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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not to open a can of worms, but ...

Electric bikes are exploding in popularity. So I guess it was inevitable that we would be seeing them on dedicated bike paths and 'recreational' trails. By dedicated, I mean trails that don't permit cars or other motorized vehicles. But now that E-bikes are becoming more and more prevalent on such trails, has their presence affected you?

First, E-bikes have a motor, so technically they are not allowed on most bike trails. But that has not stopped their proliferation on trails. And of course there is no enforcement of the rules -- at least I have never seen them enforced on my local trail.

Personally, I consider E-bikes a hazard on bike trails. Bike trails are often only a couple meters wide, with riders going both directions and passing each other while less than a meter apart. Experienced riders can do this safely. But E-bikes are now popular among people who previously had little interest in cycling. Thus, E-bikes permit inexperienced riders to move at fairly high speeds (20-30 mph) and at 40 - 80 lbs (not including rider) they are much heavier than a non-electric bike. On a typical weekend, our local riding trail is used by walkers, joggers, roller-bladers, roller-skiers, and families with kids on trikes. It's only a matter of time before someone is badly injured by an E-bike rider who is out of their depth and moving too fast to be safe.

It's all happening quickly with little or no regulation. Similar to the E-scooters revolution.

Good/Bad? What do others think? Will it cause you to avoid paths and stick to roads?
 

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I don't like to see e-bikes racing around on MUTs, but I also don't like to see pacelines of cyclists drafting one another at higher speeds nor do I like to see cyclists/tri guys speeding along on their tri bars and time trial bikes.

Ain't really much different than drivers speeding and generally not following the rules of the road.

People are gonna be people, and I don't see that changing any time soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I agree that anyone riding too fast on a narrow, confined trail - racers, triathletes, pacelines - creates a hazard. But now add E-bikes to the mix. Personally, I think E-bikes are more dangerous than the above, for the reasons given in my initial post. They are not just an incremental reduction in safety.
 

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All E-bikes are illegal anywhere off a road in NY State. They need to change this as far as I'm concerned to allow Class 3 bikes on paved as well as trails where mt. bikes are allowed. This is somewhat giving in to reality, as these bikes are using these trails currently, with zero ability to enforce whether its legal or not. The biggest issue we are seeing locally on dirt mt. bike trails is the more powerful class 1&2 motorized machines that are doing damage to the trails. The power they can generate is chewing up trails in ways that mt, bikes do not do. As well, we are as a result, seeing more motorized machines of other types in use, gas powered dirt bikes as well as 4 wheel ATV's. Not sure how they are going to get a handle on this.
 

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Timely topic for me
We get a large influx of snowbirds here in AZ. This time of year the number of ebikes on the loop doubles at least. Probably 95% or the ebike riders are fine. The other 5% are not fine. The ones that are not fine either have very little experience or no consideration for others. This time of year I am defintley less comfortable out there. I just do what I always do, take care of myself and not interfere with others.
I do look forward to when they all go home again in April.

Thing I just cant get is the folks who buy those E-Tank bike things, like a Hummer on two wheels,where are these retirees going on those things? I guess I just dont know....
 

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There are a lot of people getting ebikes, I got one. But, being HS's, they have little regard for others. I see them running full speed close to walkers with strollers, on sidewalks at full speed in congested areas, blowing through stop signs, etc. Those are not bikers, they are people who drive cars, but now are allowed to invade the sidewalks at will. They don't understand when passing, they need to give other bikers 3' clearance, hello! I pass one yesterday on the flats, I have no idea what was up with him, maybe his battery ran out! Unfortunately there was not a huge climb in sight.
 

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In my town the bike paths are major commuting routes. So, yeah, the ebike revolution is causing some friction just as in other places. In an effort to educate these new riders the town has sometimes placed signs to remind riders of the speed limit and requirement for safe riding.

On a positive note, two octogenarians in my club have these Specialized Cleo bikes. They’re both former top racers. It’s very cool to see them in the bunch with fast group. One of them jumped me at a town line sprint! I could only laugh and offer a fist bump.
 

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It's not e-bikes per se that's the problem, it's THE SPEED. Doesn't matter whether it's an e-bike or pedal bike.

E-bikes are hardly necessary on MUTs as the grades a limited if non-existent; e-bikers on MUTs are to me, mostly joy riding and not out for exercise.

People using e-bikes on MUTs for commuting should still obey speed limits.

But being the selfish lot that we are, we want our speed thrill but we don't want to have to work for it or learn that skill of riding on the open road.

Most MUTs have speed limits, if not posted on the trail itself, at a kiosk. Most police departments don't have the resources to enforce these limits.

E-bikes have merely expanded the reach of stupid people.
 

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I ride my ebike on the road, usually to work or the grocery store. If the MUT is safer to ride than the road then I am ok with allowing ebikes. E-bike people are a way closer mind-set to cyclists than a lot of the car drivers out there!
 

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Not to open a can of worms, but ...

Electric bikes are exploding in popularity. So I guess it was inevitable that we would be seeing them on dedicated bike paths and 'recreational' trails. By dedicated, I mean trails that don't permit cars or other motorized vehicles. But now that E-bikes are becoming more and more prevalent on such trails, has their presence affected you?

First, E-bikes have a motor, so technically they are not allowed on most bike trails. But that has not stopped their proliferation on trails. And of course there is no enforcement of the rules -- at least I have never seen them enforced on my local trail.

Personally, I consider E-bikes a hazard on bike trails. Bike trails are often only a couple meters wide, with riders going both directions and passing each other while less than a meter apart. Experienced riders can do this safely. But E-bikes are now popular among people who previously had little interest in cycling. Thus, E-bikes permit inexperienced riders to move at fairly high speeds (20-30 mph) and at 40 - 80 lbs (not including rider) they are much heavier than a non-electric bike. On a typical weekend, our local riding trail is used by walkers, joggers, roller-bladers, roller-skiers, and families with kids on trikes. It's only a matter of time before someone is badly injured by an E-bike rider who is out of their depth and moving too fast to be safe.

It's all happening quickly with little or no regulation. Similar to the E-scooters revolution.

Good/Bad? What do others think? Will it cause you to avoid paths and stick to roads?
Beverage can Tin Aluminum can Tin can Font

I am in the suburbs and there really aren't many MUTS near where I live. If there were I would avoid them not just because E-bikes but joggers, skaters, dog walkers etc. I can see the benefit of E-bikes on commuting trails. I see pedal bikes and E-bikes as very different things serving different purposes. Yes, there are some cyclists that transition to E-bikes due to age or medical issues, but I don't think the typical E-bike owner is of the spandex-wearing enthusiast ilk. If I get too old to pedal my bike I would probably just switch to Bocce ball
 

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The number of kids in the college town I work in riding e-bikes has really gone crazy. I saw one riding through a popular lake drive and I was taken aback by how fast he was going, then realized it was an e-bike. We had one local kid get severely injured with head trauma when he ran into a woman walking with a stroller. Many of them don't wear helmets here, and don't realize that 20 mph is a lethal speed without protection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
"It's not e-bikes per se that's the problem, it's THE SPEED."
Respectfully disagree. Yes speed is a factor, but so is weight (mass).
force = mass x acceleration
As I noted in my initial post, e-bikes can weigh as much as 80 lbs alone. Add 160 lb rider and you've got 240 lbs slamming into someone at 20+ mph.
That is worse than being hit by someone on a regular bike
 

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It's not the e-bike and it's not the speed, it's the operator. A tool is not dangerous until used in a dangerous manner, and no problem is solved until we quit blaming the tool and start dealing with the operator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Agree that operator is key. On the other hand, if the operator did not have the tool ...
edit: point is: e-bikes are a new addition to the mix. Perhaps they should be regulated like motorcycles? Perhaps people should be required to be licensed and go through safety training?
 

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It's not the e-bike and it's not the speed, it's the operator. A tool is not dangerous until used in a dangerous manner, and no problem is solved until we quit blaming the tool and start dealing with the operator.
We have this problem big time in the DC area. We've got a really good system of MUTs that I've used for close to 30 years to ride from VA into DC. Its not quite as wide as a single lane in a road. Ebikes exploded in use on the MUT one summer when the metro closed. The big problem is you put someone who is not a good/experienced cyclist on a bike that can got 20-25 mph with very little effort. They blow around blind corners. Pass in dangerous places. Everywhere I drive around here, there's some jerk in a big ass SUV tailgating me. Now I get it on the bike path. And the funny part is, it's mostly 30-something people who are perfectly capable of riding a real bike. I can see it if you're old, have some kind of disability, etc. But these folks are just lazy.

It's sad when the biggest sales driving innovation in bicycles lately is an electric motor. My LBS is full of them. Half the floor.
 
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