Barking up the Big E-Bike Ban

Yesterday, the National Capital Commission moved to ban E-bikes -- at least honkin' big ones -- from recreational paths. Public consultations, fines for perps, and everythin'.

Don't get me wrong. I love e-rides. One of the biggest hoots I've had in the past year was hijacking somebody's robo-mower for an exhilarating l'il motocross through Greely. Hilarity with a minimal carbon footprint! I digress.

Normally, us coyotes see the NCC's double-mittsful of planners as, ummm, Double-Bureaucratic Twits. Like many bureaucrats and planners, removed from the real world. Except by about times two. Maybe squared. More likely cubed.

But on the Big E-Bike Ban, I'm gonna go all Randall Denley on ya, and agree with the twits, maybe actually be one myself. I reluctantly concede that they might get it right by accident. Sometimes.

The cycles in the NCC's crosshairs are the ones that look and act pretty much like full-fledged motor scooters.

Dealers of these things say they're being targetted unfairly. And kinda ignore the fact that like their gas-snorting kin, they're plenty heavy and drive at city traffic speeds. Sure, e-scooters sport pedals, but they're evolutionary vestigial tails -- near-fictional afterthoughts to skootch owners past motor scooter license laws on a technicality. Honest owners will admit their spiffy e-rides are way too heavy for such sweaty nonsense.

I mostly blame bicycle brain. Cyclists that think they're not on real vehicles, and so are not subject to real road rules.

Bicycle brainiacs do all sortsa crap. Elbowing walkers on sidewalks, blowing off stop signs and red lights with that cute li'l semicircular sidestreet deke that abets the private fiction that they haven't done anything illegal or dangerous. On recreational paths, bicycle brain causes 'em to barely nod to the, ummm, strong suggestion to ring their bells when they're overtaking unaware pedestrians in speedy silence. Even if there are only a thousand or so in the city right now, calling what amount to full-on scooters that weigh a couple hundred pounds and go 50 or 60 kph, "bicycles" and letting 'em loose on recreational paths is just askin' for disjointed tails. Or worse. And I know from disjointed tails.

So just this once I tip my semi-mythical hat to the bureaucratic twits. Bask in your coyote kudos! We know it can't last...


mariposaman said...

All ebikes including the ones you erroneously refer to as e-scooters are limited to a maximum of 32 kilometers per hour and a maximum of 500 watts power assist. (My toaster is 1000 watts for reference).

Presently scooter style ebikes weigh 150 lbs on average, but remember the heavier the ebike the harder that teeny electric assist motor has to work, so performance suffers. Scooter style can be made quite under 100 lbs with aluminum frame and/or lithium batteries. A lot of the weight is in the lead batteries that is just starting to be replaced with newer lighter technologies like lithium.

Forecasts of doom where scooter style ebikes are scattering dead and injured bodies everywhere are unfounded. I pose the question do you ban a 150 lb man on a 150 lb scooter style ebike, and not ban a 250 lb man on a 50 lb beach cruiser style regular bicycle? They both weigh 300 lbs.

Ebikes complete with battery can weight as little as 40 - 75 lbs, similar in range to cruiser style regular bicycles. I have not even touched on tandem bikes, which can weigh over 100 lbs for a bike alone, then add a couple of riders, say 200 lbs each, you have 500 lbs without even adding any groceries or a case of 24, and their top speed is unregulated.

The whole weight argument gets tedious, and probably unenforcable anyway, unless you ban by weight and have a set of scales at each entrance to the trails.

coyote said...

Your rebuttal is cogent, M-guy. I stand corrected on multiple points.

Damned facts, anyway.

Still, I might postulate, based on a completely anecdotal sample with no chi factor howmsoever, that your notional 250 lb. dude may be more likely to be coasting on the electric than peddling the Schwinn...

Anyway, as is my irrational wont, I'm gonna continue hating the idea of 'em be on recreational paths.

Us coyotes is just kinda oppositional that way...