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E-Bikes on Greenways?

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E-Bikes on Greenways?

Old 05-22-21, 10:55 AM
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tn_roadie
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E-Bikes on Greenways?

I asked this question on the e-bike forum and thought I would put it over here since advocates may have a different view point.

How does your city handle e-bikes on greenways? My local park commission thinks they have banned them but I've been riding for 5 years and have never been stopped. Tennessee passed the People for Bikes law like 25 other states and it says they're legal unless the city passes an ordinance banning them. Our city council has never done that. Our bike share program is about to drop 300 e-bikes and it will be interesting to see the reaction. The main complaint is speeding on greenways but there are many roadies who go a lot faster than an e-bike.


I was just wondering how many local governments have implemented a ban. I hope it's not many.
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Old 05-22-21, 11:40 AM
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Like a lot of things bicycle, there are a lot of local rules that many of us probably don't know and probably won't ever be enforced. But I'd guaranty a smart attorney will try to use that against you if you ever find yourself in court.

As for E-bikes, I've come to accept them... somewhat. I've ask my wife if she'd consider one so she can ride with me and my son and we don't have to slow to a crawl or just do short rides when with her.

My only current problem with e-bikes is that too many want to mod them and make them more than what the arguments were that finally got me to accept e-bikes as reasonable to mix on a MUP with other bikes and pedestrians. Last time I stuck my nose in the e-bike forum, Mod's for speed seemed to be the overwhelming thread. But that was quite a while back.

Yes it's going to be different everywhere and will probably get worse before it gets better. Hopefully it won't get to the point where it some from one group are beating up the other group and it becomes a hate crime.
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Old 05-23-21, 08:25 AM
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My city legally allows only Class 1 e-bikes on paths & trails.

Perhaps a majority of the 'e-bikes' I see on the local paths & trails are actually illegal electric mopeds. Nobody cares and nobody will care until someone runs down a small child.
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Old 05-23-21, 10:04 AM
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Ebikes are amazing. They open the door for more cyclists to join the hobby, allows old/feeble people to go fast, and allows the average rider to tackle things they never could have before. I don't own an Ebike but the cyclists who cry about them are real babies, they aren't cheating. Also they are great to draft.

Who cares about the local ordinance? Lol. srs op? There ain't an ebike police
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Old 05-23-21, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Ebikes are amazing. They open the door for more cyclists to join the hobby, allows old/feeble people to go fast, and allows the average rider to tackle things they never could have before. I don't own an Ebike but the cyclists who cry about them are real babies, they aren't cheating. Also they are great to draft.

Who cares about the local ordinance? Lol. srs op? There ain't an ebike police
Yes and no. I got passed by a middle aged couple on e-bikes about 3 weeks ago on a local bike path in a state park where the use of e-bikes is illegal. Note that there's no signage anywhere that prohibits e-bikes, it's just a state law you might or might not know. What puzzled me was this was a couple that were younger than me, much skinnier and fitter looking (I'm a clyde) and I had to wonder why spend the huge amount of money on his and her e-bikes ?, why not get non motorized and get a better workout ?. I get why a person older, or who otherwise has physical issues (knees, hips) that makes pushing pedals difficult. Perhaps one of those two seemingly fit people on e-bikes had a physical issue, I couldn't tell. Thus I tend to give a pass. I do not give a pass to the a-holes riding obviously throttle e-bikes on the mt. bike dirt trails, those guys get the cops called on them, nor to the idiot on a Vespa doing 25-30 on the paved boardwalk at one of NYC's beaches. Cops need to stay on that and do not.
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Old 05-23-21, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Ebikes are amazing. They open the door for more cyclists to join the hobby, allows old/feeble people to go fast, and allows the average rider to tackle things they never could have before. I don't own an Ebike but the cyclists who cry about them are real babies, they aren't cheating. Also they are great to draft.

Who cares about the local ordinance? Lol. srs op? There ain't an ebike police
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Old 05-24-21, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by tn_roadie View Post
I asked this question on the e-bike forum and thought I would put it over here since advocates may have a different view point.

How does your city handle e-bikes on greenways? My local park commission thinks they have banned them but I've been riding for 5 years and have never been stopped. Tennessee passed the People for Bikes law like 25 other states and it says they're legal unless the city passes an ordinance banning them. Our city council has never done that. Our bike share program is about to drop 300 e-bikes and it will be interesting to see the reaction. The main complaint is speeding on greenways but there are many roadies who go a lot faster than an e-bike.


I was just wondering how many local governments have implemented a ban. I hope it's not many.
New York City bans e-bikes on at least some of its greenways. The Hudson River Greenway has prominent signage indicating that e-bikes are prohibited.

In the best of times, the ban isn't enforced. At this particular time, New York City is pretty much unpoliced, so ebikes use it all the time.

I hear you about hoping that more cities don't implement bans, but here in NYC, the e-bike situation is getting out of control.

Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Ebikes are amazing. They open the door for more cyclists to join the hobby, allows old/feeble people to go fast, and allows the average rider to tackle things they never could have before. I don't own an Ebike but the cyclists who cry about them are real babies, they aren't cheating. Also they are great to draft.

Who cares about the local ordinance? Lol. srs op? There ain't an ebike police
You are correct. There ain't an e-bike police. And the regular police don't care.

But e-bikes are out of control here in NYC. It started with delivery riders. And, believe me, I have nothing but sympathy for these riders, who hustle their asses off trying to scratch out a living.

As a rule, they're riding conventional e-bikes. They do not generally pay attention to direction. They'll take the shortest possible route to their destination, and if that means going the wrong way on the bike path, that's what they'll do. At night, many off them ride with their lights off. I don't know if this is because the lights have burned out and the riders haven't gotten around to replacing them, or if they're turning the lights off to save electricity. I get how important that would be for these riders, but I can't imagine the drain from a couple of LEDS is really a make-or-break thing. And, given the hours I work, I'm always riding home in the dark, so this is a real danger.

And then there's e-bike creep. Seeing the ebikes using the bike paths and greenways, electric scooter riders decide that they're in the same category, and can use the bike paths too. And these are much more powerful, and much faster, vehicles. I see Revel and Lime scooters in the bike paths every single day. I believe the Revel scooters have some sort of governor that limits their speed, but they're still faster than bicycles, especially uphill. And the ones owned by their riders (rather than the rentals) may or may not have any kind of governor.

And then the internal combustion scooters decide they can ride wherever the electric scooter riders go. So I'm starting to see actual Vespas and the like on the Manhattan Bridge bike path. They just don't want to deal with traffic, so they use the bike path, and then the bike path going up First Avenue (my usual route to work).

And since, as I said above, NYC is more or less unpoliced these days, many the electric scooter and ICE scooter people aren't bothering with registering their vehicles and getting license plates. Which also means they're not bothering with insurance. So you're on your own if one of them hits you.
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Old 05-24-21, 10:13 AM
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I actually like the idea of ebikes (though I do not own one.) because they allow more people to bike further. In general I think that the more people are on bikes the more people will see bikes when they are driving. But as a non ebike rider I have also come up against some of the challenges that this new type of transportation creates. The issues I see to MUPS use are:
1) Ebikes (even legal ones here in Oregon) can easily go 20+ MPH. This speed means that collisions with pedestrians are going to be more serious.
2) Ebikes allow new riders to go 20+ MPH. While I personally don't think anyone should be going over 20MPH on a Bikeway with pedestrians, Most 20+ MPH riders at least have been riding long enough to have good bike control when they hit higher speeds.
3) With batteries an ebike will weigh more than a similar pedal bike meaning crashes will have more force leading to more serious injuries.
4) In general people going faster seem to think they are entitled to the whole road. Bikes frequently do this to pedestrians and now ebikes are doing it to cyclists.

Now as to the second part of what Larry says "there are no ebike police" , what he really means is that there are no ebike police right now. When there is a certain density reached and the correct number of high-profile injury/deaths caused by newbies careening around at high speeds on Greenways there will be police attention, and new laws. I know that in Portland a pedestrian advocacy group was pushing for a speed limit of 12MPPH on a MUPS path. So that is probably the kind of direction it would take. Now maybe 12MPH is fine for some folks, but it would certainly seem really slow to me. Don't think there will be enforcement? I lived in Portland in the 2000's when police routinely targeted cyclists for infractions (mostly stop sign running) but with enough public outcry it can certainly happen, and nothing gets people riled up more than dead kids and old people, who are the most likely to get hit on a greenway.

Now why should regular pedal pushers care what happens with ebikes? Because the enforcement is libel to spill over to us. Throwing all bicycles of MUPS is probably easier than actually who is riding an ebike and reactive legislation and policing are prone to over kill.

What is the alternative? Well tossing all ebikes off greenways is possible but still seems a bit over the top. Reasonable speed limits is probably a good proactive step, and so is enforcement of existing ebike laws. In Oregon they require power has to be limited to under 20MPH and only when pedaling. Starting to enforce that would probably help too, because if we wait until something bad happens we are all likely to be caught in the blowback.
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Old 05-24-21, 10:46 AM
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Not bicycles. Two wheeled, lightweight, motorized transportation. Nothing to hate in that. All good. Considerate operators, no issues there. Seems like a good way to get somewhere 30-minutes away without smelling like a gym-rat upon arrival. But, not bicycles and should not automatically inherit all rights and privileges granted to bicycles.
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Old 05-24-21, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Inisfallen View Post
New York City bans e-bikes on at least some of its greenways. The Hudson River Greenway has prominent signage indicating that e-bikes are prohibited.

In the best of times, the ban isn't enforced. At this particular time, New York City is pretty much unpoliced, so ebikes use it all the time.

I hear you about hoping that more cities don't implement bans, but here in NYC, the e-bike situation is getting out of control.



You are correct. There ain't an e-bike police. And the regular police don't care.

But e-bikes are out of control here in NYC. It started with delivery riders. And, believe me, I have nothing but sympathy for these riders, who hustle their asses off trying to scratch out a living.

As a rule, they're riding conventional e-bikes. They do not generally pay attention to direction. They'll take the shortest possible route to their destination, and if that means going the wrong way on the bike path, that's what they'll do. At night, many off them ride with their lights off. I don't know if this is because the lights have burned out and the riders haven't gotten around to replacing them, or if they're turning the lights off to save electricity. I get how important that would be for these riders, but I can't imagine the drain from a couple of LEDS is really a make-or-break thing. And, given the hours I work, I'm always riding home in the dark, so this is a real danger.

And then there's e-bike creep. Seeing the ebikes using the bike paths and greenways, electric scooter riders decide that they're in the same category, and can use the bike paths too. And these are much more powerful, and much faster, vehicles. I see Revel and Lime scooters in the bike paths every single day. I believe the Revel scooters have some sort of governor that limits their speed, but they're still faster than bicycles, especially uphill. And the ones owned by their riders (rather than the rentals) may or may not have any kind of governor.

And then the internal combustion scooters decide they can ride wherever the electric scooter riders go. So I'm starting to see actual Vespas and the like on the Manhattan Bridge bike path. They just don't want to deal with traffic, so they use the bike path, and then the bike path going up First Avenue (my usual route to work).

And since, as I said above, NYC is more or less unpoliced these days, many the electric scooter and ICE scooter people aren't bothering with registering their vehicles and getting license plates. Which also means they're not bothering with insurance. So you're on your own if one of them hits you.
All that is pretty much happening here in Philly as well. The delivery operators, often riding throttle e-bikes, not pedal assist ones (I think some people here might not understand the difference between the two.), are often the worst, even speeding on sidewalks to avoid car traffic. We also have a lot more people speeding down sidewalks (not just bike paths) on e-scooters. (We don't have rentals here.) I am concerned about what might happen when/if the once regular amount of foot traffic returns.
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Old 05-24-21, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
All that is pretty much happening here in Philly as well. The delivery operators, often riding throttle e-bikes, not pedal assist ones (I think some people here might not understand the difference between the two.), are often the worst, even speeding on sidewalks to avoid car traffic. We also have a lot more people speeding down sidewalks (not just bike paths) on e-scooters. (We don't have rentals here.) I am concerned about what might happen when/if the once regular amount of foot traffic returns.
Good point. Yes, I know the difference. The delivery riders are almost always riding what you refer to as "throtte e-bikes." They're very different from the pedal assist e-bikes. They're much faster. They're basically electric mopeds.
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Old 05-24-21, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I got passed by a middle aged couple on e-bikes about 3 weeks ago on a local bike path in a state park where the use of e-bikes is illegal.......I get why a person older, or who otherwise has physical issues (knees, hips) that makes pushing pedals difficult. Perhaps one of those two seemingly fit people on e-bikes had a physical issue, I couldn't tell. Thus I tend to give a pass. I do not give a pass to the a-holes riding obviously throttle e-bikes on the mt. bike dirt trails, those guys get the cops called on them...
You should be careful making judgements about those on e-bikes. How do you know if those "a-holes" on the trails with an e-bike have a physical issue or not? I'm a young 48 yrs. old, and have Stage 4 Lung Cancer and ride my throttle-only e-bike (aka Class 2) legally on trails/paths. Sometimes I just need a helping hand on the long sustained climbs so I don't burn myself out, and I'll sometimes pass people on analog bikes during those e-climbs, and I've never once considered that they are calling me an a-hole...until now. On my analog bike, I look like any other wannabe racer on full carbon, and in full lycra. I probably ride harder and faster than 80% of the riders out there. Are they calling me an a-hole for passing them under my own power. I hope not. In either situation, if someone is upset with me passing them, either assisted, or not, that's their problem, not mine.

The only issue I have with e-bikes is that it allows people who are relatively new to cycling to ride faster than their skill level should allow. But if I see someone who knows what their doing on a bike is going like a bat out of hell, I could care less if it's assisted, throttle only, or analog. To each their own, as long as you have the skill to back it up.
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Old 05-24-21, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
You should be careful making judgements about those on e-bikes.
Yes, I said that "Perhaps one of those two seemingly fit people on e-bikes had a physical issue,l
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Old 05-24-21, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Inisfallen View Post
New York City bans e-bikes on at least some of its greenways. The Hudson River Greenway has prominent signage indicating that e-bikes are prohibited.

In the best of times, the ban isn't enforced. At this particular time, New York City is pretty much unpoliced, so ebikes use it all the time.

I hear you about hoping that more cities don't implement bans, but here in NYC, the e-bike situation is getting out of control.



You are correct. There ain't an e-bike police. And the regular police don't care.

But e-bikes are out of control here in NYC. It started with delivery riders. And, believe me, I have nothing but sympathy for these riders, who hustle their asses off trying to scratch out a living.

As a rule, they're riding conventional e-bikes. They do not generally pay attention to direction. They'll take the shortest possible route to their destination, and if that means going the wrong way on the bike path, that's what they'll do. At night, many off them ride with their lights off. I don't know if this is because the lights have burned out and the riders haven't gotten around to replacing them, or if they're turning the lights off to save electricity. I get how important that would be for these riders, but I can't imagine the drain from a couple of LEDS is really a make-or-break thing. And, given the hours I work, I'm always riding home in the dark, so this is a real danger.

And then there's e-bike creep. Seeing the ebikes using the bike paths and greenways, electric scooter riders decide that they're in the same category, and can use the bike paths too. And these are much more powerful, and much faster, vehicles. I see Revel and Lime scooters in the bike paths every single day. I believe the Revel scooters have some sort of governor that limits their speed, but they're still faster than bicycles, especially uphill. And the ones owned by their riders (rather than the rentals) may or may not have any kind of governor.

And then the internal combustion scooters decide they can ride wherever the electric scooter riders go. So I'm starting to see actual Vespas and the like on the Manhattan Bridge bike path. They just don't want to deal with traffic, so they use the bike path, and then the bike path going up First Avenue (my usual route to work).

And since, as I said above, NYC is more or less unpoliced these days, many the electric scooter and ICE scooter people aren't bothering with registering their vehicles and getting license plates. Which also means they're not bothering with insurance. So you're on your own if one of them hits you.
None of this seems like a problem to me but I guess I see where you are coming from if you don't want to ride with motorized vehicles. The Ebike creep is real thats a great point. Ebikes make a great draft tho. Also lol @ people thinking fit people shouldn't get ebikes, im 25 and would totally ride an ebike if I had the money. Would ride over the mountain every day and go for a swim
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Old 05-24-21, 07:21 PM
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I have no issue with their presence on our local greenways, as long as the operator is behaving responsibly. I can go faster than every e-bike I have seen on the path. It's all about speed disparity between the rider and other path users.
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Old 05-24-21, 07:34 PM
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Not sure of the law, but I see ebikes on trails here all the time and I'm OK with it so long as people are riding them the same as any (fast) cyclist. If they were blowing up at 30 mph, I'd feel differently, but in my experience, most ebikers are going at most fast cyclist speed - 18-23 mph. Of course, there are sections of greenway where those speeds aren't safe for regular cyclists either.

I draw the line when the thing has an audible motor. Then it doesn't belong.
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Old 05-25-21, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
None of this seems like a problem to me but I guess I see where you are coming from if you don't want to ride with motorized vehicles.
I absolutely do have a problem with electric vehicles going too fast, the wrong way, in the dark, without lights, in the bike paths I use just about every night.

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Old 05-25-21, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I have no issue with their presence on our local greenways, as long as the operator is behaving responsibly. I can go faster than every e-bike I have seen on the path. It's all about speed disparity between the rider and other path users.
I don't really have an issue with ebikes on our local greenways, or in our bike paths in general, if the operator is behaving responsibly (even though my sixty-whatever year old, artificially jointed self, pedaling along on my little folding bike, definitely can't go faster than every, or even any, ebike I see on the paths).

But the other vehicles I mentioned above have no place at all on the paths. Electric scooters, designed to move in the flow of automotive traffic, don't belong on bike paths. Traditional scooters, like Vespas, and the zillions of Japanese and Chinese scooters in the city, definitely don't belong on the paths.

What's going to happen is a backlash. The delivery riders are, as I said above, out of control. They are dangerous to pedestrians and to other cyclists. One more pedestrian trying to cross the street is going to get knocked over, maybe even killed, by a delivery rider going way too fast, in the dark, without lights, the wrong way, and there's going to be a massive crackdown. Which is never a good thing. There will be bad behavior on the part of the police department, restrictions affecting all riders will be legislated (and enforced, when the NYPD decides to get back to policing the city), and it won't be good for anyone.
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Old 05-25-21, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
None of this seems like a problem to me....
You don't see a problem with, inter alia, internal combustion scooters being ridden places like the Manhattan Bridge bike path? You've got to be trolling because I cannot believe anyone would seriously be ok with that, even considering the forum.
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Old 05-25-21, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I draw the line when the thing has an audible motor. Then it doesn't belong.
That's a line that doesn't work. Road-going electric scooters, some capable of freeway-legal speeds, and all of which are required to be registered and insured, and possess and display license plates, and are capable of riding in the flow of automotive traffic, and are required to do so, don't have audible motors.
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Old 05-25-21, 10:55 AM
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LarrySellerz
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You don't see a problem with, inter alia, internal combustion scooters being ridden places like the Manhattan Bridge bike path? You've got to be trolling because I cannot believe anyone would seriously be ok with that, even considering the forum.
ive never seen the path but yeah that sounds bad. Ive heard the bike/pedestrian paths on bridges in NYV can be kind of ****ed and its better to just ride with the traffic if you're fast enough though. My point was kind of just that it doesn't matter what the laws are, or if someone is breaking them, as long as they aren't infringing on others. That instance sounds bad tho
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Old 05-25-21, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
What puzzled me was this was a couple that were younger than me, much skinnier and fitter looking (I'm a clyde) and I had to wonder why spend the huge amount of money on his and her e-bikes ?, why not get non motorized and get a better workout ?. .
Maybe they don't want a workout, maybe they ride for pleasure. Odd, that?
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Old 05-25-21, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by J Palmer Cass View Post
Maybe they don't want a workout, maybe they ride for pleasure. Odd, that?
Entirely correct. I love the activity for the exercise, but also love using a bike to explore and forget others do the same.
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Old 06-03-21, 09:43 AM
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I just saw an E-biker riding on the sidewalk where there were a bunch of school kids walking home, so he was going from the sidewalk to the road, against traffic (45-mph zone), he was doing at least 20-mph. As he came up to the intersection, he got back into the road and crossed it just as the vehicles in the left turning lane got their green arrow. Almost got hit and made the line of cars brake.

These guys on E-bikes are only going to get worse as E-bikes become more affordable and their performance improves. It's going to be interesting to watch as time goes on.



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Old 06-03-21, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Inisfallen View Post
That's a line that doesn't work. Road-going electric scooters, some capable of freeway-legal speeds, and all of which are required to be registered and insured, and possess and display license plates, and are capable of riding in the flow of automotive traffic, and are required to do so, don't have audible motors.
Very true.
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