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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #881
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I just don't know how to get there. For now, most streets in Arlington have a speed limit of 25mph, and enough stops that average speed is probably around there. So wanting to go 28mph makes perfect sense to me. I can also say from experience that going around 22mph on Lee (where I'd guess average speed is 30-35mph) is much, much more comfortable than going 15mph.
    I guess I'd just say that if feeling safe means having a vehicle that is capable of going the speed limit, and you're doing any riding in the suburbs, then 28mph is definitely too slow. You'll want something that can comfortably go 45mph around Reston, for example. (I do think still that this feeling of safety is a delusion; most accidents -- e-bike or otherwise -- are self-inflicted and risk of injury increases geometrically with speed.)

    I just remain unconvinced that these speed-limit capable vehicles have any business on a path shared with pedestrians, jogging strollers, dogs on leashes and the occasional off-leash toddler. My limited experience/observation is that folks riding these are not going to ride them slowly; I wouldn't either if I had just paid $8000 for something that was advertised to make me "feel like superman" or to get me to the office quicker. To be fair, I've seen a few people on class-3 e-bikes riding at traffic speed, so it could happen, but that is definitely the exception in my observations. I'll hope that more data proves me wrong and that people on these fast bikes are actually perfectly happy to ride them slowly.

    But what I really hope is that we might someday have the culture and the infrastructure that makes everyone comfortable riding their bikes on/along roads.
    Last edited by hozn; 11-09-2017 at 10:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    But what I really hope is that we might someday have the culture and the infrastructure that makes everyone comfortable riding their bikes on/along roads.
    I couldn't agree more. Lowering the speed limits or adding bike lanes to existing roads makes them safer for everyone. Widening MUPs by cutting down trees and paving over adjacent greenspace to accommodate 20mph+ ebikes makes them more dangerous. For me, it's really as simple as that.

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  4. #883
    mstone is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    I couldn't agree more. Lowering the speed limits or adding bike lanes to existing roads makes them safer for everyone. Widening MUPs by cutting down trees and paving over adjacent greenspace to accommodate 20mph+ ebikes makes them more dangerous. For me, it's really as simple as that.
    To be fair, mode separating the popular trails would relieve a lot of the existing tensions between cyclists & walkers and would make them safer, IMO, not more dangerous. (Not a simple widening, but actually having designs that encourage the mode separation and give cyclists good sightlines, etc.) But since the money to do that does not exist at the agencies that own most of the trails, and because the trails don't go everywhere the roads go, I think fixing the roads is a more practical goal. Not that VDOT could get out of its car long enough to do that, either, but it's good to have dreams.

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    WABA’s Greg Billing took some photos at tonight’s JUMP ebikeshare launch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    To be fair, mode separating the popular trails would relieve a lot of the existing tensions between cyclists & walkers and would make them safer, IMO, not more dangerous. (Not a simple widening, but actually having designs that encourage the mode separation and give cyclists good sightlines, etc.) But since the money to do that does not exist at the agencies that own most of the trails, and because the trails don't go everywhere the roads go, I think fixing the roads is a more practical goal. Not that VDOT could get out of its car long enough to do that, either, but it's good to have dreams.
    Part of the trail that I rode on in Philly this past weekend had two different surfaces. The outside edges were a paver type material and the center was asphalt. About 90% of the joggers/walkers stayed to the outer edge. It made passing really easy and I didn't see any of the "threading the needle" type passes that I see ALL OF THE TIME on the trails here.

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    Lets see. 12,000 watt dual hub motor fat tire bike. Takes it into and around a public park and full speed blows through a stop sign. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D17Bwfd2dLw

    Opinion....This and powerful long range commuter format will popular directions people will take E-bikes. There will be a wide range of E-bikes but there will be a large number of machines that are sold on their power and speed. They will become more powerful and cost less over time. They will proliferate on streets and MUPs. They will proliferate on dirt trails. They will also produce a measurable increase is "bike" related injuries and deaths and all bike riders will be painted by the increase in E-bike and riders.
    E-bikes have a "fun factor" that is far different than self powered bikes. I do not think this is a good thing for cycling. Yes, helping those that otherwise could not is a good thing but I think this will be the exception rather than the rule overall. "Yahoo!" is not a good thing on MUPs. We humans travel as fast as we can. If the machine can go 30 we go 30.

    Had my first stupid fast E-rider blast by me on the WOD a few days ago. There are a few E-bikes I see from time to time and for the most part they have behaved like fast bike riders. This guy was bolt upright peddling at 20 to 30 rpm or so at best on a fat tire type bike with saddle bags. No pass called and the speed delta between him and me was easily in excess of 15 mph and I was doing 16. My guess is he was doing 35+ He passed with such a wooosh it caused an air pressure bump. One hand was in his lap or jacket pocket to boot. I am not a anti everything new bike snob in any way but we can't have this on the trails. A small few can cause a large disruption.
    Last edited by Vicegrip; 11-10-2017 at 08:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by secstate View Post
    UPS is making its love affair with bike lanes official (at least in Portland)
    Also now in Pittsburgh


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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    I guess I'd just say that if feeling safe means having a vehicle that is capable of going the speed limit, and you're doing any riding in the suburbs, then 28mph is definitely too slow. You'll want something that can comfortably go 45mph around Reston, for example. (I do think still that this feeling of safety is a delusion; most accidents -- e-bike or otherwise -- are self-inflicted and risk of injury increases geometrically with speed.)

    I just remain unconvinced that these speed-limit capable vehicles have any business on a path shared with pedestrians, jogging strollers, dogs on leashes and the occasional off-leash toddler. My limited experience/observation is that folks riding these are not going to ride them slowly; I wouldn't either if I had just paid $8000 for something that was advertised to make me "feel like superman" or to get me to the office quicker. To be fair, I've seen a few people on class-3 e-bikes riding at traffic speed, so it could happen, but that is definitely the exception in my observations. I'll hope that more data proves me wrong and that people on these fast bikes are actually perfectly happy to ride them slowly.

    But what I really hope is that we might someday have the culture and the infrastructure that makes everyone comfortable riding their bikes on/along roads.
    I can't speak to Reston, and it seems "speed limit capable" ebikes is a red herring -- we're talking ebikes that can go 28mph, which may or may not be capable of the speed limit. But I'd agree that IN AN IDEAL WORLD, we could fix all the streets and say class 3 ebikes have to stay on streets. But we're not there.

    So given the world we're in, where sometimes you have to take a trail to get from A to B (e.g. across the Potomac, because even Class 3 ebikes don't feel safe on Key or Memorial), my suggestion is to allow class 1, 2 and 3 ebikes on trails. I'm fine, as I said before, adding a sunset provision for class 3 ebikes -- say in 10 years, only classes 1 and 2 will be allowed on trails, unless the class 3 allowance is affirmatively extended.

    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    Part of the trail that I rode on in Philly this past weekend had two different surfaces. The outside edges were a paver type material and the center was asphalt. About 90% of the joggers/walkers stayed to the outer edge. It made passing really easy and I didn't see any of the "threading the needle" type passes that I see ALL OF THE TIME on the trails here.
    The new trail in the TR Island parking lot effectively has this, but not pavers, just a line. Runners are usually to the right of the line. It. Is. Awesome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vicegrip View Post
    Lets see. 12,000 watt dual hub motor fat tire bike. Takes it into and around a public park and full speed blows through a stop sign. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D17Bwfd2dLw
    This is not allowed under current Virginia law and would not be allowed in the CA model, nor in what I advocate for (allowing Class 3s). Next.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I can't speak to Reston, and it seems "speed limit capable" ebikes is a red herring -- we're talking ebikes that can go 28mph, which may or may not be capable of the speed limit. But I'd agree that IN AN IDEAL WORLD, we could fix all the streets and say class 3 ebikes have to stay on streets. But we're not there.
    The City of Alexandria draft Vision Zero plan proposes studying a city wide speed limit of 25MPH. I already ride a human powered bike (a hybrid, and I am one of the slower riders on this forum, AFAICT) for a few blocks on upper King Street in a 35MPH zone pretty regularly. I really do think that for most riders being able to go 20MPH for long distances, even uphill, should make ANY 25MPH street pretty comfortable, and even most 35MPH streets. I might not want to ride with kids at 20MPH in a 35MPH zone, but then I don't think I would want to do that at 28MPH either.

    So this whole push for class 3s on trails really sounds to me like its all about Lee Highway. And even there, I am not sure there are not alternatives to both Lee Highway and the Custis.

    As for getting into DC with a class 3, there are several alternatives that do not involve general legalization of class 3s on trails.
    A. Legalize them ONLY on the bridge trails, and the minimum needed trails to access the bridges. B. Put them on a bus rack (and off hours, on metrorail) C. Walk them across D. Encourage the water taxis to allow bikes. E. Allow them on the new Long Bridge MUP, which, if done right will be wide and have ped/bike seperation. F. Take the Memorial Bridge, which has a speed limit of 30MPH and 3 lanes in each direction. If necessary increase speed enforcement on the Memorial Bridge, and/or reduce the speed limit to 25MPH.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 11-15-2017 at 10:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I 1000% agree with your last sentence. I just don't know how to get there.
    For 25 MPH arterials (IE places where the speed limit is not going to be changed, the problem is speeding) there are three strategies - more enforcement , better education of motorists and culture changes, and physically altering the streets to discourage high speeds (IE traffic calming)

    The proposed VZ plan in the City has a lot on education and culture change. Color me skeptical on that. There is a lot on enforcement - color me a bit more positive, though I still don't think enforcement should be the heart of VZ. We have had an increase in the number of police doing traffic enforcement in the City, and they have a pretty good looking plan for focusing on safety, including speed enforcement. The VZ plan also suggests that the City ask Richmond for authority for automated speed enforcement. That will be a big lift - it would help if Arlington County and Fairfax would join us. Might not be as big a lift as getting ebike legalization that goes beyond the California law through Richmond, I don't know (and of course that still wouldn't solve the NPS issue)

    And then there are complete streets. Some discussion in the VZ plan, it looks like at least we will get more staffing for the program, though $$ for concrete are going to remain scarce for a while. (Note one free form of traffic calming is urban development, which makes an "arterial" look more like a city street, and IIUC has been shown to reduce speeding, but obviously that will impact only a limited number of streets)
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 11-15-2017 at 11:02 AM.

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