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View Diary: When Is a Bike Not A Bicycle? (41 comments)

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  •  There most certainly would be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deward Hastings, Bob Johnson

    ... an opposite result. Most people view the paths as a respite from the motorized vehicles. I think most path users don't even like it when bicyclists use the paths at effective commuting speeds. Personally, if I plan to exceed 18 miles per hour, I take to the road.

    I also dislike the diarists assumption that it is dangerous to use these electric vehicles on the road. Hundreds of thousands of human powered bicycles are used safely on the streets and roads every day across America. Millions more in Europe. Riding along side multi-ton monstrosities just takes a bit of common sense and skill.

    I am one of those who will push hard for a ban of EVs on paths unless there are strict limits and licensing.  

    1,000,000 Strong! TOTAL RECALL!

    by pHunbalanced on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:10:11 AM PDT

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    •  It's a complicated question. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Deward Hastings, HeyMikey

      There are two types of paths: multi-use and bikes-only. Most bikes-only paths are carved out of existing streets. Even there, I have concerns about motorized bikes. For example, as any bicyclist will attest, riding against a stiff headwind is hard work and reduces speed. So let's say the average speed of commuter cycling traffic is 13 mph or even less on such a day. The motorized bike has no problem still hitting 20, which means it is going 7-8 mph faster than the flow of bikes. Add to that the fact that the motorized bike is heavier and less maneuverable than the bicycles it is passing. So when someone suddenly stops or a pedestrian steps into the path and someone has to swerve, what happens?

      The problems ate only compounded on a multi-use path.

      •  I forgot that what I call bike lanes are also (3+ / 0-)

        called bike paths by some folks. I have much less of a problem with motorized bikes in the bike lane/path of a street than on a multi-use path. MUPs are full of little kids on their little bikes, dogs wandering about on overly long leads and daydreamers of all sorts. Motorized vehicles cannot coexist with all that without some increase in pain and death. Street-based bike lanes tend to have a different type of cyclist, though some do ride at only 10-12 mph. And of course, in that case, the motor-biker can always pass in the "car" lane. I often do that on a non-motorized bike.

        1,000,000 Strong! TOTAL RECALL!

        by pHunbalanced on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 10:05:15 AM PDT

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    •  Licensing (5+ / 0-)

      I've quite recently become interested in this sort of bicycle for very practical reasons.  I'm basically going blind in my left eye.  I'll never pass another driver's license eye exam, and really, for the safety of myself and others I should no longer be driving now.

      But.  I'm in my 50s.  I'm nowhere near retirement age;  I'm single, childless and pretty much entirely alone in our high-mobility-required American "rugged individualist" society, in which survival is largely dependent on one's ability to provide one's own means of transportation.  How am I to get back and forth to work?  Do basic shopping and other errands?  Our society is so totally structured around the private automobile that when one no longer can operate a car, you basically might as well just go die.

      This sort of vehicle seems to offer a middle way, an imperfect but somewhat serviceable alternative.  However, licensing to operate one puts me right back to the position where I won't be able to get a license to operate because of the loss of vision on one side.

      I'm not interested in being a leech on others or society.  I find it nearly impossible to ask others for occasional favors, never mind requiring that some persons be dumped with maintaining some tiny minimum of independence in my life, an entirely dependent independence that will only annoy both myself , the others asked to provide the service, and those who in the end pay for it.  There was a reason I was in basic trainiing at 17 three weeks after HS graduation, I didn't want to be a burden to anyone else and that was the quickest solution.  However, if this sort of transportation option requires passing a vision test, it thrusts me irretrievably into that status, for who knows how many years where others will despise me as a burden, and I will despise my life without autonomy, where others will resent my needs, and I will resent having my needs resented.  Not the way I want to live.

      Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

      by ActivistGuy on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:31:31 AM PDT

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      •  exactly right: disability access. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Johnson, HeyMikey

        E-bikes are disability access for people who can't pedal.  Add to the list: arthritis, other muscle & skeletal issues, cardiac and pulmonary issues, etc. etc.

        The question is whether we want to go back to the days when having any kind of disability meant being cooped-up in one's house or apartment, or whether we want to keep going forward with greater accessibility for all.

        And a 3-mile-per-hour electric wheelchair with a limited range, is not the answer for people in these circumstances.  

        Bottom line is, e-bikes make it possible for people with disabilities short of wheelchair usage, to have something approaching normal mobility in most parts of the US.  

        For which reason they should be able to provide the equivalent of "normal bicycle performance for a person in normal physical health," purely with the use of the electric motor.  

        "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

        by G2geek on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 11:16:38 AM PDT

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