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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #821
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Even if police can enforce nothing, changing the law still matters, because of the effect on civil suits and insurance.
    Some of us care a lot about what actually happens on the trails. Even if someone might be able to win a civil suit, the real effect will be that fast moving electric motorcycles will simply cause the trail to be abandoned by slower users. It just like the roads: it's not technically legal for a car to run up on the sidewalk, and if you do get killed by a driver doing that your heirs might get money, but in reality people don't care--they just give up on walking by high speed streets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Some of us care a lot about what actually happens on the trails. Even if someone might be able to win a civil suit, the real effect will be that fast moving electric motorcycles will simply cause the trail to be abandoned by slower users. It just like the roads: it's not technically legal for a car to run up on the sidewalk, and if you do get killed by a driver doing that your heirs might get money, but in reality people don't care--they just give up on walking by high speed streets.
    I guess I am assuming that the lawsuit thing just might be a deterrent for some people? (I think of it when deciding whether or not to Delaware a stop sign). I realize it probably won't be for most people, but then actual police enforcement of any particular trail rule (almost certain to be very spotty) is probably not going to be any more effective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I will give you that the classification argument is much more reasonable, but I just don't think having the ability to go 28mph is a deal killer. Most adults on most bikes can pick up that speed with modest pedaling on the steep Custis downhills. And they should control their speeds, just as someone on a Class 3 ebike should control their speed.
    Well, I'm looking for something that works in the real world, not "people should". People shouldn't speed on roads in cars either, but they do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I guess I am assuming that the lawsuit thing just might be a deterrent for some people? (I think of it when deciding whether or not to Delaware a stop sign). I realize it probably won't be for most people, but then actual police enforcement of any particular trail rule (almost certain to be very spotty) is probably not going to be any more effective.
    How often do people not speed in their cars because they don't want to be liable for hitting someone while breaking the law? <crickets>

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    How often do people not speed in their cars because they don't want to be liable for hitting someone while breaking the law? <crickets>
    1 How often to people refrain from going 5MPH over the speed limit
    2. How many jurisdictions (like DC) rely on speed cameras to ticket people going over 10 MPH over the limit?
    3. How many jurisdictions, like the ones in NoVa where speed cams are not allowed, have entire squads of police dedicated to traffic enforcement on the streets, at considerable cost, even with revenue from quite significant fines.

    How high a fine do you envision for riding an ebike on a MUT? How many police do you envision out there enforcing it? Do you envision some form of automated enforcement?

    I suspect that for violations by people on bikes (other than running stop signs in Old Town Alexandria and on Van Buren in Falls Church) civil liability will not be a much smaller deterrent than LE activity is.

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    Begs the question of what *would* work in the real world though. Leaving aside the issue of whether it's fair to all users, a complete ban might potentially be slightly easier to enforce, but it's still not going to be enforced. I have yet to see a suggested action that would keep any class of eBike off the trails (the same goes for speeding). So legally prohibiting those classes of eBike that can do the most harm makes the most sense to me: since we're not realistically going to be able to stop them anyway, then the liability issue becomes much more important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    1 How often to people refrain from going 5MPH over the speed limit
    2. How many jurisdictions (like DC) rely on speed cameras to ticket people going over 10 MPH over the limit?
    3. How many jurisdictions, like the ones in NoVa where speed cams are not allowed, have entire squads of police dedicated to traffic enforcement on the streets, at considerable cost, even with revenue from quite significant fines.

    How high a fine do you envision for riding an ebike on a MUT? How many police do you envision out there enforcing it? Do you envision some form of automated enforcement?

    I suspect that for violations by people on bikes (other than running stop signs in Old Town Alexandria and on Van Buren in Falls Church) civil liability will not be a much smaller deterrent than LE activity is.
    I'm pretty sure I've said this earlier in this same thread, but I have no expectation that there would be widespread enforcement of an ebike ban. (It's part of why I don't think legalizing them is particularly important.) I do think it's plausible that when someone is egregious enough that people start complaining, the police might try to get that one guy, and having an ebike ban makes it easier to deal with that problem than hoping he does something egregious while the police are actually watching. That's basically the status quo: people aren't supposed to ebike but nobody particularly cares about some bicycle station wagon tootling along. That sucks, is open to unfair selective enforcement, and is a much more realistic regime than anything else that's been proposed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    Begs the question of what *would* work in the real world though.
    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.

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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.
    Only arguments against that are (1) can't very easily do it on some trails like the Custis and (2) every place I've seen mode separation, people don't remain in their allotted area--even in Germany, although it was better than I thought it would be. I have never been to the Netherlands; maybe it works there.

    I would love to be wrong about either or both of those though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    Begs the question of what *would* work in the real world though. Leaving aside the issue of whether it's fair to all users, a complete ban might potentially be slightly easier to enforce, but it's still not going to be enforced. I have yet to see a suggested action that would keep any class of eBike off the trails (the same goes for speeding). So legally prohibiting those classes of eBike that can do the most harm makes the most sense to me: since we're not realistically going to be able to stop them anyway, then the liability issue becomes much more important.
    The liability issue would probably be the best deterrent. As ebikes are pretty expensive, those who can afford them have the most to lose. Also legal prohibitions on them, would allow for impoundment to deter misuse on trails.

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