From E-Bikes to Hoverboards

Discussion in 'General Cycling' started by Jim Kenney, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. Jim Kenney

    Jim Kenney Travel Correspondent Team Gathermeister Industry Insider

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    From E-Bikes to Hoverboards


    I have been bike commuting each summer in the Wash DC area since 2006. I ride an old, slow hybrid and usually go about 10-15 miles per hour. My current one-way commute is about 14 miles and starts in Northern VA and transects the entire District of Columbia. Over the years I've seen not only an explosion of bike commuters, but recently a great proliferation of motorized conveyances or "little electric vehicles" that people are using on the suburban bike paths and urban streets I ride. On any given day I can see one or all of the following:


    e-bikes - I see a lot of these, including several variations. They catch me off-guard sometimes because they go fast in weird places like uphills or around sharp corners. I saw a young man under age 30 commuting on an e-bike recently and wearing full cycling gear (bike pants, cycling jersey, shoes, fancy helmet). I chuckled and asked myself, is he sweating enough to deserve all that kit:) But E-Bikes are definitely empowering folks to make alternative commuting choices.


    Electric scooters - these are the motorized razor scooter type thingies that are generally pretty slow movers. Some have two small wheels like the kiddie razor scooters, others have two wheels about six inches in diameter like the non-motorized scooters the Amish use in PA. The other day I saw a young lady riding a fairly burly E-Scooter on a sidewalk down a slight decline and she was going at a pretty high rate, maybe 15-20 mph. She was in summer-jogging shorts and t-shirt with no helmet or elbow/knee pads. I shuddered to think what it would look like if she took a tumble.


    [​IMG]


    Hoverboards - I was recently riding on a city street and had one of these guys sneak up on me from a 90 degree angle using a sidewalk. These are so little that you can miss the fact that the person using one is not walking, but going a steady 5 or 10 mph and you better prepare to accommodate their movement accordingly.
    [​IMG]

    Segways - there seem to be a range of these from elaborate to barebones. I'm thinking of the ones with handle bars, but some come in versions without handle bars and look like heavy duty, two wheeled hoverboards. They are actually on the wane and mostly rented now to tourists visiting the various Memorials and Monuments around the Wash DC Mall area.


    Solo-wheeled electric unicycles - I saw one of these today. The guy using it passed me going about 15 mph on a bike path. He was wearing a shirt, tie and long pants.


    [​IMG]


    Motorized skateboards - last Saturday I took a 25 mile leisurely ride deep into the Virginia suburbs near Dulles Airport. At one point I saw a guy on a skateboard (longboard) pass me and a bunch of other bikers. He was going amazingly fast, perhaps 20-25 MPH. I talked with nearby bikers about what could be making that thing go so fast? There was no sign of a motor. Later I used Google and saw that these things are apparently powered by a bar-of-soap sized battery that is located inside the center of the board. I think the throttle is a small wireless thing the rider holds in their hand??


    Rental bikes and rental electric scooters - this is a whole other subject. Tons of these are being used in Wash DC. Many are the dockless-type and people leave bikes and E-scooters laying around all over town and in other weird locations like along the banks of the Potomac River, and in the middle of wooded areas 100 yards from the nearest street or bike path. I have never rented one. I see little kids riding them around low-rent parts of town like it's the day after Christmas. I guess you use a phone to activate and pay for them?? How the heck do the companies that own them keep track of them or account for losses?
    [​IMG]

    I am curious to see where all this goes in the future? With millennials flocking to live in the Inner City, all these little electric vehicles would seem to be a growth industry. The bike paths I use for about 70% of my commute have an asphalt surface, but are somewhat narrow with frequent sharp or blind turns. They really aren't built for high speed and you don't see too many serious road bikers using them (they generally commute on regular streets with the cars). It can be scary encountering casual riders, walkers, joggers of all types on the bike path who don't know to conscientiously stay on their side of the path. Folks who take regular bicycles or "little electric vehicles" beyond bike paths and onto sidewalks is a growing issue/danger around DC. My worst accident on a bike occurred some years ago when I slowly went around a blind sidewalk corner and flew over the handlebars onto concrete to avoid a head-on crash with a biker coming around the corner from the other direction. What do you guys think about E-Bikes and all other little electric vehicles? Are you using them?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
  2. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier Inactive

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    As for non docked rental schemes I'm not sure anyone really has the answer.

    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/...na-bicycle-graveyards-share-bikes-in-pictures.


    {wondering how long this thread takes to turn into a gripe against ebikes, e anything} Bike paths here generally aren't used by faster riders so fair game for e things IMV provided they yield appropriately to peds. Peds also need to behave appropriately - walking 3 abreast is inconsiderate.
     
  3. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

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    If it goes faster than a mile in 6 minutes, it should be on a bike path or road. Once it is off the sidewalk and on the road/bike path, I assume then it will need to have strobes/indicators/brake lights so that other motorized vehicles know the driver's intent. An age minimum may need to be enforced for use outside of neighborhoods/playgrounds.

    Throw time and lawyers at the 'issue' and you can expect a bunch of new regulations...
     
  4. RachelV

    RachelV Hi. Skier

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    Can I just chime in to mention how much it bugs me that they call those things hoverboards, when they are most definitely not hoverboards?

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    There are no bike paths here that are not MUPs, and pretty much no one in the general population is aware of different rules between bike paths and sidewalks. Nope, not even planners - and the proof is that MUPs are run on the sidewalk anytime they don't want to pay for a new bridge or overpass.

    Imagine a hill that doubles as a Beltway overpass. Imagine a road with a residential sidewalk. Yep, in front of peoples' houses, no wider than usual. The major multi-use thoroughfare is run right along the sidewalk, including everyone from kids on Tonka trikes to winded fatbags climbing to teens on hardtails screaming down the sidewalk at 25 mph. It's far safer to use the actual roadway.

    Key Bridge over the Potomac - same thing. Memorial Bridge over the Potomac - same thing. Roosevelt Bridge over the Potomac - same thing only much narrower, including cable stays in the middle of the sidewalk and a blind downhill on fungus-ridden boardwalk slats that slip like crazy with every morning dew let alone the rain we've been getting. 14th street bridge over the Potomac is saved from being a sidewalk only by limited pedestrian access (pedestrians have to park on Park Service property and walk to the staircase at one end or at least a mile to the ramp on the other.

    The situation is more fraught than OP's post suggests, and it's made worse by the fact that, of the roadways along those bridges, only one isn't a limited access highway at the other end - so e-bikes, scooters and things that can logically use the roadway are directly barred from the roads on the other side. And thus every motorised conveyance ever - runs on the 8mph limit sidewalk. And thus pedestrians do not learn the distinction between sidewalk and MUP, particularly keep right .
     


  6. ScotsSkier

    ScotsSkier USSA Coach Pugski Ski Tester Industry Insider

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    just use your flying car instead ....:huh:......:popcorn:
     
  7. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Maybe when the Aston Martins come down to Tesla levels...




    (and don't even get me started on how insanely controlled and insanely hodgpodged both the airspace is around here - the MUPs are a dream by comparison)
     
  8. Thread Starter
    TS
    Jim Kenney

    Jim Kenney Travel Correspondent Team Gathermeister Industry Insider

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    Tuna, good post. BTW, do they make E-roller blades?
    MUP = multi-use path
     
  9. skibob

    skibob Making fresh tracks Skier

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    I am holding out for E-Heelys.

    [​IMG]
    :roflmao:
     
  10. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Your agonized wait is over.
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    There is such a thing as electric 'inline'...but the ones I've tried feel like rollerskis cranked by Makita drills and nothing like proper inlines.

    No one I know has splashed out for Thunderblades...yet.
     
  12. Eleeski

    Eleeski Out on the slopes Skier

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    Dammit, I'm getting an ad for an electric wheelchair in this thread. Advertisers know everything. This worries me...

    Eric
     
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  13. Dwight

    Dwight Practitioner of skiing, solid and liquid Admin Moderator

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    Not car, but heli.

    surefly(15).jpg
     
  14. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Just be thankful the chair in the ad got wheels. :D
     
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  15. Don in Morrison

    Don in Morrison I Ski Better on Retro Day Skier

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    There are rental e-scooters running all over downtown Denver. They have to stay on the sidewalks, because they are considered to be "toys" (Some will ride in the street anyway). They go ripping down the sidewalks, running a slalom among the pedestrians, usually at a speed higher than the cyclists in the adjacent street. There have been a fair number of crashes this summer, from what I've heard. The Law of Unintended Consequences seems to be taking its toll.
     

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