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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #231
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvcalhoun View Post
    Seriously, dude? Let's see who uses e-bikes?

    * Pregnant women.
    * People using box bikes to carry small children.
    * 80-year-olds who can't make it up those steep hills.

    None of these people would be safe on the roads.

    We have MUPs in the first place because:

    * Bikes can't keep up with traffic.
    * In a crash involving a car and a bike, the bike loses.
    * People on quiet vehicles that don't pollute want to escape the noise and pollution of auto traffic.
    * We want to encourage use of vehicles that don't pollute the way cars do.

    Every one of these things is equally true of e-bikes.

    The author seems to have confused an e-bike with a moped. But federal law already distinguishes between a vehicle that is mostly foot-powered, is no more noisy than a bike, and can only go about 20 miles per hour (which many can exceed without e-assist) and a moped. I wouldn't have an issue with also banning enclosed vehicles (e.g., the Elf) from the MUPs, because they do create more problems than regular bikes. I see no reason at all to ban other e-bikes.
    The e-bike users I see on the MUPs in Virginia are not seniors, pregnant women, or box bikes. They are overwhelmingly commuters, many of whom ride very fast, some up to the 28mph limit the e-bikes go. They are taking advantage of e-bikes to essentially get a scooter on to the MUPs and avoid traffic on the roadways.

    I would be supportive of e-bikes on MUPs if you could separate those who actually need assistance riding, from those that are just using loopholes in the law to get around traffic. Unfortunately, that would probably involved some kind of licensing or policing system which would be very hard to implement and burdensome on all bicyclists.

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  3. #232
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    Obviously, I'm not saying some people should be allowed e-bikes and others not. I'm merely voicing support for e-bikes with regard to those who might find them particularly useful. And my mention of the Gearcrusher was with regard to that individual's behavior, not his bike. I think we're all familiar with his antics.

    Which brings me back to my previous (rhetorical) question. If it's the behavior, not the bike, why not allow gas-powered moped?

  4. #233
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    Obviously, I'm not saying some people should be allowed e-bikes and others not. I'm merely voicing support for e-bikes with regard to those who might find them particularly useful. And my mention of the Gearcrusher was with regard to that individual's behavior, not his bike. I think we're all familiar with his antics.

    Which brings me back to my previous (rhetorical) question. If it's the behavior, not the bike, why not allow gas-powered moped?
    Because gas powered mopeds are noisy, which is one of the things we use MUPs to avoid. And because gas powered mopeds can keep up with traffic, so they don't need MUPs.

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  6. #234
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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    The e-bike users I see on the MUPs in Virginia are not seniors, pregnant women, or box bikes. They are overwhelmingly commuters, many of whom ride very fast, some up to the 28mph limit the e-bikes go. They are taking advantage of e-bikes to essentially get a scooter on to the MUPs and avoid traffic on the roadways.

    I would be supportive of e-bikes on MUPs if you could separate those who actually need assistance riding, from those that are just using loopholes in the law to get around traffic. Unfortunately, that would probably involved some kind of licensing or policing system which would be very hard to implement and burdensome on all bicyclists.
    Well, the CCT has a 15 mph speed limit. Enforcing that would be more useful than limiting the class of vehicle.

    I rarely even notice whether a bike has e-assist. I can tell only if I look at the wheel, not by its speed or the noise it makes. So why should I care whether they are on the trail?

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  8. #235
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvcalhoun View Post
    Well, the CCT has a 15 mph speed limit. Enforcing that would be more useful than limiting the class of vehicle.

    I rarely even notice whether a bike has e-assist. I can tell only if I look at the wheel, not by its speed or the noise it makes. So why should I care whether they are on the trail?
    <begin rant>I don't know why you should care, but here's why I do: in the very near future, e-bikes will have a very large impact on MUPs in this area. Ten years from now, I think the paths are going to be loaded with sub-$1,500 e-bikes going 20 mph+, and most of them won't be piloted by pregnant women and senior citizens. That's gonna suck. I completely agree that enforcement would be more desirable than limiting a class of vehicle, particularly since e-bikes are designed to go unnoticed and unheard. For example, I could support speed limits -- 15mph during commuting hours 6-9am, 4-7pm, and 11-4 on weekends. But enforcement is not feasible. Actual traffic cops would need to do it and I don't see that happening.</end rant>

    BTW, a Puch Maxi had a top speed of either 20 or 25 mph, and had pedals. It was the e-bike of the 1970s, designed, as e-bikes are, to skirt existing regulations.

  9. #236
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    <begin rant>I don't know why you should care, but here's why I do: in the very near future, e-bikes will have a very large impact on MUPs in this area. Ten years from now, I think the paths are going to be loaded with sub-$1,500 e-bikes going 20 mph+, and most of them won't be piloted by pregnant women and senior citizens. </end rant>
    You clearly have some sort of animosity towards able-bodied using ebikes. Why?

    As far as this future where tons of ebikes going 20+ on the trails, I just don't think there's any reason to expect that. Our trails are not designed for vehicles to go that fast, which means that it's dangerous to go that fast. When you're on a bike, even an ebike (or any bike), if you fall, you get injured, so you have every incentive to not fall. It's obvious that the trails have blind curves, bumps, etc, so most folks don't push their bikes to the max. For example, today I was on the Custis, approaching the intersection with Nash, going downhill. There was a pedestrian, so I slowed and prepared to pass, when a couple with a stroller popped up from Nash, making the pass impossible. I had slowed and the 3 cyclists behind me had slowed (I believe there were 2 ebikes between us 4, but with the hill, the e part was superfluous), so it wasn't a problem to stop. I see incidents like this every day.

    If that changes in the future, it's because we've started to build trails specifically for bikes to go faster, which would include separation from slower users. That would be awesome! If you're puttering around at 8 mph - either you're with your kids, tired, or just enjoying the view - you take the slow trail. People going 25 take the fast trail, which allows for people to bike farther, which means more people on bikes. Win-win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    You clearly have some sort of animosity towards able-bodied using ebikes. Why?

    If that changes in the future, it's because we've started to build trails specifically for bikes to go faster, which would include separation from slower users. That would be awesome! If you're puttering around at 8 mph - either you're with your kids, tired, or just enjoying the view - you take the slow trail. People going 25 take the fast trail, which allows for people to bike farther, which means more people on bikes. Win-win.
    There's no need to characterize my position about a public issue as a personal hangup simply because we disagree. I do have reservations about e-bikes for safety reasons, and I think a laissez faire approach to them is short-sighted. Yep, it'd be awesome if we could just double or triple the width of every bike path in the region. I don't see that happening in the next 10 years though. Perhaps this thread will still be active by then, and we can check out the accuracy of our forecasts.

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  13. #238
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    The absolute last thing we want to do is throw obstacles in the way of getting people out of their 2800+ pound steel maiming machines. So we need to throw our efforts at figuring out how we can all co-exist. That almost certainly means adjustments and changes to our current infrastructure. Is it a smooth path from our current (few and far between) 10-foot wide MUPs and (everywhere else) multi-lane roads and highways to the utopian multi-modal future? Of course not. But crowding our trails is actually a way to get the attention of decision makers and move along this path.
    The trail counters count e-bikes and regular bikes the same. Bump those numbers up, up, up I say.

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  15. #239
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    <begin rant>I don't know why you should care, but here's why I do: in the very near future, e-bikes will have a very large impact on MUPs in this area. Ten years from now, I think the paths are going to be loaded with sub-$1,500 e-bikes going 20 mph+, and most of them won't be piloted by pregnant women and senior citizens. That's gonna suck. I completely agree that enforcement would be more desirable than limiting a class of vehicle, particularly since e-bikes are designed to go unnoticed and unheard. For example, I could support speed limits -- 15mph during commuting hours 6-9am, 4-7pm, and 11-4 on weekends. But enforcement is not feasible. Actual traffic cops would need to do it and I don't see that happening.</end rant>

    BTW, a Puch Maxi had a top speed of either 20 or 25 mph, and had pedals. It was the e-bike of the 1970s, designed, as e-bikes are, to skirt existing regulations.
    If ten years from now, there is so much traffic (e-bikes or otherwise) on the CCT that traffic sucks, I will be overjoyed, because it will mean that a whole lot of people are biking rather than driving. (I don't consider that a given; remember that in the 70s, there was a big boom in both regular bikes and e-bikes, but it ended up fizzling.) And once there are that many bikes, bicyclists are safer on the roads, and more infrastructure is built for them.

    As for cyclists going 20 mph+, there are a lot of them that are not e-bikes. Is there some reason you care about the ones that are e-bikes more than the ones that are regular bikes?

    And if traffic on the trails gets so bad that it's an issue, I'd much rather get rid of the pedestrians than the e-bikes. The difference in speed between a normal bike going 15 mph and a bike going 20 mph is less than the difference between that normal bike and a pedestrian going 3 mph, so the collision is going to be more of an issue if you hit a pedestrian than if a fast bike hits you. Plus, the fast bikes tend to be a lot more predictable (going around you to the left) than the pedestrians, who have a tendency to stop in the middle of the trail and/or cross the trail without warning.

    So long as you're not concerned about pedestrians, your concern about e-bikes comes across as more to do with a moral issue (riders of e-bikes just aren't trying hard enough) than with practical issues.

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  17. #240
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    There's no need to characterize my position about a public issue as a personal hangup simply because we disagree.
    I only bring it up because it appears in nearly every post you've made about the issue. If you don't have a personal hangup or your personal hangup is irrelevant, stop bringing it up.

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