The Chainlink

I'm strongly considering an eBike for my wife. The main reason is because she would be allowed by law to use it in bike lanes and paths. This would present her with a much safer way of commuting between CTA or Metra stops than an underpowered motorcycle (< 50cc ).

I just read another post which showed an incredible amount of disdain for eBikes. Why does everyone seem to assume that eBikers are merely being lazy?

My wife is 63 years old and suffers from fibromyalgia, scoliosis, arthritis, nystagmus and positional vertigo. Surprisingly the vertigo isn't triggered by cycling since all g-forces are more mild than driving a car. If she ever does get dizzy (it's never happened on a bike) she can simply put her feet down.

Cycling is a perfect exercise due to its low impact but often the intensity is too high, especially on windy days or when riding across the overpasses on the LFP. An eBike would give her back her mobility, and may even allow her to join me on my training rides.

We all know cyclists, with all sorts of bikes, who don't exhibit proper behavior. That doesn't mean that everyone who owns a particular type of bike deserves to be ostracized by the cycling community.

But I'm worried about how Brenda will be treated on our trails if I do buy her an eBike. Why can't we at least be civil to one another?

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Tom, did you watch the video of this guy comparing his e-bike ride to a car trip?  I'd like to hear your comments about the speeds he achieves in the marked bike lanes.  Also, the study cited in the article compares e-bikes not to non-ebikes, but to e-bikes being ridden with the motor off.  That's not a real-world comparison.  Like a lot of blogs and studies, these were created by people heavily invested in one side and not the other.  I have no problem with people riding e-bikes as fast as they want in the streets.  I also have no problems with exemptions being made on trails and in bike lanes for people who would otherwise, because of age or infirmity, be incapable of riding unassisted, or even stressed by it.  I do have a problem with the inevitable group of people who would go way too fast on trails with e-bikes.  There's already a whole culture evolving concerning overriding speed restrictions on e-bikes.  To wit:  https://www.ebiketuning.com/ and dozens of other sites like it.  Do you really think it's OK to ride 30 miles an hour in unprotected, unbuffered bike lanes and paths in urban areas?  There has to be some give-and-take on both sides.  I'm willing to concede to an extent on the lanes and trails, but there need to be speed concessions on the other side.  And I don't care how stupidly fast some people are pedaling bikes on crowded lanes and paths already.  They're wrong and should be stopped as well.  Two wrongs don't make a right.

P.S.  I'm sure that you, in particular, would ride your e-bike on any lane and trail with great civility and cause no problems whatsoever.  But you, and most people on this forum, are not necessarily typical from my experience as a cyclist.    

 

Ah, yup Jim, I watched the video but then I ff>> thru it, it's kinda long and boring and lonely there. it sure ain't like Milwaukee Avenue during rush. The only other cyclist I see in the beginning, he was going ~ 26mph when he passed him with about three feet of space to his left so, like it's okay. . . do I think it's okay to ride 30mph? yep, if it's clear like in the video. roadies scream on your left when they're shooting past me early weekend a.m.s on the LFT, so I get out of their way. It's cool, it's kinda a buzz for me also to see em pass safely. yep, so it's to each their own, safely. . .motor hackin' punks no, theyrnot kool, cuz they don't like us old people Jim. :-) So anyways, I'm not a spokesman for the e-bike industry nor am i a spokesman for the idiot cyclist lobby so, . . . y'all just ride safe. . . I'm tired now and going to sleep, n' dreaming on how to save up 3 Grand for the E-bike. G' night. . . c u down the road. . .

Three grand?  I have to admit I was looking at e-bikes on CL and I just saw some near Milwaukee, Trex FX+ e-bikes, used for a really low price.  Probably showroom or demo models.  I was tempted.  I'm saving an old Trek Multitrack 730, a bike I love, to convert to an e-bike when the day comes.  If I make it that far!  There are some really cool conversion kits out there. 

http://www.eprodigybikes.com/products.aspx

e prodigy Logan $2,599, and $$ for a second battery pack. Three grand plus. . .

Very nice, though.

I am a Roadie myself. I train hard for several charity endurance rides each year, helping to raise funds for causes like Parkinson's or cancer research. I routinely commute to work at 20mph down the LFP in the morning.

I also have brakes and use them when it is not safe to pass others using the trail. My commute home is generally slower as the path is too crowded to pass safely.

I often see others traveling faster than I am capable of pedaling, but I have never in the 4 years that I've commuted by bike in Chicago seen anyone get seriously injured on the trail or on the roads or bike lanes.

I know it happens, but more often it's like our mindset while driving. Everyone going faster than us is a crazy idiot and everyone slower is a slow poke. I've resigned myself to be less judgmental and assume the best in people until proven otherwise.

FYI - There have been some bike-on-bike crashes on the lakefront trail that involved serious injury. It's not common, but it happens. Occasionally there are other types of crashes, like a person getting launched by a dog leash stretched across the path, or an errant volleyball landing in front of them by North Ave. Beach. Freakishly rare, but I know people who have crashed in all these scenarios.

Unfortunately, there are crashes on LFP and they are a lot more common than you think. It's a congested path only made worse when bikes speed through the busiest sections. Back in the 90s, I got hit from behind by a cyclist who was speeding through a crowded section and passing too closely (and wasn't calling "on your left"). It was also my fault - I was one of those people that didn't look to my left before I moved to the left. I had nerve damage in both elbows for years, got scraped up pretty badly, and learned a valuable lesson about being careful on the LFP. Some are not so lucky. 

I like to ride on the LFP but if I am in a crowded section, I slow down. I do see people fly by me on their bikes. 

I'm sorry to hear that you were injured. Unfortunately we don't have eyes in the back of our head.

It is the responsibility of the approaching rider to do so safely. I'm certain you were not behaving in a fashion that was entirely unpredictable. Behaving predictably should be the sole responsibility of the individual being overtaken.

I have had two near misses on the trail, both runners with headphones who turned around suddenly. Their actions could not be anticipated, and although I had slowed when approaching them, I still needed to pass. Of course, they didn't hear me call out my intentions.

North Avenue beach is probably the most congested of all the sections on the trail. I have seen riders travel through that stretch at speeds that I would consider unsafe. I've caught up to a few of them afterwards and asked them to slow down in traffic.

I do think that the most congested sections could use some improvements to manage the traffic better. I'm looking forward to the separate lanes for pedestrians and cyclists. Other options might be speed bumps, rumble strips or raised lane barriers to discourage veering and passing.

The freakishly rare part was referring to very serious injuries. I see plenty of minor crashes and near misses.

Yasmeen  - Sorry to hear about the nerve damage from your crash. Yours and all the other crashes are good reasons to slow down when it's crowded.

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