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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    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.
    I would love to see some kind of widespread implementation of that middle ground. I would love to see more separation of foot traffic and vehicular traffic (including bikes in that sense), and additionally separation of bike traffic from motor vehicle traffic. It would be fantastic to see widespread adoption of NEVs (which I wholeheartedly believe that the ELF SHOULD be characterized as) instead of cars for those not able to ride bikes or need to haul things beyond what they feel is reasonable on a bike. I believe something like that would get more people out of cars, and might even act as a transition towards bikes. We have too much polarization in infrastructure right now and that middle ground is super hazy. How we implement that, how we set aside the space and money for this infrastructure, that's beyond me. More of an utopian fantasy really at this point. Perhaps banning current vehicular traffic from inside corporate limits, reserving it for NEVs, bikes, etc might be a good start. Have excessive amounts of parking outside of corporate limits, similar to what you see at metro stations. IDK, more just rambling at this point. Would be interesting to see....

  2. #242
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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.
    I am a little troubled by this. I am no hard core VCer, but I also know there is no way we are going to get MUTs (or even decent MUPs) everywhere. Much or even most seg infra strategy is focused on in road bike lanes (PBLs where possible, but not always). I can see the special concern for the small kids in trailers (though I have seen those on streets) but I am not entirely sure why being pregnant or being 80 YO, but riding a bike that makes it relatively easy to get up steep hills, in the road, is inherently dangerous.

    OTOH I also know that for the foreseeable future there are many places where the only alternatives to MUTs are high speed arterials with no bike infra. Of course that even impacts healthy young adult riders. Which is why for now ebike usage on trails is not a big concern for me, but I am reluctant to establish the expectation that it will always be good policy, as ebike adoption increases on the one hand, and as we get more PBLs (and better bike policies, traffic enforcement, etc) on the other hand. And very reluctant to encourage the idea that biking in the road is dangerous in general.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 08-01-2017 at 11:11 AM. Reason: homonym

  3. #243
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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.
    Yes, but that is not easy. For one, we don't have that many cops on bikes around the region. For another, most riders I think do not have speedometers (forgive me, I don't use a garmin, so not sure if that would work) and cannot always know how fast they are going - certainly not as easily as a driver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cvcalhoun View Post
    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?
    Well I would say because the total number of people who can go that fast on a regular bike is intrinsically limited, and unlikely to change all that much. While the number of potential Ebike users is far higher.

    As for banning peds from MULTIUSETRAILs that is absolutely not going to happen. They are a huge part of the constituency for the trails, which in many cases were built as ways to access nature, not as commuter routes (also not sure how that would work when say, someone on a bike has a mechanical problem, etc - we all became peds then). Pushing peds off the trails to accommodate bikes (absent an adjacent peds only trail) would be politically explosive - we just ain't that popular. (Heck, I don't think actually keeping peds out of in road PBLs is even politically feasible now, and probably not politically wise, as those users add to support for PBLs).

    While adding parallel bike and ped lanes is a great idea, there are huge areas of our trails where it is absolutely not feasible and many where it might be feasible but would be cost prohibitive. Ultimately the trails need to belong to the peds and the slower and less confident cyclists, and the faster and more confident cyclists belong on the roads (with improvements of all kinds - infra, enforcement, etc, to make that more feasible for more riders) . Meanwhile the addition of large numbers of fast but not confident riders to the trails is potentially problematic.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 08-01-2017 at 11:13 AM.

  5. #245
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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.
    YES YES YES. Well, maybe not the licensing part. Most of the e-bikes I encounter aren't good bike citizens. Most, not all. A few are starting to ring a bell before they whiz past me but they're still whizzing past me at too fast a speed and dodging in and out of pedestrians. The way they are being used isn't safe.

    I have no beef with e-bikes. In fact I'm trying to persuade a coworker to buy one since she lives in Barcroft (? I think that's her neighborhood or maybe it's the one just east of Barcroft; I know she has a major hill to climb right out of her house) and would commute into DC meaning she'd also have to climb back up a hill to come home. She cannot currently do this because of fitness/health issues but she really wants to be able to start exercising and wants to commute via bike. But she's going to need help for a few months to tackle those hills without getting discouraged and then quitting.

    The dude who rides on W&OD in the am (and has a ridiculous strava name but all of his rides are private now) commented on a public FB post the other day. I'll try to find it. He was basically defending his right to bike like a jerk. (Mark K something or other?)

  6. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    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.
    No. We already have crowded trails, sometimes parallel to underutilized (if imperfect) in road bike infrastructure. Case in point, the multimodal horror of the MVT on a beautiful weekday evening, and the almost emptiness of the Eads Street PBLs (I said if imperfect, okay?) . What we need to bump up are the number of riders on the PBLs (which are a lot easier and cheaper to place than new off road MUTs-- assume you do mean in park MUTs, not street adjacent MUPs, which have issues at street crossings and probably shouldn't be used by really fast cyclists, and IIUC, are not so used in the NL) That is a reason to keep ebike riders OFF the trails. Again, I realize this is very geographically specific - our old pal solarbikeman rides a section of the WOD that has no parallel PBLs that I know of - I recall asking in that discussion for the hive mind here to try to come up with a relatively high comfort alternative route, but I don't think anything came of that.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 08-01-2017 at 11:23 AM. Reason: infinitive

  7. #247
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    Actually, I didn't bring it up. The distinction between able-bodied and otherwise was in the editorial that sparked this latest conversation, and in cvcalhoun's claim that it's mostly pregnant women, parents, and seniors who ride e-bikes.

    The editorial's quotes from e-bike manufacturers makes it pretty clear that they the industry wants to frame the politics of e-bikes as of one of access for less-mobile groups, such as those cvcalhoun listed. But I think in the future, it'll be mostly able-bodied people riding e-bikes, if they aren't the majority already. I have no beef with the able-bodied riding an e-bikes, but since I think there will be A LOT of them, it does mean that I don't think that "fingers-crossed", or a "let's wait till things get really bad and then we'll get the infrastructure we want" are practical approaches to the issue of expanding e-bike use.

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    I haven't had a lot of bad experiences with e-bikers and have found most of them ride them responsibly. It is even hard to tell they are using them, until you see their speed with little riding effort. I do have reservations with the 10% of them that ride them like crazy though. You will think that it would be easier for them to gain the momentum lost when going around people or slowing on blind curves, but I guess they just love to be jerks.

    I remember the first time I saw the Gearcrusher. He attempted to go through a red light in Rosslyn going downhill, when a car that came out of nowhere almost hit him. "Pheww!" he exclaimed laughing. Two blocks later, a car was going to turn just before he was passing and he burst into expletives. Interesting character.

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    Today on the little piece of Westmorland St. that becomes 19th near Banneker Park I passed someone riding a Vespa-looking thing with a 2-stroke motor. What a stink! No way I would ever want those on the trails even if they can't seem to exceed 15 mph on level ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    YES YES YES. Well, maybe not the licensing part. Most of the e-bikes I encounter aren't good bike citizens. Most, not all. A few are starting to ring a bell before they whiz past me but they're still whizzing past me at too fast a speed and dodging in and out of pedestrians.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    No. We already have crowded trails, sometimes parallel to underutilized (if imperfect) in road bike infrastructure. Case in point, the multimodal horror of the MVT on a beautiful weekday evening, and the almost emptiness of the Eads Street PBLs (I said if imperfect, okay?) . What we need to bump up are the number of riders on the PBLs (which are a lot easier and cheaper to place than new off road MUTs-- assume you do mean in park MUTs, not street adjacent MUPs, which have issues at street crossings and probably shouldn't be used by really fast cyclists, and IIUC, are not so used in the NL) That is a reason to keep ebike riders OFF the trails. Again, I realize this is very geographically specific - our old pal solarbikeman rides a section of the WOD that has no parallel PBLs that I know of - I recall asking in that discussion for the hive mind here to try to come up with a relatively high comfort alternative route, but I don't think anything came of that.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    it does mean that I don't think that "fingers-crossed", or a "let's wait till things get really bad and then we'll get the infrastructure we want" are practical approaches to the issue of expanding e-bike use.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    No. We already have crowded trails, sometimes parallel to underutilized (if imperfect) in road bike infrastructure. Case in point, the multimodal horror of the MVT on a beautiful weekday evening, and the almost emptiness of the Eads Street PBLs (I said if imperfect, okay?) . What we need to bump up are the number of riders on the PBLs (which are a lot easier and cheaper to place than new off road MUTs-- assume you do mean in park MUTs, not street adjacent MUPs, which have issues at street crossings and probably shouldn't be used by really fast cyclists, and IIUC, are not so used in the NL) That is a reason to keep ebike riders OFF the trails. Again, I realize this is very geographically specific - our old pal solarbikeman rides a section of the WOD that has no parallel PBLs that I know of - I recall asking in that discussion for the hive mind here to try to come up with a relatively high comfort alternative route, but I don't think anything came of that.
    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).

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