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Moped vs. eBike

Admiral Beez

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While electric scooter result in less physical exercise, they have a very important advantage over regular bikes...……………….they have consistently shown themselves to be MUCH safer than regular bicycles with far fewer accidents and fatalities.

Fourth, and probably most importantly, because they look like a scooter they are "perceived" by other drivers as being another motorized vehicle on the road and hence the other drivers "perceive" them as being similar to your regular Vespa or motorcycle and this is especially true because they have lights and indicators.
Actually, as a motorcyclist with a lot of friends who also ride Vespas, the fake electric clones are making my friends less safe, as Vespas are now getting less respect, with cars pushing them out of their lane, and otherwise treating them as they would bicycles.
 

mdrejhon

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IMO, if it's for use on the road and is not pedal assist, it should be classified as a motor vehicle and require license and insurance. Same as if I stick a gas engine onto my bicycle
Your opinion might change if you actually ride one of these

(1) Many of these smaller electric kickscooters don't accelerate from a stop. You have to actually kickscooter them before they will maintain their speed.

(2) Some models are programmed to not accelerate beyond your kick-assisted speed. Other models require you to kickassist to about say, 5kph before they will accelerate up to "X kph".

The truth is that electric kickscooters "kick assist" abilities can be as nebulous as electric bike "pedal assist" capabilities, and need to be legislated.

Also, some electric kickscooters actually fit in a backpack, but can maintain running speed:

198354


So ride an electric kickscooter (of all sizes) and your opinion may change.

There's a lot of overlap that straddles the Fisher Price rideable cars, the electric wheelchairs, thje assistive scooters used by the elderly, the pedelecs, and the electric kickscooters. The "motor" category is not as simple as it used to be.

So people comparing *this* to a chinese Vespa knockoff, IMHO, is doing a comparision between a single grape versus a grapefruit / watermelon. Such a silly comparision -- not unlike people unfamiliar with bikeshares -- or auto drivers who hasn't yet figured out that bike lanes make sense in many locations, etc -- that can often evolve once they have actually talked to people and ridden such units.

The problem isn't permitting these little electric kick-assisted scooters. Those are perfectly fine up to a weight/speed limit, IMHO.
The problem is defining the limits so we don't have large high speed "electric motorcycles" driving on bike trails. That's a problem, IMHO.

It's fine to talk about banning wheels from pedestrian-only sidewalks and bike-disallowed areas.
But banning tiny electric kickscooters from bike lanes and wide multiuse trails? Overreach, IMHO.

Those new to bikeshares, those new to electric kickscooters, those new to Ridehail, often form some judgements against these new mobility solutions. It's a common reaction that takes a learning experience even for lawmakers too.
 
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Admiral Beez

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Your opinion might change if you actually ride one of these (1) Many of these smaller electric kickscooters
I could have saved you the keystrokes, sorry. I am referring to these... ebikes that essentially look like motorcycles and Vespa-type scooters, with lights, signals, etc., but their only difference over a gas-powered moped, like THIS (that require licensing and insurance) is the gas moped can't exceed 50 kph whilst its electric-brethren can't exceed 32 kph.



If you want to stick an electric motor onto your skateboard or buy one pre-made go ahead, just stay off the road and be mindful that you're legally liable for any injury or damaged caused by using same on the sidewalk.
 
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mdrejhon

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Yes, true. (but we should permit on roads)

Still, the topic discussion is important for lawmakers, city councils, Ontario rules, etc

The class is so murky. IMHO, some classes are permittable on roads (especially in bike lanes) as long as they are fast enough to keep up with bicycle speed. In downtown Toronto, there is no room on the sidewalk for electric kickscooters, so naturally they belong where bikes belong.

Even backpack-size units can go up to 25 kilometers per hour -- slightly too fast for narrow sidewalks. (Example, this $399 backpack-sized one is capable of 25kph, faster than an average running speed). So that's why electric kickscooter scooter rentals (in cities that permits them on sidewalks) have legislation to limit their speed, and the speed limits are pre-programmed into them.

That backpack unit can go These electric kickscooters can go up to 25kph -- the speed of a fast bike pedal.

The Scooter-Thru-Motorocycle Continuum

But as I have witnessed enough cities, I have seen that it is a blend continuum all the way from this-to-Vespa
- Tiny backpack-packable electric kickscooters (Some that only maintain speed; you have to kick-assist them to speed).
- Larger electric kickscooters (Some that can accelerate to 25kph)
- Even larger electric kickscooters (Screamers that can go 40kph while you're standing on them, eek)
- Electric kickscooters that has a tiny bike chair sprouting out of it
- Scooter-looking electric scooters that has a slightly beefier chair
- Vespa-looking electric scooters
- Full size electric motorcycles.

It's a complete continuous morph continuum now, from tiny backpack units, all the way to a full size electric motorcycle.

So naturally, the law needs to get involved to regulate weight & speed.

Ultra-Small Backpack Units

(source)
198527

198528


Common USA "Scan-And-Ride" Scooter-Share Rental (Bird, Lime)


(source)
198531


198535

(source)
198529


In some cities, the above Bird kickscooter was programmed to go up to ~25kph and law in some cities required these to go on the road, not the sidewalk. (And vice versa in others, with a slower speed cap).

Then add a bit more juice, and it can go as fast as cars on arteries -- power forward at ~50kph. (I'll never ride these, eek).

198538



Larger Electric Scooters / Some With And Without Chair

198532

Smaller than the bigger electric kickscooter without a chair, but now adds a chair and veers into seated motor vehicle territory while still only going roughly as fast as a bicycle.
(source, source) --
Then the beefier one below goes up to 40mph (65kph), way too fast for sidewalks.
198533



Beginning To Look Like Pedal-Less E-Bikes

198536

(source, source)

WIth Pedals Attached

198534


Then you can see that it is yet another continuum between that towards an electric motorcycle.

I actually left out a lot of in-between images, but the continuum exist between tiny electric kickscooters all the way to full sized units.

The problem is that the word "scooter" confuses people -- just as it confused Admiral Beez -- (which proves my point too, that the lawmakers of Ontario need to fix the scooter laws which are, frankly, ridiculus as I want to ride one here in Ontario -- not even allowed on sidewalk, not even allowed on road, where the hell can I ride!!!)

My opinion: Scooters of the backpack class through Lime/Bird class that can go as fast as a bicycle, should be allowed in any bike infrastructure (bike lanes, bike trails, multiuse trails, roads). Anything bigger (like those 40mph scooters) can only be allowed on roads, even if those do not have a seat on them. Remember....some backpack-class scooters can now go 25kph today -- faster than you can run. If you go that speed, you have to do it on the road just like a bicycle.

Ain't this a fun discussion for those experienced with scooters and the murky, fuzzy line...

As it stands now, Bird/Lime is banned in Ontario (not allowed on roads, not allowed on sidewalks), so you don't see those common USA scootershare in Canada (yet).

Even the Bird/Lime class electric kickscooters can still go fast enough to injure pedestrians (and kill one), although less risk of injury than a collision with a bike. At minimum for this scooter class, they should be disallowed in areas where bikes are disallowed. As cities have rapidly improving bike infrastructure (bike lanes), the best solution is to mode-merge bike-speed electric kickscooters into bike infrastructure. On the other hand, electric kickscooters up to 20kph are legal on sidewalks in Calgary, and Lime scootershare has arrived there -- except Calgary has chosen to make them legal on sidewalks, and with an electronic 20kph limit, but not on roads (except where there's a cycle lane or cycle track).

So that's why I make a big fuss -- right now one of our Hamilton city councillors rides an electric skateboard to work, but putting any pole in that for improved safety/stability is (currently) illegal !? !? !? Lime visited Hamilton recently, to demo their electric kickscooters in front of Hamilton City Hall for councillors and for the public.

Not Allowed: No road. No sidewalk. No bike lane. Can't ride at all:
It's currently
essentially illegal in Ontario to ride a Lime or Bird electric kickscooter in Toronto or Hamilton.


In general, currently not possible in Ontario. Can't ride an inch anywhere on municipal property except by special permission -- not even on sidewalk, not even on road, not even in a bike lane. Boo.

In the long term, the scootershare discussion becomes an important topic which will wring as many fists as the bikeshare debate (between the pro/anti). Few people care now, but many will suddenly care once electric kickscooters start flooding Toronto just like they are flooding Calgary and soon Montreal (they just finally got a permit just only last week!).

So that's why this thread is hijacked -- With an important bigger discussion that will need to be resolved by 2020 so that Bird/Lime style scooter-share can safely and properly come to Ontario. Ride on sidewalks, we get complaints from pedestrians (speed, injuries, rudeness from scooter users). Ride on roads, and we have the attendant safety issues and related requirements (licensing, helmets, age limits, etc). DIfferent cities have come up with different solutions, some safer and some that add risk. So it's a larger discussion that will begin to play out in Ontario -- I'm just an early canary here.

The use of Lime/Bird in cities I visit are pretty nice, I was able to cover an actual 8 kilometers in less than half an hour in a city I was visiting, so that's quite a "available speed on tap" that competes with transit apps and bikeshare apps, when I can just walk up to a scooter, press a couple of buttons on my smartphone, and ride away. It was actually faster than Uber. Shame I'm not even allowed this option at all in Ontario.
 

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lenaitch

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I think much of the confusion stems from regulation lagging innovation. This is nothing new and dates back to the first horseless carriage. I am quite frankly still confused as the various definitions, limitations and rules, but since I'm not involved in their regulation or as a user I suppose my uncertainty is moot. As the Admiral says, many of them look like traditional motorcycles to the casual observer and it is the casual observer that sees what, to them, seems to be a traditional motorcycle bopping down the sidewalk or recreational trail.
We have several around here and, regardless of what they are, many are operated in an astonishingly unsafe manner. They are ridden down the curb side of the road and will make a left turn without even glancing. Basic rules of the road seem to be lost on many of the operators. Perhaps they are being operated by people who never had to consider such things and there is no requirement for them to know. There is also a debate ongoing about their use on area recreational trails. One argument against is that, if you allow a vehicle that can go 30 kmh, etc. on a trail, then you are essentially allowing a vehicle that will go 30 kmh without some new regulatory regime.
 

mdrejhon

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The “scan-and-ride” e-scooters just arrived in Montreal today!

It’s very easy to fall in love with them if you’re open-minded about mobility solutions. Never tried bikeshare, then falling in love with bikeshare. Same thing with the ultralight e-scooter share services.

Yes, even as I love them (during my travels), pragmatically simultaneously nervous about their risks too (since 25kph is faster than many people’s running speed, not good if you lose balance — so ease off on the speed as a scooter newbie!). Whether a city has wide empty sidewalks and dangerous roads, may favour sidewalks-allowed — while a different city with narrow full sidewalks with great bike lanes/infrastructure, may favour scooters-on-road-allowed.

Either way.... Montreal just granted a permit that is a special exception to the “not-allowed-anywhere” status quo.

Here’s a textbook case of regulation and legal differences.

Montreal:
(Just arrived August 13th)
  • Electronically Speed Limited To 20kph
  • Allowed on Roads (except roads with posted >50kph speed limit)
  • Allowed in Bike Lanes
  • Allowed on Multi-Use Trails
  • Not allowed on sidewalks
  • Helmets Mandatory
Calgary:
(Just arrived late July 2019)
  • Electronically Speed Limited To 20kph
  • Not allowed on roads (except in bike lanes & cycle tracks)
  • Allowed in Bike Lanes
  • Allowed on Multi-Use Trails
  • Allowed on Sidewalks
  • Helmets Not Mandatory
Two Cities.
Same Scooter.
Same Brand Scootershare.
Totally Different Rules.

Get ready, Toronto & Hamilton..........
 
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robmausser

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The “scan-and-ride” e-scooters just arrived in Montreal today!

It’s very easy to fall in love with them if you’re open-minded about mobility solutions. Never tried bikeshare, then falling in love with bikeshare. Same thing with the ultralight e-scooter share services.

Yes, even as I love them (during my travels), pragmatically simultaneously nervous about their risks too (since 25kph is faster than many people’s running speed, not good if you lose balance — so ease off on the speed as a scooter newbie!). Whether a city has wide empty sidewalks and dangerous roads, may favour sidewalks-allowed — while a different city with narrow full sidewalks with great bike lanes/infrastructure, may favour scooters-on-road-allowed.

Either way.... Montreal just granted a permit that is a special exception to the “not-allowed-anywhere” status quo.

Here’s a textbook case of regulation and legal differences.

Montreal:
(Just arrived today)
  • Electronically Speed Limited To 20kph
  • Allowed on Roads (except roads with posted >50kph speed limit)
  • Allowed in Bike Lanes
  • Allowed on Multi-Use Trails
  • Not allowed on sidewalks
  • Helmets Mandatory
Calgary:
(Just arrived late July 2019)
  • Electronically Speed Limited To 20kph
  • Not allowed on roads (except in bike lanes & cycle tracks)
  • Allowed in Bike Lanes
  • Allowed on Multi-Use Trails
  • Allowed on Sidewalks
  • Helmets Not Mandatory
Two Cities.
Same Scooter.
Same Brand Scootershare.
Totally Different Rules.

Get ready, Toronto & Hamilton..........

Would these laws include electric skateboards?
 

mdrejhon

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I was in Seattle last week and saw they have two firms offering electric bicycles. Dockless, just leave them wherever.
Montreal got them less than two months ago, too. Uber’s red coloured JUMP bikes. Rode one too!

Montreal is enforcing parking rules for them (and for scooters too), so now have to make sure you park them legally when you end your rental. If they are illegally parked, the owner of the sharing service have to pick them up (scooter or bike) and relocate them within 2 hours. Users gets charged a bad-parking penalty fee as a result. Montreal is becoming a bit stricter about this than the average dockless mobility-share city.

Hamilton has non-electric dockless bikeshare, which works similarly — but you pay extra ($1 convenience fee) to end your bikeshare rental away from an official bike station. So it is less cluttered than many other dockless systems, and fewer complaints overall.
 
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mdrejhon

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Would these laws include electric skateboards?
Probably.

But given the current “legal workaround” regime, certain cities has given special permit(s) only to a specific brand(s) of a specific scootershare service.

Technically, it means in some places -- because of the special permitting that happened -- you cannot buy the same kind of scooter and ride it legally in the same places where you can legally ride a Lime rental. Metaphorically, it is like legalizing rental cars but making owned cars illegal. Ah well.

UPDATE:
New Thread specific to escooters:
Ontario Legalizing e-scooters
 
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Aylmer

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If this guy's average ride sees a top speed of 60 km/h, then it doesn't meet the legal definition of an E-Bike (max 32km/h) and really stretches the practical definition of a bicycle altogether. There's a pretty sharp threshold around 25-35 km/h where we're much less able as a species to be spatially aware, react, or survive falls. The dangers he lists are valid, but not very translatable to someone riding a legal electric bicycle.
 

afransen

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Yeah, I think pedal assist is fine (though I would hesitate to give one to a kid who is likelier to have bad judgment), but throttle control ebikes are essentially motorcycles. Especially if it can average 30kph in a mixed traffic commute and reach 60 kph.

I also think riding a bicycle at 60 kph without proper protective gear is pretty reckless.
 

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