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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #651
    mstone is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    "Considerate of others" is so corrupted by bias that it can't be a rational rule. Do we have to be considerate of people who hate purple and not buy a purple vehicle? The only rules that matter are the ones that improve safety outcomes enough to offset the social cost of enforcing the rule. If 20 is too fast for the trails why do non-ebike riders consistently pass me on the downhills at speeds much closer to 30? Attempting to apply a speed limit to e-bikes that you don't want applied to everyone exposes the bias--just be honest that you hate e-bike riders more than roadies.
    You're not even paying attention to who you're talking to, since I've stated several times that I think speed limits on trails are stupid--so I don't know why you think I want an e-bike speed limit. I've also repeatedly stated that the safe maximum speed depends on conditions, and that there isn't a single number that makes sense on (for example) the entire 40+ miles of the W&OD. Even the text you quoted is me talking about yet another reason that a speed limit doesn't work (in this case, the fact that the default "grace speed" applied to speed limits as low as those on the trail result in an effective limit much too high for those situations where people want a speed limit). I think mostly you have a knee-jerk defensiveness that comes from doing something that everyone knows you're not supposed to, while not wanting to admit it.

    For the record, I said "considerate of others" is the only way to make this mess of infrastructure we have work, but we can't actually rely on that. So coming up with ridiculous scenarios for why you can't possibly demonstrate courtesy won't actually gain you any debating points.

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  3. #652
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    Blocking SolarBikeCar's messages from showing up has been one of the best online decisions I have ever made. (Thanks for the tip, dkel.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Blocking SolarBikeCar's messages from showing up has been one of the best online decisions I have ever made. (Thanks for the tip, dkel.)
    Agree. If only there was a app that let me block some people in the real world......

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    "Considerate of others" is so corrupted by bias that it can't be a rational rule. Do we have to be considerate of people who hate purple and not buy a purple vehicle? The only rules that matter are the ones that improve safety outcomes enough to offset the social cost of enforcing the rule. If 20 is too fast for the trails why do non-ebike riders consistently pass me on the downhills at speeds much closer to 30? Attempting to apply a speed limit to e-bikes that you don't want applied to everyone exposes the bias--just be honest that you hate e-bike riders more than roadies.
    You have a Gadsden bumper sticker on your car-bike thing, don't you?

  8. #655
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicegrip View Post
    Agree. If only there was a app that let me block some people in the real world......
    I suspect you're not alone in that. It sounds like Mr. SolarBikeCar / aka Ed Myers of Sterling (as is openly attributed on his website) has a bit of a reputation for thriving off of conflict (w/ schools, the courts, etc.), apparently driven by Christian conviction. (Yeah, I'm trying hard to look beyond the irony of that, but I guess the crusades were also driven by conviction.)

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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    Interesting approach to assessing the risk of a vehicle or any product, do nothing until someone gets hurt. Reminds me of the neighbor against traffic calming measures because no kids had been yet hit by a car. So that we know when any mitigating measures should be taken, how many injures will be required?
    Wait, what? This is the approach taken for the vast majority of products. Every vehicle is allowed on the trail unless it's banned, and the bans are limited. That silly looking Eliptigo? Allowed, not because we have done nothing to ban it. Bikes fall in this category, too.

    My understanding is that these "no motor" bans were enacted before ebikes were widely available. "No motor" is a convenient way to say "no cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, etc". I don't think anyone was thinking about something battery powered, aside from possibly wheelchairs, which usually get an exception.

    So, yes, I'm saying that we should treat ebikes like bikes, because they are much more like bikes. The riders of both are vulnerable. The size and weight of both are similar. It's easy to control the speed (up to the max speed of the rider or rider+motor) on both. Yes, the max speed on one is higher, but there is no evidence that the higher speed leads to a higher rate of collision or more severe injuries in real life (v. in theory).

    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    But cars aren't guns. Cars get people places. And don't kill . . .
    But (1) cars do kill people; (2) cars are significantly larger. That alone is reason to ban them from trails. (3) A driver has to actively manage a car to go slowly. Again, a reason to ban them from trails.

    This has just gotten silly. Possibly in an effort not to answer the basic questions. What externalities are you afraid of that are unique to ebikes? Where is the evidence that those things are happening?

    Again, without answers to the above, the argument here for banning ebikes seems to boil down to "I don't want to share trails with people unlike me."

  10. #657
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicegrip View Post
    Agree. If only there were an app that let me block some people in the real world......
    I haven't seen you for months. Ever wonder why?
    Last edited by Steve O; 10-02-2017 at 12:05 PM.

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    This has just gotten silly. Possibly in an effort not to answer the basic questions. What externalities are you afraid of that are unique to ebikes?

    Unique is a problematic qualifier. There is obviously no problem with ebikes that is absolutely unique to them. Are they fast - some human powered riders are very fast. Are they heavy - some human powered riders are heavy. Do they make it possible for someone who is not an experienced rider to ride fast, with a lot of weight? Somewhere out there a human powered Fred with no experience riding off his trainer, can weighs 300 pounds and is doing 28MPH on flats (and faster on downhills)

    But numbers matter. While many ebike riders are surely responsible, and a few human powered riders fit everything that people complain about wrt ebikes, WHEN we get lots of ebikes, we will almost certainly have an order of magnitude more fast heavy bikes.

    Where is the evidence that those things are happening? There is only anecdotes afaict. I don't know that we have any data on ebike usage on MUTs, and AFAICT we have very limited data on speeds on MUTS in general, and even less if any on other bad behaviors. We also have no evidence that the bans (in DC and on NPS trails) are slowing ebike adoption or limiting usage.

    Which is why I am happy with the status quo, until we see evidence of a real problem in either direction.

    Again, without answers to the above, the argument here for banning ebikes seems to boil down to "I don't want to share trails with people unlike me."


    I think that's just unfair. I have explained what concerns me as an advocate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Yes, the max speed on one is higher, but there is no evidence that the higher speed leads to a higher rate of collision or more severe injuries in real life (v. in theory).
    Has anyone actually tried studying the impact of speed on bike vs ped collision, the way they have on car vs ped collisions? I guess the limited numbers of bike vs ped collisions and the generally poor data on them (for example estimates of speed) would make such studies difficult.

  14. #660
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Again, without answers to the above, the argument here for banning ebikes seems to boil down to "I don't want to share trails with people unlike me."
    I imagine we wouldn't be having this debate at all if we had an over-abundance of trail resources. I think every group here is just looking out for their own self-interest when it comes to having access to trails. It's similar to the idea that racism (or even something like the Rwandan genocide) are about scarcity of resources, and looking out for number one. The W&OD out west is sparsely used and while we may think SolarBikeCar is a jackass, he's not a serious threat to trail users because there are so few. The Elf would be a serious hazard on the Custis. Man, that trail is busy in the mornings! I don't envy those that use it to commute, but realize it's really one of the only safe ways into the city from Arlington by bike.

    Since I don't ride an e-bike, I'm perfectly content with laws that ban them But I also would be disappointed if pedestrians and slower traffic joined forces to ban bicycles from these trails, so I realize that's a bit hypocritical. But I don't see anything wrong with treating e-bikes as a different mode of transportation. Sure, they're like bikes, but I think you could just as easily argue that they're more like electric mopeds or motorcycles. I mean, the Sondors e fat bike weights more and goes faster than the Surge electric scooter (http://www.dynacraftwheels.com/24v-surge-city-scooter).

    Anyway, I think the point is that everyone will make sure they're on the inside of the circle they draw. I think that having trails that are restricted to human-powered activities is perfectly reasonable, just like I think having off-road trails where mountain bikers are not allowed is perfectly reasonable. I think that having people ride electric-assist bikes to get to work is also perfectly reasonable. Maybe if the W&OD recognized their role as a transportation path instead of just a recreation path we'd get both specific allowance of [some class of] e-bikes and -- more valuable to me -- plowed trails.

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