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Thread: Upcoming Micromobility Ordinance will also regulate e-bikes

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    Exclamation Upcoming Micromobility Ordinance will also regulate e-bikes

    Hey all - on November 16th the County Board will vote on the "micromobility ordinance". Most folks think of this as the "scooter ordinance" but it's going to have major impacts on bikes and e-bikes as well.

    For instance: legalizes e-bikes on trails. Sets a speed limit for e-bikes on trails. Gives the County Manager the ability to ban bikes from certain sidewalks without defining any clear public process for making that decision. Sets a speed limit for e-bikes on sidewalks (probably at 6mph). Bans e-bikes on sidewalks on blocks that have a protected bike lane.

    Read more here and let the County Board know what you think.

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    The link in the middle of the article gives a link to a PDF file of the draft. Here are somethings I noted, but I am not an expert:

    1 - In page 26 of 149: 14.2-64.1 part D, students under 16 will not be allowed to bike to school using either the protected bike lanes, or the sidewalks adjacent to them, because riding on sidewalks would be prohibited when protected bike lanes are present. My guess is that the age required to use the road(and bike lanes) is 16, and so they can't use either.
    2 - Same page, part A: Speed limit for sidewalk riding(including regular bicycles) is not decided, they say 6 or 15 MPH. 6 MPH is too slow for bicycles, fine I think for scooters. 7 or 8 MPH is better.

    The city of Fairfax has passed long time ago a similar ordinance, prohibiting sidewalk riding except in designated paths, so basically students are not allowed to bike to school; however, they didn't post any signs that I could see, and so thanks to state law, that part of the ordinance is null and void.
    Last edited by n18; 10-30-2019 at 08:01 PM.

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    Thanks for fighting the good fight Chris.

    But the parent-child cycling haters hating in the comments...must...not...rise to the bait

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    But the parent-child cycling haters hating in the comments...must...not...rise to the bait
    It's just Jim's crazy cast of sock puppets, it's not actually multiple people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_s View Post
    It's just Jim's crazy cast of sock puppets, it's not actually multiple people.
    Found 'em

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_s View Post
    Hey all - on November 16th the County Board will vote on the "micromobility ordinance". Most folks think of this as the "scooter ordinance" but it's going to have major impacts on bikes and e-bikes as well.

    For instance: legalizes e-bikes on trails. Sets a speed limit for e-bikes on trails. Gives the County Manager the ability to ban bikes from certain sidewalks without defining any clear public process for making that decision. Sets a speed limit for e-bikes on sidewalks (probably at 6mph). Bans e-bikes on sidewalks on blocks that have a protected bike lane.

    Read more here and let the County Board know what you think.
    Chris, like you, I'm just baffled by the need for different speed limits for various modes (scooter, e-bike, pedal bike) and settings (trail, street). What do you think is their reasoning for a such a complicated approach?

    Why not just set a universal speed limit of 15-20mph on MUPs and bike lanes, and if you're in the street, you can go as fast as the posted speed limit (usually 25-30mph). Simple speed limits would be easily understood by users and anticipate future devices (I'm hoping electric caterpillar-tracked snowshoes drop soon). Speed limits would also help keep MUPs from turning into e-bike highways dominated by Commute-Slayer 5000 Turbos, without burdening electric wheelbarrow drivers like yourself

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    Speed limits on trails are stupid except to satisfy haters who want bikes to not be "special" and have rules even if the rules are stupid. There is absolutely no reason to ever post a trail speed limit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    Chris, like you, I'm just baffled by the need for different speed limits for various modes (scooter, e-bike, pedal bike) and settings (trail, street). What do you think is their reasoning for a such a complicated approach?

    Why not just set a universal speed limit of 15-20mph on MUPs and bike lanes, and if you're in the street, you can go as fast as the posted speed limit (usually 25-30mph). Simple speed limits would be easily understood by users and anticipate future devices (I'm hoping electric caterpillar-tracked snowshoes drop soon). Speed limits would also help keep MUPs from turning into e-bike highways dominated by Commute-Slayer 5000 Turbos, without burdening electric wheelbarrow drivers like yourself
    Just going to copy and paste this and send it to all of the County Board.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Speed limits on trails are stupid except to satisfy haters who want bikes to not be "special" and have rules even if the rules are stupid. There is absolutely no reason to ever post a trail speed limit.
    I don't agree. I'm not a hater. I've been riding here for 20 years. I think ebikes make speed limits a good idea. if we're going to allow vehicles capable of going nearly 30mph on MUPs, vehicles which specifically appeal to and are often operated by individuals lacking experience, speed limits are helpful. Sorry if that offends; with power comes responsibility. A unenforced speed limit of 20mph on a MUPs would affect probably 2% of pedal bike riders, half of them going downhill. Basically, I think a 20mph speed limit would gesture at keeping ebikes from running amok and have almost no effect on everybody else.

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    Here are some other thoughts I have about the proposals:

    Under the draft resolution I read it to mean e-bikes that meet the existing Virginia power/speed definition of an electric power-assisted bicycle (<1,000w/25mph) would be defined in the Arlington Code as a type of "Micro-Mobility Device" including e-scooters, e-unicycles, e-skateboards, and e-bikes.
    - It's unclear to me if the 20mph trail speed limit is a "powered" speed limit or an absolute speed limit, On my Class 2 e-bike I regularly exceed 20mph riding on the street downhill from Courthouse toward Rosslyn unpowered simply due to gravity, if I take the Custis trail I ride the brakes because on that narrow trail with frequent stops due to crossing streets and entryways I prefer descending under controlled braking, but there are stretches on the Rt 50 bike trail descending toward Iwo Jima from Ft Myer Heights with good sight lines after you round the corner where you can safely exceed 20mph unpowered.
    - It's unclear to me why the proposed sidewalk speed limit is to apply to all Micro-Mobility Devices equally, an e-bike is not a scooter, skateboard, or e-unicycle, with tiny wheels and low center of gravity - 6mph is too slow for some e-bikes for powered low-speed manouvering in pedal assist level 1, while for some e-bikes 6mph might be too slow for safe unpowered low-speed manouvering where issues like balancing weight, center of gravity, gearing for high speeds, require they maintain a higher speed when pedalled.
    - Micro-Mobility Devices including e-bikes would all require a functioning speedometer...but there are many e-bikes that use LED displays with no speed readout like the Giant RideControl One, or in the case of electric unicycles and skateboards cannot physically mount a speedometer, at the least this needs rewording to include phone apps by way of an alternative to OEM equipment, but then this would require the rider to always have the phone app on and visible displaying speed, an e-bike handlebar can accommodate a phone mount but an e-skateboard or e-unicycle rider would have to be holding the phone in his/her hand in line of sight and that strikes me as unsafe when we discourage texting while riding and those devices sometimes require you move your arms around to physically balance.
    - The proposals for regulating shared Micro-Mobility Device operating companies provide the County with power to revoke an operating permit for a safety violation and inspect any new equipment fitted, but it does not require operating companies to share safety data with each other. This emerged as a problem earlier this spring when Capital Bikeshare Plus shared ebikes were withdrawn for the same brake issue that led Uber to modify their 1st gen JUMP bikeshare ebikes last fall, but Uber apparently did not share this information with Motivate/Lyft and several riders reported falls and injuries before Lyft withdrew their bikes 6 months later.
    Last edited by Dewey; 10-31-2019 at 04:45 PM.

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