February 10, 2014

E-bikes: The Motor Scooter Masquerade.

Riding along the bike path to the heart of the city, several electric bikes pass me, giving me a slight startle each time as their silence allows for no warning before I see them. I pass others that are moving slowly; their riders are often slouched in the saddles with their feet resting on pedals that get little or no use. An e-rider’s position most often appears as if they’re lounging as opposed to riding.

In the last two years, electric scooters and bicycles have become increasingly common on city streets and bike paths. Most of these machines aren’t designed to be pedaled over any distance: their weight is limiting and the frame geometry ill-suited for dynamic pedaling. They look more like scooters than bicycles, with dodgy pedals added so that they can be considered legally as bicycles instead of either mopeds or motor scooters. This is basically just to skirt parking, licensing, and insurance laws. But since most e-bikes are simply electric versions of mopeds, they should really fall into the same category and be subject to the same laws. (Continue reading)

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