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Thread: NOVA Parks Hearing in e-bikes

  1. #31
    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    After considering the many times this argument has been made on the other thread pretending that e-bikes aren't going to be ridden any faster than regular bikes (completely contrary to my and some other users' experience), I changed my mind and wrote in opposition to all e-bikes on area MUPs.

    Unfortunately, the argument for restricting only some classes of e-bikes is, I feel, impractical, but perhaps that will be where we'll end up.

    And yes, I know they'll be out there anyway, legal or no.
    This is why despite potentially sound arguments for different speed limits and class definitions, I support Virginia (and as many states as possible) adopting the California definitions - if we can get nationwide standards it should be easier to get manufacturers to make different classes easily recognizable.

    If that means banning all homebrew ebikes from the trails, I can certainly live with that (sorry homebrew ebikers)

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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    I would be ok with class 1 e-bikes on trails if they were limited to 15mph for pedal assist. I think 20mph is a little high safety wise - for reference in the Netherlands I believe e-bikes are limited to 30kph (18mph) on bikeways.

    Class 2 and 3 e-bikes should be illegal on all trails and class 3 illegal on all 2-way cycletracks and PBLs.
    We've gone over why speed is better set at 20mph (to keep up with traffic for the inevitable times when ebikes are on roads; also, it's super easy for an adult to clear 20mph even on a CaBi on a downhill). But why not treat class 2s like class 1s? They have the same speed limitations as class 1, the only difference is the throttle. Throttles are super important for those carrying heavy loads (aka parents) and people with disabilities (who can't always pedal or have a hard time balancing to start). I don't know of anywhere in the U.S. that treats class 1s differently than class 2s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dplasters View Post
    You outline a type of dangerous riding. You then show that you too now have the option to recreate that dangerous riding.
    So that kind of sums it up right? I've no dog in this fight and am pro the e-bikes but I agree with the statement "E-bikes on trails will lead to more dangerous riding" and also "E-bikes on trails could lead to a higher rate of dangerous riding".
    Any rider on any bike equipment has equal potential to create riding that is dangerous to the other users; that is my point. The fit racer created it under his own power. I worked a bit to recreate his behavior on my ebike, so yes, I too could create it if desired; but I can't create danger to others in any greater capacity than he already can on his analog bike, just because I'm on an e-bike. Nothing about my ebike would let me exceed his existing capabilities in that regard.

    I feel like it is a far overreaching statement to say "E-bikes on trails WILL lead to more dangerous biking." When I began riding the trails for the first time a year ago, I entered a world with plentiful examples of dangerous riding on display, from many different analog riders -- yes, likely there are some ebikers in there, too -- but analogs far outnumber ebikers so far. I also entered that world to find plentiful examples of safe, considerate riding, on display from both sets of riders, and strive to keep myself in that category.

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    There's a lot of pearl clutching about dangerous riding on trails. But when we look at the numbers of when trail users are getting seriously injured or killed, we find that generally, a car is involved. Anecdotally, I think most people would agree that the scariest part of the trail experience is when trails cross streets and we have to interact with cars.

    Ebikes have a real potential to decrease the number of car trips. Yes, that comes with increased volume on trails, which alone has its drawbacks, and which will likely lead to jerks on trails (see increased volumes). But given the greater good of reduced car trips, I think it's totally worth it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Anecdotally, I think most people would agree that the scariest part of the trail experience is when trails cross streets and we have to interact with cars.
    Actually, it's walkers, joggers, or anyone else wearing headphones (that includes cyclists) because they are oblivious to their surroundings. The worst are the joggers who pull a Crazy Ivan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuxtr View Post
    Actually, it's walkers, joggers, or anyone else wearing headphones (that includes cyclists) because they are oblivious to their surroundings. The worst are the joggers who pull a Crazy Ivan.
    The statistics do not bear that out. Perhaps you consider them the "scariest part of the trail experience," but they are not close to the most dangerous. (Read this)
    There has been exactly 1 pedestrian fatality (that I know of) in the DMV caused by a collision with a cyclist in the 25 years I have lived here. About 1 person on foot each week gets killed by a driver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christob50 View Post
    ...riding that is dangerous to the other users... The fit racer created it under his own power.
    It is not clear to me that either this rider or christob50 were creating any danger at all. They were both traveling under 30mph, which in a car would feel kinda slow. If due care were being taken when encountering other trail users, then speed alone is not dangerous. Most Custis riders reach speeds of 25-30 or higher every day on the downhill of the second sister. Shoot, I used to hit 30 there pulling my 5yo daughter on the trail-a-bike. It was fun! And not dangerous.

    Zooming along is, by itself, not dangerous. It's contextual.

    On the CCT near Bethesda on a May evening: speed limit should be about 7mph, if that. CCT near Bethesda on a February night: no speed limit required. Contextual.

    I am not minimizing the fact that people riding bikes can create hazardous conditions, but I fall in the camp that the overwhelming factor is the rider and not the machine.

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    I couldn't make the meeting, but I wrote in opposing ebikes. I commute from Vienna to DC and see increasing numbers of these things. Some observations:

    1. There are very few cyclists who can keep up with a person on an ebike. Especially up a hill or into a head wind. Yeah, maybe a cat 2 racer, but that's not most of us.
    2. Most ebike riders I see are not old, infirm, out of shape, etc. Most of them seem to be quite a bit younger than I am (I'm 56). I have seen scant evidence to back up the argument that they help get people out on the trail that physically can't otherwise.
    3. A lot of people I see riding ebikes aren't very good cyclists. Often when they're passing several cyclists at a time they seem pretty unsure of what to do when someone is coming the other way. They pass on blind corners a lot.
    4. Is it a good idea to have people with questionable riding skills who have the ability to easily travel at 20 mph mixing with the rest us on an 8' wide strip of asphalt?
    5. The situation is tolerable now. I get passed by several ebikes each way (less in the winter) when I commute. I have never passed anyone on an ebike. I ride 4000-5000 miles a year. Five years ago, an ebike was something I saw once a week (actually it was usually an electric wheel). What's it going to be like five years from now? Everyplace I drive to around here is traffic and some SUV tailgating me because I'm not driving fast enough to get to the next red stoplight. Can't our bike trails be a place where humans get around on human power?
    6. Any performance based rule is meaningless (e.g., to put a ceiling on watts, max speed, etc.). No one will enforce it. In fact, even an outright ban won't get enforced. I think these things are here to stay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    Zooming along is, by itself, not dangerous. It's contextual.

    On the CCT near Bethesda on a May evening: speed limit should be about 7mph, if that. CCT near Bethesda on a February night: no speed limit required. Contextual.
    Exactly. And speed limits are a mindless non-contextual solution. 15MPH is low for the hinterlands and downright dangerous in the crowded parts. (And since LE agencies seem required to add 5 or 10 MPH to the speed limit before enforcing, 15MPH is really 20 or 25MPH, right? What's the point of even spending the money on signs for that?)

    Also, FWIW, the above is specific to bikes and has nothing to do with the utility of speed limits for cars on roads--because the speeds involved are so low, there is no assumption that bikes have an accurate speedometer, and the enforcement margin is such a huge fraction of the practical upper speed limit for a bike.

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  18. #40
    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Five years ago, an ebike was something I saw once a week (actually it was usually an electric wheel). What's it going to be like five years from now? Everyplace I drive to around here is traffic and some SUV tailgating me because I'm not driving fast enough to get to the next red stoplight.
    Where I live is pretty good for trail access (about a mile NW of Shirlington) but I cannot get every place I want to go on trails. I advocate in Alexandria for more on street bike lanes (among other things) If we are really going to see a huge increase in ebikes, that will, I have little doubt make biking more widespread in West Alexandria (where even many young newbies will have trouble with the hills) and make this a more bike friendly city all around.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 02-12-2019 at 05:14 PM.

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