a guy in a flintstones car that appears to have a motor. Are the signs just a suggestion, or some sort of joke? I tell you, this is the age of boundless confusion.

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    It *is* indeed a brave new world, with boundless confusion. First, the advent of the modern E-bike, in varying levels of e-assist to full throttle, such that every governing body worldwide has to reconcile that line when a bicycle becomes a motorcycle. Even StVZO (in its native German: Road Traffic Licensing Regulations) had to write standards for fast E-bikes. And then there are the electric scooters. When the current rules about scooters on trails were implemented decades ago, I don't think battery-powered scooters even existed, except in someone's dreams. I made note of this during the last ABAC meeting. And there were *maybe* a few brave/crazy skateboards powered by a 2-stroke gas engine, which could never be employed by a ninja. But they're out there now, running fast enough to cause great concerns about speed differential and safety on the trails.

    We must update our access and safety rules and perhaps even infrastructure to address emerging technology. Still, at the end of the day, if it results in fewer cars clogging the road... net gain.
    Last edited by Starduster; 08-18-2018 at 08:36 AM.

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    hozn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highline View Post
    I have seen e-scooters on the bike paths; yet, on the W&OD, at least, signs say "No Motorized Vehicles". The logical implication is that e-scooters do not belong on the W&OD because they have motors. Same with motorized bikes, electric or gas. I've also seen motorized skateboards. I don't get it. The signs are quite clear, yet I see more and more motorized bikes/scooters/skateboards. And even a guy in a flintstones car that appears to have a motor. Are the signs just a suggestion, or some sort of joke? I tell you, this is the age of boundless confusion.
    To distill countless pages of squabe that have already been written elsewhere on here ... While the signs seem clear to the layperson, the issue here is in definitions. And in VA the definition of a motorized vehicle specifically excludes most/many of the vehicles you mention (there is a minimum output wattage before it is classified as a motorized vehicle etc.). There is some disagreement over whether NVRPA can mean something different than VA code. They don't even attempt to clarify the question, afaik.

    In any event, you can think what you want about them and their riders but it's probably not correct to just assume they're illegal on all the trails.

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    Maybe just make the trails better instead of handwringing about 15mph e-scooters and e-skateboards?

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