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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    the argument here for banning ebikes seems to boil down to "I don't want to share trails with people unlike me."
    Are you just trying to bait someone into fat-shaming people on e-bikes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    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.
    I'm concerned that so many here are willing to draw such a small circle that they are the inside, but so many are left outside. In this area in particular, the difference between inside your circle and outside your circle boils down to fitness: an 110 lb out of shape woman on an ebike weighs less and goes no faster than a 200 lb fit dude on a carbon bike, the only difference is how they got to the speed (as an example). When we're talking about transportation, fitness just absolutely shouldn't matter.

    In other words, I don't think having a trail that serves transportation needs limited to only human power is reasonable (I also don't think it's legal, as it would violate the ADA).

    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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)
    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Meatmotor View Post
    Are you just trying to bait someone into fat-shaming people on e-bikes?
    That is what seems to be behind the "ban them" argument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.
    The status quo is that if a woman biking on her kids on her e-cargo-bike on the MBT gets hit by a dude on a carbon bike coming the other way who pulled into her lane around a blind curve to pass a jogger, and her bike is totaled and her kids end up in the hospital, she'll probably be on the hook for the entire bill. Are you ok with that status quo?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    I haven't seen you for months. Ever wonder why?
    Nope....

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    The status quo is that if a woman biking on her kids on her e-cargo-bike on the MBT gets hit by a dude on a carbon bike coming the other way who pulled into her lane around a blind curve to pass a jogger, and her bike is totaled and her kids end up in the hospital, she'll probably be on the hook for the entire bill. Are you ok with that status quo?
    1. Personally I would like to see Virginia change to a comparative negligence standard from contributory negligence. That would not only largely resolve the issue above, but would address a wider range of injustices that won't be solved by changing the NPS rule on the MVT (what happens on the MBT is up to DC and I have no position on it)

    2.Where is the evidence that those things are happening?
    Again, its a hypothetical versus a hypothetical.

    Perhaps I should have worded it more carefully - not so much "happy with the status quo" as "changing the rules in either direction is a low priority for advocacy"

    ADA lawsuit possibility is interesting. Anyone bringing forward a suit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I'm concerned that so many here are willing to draw such a small circle that they are the inside, but so many are left outside. In this area in particular, the difference between inside your circle and outside your circle boils down to fitness: an 110 lb out of shape woman on an ebike weighs less and goes no faster than a 200 lb fit dude on a carbon bike, the only difference is how they got to the speed (as an example). When we're talking about transportation, fitness just absolutely shouldn't matter.
    I guess the first question is whether the NVRPA treat the W&OD as a transit corridor. My understanding was that to them this is a recreational park so their policy was based on recreation first. Hence no plowing. (Yes, they do use a snowblower now, which is a big help for people that also have studded tires.) I realize we're talking about more than the W&OD, but I wonder if this focus/responsibility is part of the problem when it comes to e-bike policy.

    I don't think I agree with the proposition here, though. Indeed fitness does not matter for transportation; people can take public transportation, drive, etc. But if I decided to be like Subby and start commuting by running, I'd probably need to be able to run (or even walk) a few miles (or, ideally, 15). The hypothetical out-of-shape commuter could also wake up earlier to ride slower or live closer to work. Having a motor is certainly more convenient, but I fail to see how lack of motor prevents this particular hypothetical person from using the trail. And I definitely don't think that we should give people the option of buying a class-3 e-bike to ride 30mph down a mixed-use trail because they want to have a house with a 4-car garage in Ashburn and not wake up early for their "bike ride" in to work in the city. They might as well buy a motorcycle. Or I guess they effectively have done, in that scenario.

    I think there's a fundamental difference in how we look at this; admittedly, I think yours is probably a position that is better for the world -- you certainly put far more effort into advancing it. I care less about bicycles for transportation (I agree in removing cars, but not sure about favoring bicycles over public transportation) and instead am interested in cycling for recreation and sport -- and cycling as a community. E-bikes don't do much to that end for me. Sure, I ride my bike to work, but I do it for fitness (and because I hate sitting in traffic).

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.
    Exactly that. I don't think "severity of injury in collision with bike at 30MPH vs severity of injury in collision with bike at walking speed" is something that even needs serious study. The basic physics involved are so straightforward that to question the relationship between speed and outcomes is ridiculous. (Even calling for a study of something that fundamental smacks of classic NIMBY delaying tactics more than serious inquiry.) Now, there aren't enough instances to make any kind of valid local study of comparative outcomes, and that will remain true as long as the number of fast bikes on the trails continues to be limited. When that will change is after the trails have reached/passed their capacity, at which time it will be difficult or impossible to put the genie back in the bottle and ban large numbers of people already on the trails. We're pretty close to capacity on the more popular trails during peak hours now, and unless bags of money fall from somewhere I don't see how we get useful mode separation on the current infrastructure. We already know that best practices (from places that do trails well) indicate that the trails we have now are doing it wrong. We've gotten away with having cyclists and pedestrians and dogs and chickens and whatever all mixed up on the trails mainly because the utilization is so low--but we know that the current designs are suboptimal, and there is no way that adding large numbers of faster users can make the situation better. We don't need to study our trails to death, because other places have already shown that outcomes are improved when you separate fast & slow trail users.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I'm concerned that so many here are willing to draw such a small circle that they are the inside, but so many are left outside. In this area in particular, the difference between inside your circle and outside your circle boils down to fitness: an 110 lb out of shape woman on an ebike weighs less and goes no faster than a 200 lb fit dude on a carbon bike, the only difference is how they got to the speed (as an example). When we're talking about transportation, fitness just absolutely shouldn't matter.
    I think we're just talking past each other here, as you seem to be fixated on current e-bikes that have a limited ability to boost speeds and depend on pedal assist, and disregard the concerns that such legal distinctions are wishful thinking. I don't have any objection to moms on ebikes tootling along slowly and considerately (and I doubt many people do) but I don't see any way that opening the floodgates for electric vehicles on the trails results in that user being a representative sample.

    In other words, I don't think having a trail that serves transportation needs limited to only human power is reasonable (I also don't think it's legal, as it would violate the ADA).
    As far as ADA goes, I don't think any reasonable person has ever complained about electric wheelchairs or other assistive devices posing a problem. People tend to recognize a reasonable accommodation when they see one. But somewhere in the continuum between an electric wheelchair and an electric motorcycle you pass the point of accommodation and start providing a whole new capability and causing a whole new set of issues.

    That is what seems to be behind the "ban them" argument.
    Rational debate over a topic about which reasonable people can disagree is facilitated if neither party attacks a strawman characterization of the motives of the other party.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    But if I decided to be like Subby and start commuting by running, I'd probably need to be able to run (or even walk) a few miles (or, ideally, 15).
    You just need an e-Elliptical Bike. The downside is that everyone will think you have a stutter. The upside is that you can justify going to 28 mph down the Custis on your Class 3 e-Elliptical Bike by stating that you need it for your stuttering disability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    I guess the first question is whether the NVRPA treat the W&OD as a transit corridor. My understanding was that to them this is a recreational park so their policy was based on recreation first.
    It's not just their policy, it's also their design. Replace the current MUT with a dedicated cycle track and distinct pedestrian facility and a lot of the objections would vanish.

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