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Thread: 2-stroke engine bike on 4MRT and W&OD

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    Default 2-stroke engine bike on 4MRT and W&OD

    Sunday morning I was walking on the 4MRT and W&OD from Carlin Springs Road to Rt50 and heard a two-stroke engine. I hoped it was just sound carrying from Carlin Springs Rd, but alas some guy on a black bicycle with an engine in the triangle passed me. He did slow down and the engine was off (or quietly idling) as he passed, but once he hit the W&OD the engine came on again and off he went leaving the sounds and smells of the engine in his wake. I am never pleased with the electric bikes, but this is illegal to the best of my knowledge and extra annoying with the sound and air pollution. Will anyone ever patrol the trails to stop such things? Is there anything anyone can do?

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    You'd think after what happened to this guy last year people would think twice about this kind of nonsense.

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    Used to frequently see one of those conversion kit jobs on my evening commute on the 4MRT by the Poop Plant. Nasty little thing.

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    There are two groups that patrol the County trails, though I cannot tell you the frequency or schedules:

    Arlington County Park Rangers: Their website says "The duties of a park ranger are diverse. Routine patrol of our parks by foot, mountain bike, and vehicle seek to ensure visitor compliance with all park rules and regulations. In addition, the park ranger staff is responsible for closing designated facilities at dark, checking for safety concerns/issues, providing park information to visitors, and rangers are trained to respond to medical emergencies."

    For more information on the park rangers, please contact Scott Haines at 703-228-0052.

    The other is the Arlington Police Auxiliary. They "provide important services to the community including, but not limited to, bike patrol, bicycle registration, car seat safety inspections and residential and commercial premises security surveys." according to a recent Facebook post.

    Auxiliary Police Unit: 703-228-4057

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    But to expound on the point the OP mentioned in passing...why should one be opposed to this if they are in favor of "e bikes" (aka quiet motorcycles)? The argument is really a noise and smell-based one, not a safety one? This bike and the "e bikes" both get up to speeds unattainable by most human riders on trails, all while carrying so much mass as to be extremely dangerous in a collision. The only difference is that these 2-stroke motorcycles that people are clutching their pearls about burn fossils on-site, whereas the "e-bikes" that all of our "advocates" love sooooo much have the burning done by Dominion. Can't help but feel the hypocrisy here - I wish we could have just kept the rule of NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES on trails and been done with it. Humbug!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by arlrider View Post
    But to expound on the point the OP mentioned in passing...why should one be opposed to this if they are in favor of "e bikes" (aka quiet motorcycles)? The argument is really a noise and smell-based one, not a safety one? This bike and the "e bikes" both get up to speeds unattainable by most human riders on trails, all while carrying so much mass as to be extremely dangerous in a collision. The only difference is that these 2-stroke motorcycles that people are clutching their pearls about burn fossils on-site, whereas the "e-bikes" that all of our "advocates" love sooooo much have the burning done by Dominion. Can't help but feel the hypocrisy here - I wish we could have just kept the rule of NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES on trails and been done with it. Humbug!!!!
    I am not in favor of e-bikes on trails or bike lanes. Whenever they pass me, I say “cheater!” I can kind of handle it for the cargo bikes (they get a less emphatic “cheater.”). I am very NOT in favor of anything that does not require any pedaling (or gravity on a down hill) to accelerate or even keep speed. The 2-stroke engine is exactly that as are several other “e-bikes” that do not require pedaling (easy to spot as they do not pedal going up steep hills). I dislike the motorized scooters, skateboards, and “unicycles” (there are no pedals on those at all) too – because they generally go quite fast, often do not look out for others on the trail (there are exceptions, but most I have seen just plow through without warning anyone). I admit that the noise and exhaust make the 2-stroke bike really heinous (I am trying to enjoy a bit of nature too, but this does not allow that) (do not get me started on gas leaf blowers, gas mowers, and other such equipment) and obviously does not belong, but I am not a fan of any of them. If these can all go at 25-30mph or faster, then they should be on roads in lanes. So, no hypocrisy from the OP. Lots of Humbug and fist shaking and "get off my lawn," however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrP View Post
    So, no hypocrisy from the OP. Lots of Humbug and fist shaking and "get off my lawn," however.
    No, my apologies!!! I wasn't accusing you of hypocrisy. That accusation was leveled more towards the "advocates" who would faint at the thought of gas-powered motorcycles on the trails, but fought (and won) a battle to let equally dangerous electric motorcycles run rampant. So we're on the same page and cut from the same grumpy, human-powered-purist cloth!

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    E-bikes require pedaling, which is what distinguishes them from mopeds/motorcycles/etc. If you're seeing a vehicle that does not require pedaling, it's not an e-bike and shouldn't be on the trails.

    However, I routinely use an e-bike (one that requires pedaling, but gives me extra power going uphill) on the CCT. That's because I am a really slow cyclist on a regular bike. (My average speed for each of the previous Freezing Saddles has been about 7 mph.) So if I need to go to an appointment in downtown DC, it takes me two hours or more to get home to Bethesda. Much of the time, it's not practical to take that much time off from work when I for example have a mid-day doctor's appointment. So using an e-bike is what enables me to avoid using public transit (which I avoid for COVID-related reasons) or buying a car. But using an e-bike on the roads is as hazardous as using a regular bike on the roads, so using the trail is the safest option for me.

    I maintain a speed of almost exactly 15 mph (except when slowing down due to pedestrians or slower bicycles), which is the speed limit on the CCT. When passing, I wait until there is a gap on the other lane of the trail, even if that requires me to go at walking speed until there is one. I then call my passes, and still proceed very carefully in case the pedestrian/cyclist didn't hear me. And even when I am doing the speed limit, I am routinely passed by people riding regular bikes (many of whom are also far less fastidious about waiting until there is space in the other lane, calling their passes, or being cautious in passing). I suspect I'm far less of a hazard on the trails than many of the people riding regular bikes.
    Quote Originally Posted by arlrider View Post
    But to expound on the point the OP mentioned in passing...why should one be opposed to this if they are in favor of "e bikes" (aka quiet motorcycles)? The argument is really a noise and smell-based one, not a safety one? This bike and the "e bikes" both get up to speeds unattainable by most human riders on trails, all while carrying so much mass as to be extremely dangerous in a collision. The only difference is that these 2-stroke motorcycles that people are clutching their pearls about burn fossils on-site, whereas the "e-bikes" that all of our "advocates" love sooooo much have the burning done by Dominion. Can't help but feel the hypocrisy here - I wish we could have just kept the rule of NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES on trails and been done with it. Humbug!!!!

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  12. 12-16-2022, 03:18 PM

    I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.


  13. 12-16-2022, 03:21 PM

    I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.


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    In virginia we have three classes of ebike. All allow pedaling. Only class 2s will move without pedaling. class 3's the assistance cuts out at 28MPH, class 1's at 20MPH

    AFAICT all are lighter than diesel powered bikes.

    Noise is a real issue.

    Re power sources, on average electricity from Virginia is only 4% from coal, negligible from oil. in 2021 57% was from natural gas, which IS a fossil fuel, but lower GHG impact (even with average methane leaks) than oil. And we get 30% from nuclear (GHG free) and 9% from renewables. So EVs in general are better than gasoline or diesel, as far as GHGs are concerned.

    So multiple reasons a diesel bike on the trails is worse than an ebike.

    I do wonder if it is feasible to limit to certified class 1 ebikes only (on trails), with some kind of scheme to make it easily visible which ebikes are in which class. Others here are more expert in that subject though.

    I do think large scale ebike adoption is good for the environment, and good for biking in the region. I have not followed any discoure on ebike usage on the trails lately. I can say that I see a lot of ebikes, and in general the behavior of ebike riders is not visibly worse than that of riders of acoustic bikes. I do not know if that would stay the same if we had mass adoption of ebikes by delivery people, as happens in NYC.

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    Can't say I am surprised by the self-justifying responses from the motorcycle users as to why their cases are special and how they are model citizens...I need to get from X to Y, I maintain the speed limit, I signal this, ring that, natural gas CO2 emissions aren't that bad, lol, etc...Ah yes, and the old "they require pedaling" - because casually turning 50 rpm at low resistance to tell the control to unleash wattages a UCI pro could only dream of makes the thing "human powered".

    OK, so what if the 2-stroke rider (not diesel, look up combustion cycles) did all of the "good citizen" things noted above? Then it just comes down to noise (ah yes, the Custis is so quiet, being next to 66 and all...not like Mt Vernon is next to a parkway or airport or anything either, etc.) and marginal GHG emissions. Not much of an argument. Let the internal combustion guy ride, then, right?

    At the end of the day, trails were designed for human-powered transportation and introducing these rigs that are 300+ lbs fully loaded and can do things that human-powered transit modes cannot have completely shifted the dynamic and, individual perfect citizens aside, made them a net more dangerous place. I've been out on these trails for nearly 15 years, and it wasn't until a couple years ago that I had to regularly turn around and get ready to dive out of the way of a silent Harley blasting up on me, 300+ lbs, user talking on the phone or using a handlebar-mounted iPad.

    PS electric motorcycles are NOT net positive for cycling, because by enabling their riders to easily operate at speed parity with other motor vehicles, they obviate the need for dedicated cycling infrastructure. It's hard to make the case for a MOTOR VEHICLE that can hold the speed limit needing its own set of lanes or roadways...
    Last edited by arlrider; 12-16-2022 at 07:31 PM.

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