Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 44
  1. #1
    The Burninator FreddytheFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Electric Commuters - love or hate?

    Hi All,

    I'm usure about how to feel about the proliferation of electric powered/assisted bikes that are showing up on local bike paths/bike lanes. I'm hoping to get a few points of view from both the "love 'em" crowd and the "hate 'em" folks.

    Here's how my thoughts go:

    Pros:

    1) Better for the environment than driving a ICE scooter/motorcycle/car
    2) The more advocates for quality bikes lanes and bike paths the better
    3) Health benefits from a less stressful commute

    Cons:

    1) They have motors! Shouldn't bike paths/lanes be reservered for human powered traffic.
    2) People are locking them up in bike racks. This takes space away from regular cyclists and may prevent some people from riding (ie. they can't find a place to lock up their bike).
    3) Electric power/assist offers very few exercise benefits.

    Full disclosure: I've tried to see both sides for this post but I personally hate 'em. When I see an electric scooter busting around in the bike lane my blood starts to boil. There's a very clear like between bicycle and motor vehicle, if it has a motor it belongs to the latter and therefore should stay off the bike paths and out of bike lanes.

  2. #2
    Disgruntled grad student beingtxstate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Champaign, IL
    Posts
    443
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Though I have no use for one, I don't mind them.

    I go to a school where it is actually up-hill both ways, though never snowing. The people I see riding e-bikes need them to climb the 2 mile hill home.

    A good friend and prof. here at the school has a disability, one leg is 2-3inches shorter than the other. He wants to ride for joy, less stress, health, and environmental protection/preservation, but he lives up a two mile 10-15% grade hill. I can't climb it w/o having a heat stroke, he is in his 60's

    W/o the e-bike, he would be driving. For this reason alone I don't despise them. I don't really have any issues with them, but they aren't for me personally.

    I am just glad to see other ppl riding!
    1990 Trek 330
    2006 Trek 7.2FX
    2006 Trek 7.3FX (Wifey's Steed)

  3. #3
    No-Pants Island bbonnn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South Bay of SF
    My Bikes
    2007 Trek Pilot 2.1 WSD & 2001 Specialized Crossroads
    Posts
    425
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There was another thread on here about motor scooters (the low-horsepower, step-through kind), and I discovered that in California, you HAVE to drive them in a bike lane if one is present. That changed my perspective. Less blood boiling.

    I guess you have to figure out what benefits of the bike path or bike lane are being compromised when these types of vehicles use them. Such as noise from a motor disrupting the relative nature-ish peace of a multi-use path, or someone going too fast on an MUP, or riding annoyingly aggressively around peds*. With other aspects -- like if they keep to a speed limit of 15mph on the MUP, or whatever -- I've no objections.




    * Um, cuz, you know, cyclists never do that.

  4. #4
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Bedrock, IL
    My Bikes
    1968 Schwinn Orange Krate, 5 speed stick shift
    Posts
    3,081
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I see very few so I can't really say I love or hate them. I will say it's fun when you can pass 'em without a motor!
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  5. #5
    Bring That Beat Back Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    I lost my legs
    Posts
    939
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    They're welcome in my book. I think.

  6. #6
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Montréal, Québec, Canada
    My Bikes
    Peugeot Alpin Pro, Surly LHT
    Posts
    2,012
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    They're still quite rare and I'd rather see them than cars. I'll probably get one when I get older. Heck, sometimes I'd like one for those difficult mornings.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    15
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L
    They're still quite rare and I'd rather see them than cars. I'll probably get one when I get older. Heck, sometimes I'd like one for those difficult mornings.
    Agreed. I hope I see more of them. I'm worried that electric cars will replace gas-powered cars and we'll all still be in a car-centric world. My hope is that before e-cars become viable, most (many? some?) people will have tried something totally different and the face of transportation (commuting, at least) may have changed for the better.

  8. #8
    Life is short Ride hard
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    In the middle of nowhere
    My Bikes
    not enough
    Posts
    1,114
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    maybe if you ran climate controlled tubes through the city that have no steep elevation climbs with security and waste management crews to keep the area clean and secure on staff 24/7 then I think people would ride a bike. Why do most people drive car it is "safe" nobody "attack" me it is comfortable it doesn't require work with e-bike xtra cycles and and 31'st century "tubes" more people will ride bike

  9. #9
    \,,/(^_^)\,,/ new_dharma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Bikes
    Surly 1x1 Xtracycle, '01 Haro Flair Dave Mirra
    Posts
    869
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    when I was a student at the U of MN, there were folks riding on the bike path across the Washington Ave bridge, going the wrong way, and they wouldn't move! This usually isn't a problem...just move over and let the fool pass (with some kind words )...but when it is nice outside, and the bridge is full of people walking across, it becomes a problem. http://www.phototour.minneapolis.mn.us/pics/2955.jpg
    You know you're getting old when you look at a beautiful 19-year-old girl and you find yourself thinking, "Gee, I wonder what her mother looks like?"

  10. #10
    Eternal Cat3 Rookie branman1986's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    My Bikes
    2004 Giant TCR2 Composite & 2006 Fuji Touring
    Posts
    1,169
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Motorized bikes aren't allowed on the MUPs here in Atlanta thankfully.

    On the street, I think it's a fine compromise

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    North Jersey
    Posts
    733
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't have a problem with them, but I strongly question whether they're really as environmentally friendly as people assume. The electricity has to come from some place and frequently it's from burning coal, sometimes even oil.

  12. #12
    Mad scientist w/a wrench
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Chucktown
    My Bikes
    none working atm
    Posts
    760
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Coal-fired electricity is arguably cleaner than gasoline power: the fed mandates and regulates and checks up on every coal plants emissions much more regularly than most people check the emissions on their cars. (hell, you can chop your catalytic converter out of your car within 24 hours of buying it here and as long as the car isn't too loud, no one would be the wiser or ever find out)

    The bigger concern I have with e-bikes is the pollution involved in the production,disposal/recycling of the batteries. that said, I'd rather see e-bikes than cars any day.

    The gas-powered scooters/motorcycles otoh, I'm not so happy with because unless you're in California, there's NO environmental regs on them, and with the resurgence of chopper-mania, truly efficient motorcycles are becoming less and less popular.
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  13. #13
    The quieter you become... Falkon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    My Bikes
    1973 Raleigh Superbe, 2006 Trek 4300 with no original parts, 1984 Ciocc, Custom Keith Anderson
    Posts
    1,283
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I personally don't have any problem with anyone using one as a bike. I don't like them myself, because even the moped ones are more scooter than bike. If you use it like a bike without the motor, it just feels heavy.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Allen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    4,757
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ok, I'm qualified to speak to this. I have a Giant Lite/Twist electric assist bicycle (uber fred in my sig). First, not all electric bikes are created equal, they come in two basic verities mopeds, and electric assist bicycles, there is a difference. Mopeds, even though they may have pedals, like the old vespas, and early motorcycles, are too heavy and impractical to pedal. An electric assist bicycle you impart more energy to moving you forward than does the motor. True some have throttles, and you can run on the motor alone, but you will neither go very far or very fast.
    The law (generally) describes an electric bike as one that has a top assisted speed of around 20 mph, most cut out around 16-18 mph, anything more is a moped and must be licensed and tagged. My bike conforms to Japanese standards which are more rigorous than either North American, or European standards. Mine has no throttle, you must pedal to make it go, and a range of anywhere from 18-35 miles depending on your load and terrain. It's mopeds that are not allowed on the MUPs in Atl, btw, my bike is legally a bicycle in the state of Georgia, and not banned from bike lanes or paths.
    I did originally purchase mine because I had to do strength training after breaking my neck, but have since come to the conclusion that trauma, age, extreme weight, etc. are not requisites for purchasing one. I've over 3,000 miles on my bike, and it's the greatest town bike I could imagine. Fantastic for hauling loads, I can get on it through an intersection, even with 200 lbs. of groceries. This summer, although hellish, was doable every day, and sometimes it's just nice to take it easy.
    A common reaction to electric assist bikes is as if they carry the plague, and usually from those who have never ridden one, or if so only in a parking lot. They are bicycles. Going up a 12% grade, you are going to have to work some to get up the hill, push it hard, and you are going to work hard. Relax, just keep the pedals moving, and let the motor do the work, you will get up the hill, but slowly (often nice to do when you are carrying a full trailer).
    They have a Fred factor of epic proportions. Damn right I have a basket on mine, front and back. But I use it as a town bike, one needs baskets. What I'm getting to in a long tooth fashion is bicycles are highly specialized tools. One would not use a BMX in the Tour de France, nor would a time trial bike be of much use touring the cobblestone streets of Ireland. The assist bike, either as a commuter or fitness machine, is extremely capable.

    --A

  15. #15
    tired donnamb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
    My Bikes
    Breezer Uptown 8, U frame
    Posts
    5,660
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think power assist bikes have a place. Like here, for instance. That's a lot of cargo to take up a hill.


  16. #16
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    4,178
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    They are better than a car.

    Just about anything is.

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    31
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I love to pass them going up hills

    But seriously.. I cannot complain. Fewer cars on the road. Some folks may have physical limitations that would prevent them from any sort of hill climbing and this is a solution that gets them riding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    About bike racks: Well, so what? They're the same size as bicycles, no?

  18. #18
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Shanghai
    My Bikes
    2007 Jamis Nova
    Posts
    1,075
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm in favour of them, too. Much better than cars in general, and much better for urban air quality than crummy gas-powered mopeds. Unfortunately, there has been talk of regulation in China to ban them in the run-up to the Olympics because they're seen as a "backwards" mode of transportation, and not one becoming of the world-class city that is Beijing (cough!).

    The ones here top out at 20-30 km/h, and they're nice to draft when you're riding into a nasty headwind. None of the guilt associated with drafting off a cyclist, and none of the exhaust of a moped/motor scooter.

    I don't object to electric bikes at the bike rack any more than I object to the fair weather cyclists who steal my favourite bike-rack spot at the beginning of spring. I get a bit annoyed that there's less space for me, but I'm glad to see people out of cars and using more efficient transportation options.

    Edit: And the Stokemonkey electric-assist gadget on that Xtracycle in the photo is the coolest thing ever. It's worth reading about the design principles behind it, and how it's meant to *supplement* rather than *replace* human power on a bike. I have a lot of respect for Todd, the guy behind it -- I just wish the word would get out more!

  19. #19
    Senior Member NeezyDeezy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    880
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I like them.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    959
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Funny finding this thread. On yesterdays morning half of the commute I saw four of these going the other direction on the MUP.

    All were going slower than your average road bike and were, to tell the truth, probably slower than the 15 mph limit. Only one had a helmet.

    I'm ambivalent towards them:

    1. The ranking in my mind goes suv << devil's bus << standard auto << compact car << motorcycle <<
    scooter << electric assist bicycle << god's rickshaw << bicycle

    2. So long as they are as quite as a bicycle (and these four were; each one was different and I couldn't figure out until they were past me what it was that made them creepy) I'm okay with them on the path. Heck they were quiter than the college kids with the rust encased drivetrain I see everyday.

    3. The speed is the real issue. If they are using the path their speed should not be much faster than the road bikes, the path is only 5 feet wide in parts, and has many blind corners.

    4. On the other hand i do find the idea of going up a hill without pedalling is somehow very creepy.

  21. #21
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    My Bikes
    Too Many
    Posts
    2,393
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here is the link to Public Law No: 107-319 concerning electric bicycles.
    http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr03/low.html
    This law is subject to local and state regulations so if your state outlaws motors on bicycles then your not going to be able use your electric bicycle in that state. A notable example is New Jersey. Other states may mandate additional equipment like lights and a helmet. Alabama considers any bicycle with an attached motor, gas or electric, to be classified as a motor-driven cycle and requires a brake light, illuminated headlight, and a motorcycle type approved helmet be worn. In actual operation the police in Alabama don’t enforce the motorcycle helmet requirement and a bicycle type helmet is acceptable but you must have a brake light and an illuminated headlight anytime the motor-driven cycle is moving even if the motor is not being used.

    I have some experience with electric bicycles having installed a few electric bicycle kits for the neighbors.
    Electric bicycle operators find out quickly that high-speed equals reduced range so typical operating speeds are around 10 miles per hour, which extends the range 4 times that of full throttle operation. Pedaling with the electric motor extends the range even more.
    I have no problem with electric bicycles on the bike paths as there slower than the Roadies blasting down the path in excess of 20 MPH.

  22. #22
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    the pesto of cities
    My Bikes
    Davidson Impulse, Merckx Titanium AX, Bruce Gordon Rock & Road, Cross Check custom build, On-One Il Pomino, Shawver Cycles cross, Zion 737, Mercian Vincitore, Brompton S1L, Charge Juicer
    Posts
    7,020
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Citabria
    I love to pass them going up hills

    But seriously.. I cannot complain. Fewer cars on the road. Some folks may have physical limitations that would prevent them from any sort of hill climbing and this is a solution that gets them riding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    About bike racks: Well, so what? They're the same size as bicycles, no?
    That pretty much sums up my feelings on them.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Toronto
    My Bikes
    Miyata 600, Marin Larkspur, Marin Muirwoods, GT tequesta, Fuji Ace
    Posts
    970
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have no objection to the electric bicycles in the lanes. I wish there were more of them around. I considered one for myself, but couldn't see the use of it vs. my other bikes. If I had one, it would be the trike, for major cargo haulage. Bionx sells a kit where you can just exchange the rear wheel of your bike for the power assist, and you get regenerative braking - or you can even charge the batteries by pedaling if you choose the correct setting.

    For some reason, I don't like to see scooters or vespas in the MUP's, on the streets fine, but they are too wide for the paths. This is hypocritical, since I don't resent the trikes and trailers in the same place...

  24. #24
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    In the 212
    My Bikes
    Haro Vector, IRO Rob Roy, Bianchi Veloce
    Posts
    8,757
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm cool w/ them as long as it's an assist motor, not a motorbike w/ pedals.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



    We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    5,438
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I personally wouldn't use one, but the more slow moving two wheeled vehicles there are on the road, the more acceptable bicycling becomes to car drivers.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
    1988 Ducati 750 F1

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •