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Thread: ELF pedal electric car on W&OD

  1. #81
    KLizotte's Avatar
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    SolarBikeCar,

    Why don't you just ride a regular, pedal powered bike? Vienna-Reston isn't that far after all. You would get plenty of exercise, pose less of a safety risk to all of the other trail users, and avoid this whole controversy.

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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.
    The bad behaviors of runners, walkers, and cyclists does not excuse your bad behavior nor your operating a car on a infrastructure not designed nor designated for cars.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLizotte View Post
    SolarBikeCar,

    Why don't you just ride a regular, pedal powered bike? Vienna-Reston isn't that far after all. You would get plenty of exercise, pose less of a safety risk to all of the other trail users, and avoid this whole controversy.
    I simply cannot pedal 34 miles a day on a regular bicycle.

    I ride over half my commute on the streets with speed limits of 35 or less. Cars don't like bicyclists on the road either. With the Elf I can ride the road portion safely especially in bad weather. I'd prefer to ride the entire distance on roads since it would be shorter if only the neighborhoods had connecting streets. Instead there are cul de sacs or closed streets to prevent cut through.

    I dispute that I am a safety risk to other users of the trail. I have debunked the outrageous speed claims (I'm slower than serious regular bicyclists.) My width is less than a bike lane and many others take up more than a bike lane and we safely coexists. No one is proposing to ban behavior of those other users who take up more than 5 ft of lane width so the argument is pretty weak that an elf is a safety problem on the W&OD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    Cars don't like bicyclists on the road either.
    However bicycles are allowed on roads except those with special restrictions like limited access highways.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    No one is proposing to ban behavior of those other users who take up more than 5 ft of lane width so the argument is pretty weak that an elf is a safety problem on the W&OD.
    Ban? I would not how that would work, no one has banned bad behavior of car drivers on roads. Regulate, monitor and fine bad cyclists on infrastructure like the WO&D, I 100% support that.

  6. #86
    Steve O's Avatar
    Steve O 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 SolarBikeCar View Post
    A discussion of how to separate different modes of transportation is a worthwhile one.
    Okay, friends, don't attack me for coming to ELFman's defense, at least a little.

    I have not encountered the ELF personally, so I can't speak to his actual behavior outside of what I have read here on this thread. And I can only use my imagination to get a sense for how much space it takes up.

    The question of the legality of the ELF also seems murky to me (IANAL), but some readings of what is allowed on the W&OD would ban dasgeh and the BikeArlington bakfiets and others whom we really want to be able to use it, so I'm ambivalent about how exactly to enforce that.

    The ELF is unquestionably a better environmental choice than a car, and--as a society--if a significant portion of automobiles were replaced by these types of things, that would be good. Regular bikes would be even better, but we all know that bikes are not going to be adopted by more than a minority of the population.

    I think one, nicely behaving ELF on the trail may not be a huge problem. If we take ELFman at his word that he always "drives" with care and courtesy, then our only real beef is with the width of the thing. It does seem it is wider than pretty much anything else that uses the trail, including Rod's trailer. But what if it were only 38" wide? Would we be cool with that? And a question for ELFman--who has suggested that it is not too wide--what if the ELF were 4" wider? Or 8" wider? Where's the cutoff?

    A trickier question is this: what if 1% of the drivers who use I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road suddenly started driving these on the W&OD? That would literally be thousands per day. I think there would be wide agreement that a situation like that would not work. Not with the existing W&OD at least.

    I think it is good that SolarBikeCar has joined this discussion. At the least, he has gotten some insight into the issues our community cares about. Perhaps, if I believe what some of you have written, he has adjusted his driving to address some of the concerns that have been raised.

    So I guess I'm not ready to say that something like the ELF should be banned outright. I think the discussion should continue. Truthfully, imo, if ELFs and the like become more common, the better solution would be to make a 16'-20' wide trail.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    I have debunked the outrageous speed claims (I'm slower than serious regular bicyclists.)
    No you have not, your average and max speeds, listed on your webpage, exceeds what is safe on the WO&D in many places.
    Last edited by Raymo853; 11-12-2015 at 12:45 PM.

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    If there were traffic jams on the W&OD because of ELF drivers than there would be incentives to widen the path or to upgrade the berm along Route 7 so there were safer bicycling options all around. Too many ELFs will be good for increasing the infrastructure for all bicyclists.

    I have suggested that the ELF manufactures scale the vehicle down for a "sports" model. Making it half the weight and a foot narrower and reducing the height by 16" would still accomplish the mission and make it seem more like a compact pickup than a hummer.

    Innovation needs time and experience so a little patience from some of the detractors instead of vigilantism is appreciated.

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymo853 View Post
    No you have not, your average and max speeds listed on your webpage, exceeds what is safe on the WO&D in many places.
    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.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    I simply cannot pedal 34 miles a day on a regular bicycle.
    That is about my round trip mileage by bike to work as well, and neither can I ride that distance every day. That is why I also own a petrol burning car and drive some days. I also plan to add to my routine using two modes, riding about 6 miles to a metro and completing the rest of my trip via metro.

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