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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #1031
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    As I've said so many times here, to make any bikes usable as a transportation option in this area, they have to be able to get to all the destinations people need transportation to. That includes some monster hills. .
    My bike is usable as a transportation option. I commuted to the office on it this morning. Last week I used it get groceries. But given my abilities, my comfort in traffic, the existing infrastructure, and distances, I cannot use it to get to ALL the destinations I need transportation.

    I think what you mean is that bikes cannot be the exclusive or almost exclusive means of transportation for people until they can go to all destinations. That is an admirable goal, one I would love to see accomplished. But there are inevitable tradeoffs - whether its $ for infra, legitimate needs for on street parking and for general travel lane space, etc. And one of those needs is for pedestrian comfort on trails and sidewalks. Now it would be ideal if we could make all pedestrians comfortable by regulating cyclist behavior. That would make the tradeoffs easier. Just as it would make the tradeoffs easier if we could perfectly regulate motorist behavior. If all motorists were complete PALs, then all those people worrying about a car "bearing down behind" would not have to worry. We could all be happy VCers, and the only reason for seg infra at all would be to expedite flow (and to separate riders from tailpipe fumes) From your concern with that situation, I suspect you do not believe we can come close to complete safety and especially comfort via enforcement. I think it is clear that we can't on the trails either, and therefore some compromise is needed. I have gradually shifted to a more pro-ebike position on the nature of that compromise, in part because of some of the things you have posted (also my concern with a plateauing in bike mode share) I can only say that I think your considerable knowledge and logic would be much more compelling on this, if you seemed to be more willing to acknowledge the tradeoffs involved in your position.

  2. #1032
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    These rules would just push more people off of bikes - and most likely into cars. I don't see why that's a better solution.
    Because pushing some people from bikes into cars (by, say, not allowing Class 3 ebikes on the Key Bridge side path) might be a needed tradeoff for the comfort of walkers on the Key Bridge. Whose discomfort is a genuine cost in itself. And whose discomfort MIGHT lead some of them to drive instead of walk. And whose discomfort might lead some of them to an anti-veloist position on a range of issues. (to determine whether the tradeoff is desirable, we actually need some data)

    As advocates for multimodalism, we can't only ask "does this maximize bike mode share?" There are going to be some options that do NOT maximize bike mode share, that are still the right options.

  3. #1033
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    1) Throttle...is key to getting from 0mph to 10mph in these situations.
    2)Power, try going uphill with 3 kids on your bike, or your overweight self on your trike with 250W.

    ...to make any bikes usable as a transportation option in this area, they have to be able to get to all the destinations people need transportation to. That includes some monster hills. That also includes routes where the only safe way to get there is the trail/sidepath.

    The way to make biking work for everyone is to allow the tools that allow everyone to bike on the routes people need to bike on. And we need the trails to work for everyone, so REGULATE BEHAVIOR
    1) Throttle: I chose not to fit the throttle with my kit motor to keep it a Class 1 pedelec, my knees don't thank me when starting from a stop going uphill, also I love using the 3mph walk assist feature to help me push my bike up a ramp or up a kerb cut when towing a child trailer, and I've had a few close calls commuting to work where I've struck my pedal or bashed my derailleur into a sidewalk kerb stone when trying to ride in the gutter slowly past a line of cars on my heavy ebike, so I've come to appreciate how a Class 2 throttle would be very useful for people with knackered knees or heavy loads to get started or simply move slowly and keep balance without pedalling.

    2) Power: I appreciate the US is more relaxed about ebike power than other countries for the reasons you give about needing varying levels of power to climb hills carrying or towing a load, I'm mostly happy with my 36v BBS01 250w motor although I have to stand on the pedals when towing a child trailer and groceries up the steepest parts of the Custis trail. At some point in the future I'll probably swap out the motor core with a 48v BBS02 motor and battery from Luna and program the controller to keep power/speed under the 750w/20mph legal limit just so I can have the benefit of the extra climbing torque delivered by the wider stator. Regarding speed I'm a utility cyclist living close in so I could accept a lower EU style 15mph limit, but I recognize Class 3 speeds enable suburban commuters to travel distance and keep up with traffic so I'd like them to remain legal to ride on roads.

    Personally I'd like Virginia, Maryland, and the District to adopt the 3-tier ebike classification and permit Class 1 and 2 on MUPs, MUTs, and sidewalks in line with the new ebike laws being adopted by other states. The ebike confiscations in NYC are made possible only because of the City's local no-throttle law so I'm wary when jurisdictions carve out exceptions but recognize this may be necessary on some heavily pedestrianized areas and business district sidewalks and footpaths. I love pedal assist and how the technology of cadence and torque sensors enable motors to complement human biomechanical pedalling and climb hills, and I recognize the benefit of a throttle in some situations, but as other posters have pointed out we need to get along and that includes recognizing people don't want either legal Class 3 ebikes or illegal electric motorcycles on trails or sidewalks.
    Last edited by Dewey; 02-16-2018 at 10:32 AM.

  4. #1034
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Because pushing some people from bikes into cars (by, say, not allowing Class 3 ebikes on the Key Bridge side path) might be a needed tradeoff for the comfort of walkers on the Key Bridge. Whose discomfort is a genuine cost in itself. And whose discomfort MIGHT lead some of them to drive instead of walk. And whose discomfort might lead some of them to an anti-veloist position on a range of issues. (to determine whether the tradeoff is desirable, we actually need some data)

    As advocates for multimodalism, we can't only ask "does this maximize bike mode share?" There are going to be some options that do NOT maximize bike mode share, that are still the right options.
    You (and others) seem to think that ebikes somehow mean people bike as fast as they can go all the time, regardless of context/safety. That's ridiculous. Most people don't do this on manual bikes, and they don't do this on ebikes.

    So Key Bridge is a great example. Often, the max speed for cyclists that keeps peds safe and comfortable is less than 10mph. Most bikes - manual and e- - can exceed that. So should we ban all bikes from that sidepath because of the ability to go faster than what would keep peds safe and comfortable? What's specially about ebikes in that situation that they should be banned but not road bikes?

    And I should have said "focus on" behavior rather than "regulate." You're right that enforcement alone won't work. But there are plenty of options that we haven't even tried. Designing trails with behavior modification in mind; signage; providing alternate routes (with smooth transitions) that are more attractive to faster cyclists.

    The advantage of the "allow lots of ebikes everywhere, and address all cyclist behavior on trails" is that it gets more people out of cars and makes the trails safer than they are today.

  5. #1035
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    recognizing people don't want either legal Class 3 ebikes or illegal electric motorcycles on trails or sidewalks.
    I've never heard of anyone except people who already ride manual bikes for transportation often knowing anything about Class 3 ebikes. I have heard - SO MANY TIMES - that we need to address cyclists in general riding too fast for conditions on trails. Seems like someone who takes the position that a Class 3 ebike should not be on a trail because of its ability to go faster than what's comfortable for people walking on trails needs to recognize that most people think ALL bikes can go faster than what's comfortable for people walking on trails -- which would lead to the logically conclusion that ALL bikes should be banned from trails.

    I think trails should be shared, and we should focus on the behavior of trail users to make that work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    And I should have said "focus on" behavior rather than "regulate." You're right that enforcement alone won't work. But there are plenty of options that we haven't even tried. Designing trails with behavior modification in mind; signage; providing alternate routes (with smooth transitions) that are more attractive to faster cyclists.
    Great--do that thing, then let's talk about more ebikes.

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  8. #1038
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post


    , but even I won't take Key or Memorial in the travel lanes. Has anyone actually done it (at normal times -- not 8am Sunday morning, when I know some roadies take Key -> Whitehurst to get to Hains).
    Iíve taken a lane on Key a couple of times on weekends during the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Seems like someone who takes the position that a Class 3 ebike should not be on a trail because of its ability to go faster than what's comfortable for people walking on trails needs to recognize that most people think ALL bikes can go faster than what's comfortable for people walking on trails -- which would lead to the logically conclusion that ALL bikes should be banned from trails.

    I think trails should be shared, and we should focus on the behavior of trail users to make that work.
    You're right that line of thinking isn't a reasonable position. Class 3 commuters are as likely as Class 1 and 2 to want to use safer bicycle infrastructure close in. Federal/states customs inspectors aren't funded to identify and impound imports or go after the retailers who undermine legal ebikes. People who ride electric motorcycles on private land want those products. I agree it is anti-social behavior people are concerned about, so a combination of a legal structure and certification system for ebike sales, self-regulating behavior through education, speed limits and remote monitoring/regulating technology, better alternative bike infrastructure, and fines enforcement, could all be part of a compromise acceptable to most. I also recognize that change will require political will and money to happen or we're stuck with a confusing local patchwork of conflicting laws, with ebikes being treated inequitably.
    Last edited by Dewey; 02-16-2018 at 12:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OneEighth View Post
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    There was a dude doing a wheelie on one of these last night on the Maine Ave Cycletrack outside of the HP100 Happy Hour.


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