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Electric Bicycles

Old 12-27-19, 12:18 PM
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Pratt
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Electric Bicycles

Even though I am profoundly ignorant about these, a recent trip to NYC gave my consciousness a hard elbow in the ribs. There are hordes of ebikes in Manhattan. Evidently they are largely used by bicycle riding delivery guys, and gals. Evidently the Mayor likes them and the Governor does not. Also there seems to be a debate between throttle controlled vs pedal assist.
While I am not taking a side in that argument, I see the whole thing as an opportunity to gain allies in bicycles struggles for a better seat at the table of urban traffic planning.
If this is in th wrong sub forum, please feel free to move.
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Old 12-27-19, 12:20 PM
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https://www.bikeforums.net/electric-bikes/
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Old 12-27-19, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Even though I am profoundly ignorant about these, a recent trip to NYC gave my consciousness a hard elbow in the ribs. There are hordes of ebikes in Manhattan. Evidently they are largely used by bicycle riding delivery guys, and gals. Evidently the Mayor likes them and the Governor does not. Also there seems to be a debate between throttle controlled vs pedal assist.
While I am not taking a side in that argument, I see the whole thing as an opportunity to gain allies in bicycles struggles for a better seat at the table of urban traffic planning.
If this is in th wrong sub forum, please feel free to move.
this

i think you have this figured out.
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Old 12-27-19, 04:47 PM
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Yeah, Badger, I thought it could go in Electrics, or Advocacy, so laziness prevailed, and I just went General.
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Old 12-27-19, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Yeah, Badger, I thought it could go in Electrics, or Advocacy, so laziness prevailed, and I just went General.
Don't mind me; I'm just a pedantic purist () -- but yes, I do think your thread could (and should) be in either: Electric Bikes or Advocacy. Re. the latter, there is a potential intersection of 'interest' between cyclists and e-bike riders in some circumstances.
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Old 12-29-19, 11:45 AM
  #6  
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The more people ride bikes, the better it will be for everyone.
​​​​​I wonder how many cycling purists are also purists when it comes to washing the dishes..
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Old 12-29-19, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
The more people ride bikes, the better it will be for everyone.
Meh, if they were actually acting like bikes, you'd have a point.

What really happens is folks have taken over the the bike lanes as a way to ride their electric motorcycles faster than conditions allow and not infrequently faster than the car traffic speed limit, generally without lights, too. And if the lane doesn't go where they want, they ride the wrong way. About six months ago they started all but universally using the sidewalk in my neighbourhood instead of the extremely quiet street.

They do it in the name of being economically competitive - but they're just competing with other people doing the same thing, which has all the elements of a race to the bottom. Unrestrained competition is actually not a pretty thing.

Actually doing something for the workers would be implementing a minimum wage by both time and distance, so that moderate speed assist bikes would fit the need without terrifying the walking public in a way that creates a backlash against all cycling. And if higher prices mean more folks walk a few blocks to pick up their own fatty dinners, that's hardly a bad thing either.

Last edited by UniChris; 12-29-19 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 12-29-19, 12:10 PM
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Always entertaining.

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Old 12-30-19, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Meh, if they were actually acting like bikes, you'd have a point.

What really happens is folks have taken over the the bike lanes as a way to ride their electric motorcycles faster than conditions allow and not infrequently faster than the car traffic speed limit, generally without lights, too. And if the lane doesn't go where they want, they ride the wrong way. About six months ago they started all but universally using the sidewalk in my neighbourhood instead of the extremely quiet street.

They do it in the name of being economically competitive - but they're just competing with other people doing the same thing, which has all the elements of a race to the bottom. Unrestrained competition is actually not a pretty thing.

Actually doing something for the workers would be implementing a minimum wage by both time and distance, so that moderate speed assist bikes would fit the need without terrifying the walking public in a way that creates a backlash against all cycling. And if higher prices mean more folks walk a few blocks to pick up their own fatty dinners, that's hardly a bad thing either.
I got lost halfway through that, but I suspect that's because it doesn't apply here - our e-bikes are often slower than manual ones, as they're limited to 16mph.

Slower on top speed anyway - point to point they prove quicker because they don't get stuck on hills. That's when the resentment usually happens.
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Old 12-30-19, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
our e-bikes are often slower than manual ones, as they're limited to 16mph.
IMHO that's about right - actually I'd argue for 15. The point of an assist bike is to assist someone in fitting into average-citizen bike traffic, not pulling ahead of it for no purpose.

If we actually had that, things here would be a lot better. Instead we have (had and will soon again) 18 mph assist share bikes that are more towards fun than transport, and lanes increasing dominated by electric motorcycles going race speeds and then some - they regularly pass the cars even when traffic is light.

Last edited by UniChris; 12-30-19 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 12-30-19, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
I got lost halfway through that, but I suspect that's because it doesn't apply here - our e-bikes are often slower than manual ones, as they're limited to 16mph.

Slower on top speed anyway - point to point they prove quicker because they don't get stuck on hills. That's when the resentment usually happens.
Wow, the e bikes here are hitting 30 mph and too many on the cycling trails around here. Actually racing each other on e bikes. Funny thing is they try to race us who are not on ebikes as well, pretty silly.

About a month ago, I was riding with friends doing our thing. Some dude on an ebike pulls up and starts bragging about how fast his bike can go. Uh OK! then he offers to pull us at 30 MPH. No thanks. After several minutes the dude takes off.

Several minutes too long. I didn't ask about his bike, his speed or anything else but he felt he needed to fill me in on a bike I will NEVER consider. Wasted my time and several minutes of my life.

Funniest thing couple weeks back. Some dude on an e bike, aero bars and a super bright light the size of an automobile riding up and down the bike path at 30 mph. We do have a pretty wide open bike trail but c'mon, take that motorcycle out onto the street.
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Old 12-30-19, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Meh, if they were actually acting like bikes, you'd have a point.

What really happens is folks have taken over the the bike lanes as a way to ride their electric motorcycles faster than conditions allow and not infrequently faster than the car traffic speed limit, generally without lights, too. And if the lane doesn't go where they want, they ride the wrong way. About six months ago they started all but universally using the sidewalk in my neighbourhood instead of the extremely quiet street.

They do it in the name of being economically competitive - but they're just competing with other people doing the same thing, which has all the elements of a race to the bottom. Unrestrained competition is actually not a pretty thing.

Actually doing something for the workers would be implementing a minimum wage by both time and distance, so that moderate speed assist bikes would fit the need without terrifying the walking public in a way that creates a backlash against all cycling. And if higher prices mean more folks walk a few blocks to pick up their own fatty dinners, that's hardly a bad thing either.
I see more analog riders skirting the rules than ebike riders.
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Old 12-30-19, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
I see more analog riders skirting the rules than ebike riders.
As do I. Most of the riders on e-bikes around here ride prudently, unlike all of the riders with aerobars who consider the MUP as their own personal training track.
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Old 12-30-19, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
I see more analog riders skirting the rules than ebike riders.
It's definitely possible to misbehave with a pedal bike (or for that matter on foot) and those things are issues too.

The thread started with an observation about NYC, and while there are areas of the city where pedal bikes still outnumber e-motorcycles, there are also regions and hours where the e-motorcycles substantially outnumber pedal bikes.

They're also going at speeds that few pedal cyclists could or would sustain under those conditions, and for which the bike layout of bike lanes is not remotely designed. That increases all of the scare factor, the likelihood of a collision, and the amount of energy brought to one if it does occur.

People out walking or running on the greenways, and in some parts of town have a lot of interaction with pedal bikes. But going about your daily life in other parts of town, most of your interaction (and especially your negative experiences) are with e-motorcycles.
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Old 12-30-19, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
It's definitely possible to misbehave with a pedal bike (or for that matter on foot) and those things are issues too.

The thread started with an observation about NYC, and while there are areas of the city where pedal bikes still outnumber e-motorcycles, there are also regions and hours where the e-motorcycles substantially outnumber pedal bikes.

They're also going at speeds that few pedal cyclists could or would sustain under those conditions, and for which the bike layout of bike lanes is not remotely designed. That increases all of the scare factor, the likelihood of a collision, and the amount of energy brought to one if it does occur.

People out walking or running on the greenways, and in some parts of town have a lot of interaction with pedal bikes. But going about your daily life in other parts of town, most of your interaction (and especially your negative experiences) are with e-motorcycles.
Yeah. I only get to NYC a couple of times a year but what you describe is instantly noticeable. It's not that bad in Philly--yet. What you mostly have to watch for are the relatively few (at least in areas of the city I frequent) e-throttle food delivery guys. They can be a terror.
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Old 12-30-19, 12:16 PM
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I don't see any safety issues with pedalec bikes on my day to day on the MUP. The biggest hazzards are passers not giving a signal, especially on blind curves. I ride a Class 3 pedalec and I am usually riding at the speed of many road bikers during my 18 mile commute. If it wasn't for the pedalec, I'd drive. Too long for a daily commute on a regular bike, especially on hot days. Not all bikes or riders are created equal. But everything aside, bikes are not safe in general traffic. I stick to the MUP as much as possible. If I had to take the streets, I'd again prefer to drive so I can live to ride more.Suburban streets around these parts are suicide missions on bike.
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Old 12-30-19, 01:26 PM
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The way I see it most cyclists hate ANY cyclist that can pass them. I see it daily. They challenge our tandem. Now that e-bikes are a thing we get threads and threads about how fast they go (30 mph, really?). I don't doubt that many cyclists would be happy with legislation that enacted no cap on unpowered bikes but limited all e-assist bikes to 15mph. A hard limit. Not just an assisted limit but a speed governed hard limit of 15mph that no e-assist bike could exceed, period. The unfairness of this wouldn't really matter. I live in about the most bike dense part of the country there is and I am out there every single day and I wouldn't run out of fingers counting the e-bikes I've seen in motion, and I wouldn't run out of fingers counting the ones I've seen parked in bike racks either. I was in NYC about 6 months ago and I will be back there in February. I really didn't notice that the e-bike thing was that much of a thing. I will definitely pay attention this time. But I have to tell you I think it is much ado about nothing. The real menace (everywhere) is cars. Seattle is implementing a buffer zone law to take effect in 2020. Portland (Washington County anyway) has a buffer zone law that protects pedestrians. I think these are a good idea. A law where bikes (of all kinds) had to give peds a 10' buffer, cars had to give bikes a 25' buffer and peds a 50' buffer, would go a long way to reduce injuries and fatalities and would not need any big investment in infrastructure.

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Old 12-30-19, 04:51 PM
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30 MPH easily!


I personally know the guy and his brother. I took this pic of his bike just minutes before he smoked me doing 30 mph.




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Old 12-30-19, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I was in NYC about 6 months ago and I will be back there in February. I really didn't notice that the e-bike thing was that much of a thing. I will definitely pay attention this time.
It's mostly an issue in residential areas where deliveries are being made and people are walking - classic example being the east side. Because the greenways are far enough out of the way, with the exception of the package trailer assist bikes that can occasionally be seen, a commercial cyclist on a greenway is probably commuting to or from work not working, so there the fitness, leisure, and pedal commuter cyclists are still the majority.

But I have to tell you I think it is much ado about nothing.
Just watched an e-bike dude almost get clobbered this evening. Why? Because parking protected lanes lack sufficient visibility for the speeds he was traveling, with the result that he snuck up on a car already in the process of making a turn across the lane. If you're going to move at or beyond traffic speeds, you need to be in the ordinary lanes integrated with their flow and sharing a mutual awareness with the others there as the "vehicular cyclists" have always correctly maintained.

But do that on what is for all relevant purposes a motorcycle and you need to be there with all the usually required safety gear and paperwork.

A law where bikes (of all kinds) had to give peds a 10' buffer, cars had to give bikes a 25' buffer and peds a 50' buffer, would go a long way to reduce injuries and fatalities and would not need any big investment in infrastructure.
Neither of those could *remotely* work in a highly populated urban setting. And how do you give someone a 50 foot buffer anywhere?

People forget that the great "bike cities" are also places where cycling (and often traffic in general) is quite noticeably slower than it is in the US where cyclists are still a minority exception. It simply has to be, when you have that many people on wheels in close proximity. As long as we have humans steering and braking, density and speed cannot really coexist as a general solution.

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Old 12-31-19, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Neither of those could *remotely* work in a highly populated urban setting. And how do you give someone a 50 foot buffer anywhere?
50' is around two car lengths. Even if it was one car length that would be better than what we have now. Cars tailgate cyclists that are taking the lane and if the cyclist goes down ... ... the driver has no time to react. In Europe they go even further. A car can only overtake a cyclist at a maximum speed of 19mph. Common sense laws that either force cars to leave space between themselves and bikes and/or mandate maximum speeds that can be used when in close procimity to bikes do not require expensive separated bike infrastructure. In highly populated urban settings there shouldn't be cars anyway! None at all. First responder vehicles and commercial traffic are all that should rationally be operating in urban cores. But until that happy day the measures I've outlined while seeming onerous really wouldn't impact cars more than the overcrowding (because of too many cars!) already does.
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Old 12-31-19, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
50' is around two car lengths. Even if it was one car length that would be better than what we have now.
Okay, so you don't mean a distance in any direction, but a following distance.

Still, how do you pass?

In Europe they go even further. A car can only overtake a cyclist at a maximum speed of 19mph.
What if the cyclist is going faster than that? Pretty common for the e-motorcycycles that prompted this thread (but then they're often not in the car lanes to begin with). Actually the cars aren't passing them, they are passing the cars - is it still a violation if the illicit proximity occurs because the "victim" is gaining on you?

And the issue isn't so much between the e-motorcycles and the cars (they'd match rather well, except for the lack of safety features and paperwork if they would actually operate in the lanes intended for their speed), but between them and the pedal bikes and pedestrians.

In highly populated urban settings there shouldn't be cars anyway! None at all.
That utopia exists nowhere on the planet. Superblocks, sure. But in between guess what you have. Even on remote islands, someone has a jeep.

But the supreme and more relevant irony is that your typical Manhattan pedestrian has daily negative interactions with e-motorcycles, but only infrequent ones with cars. For all their potential danger, the cars are mostly where they are supposed to be and doing almost what they are supposed to be. It's the two wheeled electric gizmos that no longer even pretend to abide by the order designed into the system.

Last edited by UniChris; 12-31-19 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 12-31-19, 01:25 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post
Wow, the e bikes here are hitting 30 mph and too many on the cycling trails around here. Actually racing each other on e bikes. Funny thing is they try to race us who are not on ebikes as well, pretty silly.

About a month ago, I was riding with friends doing our thing. Some dude on an ebike pulls up and starts bragging about how fast his bike can go. Uh OK! then he offers to pull us at 30 MPH. No thanks. After several minutes the dude takes off.

Several minutes too long. I didn't ask about his bike, his speed or anything else but he felt he needed to fill me in on a bike I will NEVER consider. Wasted my time and several minutes of my life.

Funniest thing couple weeks back. Some dude on an e bike, aero bars and a super bright light the size of an automobile riding up and down the bike path at 30 mph. We do have a pretty wide open bike trail but c'mon, take that motorcycle out onto the street.
Yeah, people like him seem like nothing more than attention seekers who have never had that much excitement before, and are compelled to bask in the glory of someone else's achievement. You get it in all fields to be fair, pretty much all material goods can bring out tape-measure mentality, especially for beginners.

I'll be honest, i still slightly enjoy passing a dedicated manual rider uphill, whilst i'm perched no-handed or have my 8yo child on the back, there's something sadistically enjoyable about it... but i don't get involved with others going about their business (unless they ask, and they do, usually outside shops). After all, whilst i designed and built my truly unique bike from my custom selection of parts, it's still an amalgamation of other people's achievements too.
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Old 12-31-19, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
Yeah, people like him seem like nothing more than attention seekers who have never had that much excitement before, and are compelled to bask in the glory of someone else's achievement. You get it in all fields to be fair, pretty much all material goods can bring out tape-measure mentality, especially for beginners.

I'll be honest, i still slightly enjoy passing a dedicated manual rider uphill, whilst i'm perched no-handed or have my 8yo child on the back, there's something sadistically enjoyable about it... but i don't get involved with others going about their business (unless they ask, and they do, usually outside shops). After all, whilst i designed and built my truly unique bike from my custom selection of parts, it's still an amalgamation of other people's achievements too.
Yeah I have no problem with those who do their own thing, and there are a lot of them now on our bike trail. Happens to be 60 miles roundtrip and mostly wide open so one can really get rolling on a pedal or e bike. No problem there. I do slow around the very few, like 2 kids I see on a ride for safety, for the record.

But I don't feel the need to pull up on my pedal bike to other riders and say," hey look at me, I can hold 20 MPH because I'm using new bar tape!".

The one thing I really disliked was that he was hugging my side on a huge e bike while I had a couple of buddies on my wheel. I like to ride single file for safety so a big huge ape hanger handlebar bike a foot away from me, makes me nervous.,

I really don't have a problem with e bikes with those who mind their own but for some reason, some feel the need to "show off" their POWER. To be honest, I'm more impressed with someone on a pedal bike who has power.

But like this lady (her hubby was cool about it) in this video. This happens to be a video from a personal friend of mine. Dude is a fast rider on his single and his wife on the tandem at times are pretty strong riders. He was just starting out on their ride, pulling out onto the trail when a lady and her hubby caught and passed them from behind. Of course the ebikes were already into a full roll and it would take time for the tandem to get up to speed.

But as the lady rolls by, she shouts, "you should have got an ebike!" of some sort. Hard to hear but these are the words my buddy said she shouted as she rolled by. Pretty arrogant he thought and I would have thought the same if it were me. But then they get up to speed and they pass the ebike, when he shouts, "you should have got a bike that the battery doesn't die!". Something to that sort as he told me. I have a hard time hearing the video but you can hear a verbal exchange.



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Old 12-31-19, 02:37 PM
  #24  
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MN state law limits ebikes to 1000W motors, max speed 20 mph, must have pedals, normal bike seat, and brakes with power cutoff. I usually ride the local trails at about 14-16 mph average - which is comfortable on busy MUP trails.

In the last 9 years I have encountered only one fast ebiker that blew past me like I was parked. He stopped at a junction and I was able to visit with him. H was riding a home-brew bike with a dual shock motocross fork, beefy frame, a monster battery pack and I believe he said the motor was something like 3000W. He claimed 40mph+, and built them to order.

Since the current automotive emphasis is on performance (even in the electric area) it is not surprising that the same mentality affects those who want the fast bikes that they can ride without registration or license. So - we have the law that states the limits, but no enforcement unless he took that thing on the streets and a cop saw him.
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Old 01-02-20, 01:19 PM
  #25  
Leisesturm
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An e-bike that can do 30 mph will not cost $800, or even $1000. That really limits how many will get built or sold. I will probably never see one on the road in my lifetime. I doubt most of us will. What is the problem? A fair number of the e-bike owners I have chatted with are women. Older women. Even if their bikes could go 30mph their owners would never take them up to those speeds. How many of us ever take our cars to the top speed of which it is capable? This really is much ado about nothing. E-bike hate threads are starting to clog up several sub-forums on BF. A growing number of cyclists think its cheating to own one. Cheating? WTF? Yes if you are in sanctioned competition with a clandestine e-assist in the downtube of your time trial bike you are cheating, but on your commute to the office? Let's get a grip.

Bike messengers of the late 1980's through mid 1990's did not need motors to earn the hatred of most road users. Delivery riders on e-bikes are not dangerous because their bikes have motors! Amazon delivery vans are taking out way more pedestrians (and cyclists) and causing destruction to public and private property than all the e-bike delivery riders in NYC combined! Let's get a grip. Amazon forces their delivery drivers to unreasonable schedules and penalizes and/or fires drivers that cannot keep to them. Restaurants that abuse delivery riders with low pay or per trip rates encourage reckless behavior by their delivery staff. They would still be a menace on pedal bicycles.

Know what? I have more regard for the mouth-breather on the 28mph e-motorcycle who upsets the writers of e-bike hate threads so much because they are at least riding something electric! You holier than thou haters still make most of your trips using a CAR and I have a problem with that. Why? Because you are destroying my planet. You don't get to take the moral high ground over the behavior of scant thousands of people when you are part of a cohort of millions ... tens of millions of people contributing to the demise of humankind with every trip in your SUV. I don't own an e-bike but I recognize that they are the way forward. Responsible people will ride them responsibly. This should be encouraged. The threads I see don't just call out the bad behaved e-cyclists, most of them attempt to shame anyone who would buy an assisted bike for any reason. That's just stupid. Stop it. Save the scorn for the people who use F-150 pickup trucks as daily driver (single passenger at that) commute vehicles.

Last edited by Leisesturm; 01-02-20 at 01:23 PM.
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