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I dunno. Those kids look kind of shifty to me.

Also, cats are scary.

cats or Cats?

The latter for sure!

What it boils down to is that don't ride like a jerk regardless of regular bike or e-bike. I'm fine with e-bikes as long as they are used responsibly.

At least everybody can agree that hoverboards don't belong on the trail. Those things shouldn't even be taken out in public. Won't somebody please think of the children?

Thank you, Mr. W. Cycle. This has been an interesting exchange with many unexpected facets and I still don't know where I stand on it.

This doesn't go to the merits, but the "we already have rules" and the "it's not the bike, it's the rider" arguments, valid as they may be, remind me of another national controversy that I gave up on long ago.

When hoverboards are outlawed...

Sorry: ...which I gave up on...

What we need is to ban jerks and assholes from the trail and only permit great people to ride on trails.

I have no idea how to tell the difference, however.

Well said. I'm 69 and figure I might benefit from an ebike in 10 years or so. I was distressed to learn that they are currently illegal on local MUPS.

In 10 years, people won't even be able to tell the difference just by looking, for new bikes at least. You can hardly tell now on the one pictured at the top of the article unless you really bother to look.

And since you won't be able to tell the difference, I'm guessing that most places will make them legal. Because why have rules that can't be enforced (except for torts, I guess).

However, if I could tell the future as well as I think I can, I'd be rich, so we'll see.

Thanks for this posting. All of the bikes you show look like pedal-assist e-bikes. From Basken's post, I was under the impression that model legislation being pushed by the e-bike industry also allowed throttle-only (no pedals) e-bikes on trails. Basken's post, in addition to promoting a ban, seemed to be pushing back against those proposed rules. If you decide to post about this further, I'd appreciate reading your opinion on those rules.

Missing a word or comma in this list?

Throughout the articles he conflates the e-bikes I've shown above with automobiles, by calling their users "motorists" the trail a "respite from motoring" and writing about the "clear dangers" a letter-to-the-editor writer who wrote about not wanting to ride next to cars, "properly associates with motors."

Andewjh, thanks. I was pretty sure I messed that sentence up. I think I've fixed it.


That is correct, but misses a bit of the nuance. The model legislation, which came out of California, defines 3 classes of e-bikes. Class 1 is pedal-assisted, Class 2 is throttle-controlled and Class 3 has a higher speed limit.

At the state level Class 1 and 2 are regulated exactly the same. But the division is put in place so that individual trails and municipalities can regulate them as they see fit. Though Basken claims there is no technical difference between the classes that is not true. Class one and class two were created to apply to trails because of the power of a "throttle" could rooster tail on softer trail material, meaning they might not be appropriate in places (like the C&O Trail) where Class 1 is.

Nonetheless, the bike at the top is an example of what Basken would like banned.


A long time ago (1985) when I toured Holland. Mopeds were allowed on the bike trails there. At first I was freaked out and thought it was the end of the world. But from a mode share it made sense. And that allowance certainly didn't stop bike usage over the ensuing years.

I ride the "bike path\multi -use trail" to get away from motorized vehicles

eBikes are a car alternative
they are motorized vehicles and should be seen as such

they should stick with the cars and keep their motors on the street

it is crowded and dangerous enough with the varying bike skills... put this motorized menace into the mix... and well.. we will see accidents that could have been avoided

Agree with gwadzilla. I've encountered many ebikes on the MVT and they always speed by at 20+ mph, including around the dangerous blind turns. To be able to ride at those speeds naturally (without motor assist) typically occurs after a rider has developed strength and skills over time. Handling, stopping, and safely riding a bike at those speeds requires more proficiency than a casual rider who just presses a button has. This creates a danger to other riders. And the accidents caused by these riders won't be reported. Law enforcement does not respond to accidents on the MVT unless an ambulance is needed, and even then they don't issue citations. If you need a motor, then use the streets.

from my observations on the capitol crescent trail, i agree with Jose and Gwadzilla. The E-bike riders i have personally seen on the trail have almost exclusively been of the speed demon variety... on numerous occasions i have seen someone sitting bolt upright (like Mary Poppins--- when at full speed, the dead give-away of an E-biker) barreling past congested areas like they are in a video game. It is true that there are lycra warriors that behave similarly, but frankly, not a high percentage of people have the leg capacity to do so. The e-bikes simply arm a greater proportion of the population with the capacity to be jerks. Why not require the e-bike assist to be further throttled down to 15 MPH? that is clearly a more normal average for most of the local trails. The normality for e-bikes should NOT, under any circumstances, be calibrated to the top speed riders on the trails, that is foolhardy.

The E-bike riders i have personally seen on the trail have almost exclusively been of the speed demon variety...

Are those the only ones you see, or the only ones you notice? Because of course you'll notice the e-bike riders who are the most of the norm, just as drivers mostly notice the cyclists who behave the worst. This is why anecdotal evidence is of so little value. Our brains ignore normal stuff and pay attention to abnormal stuff so that we think abnormal stuff is more common than it is.

fair enough. so lets work in analytical space, instead. What percentage of people on regular bikes have the CAPACITY to go 20 mph for sustained distances on flat ground or up a mild incline? (I don't know, but i know that easily less than 10% on the CCT actually DO go 20 mph over sustained distances). Why would it be wise to give 100% of E-riders the capacity to ride in the upper range of normal bike traffic speed?

Why would it be wise to give 100% of E-riders the capacity to ride in the upper range of normal bike traffic speed?

Well first of all we're not. Some bikes will still be sold and used that go slower than that even on flat ground. We're making it legal, but we're not giving them the capacity to do so. And the answer to why making it legal to ride such a bike makes sense is this - it will improve the utility of e-bikes and lead to faster adoption of them.

and...i would add that anecdotal evidence beats the theoretical guesses from this editorial. On this flat segment of the CCT >>>>> https://www.strava.com/segments/14597583 People from strava that average 20 mph are in the top 8% of strava riders (912th out of 11,720 riders). But that is a biased statistic, because that is the BEST times for each of those 11k riders across 119k attempts, AND strava riders themselves are not an unbiased cross-section of all trail riders (they are people that like to track their times on their rides: i.e. they draw disproportionately from people that like to go fast) ------ why in the world would it be prudent to set the e-bike speed far within the 8% of top speeds of non-assisted bike riders? that makes those top speeds relatively effortless to obtain, and will, without question, raise the overall average speed of riders on those trails.

Right. Things we don't know

1. The average speed of trail users.
2. The average speed that people on e-bikes would go if they were allowed on the trail

It's entirely possible that 2 would be higher than 1. Or that it would not be. Or that it would be and that the impact on safety would be marginal. The limit for e-bikes in Europe is 15.5 mph. Some are pushing for 15mph. Does 4.5-5mph make a big difference at such slow speeds? Not sure. Would a law that limits e-bikes on the trails to 15mph keep e-bikes that can go 20mph away any more than a speed limit keeps them below 15mph? Again, not sure. Are people who use strava all trying to get their fastest speed all the time, speed limits be damned? absolutely not.

So I don't really know what your point is. Anecdotal data is bad. Strava data doesn't say what Basken is saying it does and is unreliable for this purpose. So we can't rely on that either. There is a study I linked to that showed that e-bike cyclists "exhibit nearly identical safety behavior as regular bike riders" and that on shared use paths "speeds of e-bike riders (11.0kph) were lower than regular bicyclists (12.6kph)."

Why not rely on that and ignore the anecdotes and poorly selected strava data?

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