E-bikes under fire as fatalities climb in NYC

tomdutchie

Member
Region
Europe
City
Utrecht, Netherlands
People just need to look before they open their door. Layers of complexity will not solve the problem. Having a phone app to tell you if it is safe to cross the street is not better than keeping your head up and being aware.
True, but avoiding harm because mistakes people tend to make is also pretty important [see blindspot mirrors in trucks, maybe some adaption possible for passenger seats?]
Not putting blame on anybody else but the one causing a collision, but there are maybe ways to avoid: from [better] education to making it impossible it can happen.
I think I would rather have lights/protected crossway to go to the other side of a street than trust in the instinct if it is save to cross
[app to cross the street.. as an extra to the lights on the pavement at crossings? ;)]
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
It's pretty much the same law in most states. The ebike story is pretty contentious in NYC and this Assemblyman is using the tension to demonize the cyclist as an ebiker, in order to cast himself as the victim. Hopefully it won't work. He'll probably will throw a fistful of dollars at the rider, money he got from taxpayers and the judge will give him a slap on the wrist. 'You've been a naughty boy! Don't do it again.' Dooring anything, a car, pedestrian or bike is dangerous and a crime. Unfortunately it happens all over the world 😟

I was 'doored'. Back in the '90s. Cost the guy's insurance an easy $100k. Wish I'd got even a third of it. Changed my life. It was the end of my roadie days. Took a good couple years till I could ride again at all and then had to go to MTB bikes. I also doored a Mercedes once. Cost me $3k cash on the spot and the price of replacing my door. 🤣
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Just got back from NYC a few weeks ago, and spent a lot of time on my old 1974 Raleigh Competition!

I've been trying to formulate a coherent post, because so much has changed in the last 18 months that I can't even describe the situation in any way that makes any sense, but the headline is, the situation with e-bikes, bikes, and motorcycles had really devolved into utter chaos.

Here is what I observed, in order of insanity/dangerousness:

1) Motor scooters (Vespa types) driving 40 MPH (and probably faster) in dedicated bike lanes, absolutely zero enforcement. Saw this on Central Park West about five times. It's out of control, and incredibly cowardly-- like, you're using a bike lane because you're so scared of traffic, but you're okay with endangering bikers?! Probably, many of them are unlicensed, I didn't see plates on any of them, and this is by far the most dangerous behavior I saw.

2) Delivery folks riding the wrong way on one-way streets at 20-30 MPH around blind corners or cresting hills. Actually, I don't mind folks riding bikes or e-bikes just about anywhere-- wrong way, sidewalks, ramps, stairs, lobbies of buildings-- and in truth, I have done (and still do, on rare occasions) all those things on my acoustic bike, and I do them only in New York... however, I do NOT do that if I can't see what's around the next corner, over the next hill, or behind a parked truck. And when I do crazy stuff like that? I do it incredibly slowly. Like, slower than walking speed. That was the old school style: You wanted to be good enough so that you could almost come to a dead stop and stay on two wheels without your pedals hitting the ground. Well, those days are gone.

My last day, when I was worried about making my plane, I did ride down one street the wrong way very, very slowly... and as I crested a hill, there were two cop cars taking up the entire road. I slowed to walking speed, and rode between them. They didn't even blip the siren, not even a dirty look.

3) The mix of speeds on the park drives is now really too much. I hate to say it, but I really do understand the Class III distinction, and I think Central Park should be limited to Class II, or Class III bikes that are hobbled to Class II temporarily/electronically.

Yes, Roadies do go very, very fast-- it's depressing how much faster they go than me now, at my best, when I was in my 30s, I was at the lower end of the fastest 25% of riders. And the roadies are scary, and they do pass with inches to spare, and it is a little obnoxious. But I don't think it's actually dangerous-- most of those guys are really, really agile. It feels like they know what they're doing... the biggest risk is if I look over my shoulder and fail to hold my line... but those guys can anticipate that. (And I could, too, when I was one of them.)

What is dangerous is riders with no skills and little situational awareness riding bikes that are Class III or faster just ripping it up on flat sections. Even before these guys came on the scene, it was really a challenge to maneuver around little kids, people on (super slow) Citibikes, roadies doing 25-30 MPH on flat terrain, pedestrians, roller bladers, and the odd emotionally disturbed person running backwards against traffic or whatever. But the 30-45 MPH e-Bike thing-- and some of them are nearly silent-- does seem empirically dangerous.

Again, this is just my own observations and opinions, backed by absolutely zero scientific evidence.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Catalyzt: If that makes you any happier, I stopped riding to Warsaw Poland on warm season weekends. A crash with a roadie or a fatal crash with an e-scooter rider is almost guaranteed on the Vistula Boulevards...
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Just got back from NYC a few weeks ago, and spent a lot of time on my old 1974 Raleigh Competition!

I've been trying to formulate a coherent post, because so much has changed in the last 18 months that I can't even describe the situation in any way that makes any sense, but the headline is, the situation with e-bikes, bikes, and motorcycles had really devolved into utter chaos.

Here is what I observed, in order of insanity/dangerousness:

1) Motor scooters (Vespa types) driving 40 MPH (and probably faster) in dedicated bike lanes, absolutely zero enforcement. Saw this on Central Park West about five times. It's out of control, and incredibly cowardly-- like, you're using a bike lane because you're so scared of traffic, but you're okay with endangering bikers?! Probably, many of them are unlicensed, I didn't see plates on any of them, and this is by far the most dangerous behavior I saw.

2) Delivery folks riding the wrong way on one-way streets at 20-30 MPH around blind corners or cresting hills. Actually, I don't mind folks riding bikes or e-bikes just about anywhere-- wrong way, sidewalks, ramps, stairs, lobbies of buildings-- and in truth, I have done (and still do, on rare occasions) all those things on my acoustic bike, and I do them only in New York... however, I do NOT do that if I can't see what's around the next corner, over the next hill, or behind a parked truck. And when I do crazy stuff like that? I do it incredibly slowly. Like, slower than walking speed. That was the old school style: You wanted to be good enough so that you could almost come to a dead stop and stay on two wheels without your pedals hitting the ground. Well, those days are gone.

My last day, when I was worried about making my plane, I did ride down one street the wrong way very, very slowly... and as I crested a hill, there were two cop cars taking up the entire road. I slowed to walking speed, and rode between them. They didn't even blip the siren, not even a dirty look.

3) The mix of speeds on the park drives is now really too much. I hate to say it, but I really do understand the Class III distinction, and I think Central Park should be limited to Class II, or Class III bikes that are hobbled to Class II temporarily/electronically.

Yes, Roadies do go very, very fast-- it's depressing how much faster they go than me now, at my best, when I was in my 30s, I was at the lower end of the fastest 25% of riders. And the roadies are scary, and they do pass with inches to spare, and it is a little obnoxious. But I don't think it's actually dangerous-- most of those guys are really, really agile. It feels like they know what they're doing... the biggest risk is if I look over my shoulder and fail to hold my line... but those guys can anticipate that. (And I could, too, when I was one of them.)

What is dangerous is riders with no skills and little situational awareness riding bikes that are Class III or faster just ripping it up on flat sections. Even before these guys came on the scene, it was really a challenge to maneuver around little kids, people on (super slow) Citibikes, roadies doing 25-30 MPH on flat terrain, pedestrians, roller bladers, and the odd emotionally disturbed person running backwards against traffic or whatever. But the 30-45 MPH e-Bike thing-- and some of them are nearly silent-- does seem empirically dangerous.

Again, this is just my own observations and opinions, backed by absolutely zero scientific evidence.
I miss New York!

The situation here is not quite as chaotic, especially with the big pandemic reduction of crowds… but all the same elements are at play. The range of speeds in bike lanes and on sidewalks is now way too much, as is the range of vehicle types. There should absolutely be a bike lane speed limit, and a weight limit, and a power limit if the other two don’t take. After that, you put some lights on and take the lane. I love e-bikes and hope they continue to take off, giving more people more options to get around with a low carbon footprint, but the behavior I see around here of people on homebrew, kit built, ungoverned bikes you don’t have to pedal is terrible. Arguably worse than bad drivers.
 

Asher

Well-Known Member
Just got back from NYC a few weeks ago, and spent a lot of time on my old 1974 Raleigh Competition!

I've been trying to formulate a coherent post, because so much has changed in the last 18 months that I can't even describe the situation in any way that makes any sense, but the headline is, the situation with e-bikes, bikes, and motorcycles had really devolved into utter chaos.

Here is what I observed, in order of insanity/dangerousness:

1) Motor scooters (Vespa types) driving 40 MPH (and probably faster) in dedicated bike lanes, absolutely zero enforcement. Saw this on Central Park West about five times. It's out of control, and incredibly cowardly-- like, you're using a bike lane because you're so scared of traffic, but you're okay with endangering bikers?! Probably, many of them are unlicensed, I didn't see plates on any of them, and this is by far the most dangerous behavior I saw.

2) Delivery folks riding the wrong way on one-way streets at 20-30 MPH around blind corners or cresting hills. Actually, I don't mind folks riding bikes or e-bikes just about anywhere-- wrong way, sidewalks, ramps, stairs, lobbies of buildings-- and in truth, I have done (and still do, on rare occasions) all those things on my acoustic bike, and I do them only in New York... however, I do NOT do that if I can't see what's around the next corner, over the next hill, or behind a parked truck. And when I do crazy stuff like that? I do it incredibly slowly. Like, slower than walking speed. That was the old school style: You wanted to be good enough so that you could almost come to a dead stop and stay on two wheels without your pedals hitting the ground. Well, those days are gone.

My last day, when I was worried about making my plane, I did ride down one street the wrong way very, very slowly... and as I crested a hill, there were two cop cars taking up the entire road. I slowed to walking speed, and rode between them. They didn't even blip the siren, not even a dirty look.

3) The mix of speeds on the park drives is now really too much. I hate to say it, but I really do understand the Class III distinction, and I think Central Park should be limited to Class II, or Class III bikes that are hobbled to Class II temporarily/electronically.

Yes, Roadies do go very, very fast-- it's depressing how much faster they go than me now, at my best, when I was in my 30s, I was at the lower end of the fastest 25% of riders. And the roadies are scary, and they do pass with inches to spare, and it is a little obnoxious. But I don't think it's actually dangerous-- most of those guys are really, really agile. It feels like they know what they're doing... the biggest risk is if I look over my shoulder and fail to hold my line... but those guys can anticipate that. (And I could, too, when I was one of them.)

What is dangerous is riders with no skills and little situational awareness riding bikes that are Class III or faster just ripping it up on flat sections. Even before these guys came on the scene, it was really a challenge to maneuver around little kids, people on (super slow) Citibikes, roadies doing 25-30 MPH on flat terrain, pedestrians, roller bladers, and the odd emotionally disturbed person running backwards against traffic or whatever. But the 30-45 MPH e-Bike thing-- and some of them are nearly silent-- does seem empirically dangerous.

Again, this is just my own observations and opinions, backed by absolutely zero scientific evidence.
Great observations.

Belgium and the Netherlands allow cyclists to go the 'wrong-way', but those people are generally going ~10-15 mph, and the narrow roads force the drivers to go slow. 'With-flow' bike lanes on residential streets that are already slow are a pet peeve of mine, because they implicitly tell drivers to go faster than cyclists, so cyclists need their own (slow) lane.

My ideal is class 3 ebikes being forced to use regular travel lanes, or being speed limited/ticketed into going under 20mph on bike lanes. But that's never going to happen as long as a) the regular lanes are choked with car traffic and b) enforcement is non-existent. Regardless of whatever else it does, Manhattan/Brooklyn needs to abolish massive amounts of car parking, so that there are fewer cars driving in and around every day. Higher pay and more permissive delivery times for the deliveristas would also allow them to ride more safely, because these jobs are very risky and low in pay. Higher pay would also increase delivery prices, diminish demand and thus reduce their numbers.