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Thread: ELF pedal electric car on W&OD

  1. #41
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 83(b) View Post
    As one of the ebike rule breakers, I'd be okay with this being our preferred approach if it weren't for the issue of liability in the event of a crash. Here's my nightmare hypo: I'm riding my ebike from DC over to Crystal City at ~15mph to go to the dentist. Near Gravelly Point I'm approaching a runner and the opposite lane is clear for me to pass. I move over and ring my bell at ~30 feet back and then again at ~10 feet. The runner is wearing headphones, does not hear me, Crazy Ivans, and we collide. We both fall and suffer significant injuries or, worse, one or both of us is killed by a head injury.

    Despite the runner having been the proximate cause of the crash, what effect does my being on a (technically) illegal vehicle on the trail have on my potential liability and my ability to recover for my own injuries? The current rules give a motivated insurance defense or plaintiff's attorney lots of arguments to make against me. E.g., (1) I was on an illegal vehicle and so should be fully/partially faulted; (2) my illegal bike surely moves faster than is safe, making me fully/partially at fault; (2) my illegal ebike is heavier than a normal bike, making everyone's injuries more severe.
    Virginia is a contributory negligence state/jurisdiction, the same as DC and Maryland. So only a minor contribution from you to the crash will likely prevent you from recovering any damages. If a judge or jury heard about the rule against ebikes on the trail, I think they would classify that as contributory negligence and shoot down your claim.

  2. #42
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    I don't think I've seen this guy myself, but from what I'm reading here, he is not behaving responsibly or safely. As for the issue of a general prohibition on ebikes or not, I won't get into that because I don't have a strong opinion either way.

    I will say that this guy is clearly looking for attention and building a personal brand around his vehicle. If he is endangering other people on the trails, then get him where it counts, which is on social media. I'm not saying that people should engage in personal attacks. But they certainly can and should post comments and use the Twitter hashtag that he is promoting, to highlight instances where he has created a nuisance or a hazard for others on the trails. If he is only semi-self-absorbed, then maybe the social media pushback gets him to reconsider his behavior.

    Even if it doesn't change his attitude or behavior, at least it's worth a shot. In the longer run, it can be a key example if and when the NPS and other agencies and jurisdictions re-examine the rules for the trails.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    I crossed paths with this guy on the W&OD in Vienna today. I was impressed that he did remain in his lane going around the corner in the pinball alley through the Vienna community center construction. I was even more impressed that he did this while texting/looking-up-directions/playing-candy-crush on his phone.

    ... I guess he has more in common with SUV drivers than merely his wide stance.
    Let us know if you hear back from your comment on his page!

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    he did this while texting/looking-up-directions/playing-candy-crush on his phone.
    Somebody needs to catch him on video doing that. Should help shoot down any case he might have for legally operating what I content is not a "bicycle" but is really a car on bike trails.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    I crossed paths with this guy on the W&OD in Vienna today. I was impressed that he did remain in his lane going around the corner in the pinball alley through the Vienna community center construction. I was even more impressed that he did this while texting/looking-up-directions/playing-candy-crush on his phone.
    My quick perusal of his website gave me the strong impression that he was a "concerned only with himself, screw everyone else" sort of person, so I find this utterly unsurprising.

    I did mention this thread to my ladyfriend (who grew up in Fairfax and has used the W&OD for decades. She was curious what the ELF looked like; when I pulled up the website and showed it to her her response was "holy [expletive], someone thinks its ok to drive that down the W&OD?! What an [expletive]!"

  6. #46
    Amalitza Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853 View Post
    I wish I had not read his website, it just made me mad at how self focused he is.
    Well, I should have paid attention to this sentiment and avoided reading his website. It’s now surprisingly difficult to be objective about the pedal-car-thingy -- which really is a pretty cool thingy, though it certainly sounds way too big for sidewalks and trails. I haven’t seen it in person, but 5’1” high and a lane’s-width wide is pretty big even for the W&OD, which is luxuriously wide, straight, and uncrowded as compared to, say the MVT and Custis.

    The IHRT, another wide, straight, uncrowded trail that I ride frequently, often has gas-powered 4-wheel maintenance vehicles on it. My estimate is about the size that’s been described for the ELF, maybe a bit wider, but definitely less than 5 ft high. They are usually not a problem to navigate around, but they are being driven by trail crew who drive them as interlopers, not trail users-- they drive slowly, squished off to one side, keep an eye out for bikes and slow even further or often stop while we pass them. Oh, and you can see over them. One of the guys who started out there last winter didn’t do such a great job of that at first-- for the first few months, he tended to drive like a trail user just taking up whatever space and moving at whatever speed he felt like, and it could be uncomfortable getting by him. He eventually got the hang of it, but I wouldn’t want to deal with just a random person driving a similar sized vehicle the same way people typically ride bikes. Certainly not at 20+ mph, and tall enough you can’t see over and around them.

    Quote Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
    Somebody needs to catch him on video doing that. Should help shoot down any case he might have for legally operating what I content is not a "bicycle" but is really a car on bike trails.
    It shouldn’t, though, really. Any case for whether or not pedal-car-thingies should be allowed on the trail should not be based upon whether the first local person to try it happens to be a self-entitled, empathy-impaired douchecanoe. If that were the case, none of us* would ever be allowed to go anywhere.

    *”us” = “people”, not “cyclists”, “trail-users” or what have you

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
    Somebody needs to catch him on video doing that. Should help shoot down any case he might have for legally operating what I content is not a "bicycle" but is really a car on bike trails.
    That and on his website he talks about "driving" the Elf on the trail. Bike, Bent, Trike, Tandem, box bike, e-box-bike, whatever, we ride. Elf is driven. He also updates his ride data and the one I saw had him doing avg of 20 mph topping out at 33 mph. He is his own worst enemy on this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Amalitza View Post
    Well, I should have paid attention to this sentiment and avoided reading his website. It’s now surprisingly difficult to be objective about the pedal-car-thingy -- which really is a pretty cool thingy, though it certainly sounds way too big for sidewalks and trails. I haven’t seen it in person, but 5’1” high and a lane’s-width wide is pretty big even for the W&OD, which is luxuriously wide, straight, and uncrowded as compared to, say the MVT and Custis.

    The IHRT, another wide, straight, uncrowded trail that I ride frequently, often has gas-powered 4-wheel maintenance vehicles on it. My estimate is about the size that’s been described for the ELF, maybe a bit wider, but definitely less than 5 ft high. They are usually not a problem to navigate around, but they are being driven by trail crew who drive them as interlopers, not trail users-- they drive slowly, squished off to one side, keep an eye out for bikes and slow even further or often stop while we pass them. Oh, and you can see over them. One of the guys who started out there last winter didn’t do such a great job of that at first-- for the first few months, he tended to drive like a trail user just taking up whatever space and moving at whatever speed he felt like, and it could be uncomfortable getting by him. He eventually got the hang of it, but I wouldn’t want to deal with just a random person driving a similar sized vehicle the same way people typically ride bikes. Certainly not at 20+ mph, and tall enough you can’t see over and around them.


    It shouldn’t, though, really. Any case for whether or not pedal-car-thingies should be allowed on the trail should not be based upon whether the first local person to try it happens to be a self-entitled, empathy-impaired douchecanoe. If that were the case, none of us* would ever be allowed to go anywhere.

    *”us” = “people”, not “cyclists”, “trail-users” or what have you
    Agree that it is OK to have trucks and the like doing work. I like the idea of folks getting around in Elf like things. Great idea to have a car that you can get around in and park it in the sun to recharge. For use on the trails I simply thought "What would it look like if there were many?" Two Elfs doing 20 mph passing each other East/West on the W&OD? Good luck. Bikes pass each other without hesitation all day long. Anything moving along needs a certain amount of wobble room during the normal actions of riding or driving along. The Elf has none except into the oncoming lane. This alone is enough to consider it an unacceptable risk to others. Getting hit by a 190 pound "bike" and a 170 pound "rider" moving at 20+mph would be an almost car like impact. Add in that there is not enough room to give 3 feet for passing and you now have a far larger than normal vehicle passing you in tight conditions. I think we should make a network of much wider paved paths that connect our homes to our work and other places that the Elf can safely use without risk to others. We can call them "Roads"

    I will bet that this will come to some sort of conclusion.
    Last edited by Vicegrip; 11-05-2015 at 12:41 PM.

  8. 11-05-2015, 12:25 PM

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  9. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicegrip View Post
    conclusion.
    Conclusion or contusion?

    Did a little Google stalking of this guy:
    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/edward-myers/11/207/495

    I also screen captured a lot of his website, assuming he may be advised to take it down in the future. If he hits someone, hope their counsel will contact me for copies.

    I am writing this here so I won't do it: I so want to go out and find him driving on the WO&D, maybe Wed Nov 11th when I have the day off. Would have fun holding him to a speed of 10 mph over and over.

    I hope someone gets him via a GoPro texting, swiping on Tinder, etc on an iPad while driving.

  10. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853 View Post
    I also screen captured a lot of his website, assuming he may be advised to take it down in the future. If he hits someone, hope their counsel will contact me for copies.
    I had this thought yesterday while perusing his site. He's documenting the fact that he rides on trails where motorized vehicles are banned. Hell, he has a whole section devoted to "the people in charge say I can't ride there, but I disagree and am doing it anyway". He even posts ride data where he's averaging 22-23mph (he says that includes stops, which would make his trail speeds extremely fast). He documents (in detail!) his speed mods.

    If he hits someone and they decide to sue him, his web page is going to be an attorneys wet dream.

  11. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853 View Post
    Conclusion or contusion?
    Concussion!

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