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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #951
    hozn's Avatar
    hozn is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Jun 2012
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    Yeah, it's impossible to over-state the value of the advocacy that Gillian does for our community. I am extremely grateful to her for that work, as I benefit from it everyday. And love that she wants to get more people on bikes.

    While I disagree with the idea of accommodating CA class-3 e-bikes on multi-use paths, I certainly think encouraging e-bikes in general is a great way to get more people on bikes. I can certainly appreciate that not everyone wants to change into lycra for their ride to work. I do think that the perspective is different for someone that sees electric bikes at work out in the 'burbs where there intent is clearly to just move someone faster for a greater distance vs. use of these bikes in the closer-to-the-city parts of the trail.

    In general, I'd like to see bike sales shift to focus on lower-speed bikes because
    (1) I don't think 28mph bikes on trails is good for the riders or other users. We all agree on that. And while having a class-3 e-bike isn't going to make you ride that fast, it certainly opens that up to a much larger % of the cycling population. That is going to increase injury rates.
    (2) I really despise the marketing campaign that is pushing the idea of increasing speed to get places faster. We really don't need faster lives. (I think the focus should be on getting to work without sweating.)
    (3) I think e-bikes do the most for cyclists if they're out riding at normal-cyclist speeds, not moped speeds. E.g. I want more cyclists, but I want cars to get used to slower-traffic cyclists (and hopefully slow down).

    While I agree that enforcement of a class system is unlikely to be effectively implemented, I would hope that having clear rules about classes on trails would push the sales of the explicitly legal bikes. I think the shops do have responsibility to inform their customers where they can and can't ride. -- Especially once this is clarified and hopefully made a little more consistent across these jurisdictions.

    Anyway, that's my reasoning. In the end, I think it would be great to let e-bikes be explicitly allowed and if it were only all or nothing, I suspect I'd vote "all". It would be nice if there were some accountability or enforcement for those that ride like jackholes -- e-bike or not. Perhaps increasing the number of Trail Patrols -- especially east of Falls Church (seems like I only ever see trail patrols west of Vienna) -- could help provide some education / constructive criticism for this reckless riding.

  2. #952
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Alexandria to NOMA
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    If Dasgeh were to state "I fully encourage folks who are unsure of their skills, abilities, and/or sense of safety, to ride a C1/C2 e-bike," and encourage folks in the legislature to pursue a CA-style legislative agenda, rather than a "C-3/AliExpress 3000+Kw free-for-all, and sort out the 'casualties,' after we've got some self-reported data about folks riding semi-illegal contraptions," I'd be fully on board.

    Gillian does great work and I admire and thank her for her tenacity and her work so far in her position; I agree she advocates largely for the benefit of the cycling community, however, to advocate simply for increased speed as a means to ensure safety of new riders, or to merely increase ridership is negligent of the fact that riding faster no matter the infrastructure class the is not inherently safer. I'm not going to waste any time pulling numbers from survey-based research when the negative effects are intrinsic and based simply on physics. I'm begging her to be honest about the behaviors of cyclists that are "newly gifted" with extra-human abilities when mixed with the general cycling/pedestrian populace.

    But, so far she's been trying to connect personal experiences on her bike specifically to the group at-large; anecdotes with conclusions that I feel are at the least dangerous, and at most (considering her position, electively representing ALL cyclists in ArlCo), disingenuous. Increased speed capability isn't an answer to infrastructure problems. I can't help but be reminded of the [butchered] saying, "with great [pedaling] power comes great responsibility."

    There's no saltiness, I assure you; merely a mild contempt for the concept that pure speed, at any cost, is somehow a right that affords increased safe ridership.

    In terms of affordance, I just don't buy it.

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