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Mopeds on bike trails or bike lanes article(16 posts)

Mopeds on bike trails or bike lanes articleShad
Jan 2, 2003 6:51 AM
From today's Star Tribune based in Minneapolis, MN. Any comments?

http://www.startribune.com/stories/789/3567324.html
A terrible idea.Andy M-S
Jan 2, 2003 6:59 AM
Look at the Easy Rider jacket that guy's wearing. 18 MPH? Respect for cyclists? No way. The rider of that sort of thing will be doing 30 as soon he can crank it that high. And 45 as soon as they can hop up the motors.

The users of these things should be accepting their role as slow motorcycle traffic, not trying to redefine themselves as fast bicycles.

There's a bike path/MUT I use on my commute, and from time to time I see a motorized skateboarder on it. Loud, smelly, obnoxious. At least he's not fast enough to cause risks to pedestrians and cyclists.
A terrible idea.Caseysdad
Jan 2, 2003 9:55 AM
I'm not exactly thrilled by the concept of a "motorized bike", as it really does seem wrong on SO many levels. However, I personally wouldn't go so far as to say that I don't think their riders should be allowed to use bike lanes based primarily on their capacity for speed. If a "real" biker posted a message to this forum stating that they had topped 30 - 45 mph in the bike lane while commuting to work, I wager that they'd get responses along the lines of "Attaboy!!" or "I've done that too." Ultimately, I don't think that a motorized bike in a bike lane is necessarily inherently dangerous, as long as the rider uses a modicum of common sense and adjusts their speed for the amount of traffic and road conditions - just like a rider of a traditional bike should do.

At the very least, I think that motorized bikes create much less danger when riding in a bike lane (where the difference in speed between them and the majority of traffic is along the lines of 10 - 15 mph) than they would if they were ridden in the main flow of traffic (where the speed differential is likely to be more like 25 - 35 mph.)

Now, I think it's an entirely different story if these vehicles start showing up on bike paths or other areas where these kinds of speeds, pedestrians, etc. would naturally preclude motorized bikes from the mix because of safety. However, I didn't see anything in this article that led me to understand that the individual in question was advocating anything other than use in bike lanes associated with primary commuter thorofares.

As participants in a sport where we frequently find ourselves seeking rights and acceptance when it comes to things like riding on the roads, establishing bike lanes, building greenways, etc., I think we're all well aware of how difficult it can be to gain credibility among those who are not inclined to "share the road". As much as we might be opposed to motorized bikes as a concept, perhaps this is an opportunity for us to practice what we preach and demonstrate some accommodation.

Sorry if this sounds like I'm coming down on you personally. That's not my intent. Just trying to look at this issue from all directions...
A terrible idea.TJeanloz
Jan 2, 2003 10:41 AM
I think the differentiator is a bike lane, on a normal roadway, and a bike path (ie a rail-to-trail type deal). I don't see a problem with motorized bikes governed to, say 30 mph, in bike lanes on the street. They'd have to follow the rules of the road, just as bikes do, but I don't think it would be inherently dangerous in these lanes, which are primarily used by predictable cyclists. On a bike path, OTOH, no way. I have a hard time riding on most paths, with dogs, little kids on little bikes (who are less predictable than dogs), people walking, etc. These "recreational" paths are no place for a motorized vehicle, or anybody trying to get anywhere fast.
A terrible idea.Andy M-S
Jan 2, 2003 10:45 AM
I understand your point; my impression was that we were talking about MUT as well as bike lanes. I guess, since I live in a place without (for the most part) bike lanes, and I've never had a problem with faster traffic, I shouldn't mind that.

I was thinking mainly of the MUTs (hence my reference to pedestrians). But I'd bet you dollars to doughnuts that the top speed of these things won't stay at 30, and that they'll be outfitted as "The Poor Man's Harley" before very long. What's more, for most cyclists, and especially for bike lane users, 30 MPH is not a sustainable speed. I suspect it would be for these mini-motos, and so a whole chunk of the rationale for bike lanes (low speed) goes out the window.

If you want to create graded lanes by speed (left for cars and trucks, middle for mini-motos, right for human-powered) that might work out, but given motorized encroachments on cycling territory, these things worry me. Ah well, we'll be sharing space with SHTs soon, anyway. Heh.
re: Mopeds on bike trails or bike lanes articleAlpedhuez55
Jan 2, 2003 8:08 AM
When I was in Denmark, bike paths were used by mopeds. I did not have any real problems with them there though. They were good about knowing when to pass and pedestrians did not block the lanes either.

These trails are recreational. Part of lure of them is to get away from the noise and polution caused by cars and motorcycles. Nobody wants to be sucking his exhaust on a bike trail. Also, will the police really enforce a speed limit on a bike path? I doubt it. Most cities will not even plow them around Boston.

If someone wants to take an electric bicycle, I do not have a problem with that. THey do not reach too high a speed. The gas powered moped, no matter how much it looks like a bike, is closer a motorcycle and should be treated as such. Keep them off bike paths.

Mike Y.
re: Mopeds on bike trails or bike lanes articleRusty Coggs
Jan 2, 2003 8:25 AM
He just needs to buy a street legal Vespa,gas mask, and hit the roads with the rest of the moorized crowd.
All of the things people don't like about bicycle commutingSpoke Wrench
Jan 2, 2003 8:53 AM
without the good parts. No weather protection, poor theft protection and you're going to get dirty and sweaty on your way to work. I'm not seeing a real big market here.

How big are "Go Peds," the motorized scooters, in other parts of the country? I had quite a few moms asking me about them. I told them that if sales ever really took off, the cities would jump in to regulate their use and the kids wouldn't have any place to ride them legally.

This article sounds to me like that's pretty much what is happening here. This "investment advisor" bought himself a fairly pricy toy without researching if there was any legal place to ride it.
All of the things people don't like about bicycle commutingAlpedhuez55
Jan 2, 2003 10:47 AM
I do not think they have taken the country by storm. Judging from the the prices there are avialable for, I do not think they have sold too many. I think I have only seen 2 on the road in Boston. Here is a like to some of Lee Iaccoca's E-bikes on sale for half price.

http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?PAGE=CATLIST&PRO_SUB_CAT=450&PRO_SSUB_CAT=446

I do not think an electric bike like this would be that bad on a bike path. THey have limited speeds. The Gas Motors would have noise and exhaust pollution issues and safety issues on a multi user recreation path. I think Roller Blades are enough of a pain to deal with. Mopeds, at least is Massachusetts, can ride on streets with posted speed limits of under 35. They do not need to use bike pats that are already over congested.

Mike Y.
ARGH!!!rollo tommassi
Jan 2, 2003 9:30 AM
start the letter writing campain now!!

why can't this guy take the bus?
this guy is are worst nightmare..imaging being in front of...Djudd
Jan 2, 2003 11:32 AM
him while commuting on your bike. This clown and those like him will not be happy being behind a real bike...they will have to open up thier little toy. Rollo is right, take the bus. Better yet, get a real bike!!!!
A couple of thoughts --Gregory Taylor
Jan 2, 2003 12:12 PM
* Keep these things off of dedicated MUT/Bike paths. The speed differential between motorbikes/bikes/peds is just too great for it to be safe. Heck, it can be dangerous with just bikes and peds mixing it up.

* If there is a bike lane on the road, I don't really have that big of a problem with a motorized bike using it. The bike lanes around here are under-used anyway, and it might be enlightening for these schmucks to have the experience of getting crowded out of the lane by an Expedition driven by a cell-phone wielding commuter wanting to make a right hand turn.

* A motor on the road should mean a license for both the vehicle and the driver. Our neighborhood has a couple of pre-teen kids on mopeds that frankly are an accident waiting to happen.
I knew I'd get some good input...Shad
Jan 2, 2003 1:04 PM
I have the same feelings as everyone else and can see the various viewpoints. It would be nice to reduce pollution and decrease traffic, etc. I agree that a bike lane running adjacent and connected to the roadway may not be a huge issue. These types of lanes are basically wide road shoulders with lines painted on. A moped would ride as far right on a roadway as practical anyway. If a bike lane like this isn't congested with bikes, it's maybe not a big deal. Faster traffic yields and passes on the left. Bike trails/paths/MUT's elsewhere would be a huge problem. This guy admits he doesn't like riding a bike, so I doubt he has any experience attempting to use an MUT - at least not at 20+ mph. We've all been there dodging the dogs and seemingly brain-dead people. It wouldn't work and wouldn't be safe. It's why most of us stick to the roadways. Plus, just because you pedal the thing to start it, doesn't mean it is a bike in any way.

In addition to bike lanes and traditional bike trails/MUT's, Minneapolis offers wide commuter trails from some suburbs into the city. These trails are well removed from the roadway with separate paths for pedestrians. In many places they are uni-directional. They can be a very peaceful, practical and safe place to ride. This guy is retired and isn't commuting anywhere. Seems to me he is using the "50-100 mpg/commuting" argument to open up access to nice places like these where he's currently not allowed to ride. I'm sure he'd like to ride the MUT's around the lakes as well. To this I'd have to say, you're retired and only in your 50's, get off your lazy a** and pedal!
I agree with you Shad...he's not after the lane down Portland...Scot_Gore
Jan 2, 2003 1:27 PM
he's after the bike commuter trails.

There's been a real and viable effort to make bike commuting a real option for people here. We don't have many on-street bike lanes except in the core downtown office area. Our commuter corridors are off street dedicated bikeways. Pedestrians are not allowed on them (they have their own lane or trail)

Here's one the Midtown Greenway:

As you can see, the car lane is nowhere to be seen (it's two storys up) and bike lanes are dedicated lanes for each direction. The lane on the far left is the pedestrian lane.

Here's another: the Cedar Lake Trail. This is probably the lanes he'd like to use. It's more in his neighborhood.

Once again you can see dedicated bike lane for each direction and a seperate Ped. lane (the one in the left of the photo). It's hard to get to a car traffic lane from here.

I don't see why he can't learn to ride on the roads at sub 30 mile per hour in Minneapolis, I do it all the time.

Thanks for the post Shad, I hadn't seen it.

Scot
Shad, I'm in Uptown and...Souxsie
Jan 2, 2003 7:13 PM
...the first thing that came to my mind is that it would be fun to pass these dorks on my road bike--or my big heavy cruiser for that matter.

However, I'm also assuming these motorized bike rider's handling skills are good to about 15mph. Double that, and they (and others around them) are going into Lake Calhoun helmet first. That does concern me. The trails are already packed in the summer as it is.

But lastly, I don't see this becoming an immediate problem...you just don't see alot of them being purchased at the local shops. I will keep an eye out though.
What's this guy's vested interest here?BowWow
Jan 2, 2003 8:13 PM
Does he have financial involvement? Is he thinking of investing/importing/selling these machines? Like he says, if the roadway access is there, these things will sell themselves. Just look at the styling! This ain't no kids moped. It looks like a baby harley! Fat tires, shiny black paint, even a fatbob gas tank! Semi-retired semi-sedentary baby boomers would snap these puppies up in a flash if there was a safe place to ride!

I'm willing to bet this guy sent the newspaper a press release. Many small businesspeople looking for free advertising just send press releases directly to the papers, hoping for a story that will drive customers to them. In this case it is a very sophisticated approach, because he CC'd the paper with the letter he sent his congressman. But it smells of fish...

Just my 1.2 cents (US)...

Steve