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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post

    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.
    There really aren't very good alternatives to Lee and Custis. There's Clarendon/Wilson close in, with worse options further out, and there's winding your way around through the neighborhoods if you can figure it out and have the time.

    Back before Arlington plowed trails, I would take Lee Highway in the snow, but eventually lost my nerve and went the neighborhood route. Lee Highway has a speed limit that should make it conducive to cycling, but the road is designed more like a highway and some drive it as such. There are bike lanes in some areas, but they're not especially useful because they don't go very far or connect to each other. So it's generally take the lane, which is okay if you feel like always wondering what's about to slam into you from behind or cut into you as it passes. (I was right hooked at Quinn; not very fun.)

    Pedestrians have been hit in crosswalks in areas with 30/35 mph speed limits, such as at N. Edison Street, where you would think that a road with that speed limit should make a crosswalk safe. I would love to see Lee Highway made pedestrian and cyclist friendly from end to end. I wonder if the tolls on 66 are only going to make it worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    A. Legalize them ONLY on the bridge trails, and the minimum needed trails to access the bridges.
    Last week David Alpert reported the ebikeshare company "JUMP would like to see DC amend its rules to allow at least "class 1" e-bikes on trails, where they are now prohibited." Maybe this will find its way into feedback on the DC dockless bikeshare trial when it wraps up in spring next year. On the recent Kojo show on the topic of permitting ebikes access to trails, at the 26'30" mark Greg Billing described WABA has not advocated on behalf of ebikes but for one letter sent to Maryland in the past five years. I'm unsure who, how, and when 18 DCMR 1201.18 should be amended/changed to permit ebikes on DC bridge bicycle infrastructure. In the WABA member survey I filled out I suggested WABA advocate for change but am unsure if this will happen.
    Last edited by Dewey; 11-15-2017 at 11:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    There really aren't very good alternatives to Lee and Custis. There's Clarendon/Wilson close in, with worse options further out, and there's winding your way around through the neighborhoods if you can figure it out and have the time.
    If you are on a class 3 ebike, you are doing 28MPH (well 25MPH if you are a PAL, since I guess these are all 25MPH streets) even uphills. How much time are you actually losing on a typical commute, versus say going 18MPH on the Custis? I acknowledge that banning class 3 ebikes will involve SOME inconvenience for a few people. But is it enough inconvience for enough people to warrant a general legalization of class 3 ebikes on trails?

  5. #894
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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.

    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.
    Yeah, I was making the assumption that the reason an e-bike going >20mph on Lee felt safer is because it is going closer to the speed of traffic. But if we're restricting this to class-3 e-bikes with a top-speed of around 28mph, that is still slower than traffic in 25mph zones, so the cyclist is still not able to just pretend to be a car and take the full lane without expectation of getting passed. And definitely cars are not going to hang around behind a cyclist going 22mph on Lee Hwy.

    But I still would need to see some data to suggest that going faster (particularly above 20mph) is safer; this goes against everything I know to be true about riding a bicycle. It is also, I assume, why motorcycles are so incredibly dangerous as compared to bicycles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    If you are on a class 3 ebike, you are doing 28MPH (well 25MPH if you are a PAL, since I guess these are all 25MPH streets) even uphills. How much time are you actually losing on a typical commute, versus say going 18MPH on the Custis? I acknowledge that banning class 3 ebikes will involve SOME inconvenience for a few people. But is it enough inconvience for enough people to warrant a general legalization of class 3 ebikes on trails?
    The time lost I refer to is due to zig-zagging through the neighborhoods, which aren't a direct route. It's more than max speed, it's stop and go, and adding a few miles. For me, on a regular bike, it was about 10 to 15 minutes. I'd have to check the mileage, but estimate is 10+ rather than 8.5 for my route.

    I am for banning Class 3 eBikes on trails. Making places like Lee safer for everyone would help make that more meaningful because it would provide usable alternatives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.
    The point about hills is good. I don't know if Class 2s can actually maintain 20mph uphill. As I understand it, manufacturers have 2 options for compliance: 1) have a speed limiter or 2) have the motor cut off at the W that would allow a 200(?) lb person to go 20mph on the flat. If they choose 1, then a class 2 can only go 20mph uphill if the manufacturer built the bike with a motor stronger than is needed when it's flat or downhill (i.e. most of the time). If the manufacturer choose 2, then clearly the class 2 can't go 20mph uphill.

    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.
    No, it's also about streets like Quincy, with a speed limit of 25mph (and a door zone bike lane, which, being in the door zone, necessitates swerving into traffic often). Or Key, with a 25 mph speed limit and no bike lane, but a fair amount of traffic. Both of these are definitely more comfortable at 25mph than at 20mph.

    I used Lee as an example because it's an obvious alternative to the Custis between Rosslyn and Lyon Village SC.

    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.
    Maybe, but there are other areas where the only safe route (without significant detour) is a trail. We'd need to identify those, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    B. Put them on a bus rack (and off hours, on metrorail)
    Doesn't work for cargo bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    C. Walk them across
    Seriously? Bridges are a mile long. And with kids on my bike?!?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.
    Both future conditions. Good to push for, as long as class 3 ebikes are allowed in the interim.

    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.
    HA!!!! You clearly have never been on the Memorial Bridge. It's a 8 lane highway, and people drive accordingly. We would need constant speed enforcement, and even then it can only help so much. So I'll chalk that up to future condition.
    Last edited by dasgeh; 11-15-2017 at 01:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    If you are on a class 3 ebike, you are doing 28MPH (well 25MPH if you are a PAL, since I guess these are all 25MPH streets) even uphills. How much time are you actually losing on a typical commute, versus say going 18MPH on the Custis? I acknowledge that banning class 3 ebikes will involve SOME inconvenience for a few people. But is it enough inconvience for enough people to warrant a general legalization of class 3 ebikes on trails?
    I don't get your point. If you have a class 3 ebike and those are banned on the trails, then you don't have the choice to slow down and use the trail. If you instead buy a class 2 ebike and take the trail, then you'll going to feel less safe once you're not on a trail - e.g. on that stretch of road with a 25 mph speed limit between the trail and your house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Yeah, I was making the assumption that the reason an e-bike going >20mph on Lee felt safer is because it is going closer to the speed of traffic. But if we're restricting this to class-3 e-bikes with a top-speed of around 28mph, that is still slower than traffic in 25mph zones, so the cyclist is still not able to just pretend to be a car and take the full lane without expectation of getting passed. And definitely cars are not going to hang around behind a cyclist going 22mph on Lee Hwy.

    But I still would need to see some data to suggest that going faster (particularly above 20mph) is safer; this goes against everything I know to be true about riding a bicycle. It is also, I assume, why motorcycles are so incredibly dangerous as compared to bicycles.
    It's that it FEELS safer. Yes, you still get passed, but you get passed less on neighborhood streets going 25 mph than you do going 20mph. And when you get passed (on a neighborhood street or on Lee) the speed differential between you and the car is less, so it feels safer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I don't get your point. If you have a class 3 ebike and those are banned on the trails, then you don't have the choice to slow down and use the trail. If you instead buy a class 2 ebike and take the trail, then you'll going to feel less safe once you're not on a trail - e.g. on that stretch of road with a 25 mph speed limit between the trail and your house.


    My point is that if you class 3 ebikes are allowed to use the trail, the route is Custis, at 18MPH max. The alternative FOR THE CLASS 3 owner if banned on the custis (and lee highway is not made bike friendly anytime soon) is to take the streets at 25MPH (but see huskerdont above) - longer, but faster (assuming people are not riding their class 3 ebikes over 18 MPH on the Custis)

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    I really don't get the "infrastructure isn't safe, so the solution is to turn bikes into motorcycles to make it better" argument. For one thing, its not like motorcycles are safe. The problem is that people in multi-ton vehicles operate them like idiots and society doesn't really do anything about it, and our infrastructure for things that aren't cars in general sucks. Tossing motors at bikes does nothing to solve that, and tossing motors on bikes and then allowing them on infrastructure that wasn't designed for motorized transport just drags the same problem to a new venue.

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