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Thread: ELF pedal electric car on W&OD

  1. #91
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    "It is physically impossible to text and cycle, however, since applying power requires at least the right hand to be on the handlebars."

    What, there's a hand-actuated clutch or something? That affects both the motor and the pedal/human power to the wheel?

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    Should there be width limits is a good topic to discuss. The elf fits one lane of the trail nicely for the section I use but I have learned I need to exercise caution around these activities:

    1) Cyclists who pass traffic going in both directions by slicing down the yellow line. When I see cyclists approaching who might be tempted to pass I pull over so that one wheel is on the adjacent unpaved path to provide half of my lane for aggressive passing.
    2) Cyclists who bunch up into a group that is two or three across and meandering slowly across both lanes.
    3) Pedestrians who walk three abreast with dogs and take up both lanes.
    4) Inline skaters who go really fast down the center line.
    5) Race walkers who walk down the center of the trail with arms flailing back and forth.
    6) Cyclists who draft inches from my rear tire for miles and won't pass when given the opportunity. Tailgating to reduce wind resistance and then complaining that one can't see around an ELF is bogus.

    I've commuted 2500 miles over the past 6 months without incident or accident and want to continue to develop habits that preserve that safety record. If you have suggestions I'll listen. I note that the trail is deserted when I bike on days that are cold or rainy so I am adding usage to the trail when others can't because of weather. Even on perfect weather days the trail is far from capacity in the Vienna to Reston section.

    I've tried to stay out of the debate...but this post bugs me.

    You've tried to cover a number of topics to show how you're not as unsafe as other unsafe trail users (really, that's a defense?!?! I'm calling this the "Redskins Defense" after their recent court filing), but as someone who has biked behind you and passed you a few times along the W&OD, I know for a fact that it is TERRIFYING as a cyclist to bike near you, and very unsafe. Your ELF is MUCH harder to see over and around than a cyclist or even a large group of pedestrians. To see around you to determine if I could safely pass, I've had to fully enter the other lane. You also do not always stay in your lane, but instead I've seen you swerve into the other lane a few times, especially at narrower parts of the trail. At NO TIME did you pull over to give me more space to pass, even though I was clearly trying to. Lastly, since unlike a cyclist/jogger you're able to maintain a high rate of speed while going uphill, it can make for a scary game of leapfrog on hills.

    I do not think individual objects that are this large, hard to see around, and electric belong on the trail. It is a safety hazard for legitimate and legal users of the trail (pedestrians, cyclists and horses). It belongs on low speed roads, where the lanes are an appropriate width to handle something of this size. If they doubled the width of the trail I'd be happy to reconsider, but at this point, when I see you, I will continue to pull over and wait 5 minutes vs risking my safety by biking near you.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    What is the consensus safe speed limit? I go speeds where I pass leisure riders and get passed by MAMIL. I do have an slight speed advantage going uphill compared to conventional cyclists but have a disadvantage on the downhills and in stop and go traffic.

    Very few of the bicycle riders here will agree with my low limits, but I support a 15 mph limit within the beltway and 20 mph further out with limits dropping near crossings and typically crowded sections. Same for the Capital Crescent Trail, Mt Vernon, and the C&O. Your average speed of 19 shows you must typically be exceeding 20 mph on long sections of the WO&D.

    Bicycle riders that feel the need to exceed those limits, should change their routes to use standard roadways.

  4. #94
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    SolarBikeCar,

    Assuming you drive safely, you haven't addressed the real concern that your vehicle's weight is a real danger to others on the trail in the case of an accident. Sometimes people just trip and fall while running; or a cyclist could hit an icy spot and fall down; or a kid could run out in front of you unexpectedly (it has happened to me and I hit the pavement to avoid the kid). The combined weight of the Elf and you is a lot compared to a cyclist or pedestrian. Also, you are far more protected than regular cyclists and pedestrians which may mean you let your guard down at times just as car drivers do.

    I know you said you would like a sport model but that doesn't absolve you of the responsibility of imposing a rather large vehicle on a multi use trail.

    Personally, I would not feel comfortable operating an Elf on the W&OD; that said, I wish our transportation infrastructure allowed more vehicles like the Elf since they are more environmentally friendly.

    Why not just take metro from Vienna to Reston if you don't want to drive or bike?

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    I've tried to stay out of the debate...but this post bugs me.

    You've tried to cover a number of topics to show how you're not as unsafe as other unsafe trail users (really, that's a defense?!?! I'm calling this the "Redskins Defense" after their recent court filing), but as someone who has biked behind you and passed you a few times along the W&OD, I know for a fact that it is TERRIFYING as a cyclist to bike near you, and very unsafe. Your ELF is MUCH harder to see over and around than a cyclist or even a large group of pedestrians. To see around you to determine if I could safely pass, I've had to fully enter the other lane. You also do not always stay in your lane, but instead I've seen you swerve into the other lane a few times, especially at narrower parts of the trail. At NO TIME did you pull over to give me more space to pass, even though I was clearly trying to. Lastly, since unlike a cyclist/jogger you're able to maintain a high rate of speed while going uphill, it can make for a scary game of leapfrog on hills.

    I do not think individual objects that are this large, hard to see around, and electric belong on the trail. It is a safety hazard for legitimate and legal users of the trail (pedestrians, cyclists and horses). It belongs on low speed roads, where the lanes are an appropriate width to handle something of this size. If they doubled the width of the trail I'd be happy to reconsider, but at this point, when I see you, I will continue to pull over and wait 5 minutes vs risking my safety by biking near you.
    The driving behavior of ELF you describe here reflects what I have witnessed and experienced in the past on the stretch of the WOD between Reston and Vienna.

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853 View Post
    Very few of the bicycle riders here will agree with my low limits, but I support a 15 mph limit within the beltway and 20 mph further out with limits dropping near crossings and typically crowded sections. Same for the Capital Crescent Trail, Mt Vernon, and the C&O. Your average speed of 19 shows you must typically be exceeding 20 mph on long sections of the WO&D.

    Bicycle riders that feel the need to exceed those limits, should change their routes to use standard roadways.
    I WANT to agree with your proposed speed limit only because I (daily) see cyclists passing other trail users at too fast a speed and in an unsafe manner. But for me, "cruising speed" along the flat parts of the W&OD/4MR is 20mph. Thanks to the hills and other trail users (meaning, I slow down to pass them or ride behind them slowly until it's safe to pass) means my avg speed is usually only around 14-15.

    (Somewhat off-topic - now that it's dark on my way home, I actually AM thinking about taking the roads the whole way until it gets much colder - too many pedestrian trail ninjas means I crawl along at 10mph).

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    "It is physically impossible to text and cycle, however, since applying power requires at least the right hand to be on the handlebars."

    What, there's a hand-actuated clutch or something? That affects both the motor and the pedal/human power to the wheel?
    Right hand would be throttle (left is clutch), so I guess you have to twist the throttle to accelerate and maintain speed, but pedal to maintain a charge (?) Although presumably a left-handed or ambidextrous person could twist the throttle with the right hand and text with the left.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853 View Post
    Very few of the bicycle riders here will agree with my low limits, but I support a 15 mph limit within the beltway and 20 mph further out with limits dropping near crossings and typically crowded sections.
    Yes, that's ridiculously low under some conditions, and ridiculously high under others. That's the real problem with an arbitrary limit: it's not helpful in actually addressing safety concerns, because the right answer is to use an appropriate speed. Good sight lines on an empty trail? Who cares how fast you go. Children's fun run day? You'd better not be trying to go between them at 15MPH. I'd love to see a dynamic limit based on visibility, utilization, weather conditions, nature of other users, etc. Sadly, that's not feasible.

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    Right hand would be throttle (left is clutch), so I guess you have to twist the throttle to accelerate and maintain speed, but pedal to maintain a charge (?) Although presumably a left-handed or ambidextrous person could twist the throttle with the right hand and text with the left.
    I'm right handed and use my phone with my left all the time. I don't quite get why this would be considered impossible. As a test, I'm doing it while typing this. :-D

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I'm right handed and use my phone with my left all the time. I don't quite get why this would be considered impossible. :-D

    I'm too old to text let alone do it one handed with the non-dominant hand while pedaling. You young whippersnappers are so talented!

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