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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I don't get why banning Class 3s (and above), knowing that will be hard to enforce, is somehow worse than banning all ebikes and knowing that will be equally hard to enforce.
    Its a lot more likely to be enforced, just because [motor] vs [non-motor] is much simpler than the whole class system, especially since there is basically no visual difference between a class 1, class 2 or class 3.

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    Does anyone know if California is putting in a "crapton" of effort? One advantage of federalism is, we get to see how things actually work out before trying them first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jabberwocky View Post
    Its a lot more likely to be enforced, just because [motor] vs [non-motor] is much simpler than the whole class system, especially since there is basically no visual difference between a class 1, class 2 or class 3.
    Won't miniaturization reduce visual difference between a class 1 and a human powered bike? Can't we require legal class 3's to be physically distinct, subject to confiscation (not only on trails, but anywhere in public)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Does anyone know if California is putting in a "crapton" of effort?
    Has rider behavior changed on paved bike paths in California in the two years since the classification system was put in place with the passage of A.B. 1096? Do the statistics show an increase in the number of bicycle accidents or liability cases? Hopefully someone will be doing the research.
    Last edited by Dewey; 11-06-2017 at 08:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Does anyone know if California is putting in a "crapton" of effort? One advantage of federalism is, we get to see how things actually work out before trying them first.
    The only thing I recently learned is that the class of e-bike has to be printed clearly on the vehicle to comply w/ the California class law. (I guess the California's class system has been picked up by a bunch of states.) This was in context of mountain biking, but the assumption was that the land managers can check e-bikes for compliance (on MTB trails).

    (For reference, this was an interesting listen, though only loosely related to this discussion: https://cyclingtips.com/2017/08/cycl...g-singletrack/)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    That's easy: mode separation on the trails. People advocating for ebikes as a panacea for transportation issues should stop putting the cart before the horse. The infrastructure we have doesn't support it, but there's no real question about what the infrastructure that would support it looks like.
    Wait, what? Who's advocating for ebikes as a panacea? I advocate for them as one piece in a much, much larger puzzle. I also consistently advocate for mode separation trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I don't get why banning Class 3s (and above), knowing that will be hard to enforce, is somehow worse than banning all ebikes and knowing that will be equally hard to enforce.
    Again, because it's really easy to go looking for an asshat and then give him a ticket for having an electric motorcycle on the trail. It's really hard to go looking for an asshat and give him a ticket for behavior or "classness". Also, social pressure and establishing norms--ain't nobody going to understand the norms of "class", but they can grasp the norm of whether or not a motor is ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Again, because it's really easy to go looking for an asshat and then give him a ticket for having an electric motorcycle on the trail. It's really hard to go looking for an asshat and give him a ticket for behavior or "classness". Also, social pressure and establishing norms--ain't nobody going to understand the norms of "class", but they can grasp the norm of whether or not a motor is ok.
    Motorcycles, electric and otherwise, are banned from bike lanes, PBLs, etc. AFAICT, currently in Va (and in Ca under the new law) class 1, 2 and 3 ebikes are allowed. Your logic would suggest that this is not feasible, either as a matter of enforcement or norms, so that to avoid motorcycles in the PBLs we need to ban even Class 1 ebikes from the PBLs (something which again, AFAIK, no one has suggested). Are you calling for a full ebike ban from PBLs and also from conventional bike lanes?

    Also, not clear why LE if they can seek out and find an asshat (something they do not seem to do with the many asshats on human powered bikes on the trails) cannot manage to give a ticket to someone for riding the wrong class of ebike.

    Also, the classes of ebikes don't seem all that complicated, not for a bike community that can understand such nuances as clipless pedals you clip into, Idaho stops, etc, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Motorcycles, electric and otherwise, are banned from bike lanes, PBLs, etc. AFAICT, currently in Va (and in Ca under the new law) class 1, 2 and 3 ebikes are allowed. Your logic would suggest that this is not feasible, either as a matter of enforcement or norms, so that to avoid motorcycles in the PBLs we need to ban even Class 1 ebikes from the PBLs (something which again, AFAIK, no one has suggested). Are you calling for a full ebike ban from PBLs and also from conventional bike lanes?
    I'm not a minion of the industry so I sometimes just call them electric motorcycles. (It has two wheels and a motor...) You can sort out the differences if you want to.

    Also, not clear why LE if they can seek out and find an asshat (something they do not seem to do with the many asshats on human powered bikes on the trails) cannot manage to give a ticket to someone for riding the wrong class of ebike.
    Because I think there's zero chance that a police officer can/will try to figure out the horsepower or maximum speed of an electric thing on a trail. Just as cops give sometimes give tickets for things like "no headlight" but almost never give tickets for things like "headlights not aimed properly" (or even "passing too close" or "yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk"). It's more effort than it's worth, and they have things they'd rather do then argue in court over something non-binary. The human powered asshat example is exactly my point: in theory they could try and find that guy and cite him for some kind of unsafe something, but there's pretty much zero chance of being in the right place at the right time to observe the behavior, and by the time it got to court it would get knocked down to nothing, so they're not going to waste time trying.

    Also, the classes of ebikes don't seem all that complicated, not for a bike community that can understand such nuances as clipless pedals you clip into, Idaho stops, etc, etc.
    I thought the magic of ebikes is that a bunch of non-cyclists would suddenly show up and be able to do things that they couldn't before? Advocates can't argue both that it will have mass adoption and be a niche product only used by bike dorks, right? FWIW, I also have seen very few people on this thread claim to be able to tell the class of an ebike by looking--most people seem to be saying the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I'm not a minion of the industry so I sometimes just call them electric motorcycles. (It has two wheels and a motor...) You can sort out the differences if you want to.


    Because I think there's zero chance that a police officer can/will try to figure out the horsepower or maximum speed of an electric thing on a trail. Just as cops give sometimes give tickets for things like "no headlight" but almost never give tickets for things like "headlights not aimed properly" (or even "passing too close" or "yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk"). It's more effort than it's worth, and they have things they'd rather do then argue in court over something non-binary. The human powered asshat example is exactly my point: in theory they could try and find that guy and cite him for some kind of unsafe something, but there's pretty much zero chance of being in the right place at the right time to observe the behavior, and by the time it got to court it would get knocked down to nothing, so they're not going to waste time trying.


    I thought the magic of ebikes is that a bunch of non-cyclists would suddenly show up and be able to do things that they couldn't before? Advocates can't argue both that it will have mass adoption and be a niche product only used by bike dorks, right? FWIW, I also have seen very few people on this thread claim to be able to tell the class of an ebike by looking--most people seem to be saying the opposite.
    1. you did not answer my question. Do you support baninning all ebikes (including class 1s) from PBL's and other bike lanes?

    2. My point about non enforcement against human powered bikes was to suggest that its a fantasy to think there will be LE patrolling the trails to chase down people on ebikes if all ebikes are banned from trails. Even if we got LE on the trails (I have never seen LE riding bikes on the MVT, and I am pretty sure Alexandria Police don't patrol on bikes at all) As for distinguishing, I don't think I can even always tell an ebike from a human powered bike when I am being passed on a trail. I am assuming that more and more motors will be made smaller and less obtrusive, so it will become much harder for LE to tell by glancing whether a bike is an ebike at all. The only way to tell will be with some kind of mandatory visible label - a solution that would also work if we gave different rights to different classes of ebikes.

    3. As for the bike dorks, that was in response to your point about norms. I am presuming norms will only matter to people deep into the bike community. I don't imagine the question of norms is terribly relevant to people who have never ridden a bike before. Where do you expect they will get their norms from?

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