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Thread: ELF pedal electric car on W&OD

  1. #301
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    hozn is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
    What a coincidence! I was also on the C&O that day, riding with NOVA-CBG. We saw an orange ELF parked off trail, appeared to be stopped by a Park Policeman on horse. It would have been around 1-2 pm.
    Interesting, I wonder if they decided to enforce the no-motorized vehicles rule?

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    Let's hope so--Elfs are a menace on the trails.

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    *elves

  4. #304
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    Default ELF update

    This thread was started about a year ago. Since I started using an ELF to commute between Sterling and Tysons on the W&OD and more recently along Route 7 eastbound, I've racked up 7,000 miles over a year and a half. Here's an update on my experience.

    Over the summer I started using the Route 7 eastbound "bike" lane after they finished construction between FFX Cnty Parkway and Reston Ave and repaved the badly deteriorating shoulder all the way to Tysons. My inbound commute decreased from 17 to 13 miles and from 52 to 36 minutes which on many days is the same or faster than a car. Most auto drivers are pretty chill about sharing the road when the shoulder is blocked by a deer carcass, trash bins, tire vomit or even a couch. I put on my turn signal and they slow down slightly to make a space for me to cut into the travel lanes and then back onto the shoulder. I still use the W&OD westbound since the Rt 7 shoulder westbound has too many missing shoulder sections and I don't want to press my luck playing frogger.

    Fortunately I've not had any incidents. No children, pets, wildlife, pedestrians or cyclists have been injured or killed by my presence on MUPs. Both the police and park staff had many opportunity to challenge my presence on the Virginia trails and have not. I've been fortunate not to have any accidents or even any close calls with cars and I've had no injuries myself.

    For me this works. An ELF allows me to get exercise and commute at the same time. I like it and look forward to my daily commute. Occasionally I'll pass someone who does a judgy hurump (and this post is sure to spark some of them to comment here, again) but most people seem content (perhaps even happy?) to share the road or trail with an ELF. To those, I say: thanks for being nice to me.

    P.S. that wasn't me on the C&O, that time.

  5. #305
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    are motorized vehicles allowed on the w&od?
    Last edited by JimK; 11-15-2016 at 12:27 AM.

  6. #306
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    Default I'm not a lawyer, but ....

    Quote Originally Posted by JimK View Post
    are motorized vehicles allowed on the w&od?
    Electric assist bicycles are regulated exactly like bicycles in Virginia and are specifically allowed on MUPs by law. Motorized skateboards are also permitted as is motorized wheelchairs. All other motor vehicles are prohibited. A gasoline powered bicycle is a motor vehicle and prohibited. An electric assist bicycle is not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    Electric assist bicycles are regulated exactly like bicycles in Virginia and are specifically allowed on MUPs by law. Motorized skateboards are also permitted as is motorized wheelchairs. All other motor vehicles are prohibited. A gasoline powered bicycle is a motor vehicle and prohibited. An electric assist bicycle is not.
    Can you please provide the code sections that you reference above?

  8. #308
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunyata View Post
    Can you please provide the code sections that you reference above?
    The Virginia code is pretty clear that electric assist bicycles are regulated like bicycles. The W&OD trail is a multi-use bikeway trail and thus any bicycle (electric assist or not) is permitted to use it.

    Virginia defines a shared use path as a bikeway (see 46.2-100.) Implicit in describing it as a bikeway is that bicycles are permitted to use it. Virginia Code defines two types of bicycles: bicycles and electric-assist bicycles. The Virginia Code sections that mentioned bicycles were recently updated to also include electric-assisted bicycles. This indicates a clear legislative intent to lump all bicycles together for regulatory purposes.

    In addition to bicycles of all types, shared use paths are to accommodate "pedestrians, skaters, users of wheel chairs or wheel chair conveyances, joggers, and other nonmotorized users." Careless reading allows the mistaken interpretation that "and other nonmotorized users" phrase as requiring that bicycles, wheel chairs and skaters be nonmotorized.

    A more reasoned interpretation is that "other nonmotorized" applies only to vehicles that have not previously been enumerated. Thus electric personal assistive mobility device (e.g. Segways), golf carts, low-speed vehicles, and mopeds are prohibited from trails because they are motorized, but electric wheelchairs and motorized skateboards are permitted even though they are motorized. A four wheel pedal car or a wagon sled pulled by dogs would also be permitted because although not enumerated as permitted vehicles, they are also not motorized.

    If the definitions section isn't clear that all bicycles including electric-assisted models can be operated on a shared use path, the legislature explicitly gives permission in § 46.2-903 and § 46.2-904. Virginia Code also specifically declares that "...any device herein defined as a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped shall be deemed not to be a motor vehicle." Therefore road signs or regulations that prohibit motorized vehicles on the W&OD are not referring to electric-assist bicycles, motorized wheelchairs or powered skateboards.

    Section 46.2-904 does allow local jurisdictions to prohibit the operation of bicycles or skates in a public area that might normally be shared with pedestrians (like a shared use path.) This statute is worded to offer a choice to disallow skates, bicycles or both but does not allow local jurisdictions to prohibit a sub-category of skate or a sub-category of bicycle such as power-assisted ones. Thus local jurisdictions cannot legally enforce signs such as "No eBikes allowed".

    A trail could be converted into a scenic trail and regulated under Virginia Code § 10.1-204 D which restricts traffic on state trails to any combination of “foot, horse, or nonmotorized bicycle use”. Using this law to eliminate electric assisted bicycles on a bike trail would also eliminate many other vehicles such as strollers, skates, wheelchairs, skies, dog sleds, etc.

  9. #309
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    I haven't any strong opinions about ebikes, but I have no idea what Tim Kelley thinks:

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  10. #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    I haven't any strong opinions about ebikes, but I have no idea what Tim Kelley thinks:

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	12778
    Nodding.

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