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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #251
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    It's possible that's true, but it's also possible this is confirmation bias. Ie. you think "Phew, that person passed really close and is weaving like a jerk -- oh, look it's an ebike." while 5 ebikes pass responsibly or ride on behind you and are not noticed.

    Today I was at the intersection of the Custis and Fort Myer, stopped at red with a total of 3 ebikes and 2 normal bikes. 2 normals and 1 ebike run the red. You could look at that and say 100% of normal bikes are scofflaws and only 33% of ebikes, but it's all anecdotal. It also doesn't change the fact that the problem is the behavior, not the bike.



    I ride the Custis daily. Even on "crowded" days. It's not crowded. I've never missed a light, even with the short timing at Lynn.



    No one in this forum is saying this. We are saying "it's the behavior, not the bike". And we're saying that more bikes in the wild make all of us safer.



    There are some places where there are parallel routes that have PBLs, but I can't think of any where the entire parallel route is safe. You mention Eads -- The problems with the construction and the conflict at the maintenance facility are well documented, and the recent issue with the blocked PBL. Not to mention that Eads doesn't have a PBL for the entire length, and Eads won't get you into to the District. The choices are either to take the CC connector back to the MVT, which means a significant detour that doesn't even avoid the most crowded part of the trail, or to go through the Pentagon, over the LBJ wooden bridge and through the Marina parking lot to the MVT. That route is not obvious or well marked, or really all that easy to navigate (curb cuts around the bridge, anyone)?

    And aside from Eads, I can't think of one route that has PBLs near trails. This is certainly a reason to add PBLs to Wilson (to provide an alternative to the Bluemont) and Lee (alternative to Custis), but instead of banning ebikes from trails, we should build alternative routes that will attract the faster riders (on ebikes or not).
    I guess the Custis is less crowded than I thought. I think the MVT from 14th Street Bridge to 4MRT is almost always crowded (as I define it) on a nice day at PM rush hour (I guess the difference in appeal, especially to pedestrians, of a river view vs a highway sound wall). Lots of riders at varying speeds, runners, and pedestrians. Not congested to the point where folks are forced to slow down, like I395 at rush hour, but congested to the point where its a deterrent to many riders. I also know at least one pedestrian who will not walk on the MVT (in the presumably less congested part in Alexandria, between 4MRT and Old Town) because of the cyclists (behavior, but I think also sheer numbers).

    There are clearly MUTs where more users would be helpful - ones that have had security issues, like the MBT or even Holmes Run. But for the most part I don't think "critical mass" really applies to the more popular trails. They are already really popular enough to make it clear to the powers that be that more trails would be great - but there are lots of calls on funds, and building new MUTs is not cheap or simple.

    As I already implied, Eads is not perfect. The connection to Boundary Channel is already scheduled for improvement. Improving enforcement against parked vehicles, and improving the connection to 14th Street, is I guess a heavy lift when not many people are using it. And I know that PBLs and buffered lanes are still too scarce, though there are also conventional bike lanes (not all of which are terrible) in many places that are parallel, and in many places in road low stress bikeways, and some that should be low stress to people capable of going over 20MPH uphill without breaking a sweat.

    And note, I am not calling for enforcing bans on ebikes on the trails (I think the bans are already in place legally in at least some jurisdictions?). I am taking issue with applying the "critical mass is good" logic to the MUTs (as Steve O suggested), at least the most popular ones. I strongly believe in that approach in general - that more riders, of any kind, for any purpose, on anything that looks like a bike however it is powered helps us in a lot of ways - making cars more likely to expect us, justifying more infra, etc, etc. But I think most of those ways apply less, if at all to the more popular MUTs.

    It is of course possible that I am overly focused on the issues with MVT - the part north of 4MRT is on my usual commute (as well as lots of my weekend rides) and the part in Alexandria is of great concern to me as an advocate. Aside from the 4MRT east of Shirlington I seldom ride any other MUTs except on weekends. IME the W&OD is an issue in the Town of Vienna at least. I don't ride the CCT much but I do get the impression that there is a good bit of conflict associated with the volume and behavior of high speed cyclists there.

    So in general I think we are better off encouraging more people to ride off the MUTs. The people who can do so most easily are generally the fastest riders, either ebikes or regular bikes.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 08-01-2017 at 04:09 PM.

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  3. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    No. We already have crowded trails,
    ...........
    That is a reason to keep ebike riders OFF the trails.
    Disagree. Keep in mind that each e-bike rider is a person who will then make another decision. Keeping e-bikes off the trails does not make those humans vanish.
    They will either:
    - Find another place to ride that may or may not exist or may or may not feel safe and comfortable
    - Get back in their car

    I don't like the second option.

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  5. #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    There are some places where there are parallel routes that have PBLs, but I can't think of any where the entire parallel route is safe. You mention Eads -- The problems with the construction and the conflict at the maintenance facility are well documented, and the recent issue with the blocked PBL
    The MVT has had recurring issues with broken glass. One of our rare bike fatalities in the last couple of years was to a rider on the Henson Trail. Don't think we have yet had any fatalaties on a PBL (we must have had one on a conventional bike lane, there are so many more, but I can't recall hearing of any) I never feel as anxious riding in the Eads lanes as I do crossing Shirlington Road on the 4MRT. In addition to my disagreement about the effect of critical mass on the trails from a policy and outreach POV, I want to push back on the "roads, VC style or in bike lanes are dangerous, while trails are safe" There is a lot that can go wrong on the trails (someone I know from BPAC was recently injured on the MVT- my wife was injured riding a CaBi on the MVT, etc) and its quite possible to ride very safely even on imperfect in road infra.

  6. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    Disagree. Keep in mind that each e-bike rider is a person who will then make another decision. Keeping e-bikes off the trails does not make those humans vanish.
    They will either:
    - Find another place to ride that may or may not exist or may or may not feel safe and comfortable
    - Get back in their car

    I don't like the second option.

    At this point there are still not enough Ebike riders to really matter (I think). As their numbers increase, we need to use that to make the case for more in road infra (both seg infra and more rideable "bikeways", and also encourage ebike riders (as well as others) to take it.

    I just don't think that lots of new ebike riders>crowded trails>wider trails is really a likely path to the promised multimodal future. Widening other than a few spots is too hard (trails pressed against water features and bridge underpasses, wetlands, permeable surface issues, as well as costs). And the intermediate stage - trails crowded enough to get the attention of policy makers - will piss off too many non bike trail users. Which is not good.

    Put people in bike lanes and you use infra that is A. relatively cheap B. something planners often like for traffic calming anyway C. that has no legal pedestrian usage.

    Now I am still pushing for MUT expansion where possible - we have a couple still under discussion in the City, with some new state funding, IIUC, and I am happy about the proposed widening on the W&OD, and would love to see it where possible on the MVT, and really want to see the bridge on the W&OD and the underpass at Shirlington Road. But all of those things are not "the future" In road, IMO, is the future.

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    Why hasnt any of energy poured into these 26 pages discussed teaching/training responsible e-bike ownership instead of banning them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    And aside from Eads, I can't think of one route that has PBLs near trails. This is certainly a reason to add PBLs to Wilson (to provide an alternative to the Bluemont) and Lee (alternative to Custis), but instead of banning ebikes from trails, we should build alternative routes that will attract the faster riders (on ebikes or not).
    If the intent is to provide space that will attract faster riders away from the MUTs, conventional bike lanes would be a better option than PBLs in most locations.

    The dangers of PBL interactions with crossing and turning traffic are magnified at higher speeds. Bike lanes that are adjacent to general lanes (with no obstacles in between) offer much more time and space for reacting to and avoiding typical urban hazards. They also offer more opportunity for passing slower riders.

    For my own safety, I find that I need to slow down anytime I use a flat PBL. Whenever I wish to ride fast, I avoid them entirely. At higher speeds, E-bike riders will face this same calculus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    If the intent is to provide space that will attract faster riders away from the MUTs, conventional bike lanes would be a better option than PBLs in most locations.

    The dangers of PBL interactions with crossing and turning traffic are magnified at higher speeds. Bike lanes that are adjacent to general lanes (with no obstacles in between) offer much more time and space for reacting to and avoiding typical urban hazards. They also offer more opportunity for passing slower riders.

    For my own safety, I find that I need to slow down anytime I use a flat PBL. Whenever I wish to ride fast, I avoid them entirely. At higher speeds, E-bike riders will face this same calculus.
    But take a street like Lee. Unless they do something to drastically slow down vehicles, a simple bike lane won't feel safe enough even at high speeds. (I ride it often, and there is a painted lane for part of it). Dedicated bike signals help

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    Over 36 hours passed between when the op-ed was posted and this thread went into full fledged action. My faith in the Forum was shaken, but now it is restored!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    But take a street like Lee
    . . . PLEASE! (sorry, couldn't help myself)

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoot View Post
    If the intent is to provide space that will attract faster riders away from the MUTs, conventional bike lanes would be a better option than PBLs in most locations.

    The dangers of PBL interactions with crossing and turning traffic are magnified at higher speeds. Bike lanes that are adjacent to general lanes (with no obstacles in between) offer much more time and space for reacting to and avoiding typical urban hazards. They also offer more opportunity for passing slower riders.

    For my own safety, I find that I need to slow down anytime I use a flat PBL. Whenever I wish to ride fast, I avoid them entirely. At higher speeds, E-bike riders will face this same calculus.
    I would think buffered lanes as well.

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