Monday, August 29, 2011

I Love E-Scooters!

The introduction of e-bikes has been interesting to watch. The first ones I heard about were very much based on modifying an existing bicycle or were purpose-built using a "normal" bicycle frame. You know, something like this:


pic source
I haven't seen too many of this style of e-bike. It is possible I haven't noticed them precisely because they look like bikes. What I have seen are tons of these:



Although these things have pedals, they of course are not bicycles. They do, however, qualify as a "Power Assisted Bicycle" under Ontario law. Also by law, they are not capable of going faster than 32km/h (or 20 MPH for my American friends). Riders of such vehicles don't require licenses and must abide by the same laws as bicyclists. For more on Ontario laws regarding E-Scooters, this page is pretty good.

It seems to me that the riders of these things abide by the laws about as well as cyclists do, which is pretty poorly in many cases... you see some on the sidewalk, some salmoning in the bike lane, some on the multi-use pathways (I don't know what our local laws say about that), some on the street and only very rarely have I seen somebody taking the lane on one except to turn left and sometimes not even then. I have seen a great many hugging the gutter like crazy. One reason for this may be how slow some of them are, which is really really slow when their batteries are running low. I know that for myself, the slower I'm going, the greater my feeling (misguided or not) that I must get out of the way, particularly on 2-lane streets.

I love E-Scooters because motorists seem to hate them even more than they hate me on my good old Rantwick-assisted bicycle. Normally my conversations with other people about cycling with cars go pretty well. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree. Not any longer! Now when those conversations get even a little contentious my motoring counterpart will usually say, "you know what I really hate though? Those little electric scooter things!" Whether the e-scooter craze will continue is an unknown, so I intend to enjoy this vacation from top spot in the annoying-to-motorists category while I can. Thank you, e-scooterers! Whir On, baby. Whir on.

Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

12 comments:

PaddyAnne said...

You have made a good point! Yes, I do think that drivers hate these e-scooters more than bicycles, so that IS something to celebrate!

Steve A said...

In one very real way, the riders are at greater risk than a regular cyclist. When a motorist sees a cyclist ahead, the message is "crimeny, that rider is SO slow." That causes the motorist to maneuver early. With something that looks like a much speedier motorcycle, the motorist might misjudge speed to the disadvantag of the scooter who is being overtaken much more rapidly than the motorist expected. In other words, being thought to be slow by motorists is not all bad.

PaddyAnne said...

Further to your point Steve... and worse still is that some of the e-bike-scooter drivers BELIEVE they are on a motorbike, and not a bike...

John Romeo Alpha said...

Heh, my new RANTWICK-inspired go-to line when the conversation dies talking to a motorist who doesn't get bicycles..."soooo, what do you think about those e-scooters?" Brilliant!

Call me stubborn, call me old fashioned, call me a curmudgeon, but anything you push a button on to GO is not a bicycle.

RANTWICK said...

Thanks all for your comments... I pretty agree across the board.

christopheru said...

I pretty much prefer a R-bike vs the E-bike any day of the week (except in cases where a person may not be physically able to pedal any more and I know of a few cases like that...). I tell you though, there is something satisfying about cruising past an E-bike on my R-bike when it is loaded down with bags etc, tipping my hat to the rider of the E-bike, and powering away from them like they are standing still.
So let's hear it for the R-bike!

rlove2bike said...

Yes, a good point you have made.

A couple years ago in southern MN, they were having a dispute whether the segways would be allowed on the non-motorized bicycle trails...that was interesting, although I don't the outcome of the debate.

Chandra said...

If you can ride at 20 MPH, steady, why hug the curb? I suppose e-scooters are no exception to size-based inferiority complex.

Oh well...I am happy riding my bike...

Peace :)

RANTWICK said...

Chandra,

Although 20 MPH is their theoretical top speed, I frequnetly see these things going way more slowly. Whether this is related to battery charge, rider preference or scooter model I don't know.

Tracy W said...

Wow! I'm behind times! I've never seen one of those things. We've got a ton of 49cc gas powered scooters running around our fair city, so drivers are used to seeing them. I'll bet this slower version would probably throw them into a tizzy!

Steve A said...

Chandra, if you can ride 10mph, why hug the curb? In the first Chipseal trial, I saw a police officer testify he estimated Chip's speed at 8mph. Chip was doing around 15 at the time. The point is, if you can do 10, you are going faster than the motorists imagine you are going.

Steve A said...

On second thought, I might be a little nervous trying to control a lane at 10mph on something (scooter) that motorists expected to be doing 40.

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