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Electric Bicycles Surging In Popularity

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the look-ma-no-feet dept.

Earth 533

gollum123 writes "An accidental transportation upheaval began in China, where an estimated 120 million electric bicycles now hum along the roads, up from a few thousand in the 1990s. They are replacing traditional bikes and motorcycles at a rapid clip and, in many cases, allowing people to put off the switch to cars. The booming Chinese electric-bike industry is spurring worldwide interest and impressive sales in India, Europe, and the US. China is exporting many bikes, and Western manufacturers are also copying the Chinese trend to produce models of their own. From virtually nothing a decade ago, electric bikes have become an $11 billion global industry. In the Netherlands, a third of the money spent on bicycles last year went to electric-powered models. Industry experts predict similar growth elsewhere in Europe, especially in Germany, France, and Italy, as rising interest in cycling coincides with an aging population. India had virtually no sales until two years ago, but its nascent market is fast expanding and could eclipse Europe's in the next year. In China, electric bicycles have evolved into bigger machines that resemble Vespa scooters. These larger models are causing headaches for global transportation planners. They cannot decide whether to embrace them as a green form of transportation, or ban them as a safety hazard. Some cities are studying the halfway measure of banning them from bicycle lanes while permitting them on streets."

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Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (4, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991602)

Ah, yes, the transportation planner, one of the modern evils, who uses dubious logic to impose brain-dead transportation priorities that do wonders to destroy the planet...

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991646)

You forgot the "indubitably" at the end there, Mr. Smith from Lost in space.

Report: Slashdot trolls are thriving (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991862)

GNAA 4 LYFE

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991896)

If you were the Goatse guy, an electric bike could go right up your ASS!

that guy could handle even a niggerdick, or one of your mom's large vibrating toys, like the one with all the knobs on it to increase the friction

so a bike should be no sweat

in SOVIET RUSSIA, bike is no sweat for YOU!

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (3, Interesting)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991666)

I'm sure electric bikes have a use but I always feel a bit sad when I see a twenty-something dude riding an electric bike whilst I scoot past on my pushbike. O and transportation planners - don't get me started! In my town to satisfy a push for more cycle paths they simply painted a picture of a white cycle at the head of all the sidewalks . . . chaos and injury ensued. No back tracking though - just some back-slapping about implementing a 'green' transportation policy!

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991694)

While some twenty-something dudes would otherwise be riding a normal bicycle, most would be driving a car. If it takes electric bicycles to kill the idea that cycling is a sport instead of an efficient form of transportation, so be it.

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991806)

I wonder about how safe they are. My heart rate scales with the speed I travel and my reflexes tend to scale the same way. Sometimes I get scared riding with a strong tail wind because I feel that I am going faster than my body is setup to do.

The other thing is that sometimes I need to go slow, and sometime I need to go very fast. A power limited electric motor can't do the latter and would make me feel vulnerable in traffic.

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (4, Interesting)

brianosaurus (48471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991988)

I have a "hybrid" electric bike. It has an electric motor in the hub, and regular pedals for the human powerplant. The motor works best as an assist, particularly nice on steep hills. I mainly use the electric motor to get up to speed, then can pedal to maintain. Using both at the same time gives a good quick launch from a standstill. The electric motor on mine tops out at about 15mph, which is decent. I can go faster on a normal bike, but I break a sweat. :)

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30992136)

How about: stop being a pussy.

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992138)

Sometimes I get scared riding with a strong tail wind because I feel that I am going faster than my body is setup to do.

Good equipment helps. This is one of the reasons I'm not really big on e-bike conversions which take a conventional frame and add a 750W or larger motor with no other modifications -- particularly if it ever might spend time on trails, a powerful ebike should have a frame designed for the forces it's going to be handling; forks, shocks and brakes from the downhill racing market; and a low center of gravity to keep the whole thing maneuverable (some manufacturers put the battery up on the rear rack behind the seatpost; ugh!)

The other thing is that sometimes I need to go slow, and sometime I need to go very fast. A power limited electric motor can't do the latter and would make me feel vulnerable in traffic.

Unless your battery is dead (in which case you're pulling some dead weight along with you -- but nothing horrid), there's nothing making a leg-based sprint any harder on an e-bike than it is on any other pedal-powered vehicle; to the contrary, it's much, much easier to keep up a sprint when there's an extra 650W added to the output from your legs. :)

There have been a few idiotic designs in the past that interpreted the laws in such a way as to automatically enable regenerative braking over 20mph. These are no longer made.

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992162)

Some important words/ides for you.

Helmet: A thing to keep your brains in your skull while on a bike, a motorcycle, skis, or during rough sex.
Throttle: a device to control the speed of a vehicle.

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (1, Flamebait)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991846)

And here in central florida they put it on the road which resulted in an even greater amount of chaos and injury.

I've got a lot of foreign friends, the one thing they have in common is that they consider us delusional for believing that bicycles are not pedestrians.

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (1)

electrons_are_brave (1344423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991894)

In Australia they are also vehicles (not pedestrians). Of course, they do tend to obey the road rules 50% of the time, but then whisk up on to the footpaths at will.

They are great for inner-city transportation, but I wouldn't like to ride along busy suburban main roads on one.

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991924)

Australia's already famous for trying its best to kill all the humans living there, that's hardly suprising.

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (0)

Laser_iCE (1125271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991992)

Maybe the fauna, but the Government is doing everything it can to increase the population, from the baby bonus and all the constant city expansions, to everything related to the Government (council, trains in Queensland, etc.) being so critical about safety that it impacts on the employees ability to complete their job better than usual, and insists on everyone taking twice as long to get a job done, to ensure nobody gets hurt. Either that, or so when somebody does hurt they can raise their hands up and say "hey hey, we put all these restrictions in place -- it's not our fault". It's a shame, there are a LOT of great people working for the Government, but with the shit-house managers that are put in place (appointed from outside of the workplace -- something that should NEVER happen for a managers/supervisors position), morale is at an all time low. What do you do though? They all (managers) look after each other. Basically, if you're not in the "club" -- then you're a nobody, and a nobody is worth nothing apart from the money they are forced to pay you fortnightly.

Re:Ah, yes, one of the modern evils... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991920)

Your friends must be motorists. In countries with high percentages of bicyclists, people would certainly disagree with the pedestrian classification. Studies have shown that bicycles belong on the road: Bicycle paths remove the cyclists from the view of motorists, which means that instead of preventing accidents, they cause them, especially at intersections. Bicycles certainly don't belong on the sidewalk, because actual pedestrians behave very differently from vehicles. Mixing pedestrians and cyclists is a recipe for disaster.

Too bad "Hey baby I ride a motor-bike"... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991606)

Doesn't quite work when it's "like a Vespa" ;-)

I have a mental image of Howard from "Big Bang Theory" on his scooter, with Sheldon in a pink Helmet screaming and clinging on for dear life.

Re:Too bad "Hey baby I ride a motor-bike"... (3, Funny)

PatDev (1344467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991716)

NOT EUCLID AVENUE!

Re:Too bad "Hey baby I ride a motor-bike"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991964)

Some people live for more than just picking up shallow whores.

reasons this may not catch on in the US (4, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991632)

Two of the many reasons this may not catch on in the US:

One is drivers. I ride a (nonmotorized) bike to work twice a week. It would sure be nice if drivers here in the US showed that they had some clue that cyclists exist. This morning I got to deal with a woman who decided to pull her car over into the bike lane so that she could talk on her cell phone. On the way home, I got a teenage girl eating a banana while wanting to turn left in front of me without signaling. Other fun experiences include people swerving around me and cutting me off because they're too impatient to let me get across an intersection, and people yelling at me because I'm not in the bike lane (hey, sometimes cyclists do need to turn left, and in any case the law says that cyclists can ride in regular lanes).

Another reason is weather. US weather has more extremes than Europe. There's a reason that all the early colonists from England died of tropical diseases.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (2, Interesting)

YojimboJango (978350) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991670)

I'll second Parent here. I have a two and a half mile ride to work, but I'd have to cross two interstates and a 6 lane highway to get there. I can do it in the summer, but trying to get a bike through 6 inches of snow in the dark mornings while dodging traffic isn't fun or safe.

Down south this might be more viable as a car replacement, but up in Michigan I need a car 4 months out of the year. It sucks, and I end up paying more for PLPD than I do for gas, but it has to be done.

I added a side-car so I can go through snow. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30992104)

To add a sidecar, look for a remnant or broken bicycle that someone either discards or sells as parts. Best places are yard or garage sales, but you realy need to rummage through the dumpsters in a square mile area at-least once a week.

Try to imagine the verticle pipe of the bicycle frame where the seat mounts into, you need to bend the two horizontal bars to a 90-degree angle or otherwise cut them off to re-weld them at a 90-degree angle. A disc cutter to cut the entire front frame off the rear-wheel would suffice if you have a choice of hardware to hobble it onto your bicycle. You can make a sidecar for someone to sit, or a basket, but the purpose is to just get a 3rd wheel on the ground so you CAN ride on snow without gravity sliding you on your chin and elbows.

It's a shame that bicycle assemblers put so much crap along the wheels that limit what choice of wheels and traction to use. Bicycle Snow-chains need to be custom-made, and that's why you need to use disk-brakes rather than the cruddy ones they weld onto the forks. Goal is to replace brake calipers on the rims to disc brakes on the wheel axles, and consider quick-release rims because only cheap-bastard assemblers use anything that needs a wrench to remove.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992120)

Two and a half mile sounds fine even as a walking distance TBH; perhaps shorter than that, actually, since often you have more options than following the only sensible bike road. But I guess pedestrian routes and safe crossings generally are also neglected?...

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991686)

Maybe if you cyclists would quit dragging ass in a 45 zone with no shoulder. I know you top out a lot higher than 25.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991688)

American weather isn't that bad. Note that two of the biggest bike cities in the world are Copenhagen and Amsterdam, neither noted for its pleasant conditions.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991858)

Both Copenhagen and Amsterdam benefit from the Gulf Stream. Although Copenhagen is at a similar latitude as Edmonton, Canada, the climate is nowhere near as cold. For another example, compare the climate of Copenhagen [wikipedia.org] and the climate of North Dakota [wikipedia.org] , which is at similar latitudes as France.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991724)

I'm a careful driver but many cyclists I come across make it hard not to run over them, what with driving through every gap between cars they can fit into regardless of the lanes, going through a car or a pedestrian green light, whichever comes first, and acting like jerks every time a car fails to signal or otherwise violates some traffic rule while they themselves almost completely ignore every single one of them.

Oh, I'm sure you are not one of those, but since you are generalizing I thought I'd join in.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991804)

Where I live, 95% of all drivers are very good regarding cyclists. There is 4.9% that are idiots. And then there is the 0.1% that are out there to kill/maim/etc. a cyclist for using a road. You know, on purpose. These people should be jailed for a long time.

Traffic laws needs to change in the US and Canada. In more friendly jurisdictions a car/bike collision automatically means that the car driver is at fault unless it can be proven otherwise. And if you think about it, that really makes sense. Anytime a cyclist or a motorcycle rider gets hit by a car, they are the ones that lose. Therefore, it is generally the inattentiveness and downright criminal actions of the driver that results in a crash.

Netherlands has a much larger bicycle population than anywhere in US/Canada, yet per capita collision rates are much lower. The reason is precisely laws that favour cyclists, not cages.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (2, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991864)

No, the reason is because pretty much everyone else in the world has the sense to realise that bicyclists are pedestrians. They don't belong in the road any more than joggers or skateboarders.

I was just in Helsinki last august, they just doubled the size of the sidewalk and allowed the section nearest the road for bicycles pretty much everywhere and where they don't they just treat a bicyclist that hits a walker the same as a car that hits a pedestrian.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (5, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991948)

No, the reason is because pretty much everyone else in the world has the sense to realise that bicyclists are pedestrians. They don't belong in the road any more than joggers or skateboarders.

I suggest you look again at Copenhagen.

Regardless -- the numbers show that vehicular cycling [wikipedia.org] is safe -- and that in the US, riding on the sidewalk dramatically increases the chances of a car/bicycle collision (as drivers don't look for fast-moving vehicles on the sidewalk when pulling in and out of driveways). The League of American Bicyclists [bikeleague.org] tracks statistics and offers classes [bikeleague.org] (which leverage these statistics) on driving one's bicycle in a predictable, courteous, and safe manner; the accident rate for League members is on the same order of magnitude of that of motor vehicles when measured per mile traveled, but far lower when measured by other criteria.

Regardless, while the accident rate per mile is somewhat higher, the accident rate per hour spent traveling is dramatically lower for cyclists. This is critical, as the curve for peoples' commute time tends to be fairly constant regardless of vehicle -- people who use a faster mode of transport arrange their lives such that they live closer to work. As such, for a person who makes their decision to use a bicycle as a long-term lifestyle choice (and is thus eventually able to take such into account when selecting either their employer or their living space), the chance of being harmed during one's commute is actually much lower.

You might find Ken Kifer's analysis [kenkifer.com] useful; the statistical arguments made are compelling. (Ken passed away some time ago, killed by a drunk driver; for anyone interested in making a point of this, I suggest comparing the frequency of this event to the rate of 3rd-party deaths caused by drunk cyclists).

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30992196)

I live in Helsinki and find the cycling ok, but not as good as you claim: Bicycle lanes aren't everywhere and when you need to go on to a street you are in mortal danger as car drivers are surprised about it. Often the lanes are so broken up (because they are essentially sidewalks) that you can't really get any speed on them.

The Copenhagen model is vastly better in my opinion and has clearly encouraged much more people to use bicycles.

pardon me if I don't have much sympathy. (2, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991848)

As a bicyclist (and driver. Remember that- most of us who ride our bikes ALSO DRIVE), I find it very difficult to sympathize with your viewpoint.

When is the last time you read, "motorist killed by bicyclist"? Bicyclists always lose in car-vs-bicyclist.

Now, look at the face of cyclist road deaths: Kylie Bruehler, orphaned when both her parents were struck by a truck [austin360.com] . Go on, LOOK [mysanantonio.com] , Mr. Self Righteous. Look at the face of a 7 year old girl as she buries her parents. Look at her grandfather walk down the line of hundreds of cyclists who showed up to honor them.

Do you know what usually happens when a motorist kills a cyclist? Absolutely nothing [bicyclelaw.com] - and this case is not the exception but the rule. Time and time again the cyclist community fumes when another person is struck simply because the driver wasn't paying attention to where they were going, the police call it a "terrible accident", and the driver walks off without so much as a manslaughter charge.

Re:pardon me if I don't have much sympathy. (3, Funny)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991936)

As a bicyclist (and driver. Remember that- most of us who ride our bikes ALSO DRIVE), I find it very difficult to sympathize with your viewpoint.

When is the last time you read, "motorist killed by bicyclist"? Bicyclists always lose in car-vs-bicyclist.

Now, look at the face of cyclist road deaths: Kylie Bruehler, orphaned when both her parents were struck by a truck [austin360.com] . Go on, LOOK [mysanantonio.com] , Mr. Self Righteous. Look at the face of a 7 year old girl as she buries her parents. Look at her grandfather walk down the line of hundreds of cyclists who showed up to honor them.

Do you know what usually happens when a motorist kills a cyclist? Absolutely nothing [bicyclelaw.com] - and this case is not the exception but the rule. Time and time again the cyclist community fumes when another person is struck simply because the driver wasn't paying attention to where they were going, the police call it a "terrible accident", and the driver walks off without so much as a manslaughter charge.

I'm glad you used sound reasoning and solid argumentation and did not resort to baser things like guilt-trips and emotional appeals. Well done, sir.

I did, didn't I? (2, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991982)

I'm glad you used sound reasoning and solid argumentation and did not resort to baser things like guilt-trips and emotional appeals. Well done, sir.

Sure, because the parent I replied to had sound reasoning and solid argumentation when he said that most cyclists on the road are lawless jerks- and implied that they deserve what they get, or that drivers shouldn't be responsible for hitting them. Also, I think it's pretty logical and good reasoning to say, "When is the last time you read, 'motorist killed by cyclist'?"

You know what? If reading that story and looking at that picture of that orphan makes a couple of Slashdotters a liiiiitle bit more careful driving (around cyclists or not), then it was worth every mod point.

But yes, I see your point. Unfortunately, when you've been struck by cars twice (both breaking the law, when you were doing everything right), you tend to have a very shore fuse for the whole but-cyclists-are-lawless-idiots comment. Every time cyclist safety comes up in conversation someone has to blurt this out. While I was still in my cast from the first time I was hit, an asshole coworker sat across from me and told the table that cyclists knew that it was dangerous and thus drivers shouldn't be liable. I nearly cracked him over the head with the cast.

Re:I did, didn't I? (4, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992034)

When is the last time you read, 'motorist killed by cyclist'

When was the last time you read "Freight train killed my motorist"?

We all know that cars are bigger than bikes, but that doesn't mean that bikers are freed of responsibility in all cases.

If reading that story and looking at that picture of that orphan makes a couple of Slashdotters a liiiiitle bit more careful driving (around cyclists or not), then it was worth every mod point.

The thing is, guilt-tripping people like that doesn't actually work. If it did, PETA would have long since prevaled I wouldn't still be eating 5 pounds of cow every week. All stunts like that do is undermine your credibility by indicating to people that you are not willing to have a rational discussion, but instead need to resort to emotional arguments.

maybe you're just an asshole with no conscience (-1, Offtopic)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992076)

The thing is, guilt-tripping people like that doesn't actually work. If it did, PETA would have long since prevaled I wouldn't still be eating 5 pounds of cow every week.

I'd guess at least 1/4 of my friends are vegetarian, and most of them do it because of animal cruelty at megafarms and environmental impact (the amount of methane produced by cattle, and the resources required to grow cattle vs. the amount of resources required to grow the same amount of calories in vegetables.)

Re:pardon me if I don't have much sympathy. (4, Insightful)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991976)

I ride a motorbike (and at times a pushbike) on the road, and have learned one thing very well.

It is the job of the more at-risk to protect themselves!

Anything else is just a stupid unrealistic dream.

Reality is that I must avoid cars pulling in front of me, cutting me off, and at times trying to drive through me when I am stationary. This is life.
Every day (I commute through an area of main road loved by cyclists) I see them 'downhilling' down a lethal bit of road - not to commut but for fun, and high speed (often above the speed limit), taking wide corners, and without the ability to quickly stop. I have seen several very serious accidents there, however I have never seen a car-on-car accident there as it is a safe bit of road, the usual accident is a bike into the back of a car, or once into the front when taking a corner WAY too wide.

The road is not a playground, it is there for transportation, and it is dangerous. Many drivers are borderline incompetent, so you must weight up the risks, and make some serious decisions.

Re:pardon me if I don't have much sympathy. (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992068)

Exactly. It seems that a lot of the bike-centric griping is based off of a bicyclist being unwilling to slow or stop because, uh, their heart rate will totally drop or whatever yuppie self-entitled reasons they come up with. Is it really that difficult to ride at reasonable speeds and have situational awareness to be able to stop when a car pulls out or turns? The roads are not a racetrack, and bikers should leave earlier if they can't make it to work at a safe speed and level of vigilance. And frankly, guys, your neon spandex is fucking obnoxious.

Pedestrians and bike riders have the right-of way on the streets. That is a big mistake. In the ocean, the larger vessels have the right-of-way and the streets would be much more safe if they adopted that paradigm.

yeah, let's blame the victims! (0, Flamebait)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992168)

Look, you condescending fuckhead, I know "the road is not a playground".

In one case I was hit from behind while making a legal left turn from a left-turn only lane, by a guy who went straight, illegally. In the second case, I was doored. The driver flung open her door while I was going about 10-12 MPH, right in front of me. I had just enough time to notice the door opening before I found myself flying through the air upside-down, looking at the cars behind me, and thinking "oh please, may I not get run over."

I had a cabbie make an oncoming left turn straight at me at an intersection, and then scream at me to get the fuck out of his way.

I had a valet parking attendant cut me off coming out of a parking lot- in the process of avoiding him, I went over the handlebars and landed in the road. He laughed.

I know people on a student cycling team who have been out on group training rides and had drivers on side-streets (or making oncoming left turns) drive right into the middle of the pack (with the cyclist hitting the side of the car, usually at +15 mph.) This happens about twice a year, and usually puts the cyclist in the hospital and completely destroys their bike.

Or how about that doctor who was convicted of slamming on his brakes to "scare" cyclists? Two of them couldn't stop in time, and they smashed into his back window. It came out in court that he had a long history of such road rage against cyclists.

It is the job of the more at-risk to protect themselves!

And then, by extension, the victims (let's not beat around the bush here- "the at-risk", my ass) if they don't protect themselves, deserve what they get? I suppose you tell rape victims that they shouldn't have dressed slutty? Or how about telling domestic violence victims that they shouldn't have made their partner angry? Society does not work by lecturing the victims- we punishing the criminals.

Re:pardon me if I don't have much sympathy. (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991986)

You seem to be a rather bitter when it comes to this subject so I'll help you out a bit: namecalling and trying to guilt-trip someone who very likely never did anything wrong is not going to win you over any minds. Try keeping a cool head and making reasoned arguments next time.

As a pedestrain (I neither drive, nor bike to work), I could start ranting about how many people bikers run over and hurt/kill while they were minding their own business crossing the streets at crosswalks or walking down the sidewalk every year. I could link you up with articles from local newspapers about a biker striking an older man, then picking up his bike and riding off as the man lay dying on the curb and suggest furiously that somehow you are partially responsible. But then I would look like a jackass, just as you do.

Re:pardon me if I don't have much sympathy. (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992008)

What do you want to happen? Apparently, the civil lawsuit isn't finished yet. The driver wasn't drunk (he was tested right away). He stopped. And he didn't know the victims. Do you want to put the driver in prison for the next ten years? What else are you suggesting?

He should definitely pay for what he did, but in the form of financial restitution. Personally, I'm sorry this happened, but as long as this isn't a pattern -- I'd rather not have my tax dollars be used in locking this guy up for years.

Re:pardon me if I don't have much sympathy. (2, Insightful)

bflong (107195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992060)

I'm not familiar with the sad situation you relate, but I do not believe it has anything to do with the parent comment. Also, I have noticed that at least half of the bicyclists in my area do not obey traffic laws in any form, and the rest obey them sporadically. They don't stay on their side of the road. They don't signal. They don't maintain safe distances. They cut traffic off. The list goes on. Many of the offenders are "professional" riders too. They compete at the local velodrome. They have friken sponsors. Hence, they should know better. When one of these idiots dies, and leaves behind a grieving family and friends, I feel bad for the survivors. However, any anger I have goes right to the idiot who got run over by the 18 wheeler because he did something stupid, not the poor truck driver who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and now has the face of said idiot burned into his mind for the rest of his life. Just because the bicyclist lost the fight with the truck does not mean it's not his fault.

Really, that's what makes people feel anger toward bicyclists. We all know how we would feel if we were that truck driver. The deceased problems are over. The survivors, including the driver, have to live with it. There is a lot more to weigh down on you then traffic tickets in that situation. I know that if some stupid bicyclist would run a stop sign around a blind corner and I hit and killed him, I would feel absolutely horrible for a long, long time. It doesn't matter who's fault it is. You feel horrible unless you're dead.

The article you mentioned seems to indicate the parents of that 7 year old were not at fault for the accident, but rather the driver was. That's a sad situation, and I would have fully expected the driver to face charges. Definitely a break down of justice in that case.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991876)

going through a car or a pedestrian green light, whichever comes first

This is perfectly legal, although of course the cyclist may want to make his intentions clear to avoid getting hit.

and acting like jerks every time a car fails to signal or otherwise violates some traffic rule while they themselves almost completely ignore every single one of them.

The problem is that when drivers ignore the traffic laws around cyclists, it's a threat to the cyclist's life. People tend to get testy when other people are acting like they want to kill them.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (3, Interesting)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991970)

My favorite kind of bicyclist are the ones who think stop signs don't apply to them. Yes, I'm talking to you Mr Lance Armstrong wannabe in your yellow jersey. The red octagon you shot past read stop and that meant you as well.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (5, Insightful)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992096)

Okay, I bike everyday, in Canada. Whether snow, ice, or -40 Celsius. I hate this just as much as you. Because I stop, and I follow all the laws to the best of my ability -- little useless bell (voice is much louder) on my handlebars and all. Here's one I also follow: the speed-limit. However, pretty much every automobile driver I meet does not follow the speed limit. So, it's not like motorists are somehow more law-abiding than cyclists -- because almost 100% of motorists break the speed limit. There's this one road I go down -- 30kph speed limit, and yet every car behind me always seems to catch up and pass me rather quickly when I'm going along at 30kph. In fact, I would say that most are going 50kph. That's more than 66% over the speed limit. Is every motorist continuously late for work or something? And in 50kph zones, it seems that 70kph or greater is the norm amongst motorists. On the highway you would be as lucky as a lottery-winner to see someone cruising not more than 90kph, the speed limit.

And cars seem to have trouble with stop-signs as well. They slow-down for them, but as for a complete stop -- that's a rarity. They seem to like to just crawl through them at 1 to upward of 5 kph.

Really the only group of motorists with which I'm continually impressed are the school-bus drivers.

But I've been semi-facetious so far. This is how it actually is: The motorist thinks on the highway: "Well, this highway is still safe at 100kph. It's only 10kph over the speed limit and visibility and conditions are fine. So even though it is breaking law, I'll do it." If he actually thought that he would get into an accident, he wouldn't do it. This is what the cyclist is thinking at the stop-sign: "No one else is coming, so, if I just go through, it will be fine. So even though it is breaking the law, I'll do it." If he actually thought that he would get into an accident, he wouldn't do it.
 

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992172)

Motorists who think stop signs don't apply to them aren't your favorite ones?

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991768)

Another reason is laws. Here in New York electric bikes are illegal - http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmvfaqs.htm#motor

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (5, Informative)

jchernia (590097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991780)

I think you'll be surprised and that it will.

I upgrated my old steel hardtail mountain bike into an ebike becuase I have a ~400 vertical foot climb from the train station to work.

I bought the Phoenix motor kit by Crystalyte (http://www.electricrider.com/crystalyte/phoenix.htm) and swapped out the acid batteries for a Lithium Ferrous Polymer at a very reasonable price (thank you Lau Chen of Hong Kong).

The result is a bike with almost 2000 watts max power (48V x 40A = 1920W) with 10Ahr of total juice. The practical range is about 10 miles at a speed of 30 MPH (I have a motor wound for slightly more torque).

My time up the hill basically beats driving (surface streets, not freeway). An interesting thing happens when you go as fast as cars - they see you better, you can get out of the way better and you take fewer stupid risks. For example, you are less likely to run a stop sign if you can re-accelerate easily. Also, if you're not pedaling hard you have more energy to focus on what's around you. It becomes more like riding a motorcycle.

I love my e-bike - once people see
1) How versatile they are (go anywhere a car can go and slightly more)
2) How cheap they are (fuel cost approaches zero even charging at home)
3) How normal you look on them (it's just a bike)
and most importantly
4) How lazy you can be on them (you don't sweat at all)

You will see much better adoption in the short range commute, even in the US.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (4, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991782)

You have bike lanes where you live? Lucky.

When I can, I ride a bicycle as a form of transportation. Even though it helps me stay healthy, saves gas, pollutes less, and takes less parking space, I don't expect a medal for it. But it would be nice if I didn't have to face the dangerous neglect and even outright hostility of American motorists for it.

I can see electric bicycles catching on in the US... for recreation. Instead of replacing automobiles with electric mopeds, we'll replace bicycles with electric mopeds, and take them on joy rides in the country on weekends (transporting them there in the SUV). We won't burn any less gas, but we'll use more electricity, and exercise less.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (2, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992000)

I can see electric bicycles catching on in the US... for recreation. Instead of replacing automobiles with electric mopeds, we'll replace bicycles with electric mopeds, and take them on joy rides in the country on weekends (transporting them there in the SUV). We won't burn any less gas, but we'll use more electricity, and exercise less.

I don't see that at all.

  • The recreational cycling community is well-established, and they clearly see e-bikes as "cheating"; that's not going to change. ("I'm not cheating, I'm commuting!" is the best on-the-road comeback I've found).
  • "Electric mopeds" is offensive to those of us who ride actual %@#^% bicycles with electric assist. There are "electric mopeds" with useless little pedals way out to the side sold as "electric bicycles" to get around licensing laws -- but while those are big in China, they haven't caught on in the US whatsoever.

I commute with a conventional bike and an e-bike. Regardless of which bike I'm riding, my heart rate is in the 170s and my average cadence right around 90. The difference is that when I'm on the e-bike, my commute is 45 minutes each way instead of 75. There's a big difference between 1h30m each day (equivalent to a commute by car followed by a workout in the gym) and 2h30m; the latter is simply more time commitment than I can afford to maintain year-round.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (4, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991880)

Those kinds of motorists are actually why you want e-bikes to catch on.

Statistics show a 30% increase in safety of each individual cyclist whenever the population of cyclists doubles; much of this is presumably related to folks in other vehicles learning to expect bikes on the road (though there certainly may be other factors -- such as cyclists being taken into account in roadway design -- involved as well). Something that gets more people off of four wheels and onto two is thus in all of our best interests. (For this reason also, mandatory helmet laws actually decrease cyclists' safety by discouraging cycling; while any individual cyclist is safer if they experience a head injury with a helmet than without, laws making helmets mandatory reduce the population of cyclists and thereby result in an increase in the number of head injuries suffered; even the practice of strongly encouraging helmet use may be counterproductive, as the perception that cycling is dangerous is also a deterrent to having more cyclists on the road. Nobody wears helmets cycling in downtown Copenhagen, and they seem to be doing just fine).

As for the weather argument, I don't buy it. First -- why would this apply only to electric bikes and not to conventional ones? Second -- I ride an electric bike, and live in Texas (which tends towards the high-temperature side of the extremes you speak of). The manufacturer, like many of their early customers, is in Colorado (which tends towards the cold side of things); lots of folks in California as well, and many customers overseas. The only fellow on the mailing list who's had problems with his bike linked to the weather? Northern England[1]. Yes, the Colorado folks have to put on spiked tires for navigating ice some of the time (and the company's marketing guy got himself a conversion with skis on the front and a tread on the back of his bike [ktrakcycle.com] for Christmas), but we have folks who commute in the snow [youtube.com] . Sure, that's a pretty extreme commute -- how would you rather start your day, with a drive or an adventure? :)

[1] - Apparently a small amount of water managed to get through multiple layers of seals and into the motor. We all ride in the rain, but he deals with some truly torrential downpours on an extremely regular basis. In any event, changes were made to address the issue, and no like problems have been reported since.

Cornball people like you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30992038)

Take your opinions back.

All a bicycle does is expose peopel to new dangers they were otherwise safe from when in a car. Bicyclists are just another form of pedestrian that doesn't belong anywhere on the same road as a car, and they are a hazard. Bicycling in rain and snow is just your wanting to be like some retards on the Discovery Channel. No doubt you also fly kites in a lightning storm, and consider your opinions more important than another's preferences. Friends of mine have died just from falling off their scooters and bicycles. There is no such thing as a "helmet law" because it fails except in generating revenue to punnish people that are careful or skilled to not need helmets obstructing their use.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (2, Interesting)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991962)

One is drivers. I ride a (nonmotorized) bike to work twice a week. It would sure be nice if drivers here in the US showed that they had some clue that cyclists exist, etc.

It would also be awesome if cyclists would show that they aren't oblivious to drivers. "Share The Road" goes both ways, bro.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992032)

It would also be awesome if cyclists would show that they aren't oblivious to drivers.

Along those lines, you might find the "vehicular cycling" school of technique worth promoting; it teaches consistency and communication in how one drives one's bicycle (not just through hand signals and the like, but also things like positioning within one's lane to indicate future intent); classes are offered throughout the US by the League of American Bicyclists.

It would also be awesome if people acknowledged that there's more than one subgroup of cyclists, and that some of them treat the roads differently than others.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991978)

As a cyclist (and a driver) I think there's one fine which should be handed out FAR FAR FAR more often.
It's called "failed to indicate" hooo boy is it a doozy.

Re:reasons this may not catch on in the US (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992146)

I guess most important reason is that bikes simply aren't perceived as a status symbol, which is a problem where such symbols have too much weight and/or people don't feel the need to be careful with their finances.

That also influences how motorists "treat" bike drivers on the road, I guess...

Nothing glamorous to see (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991642)

As someone who spends a week each year in Shanghai, this is nothing special. These bikes are nasty rusty things. Often found in shades of silver and brown with broken seats and bent baskets. The owners don't understand the concept of pride in their own possessions. I find this behavior quite foreign to me, but I suppose that's because I'm an American. In short, leave-it-out-to-rust is the Chinese motto.

Oh, and for all you living in Shanghai, could you PLEASE for the love of God, change your moped brake pads? That high pitched squealing makes my ears ring :-p.

Re:Nothing glamorous to see (5, Informative)

magarity (164372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991698)

The owners don't understand the concept of pride in their own possessions
 
I spent the past year in Beijing and can tell you it is not because of lack of pride in their possessions. It's a case of Chinese common sense: everyone knows the omnipresent theives want to steal shiny new ones, so the owner who wants to keep his has a ratty looking one.

Re:Nothing glamorous to see (2, Informative)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991922)

It's not just Chinese common sense. I used to work in Hollywood, which is actually kind of a dodgy place. I used to keep my truck unwashed and leave McDonalds bags all over to make it as unattractive as possible. In fact, I occasionally had to leave my pro camera in my car so I would stuff it inside a crumpled fast food bag and leave it lying on the floor.

In america, COPS force you to register your bike. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991938)

Where I'm at, COSP always force you to go to a Fire Department to register your bike. They said so, so it must be law right?

I sold my $600 mountain bike so they would leave me alone, and I bought an older steel-framed bike for US40 and painted it a mix of paints so it looks old and rusted to blend in with dirt and bushes. Haven't been harassed to register it yet, because I look like a hobo now. I swear America has 75% of it's citizens working surveilance in public service and government jobs that have nothing better to do but prey on another's productivity.

Re:Nothing glamorous to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991946)

No, they don't clean them because they are made of lead [wikipedia.org] , so they touch them as little as possible, they know lead is hazardous. Why are the bikes in China made of lead, you ask? Well, lead is their version of metal foam [slashdot.org] , it's soft enough to bend when you hit a pedestrian when cruising at 30 mph, so when the pedestrian (from a Western country) wants to sue you for damages you threaten to sue him for what he had done to your bike and he gives up on wanting to sue you AND buys you a new bike and a yearly supply of your favorite food and alcoholic beverage.

Re:Nothing glamorous to see (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991746)

I've seen that in other countries. Amsterdam has a lot of bicycles which look like they are about to disintegrate into component atoms due to the rust damage any minute.

The reason for this is that here in the US, bikes are somewhat a style thing. If you are doing road, you have to have the $7000 carbon fiber frame [1] with Dura-Ace or Super Record, or you will be viewed as an amateur. Similar with a mountain biker coming up to a Cat 1 with anything but XTR or X.0 will be viewed as a hack and told to replace their Huffy with something racable. If you are touring, you must have the latest custom made Vanilla bike, or you will be viewed as someone who got a DWI. Even the hipsters "require" a fairly high-zoot frame for their fixies. A lot of Americans view something like the stereotypical Flying Pigeon from China as a joke.

[1]: Of course, we all know how fragile CF is... if you don't have a torque wrench and crank a tad too much adjusting your seatpost, expect the thing to break and have a jagged spear pointed right at your bum. However, since CF is light and cool looking, it is the style now... even though a CF bike frame has to be thrown in the trash if it gets even the slightest gouge or crack.

Re:Nothing glamorous to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991794)

"but I suppose that's because I'm an American. In short, leave-it-out-to-rust is the Chinese motto."

My ... what an arrogant American you are,in fact, you qualify as an Ugly American at that.

Apparently you've never been far enough from your insulated cocoon to actually see that there are Plenty of Merkins who chant the same motto.

Re:Nothing glamorous to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991856)

Hey, this is my bridge. You didn't pay my toll you fucker. Pay up!

Re:Nothing glamorous to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30992052)

I see nothing wrong with their comment. What, is it racist or something? Why does it upset you so much? He (or she) could have just said 'I am not from China...', would that have upset you as much? Is your life reduced to reading comments, just waiting to be outraged about something/anything? Crap, I live in China and hear much more vicious things coming from the mouths of the locals, but never said 'ugly Chinese' (though other words have come to mind).

As for the electic bikes, SBD.

Re:Nothing glamorous to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991980)

I find this behavior quite foreign to me, but I suppose that's because I'm an American. In short, leave-it-out-to-rust is the Chinese motto.

a lot of people in china are still getting a 300USD monthly paycheck, they have to pay rent, they have to live lives, they have to support their families. they probably don't want to ride on these "nasty rusty things" if they could spare the cash to change brake pads. i don't see how "leave-it-out-to-rust" is a Chinese motto from your observation

u don't have to be ignorant and arrogant just because you're an American.

Unlike Toyotas (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991654)

Which are just surging in acceleration!

Halfway? (1, Insightful)

JakartaDean (834076) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991660)

Some cities are studying the halfway measure of banning them from bicycle lanes while permitting them on streets.

Considering them like a motor vehicle is halfway between what and what? It's like people try to copy the the most witless bit of prose from the entire article.

Re:Halfway? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991758)

halfway between completely allowing them and not at all

Americans Pay More (3, Interesting)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991680)

I know a guy who, after a trip to China a couple years ago, decided to start up an electric bike business in Portland, Oregon which is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the US. He originally wanted to import the bikes from China, but due to trade restrictions, he couldn't bring in bikes which he could sell here for $US400-600 and instead had to fill his new shop with US and European models that cost 3 to 5 times more.
He did his research, so it wasn't like the Chinese bikes were painted with lead and made by slave labor or anything. Anyone have any idea why electric bikes would be on the import no-no list?

Re:Americans Pay More (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991760)

Because bicycle is the harbinger of Communism?

Re:Americans Pay More (2, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991776)

Probably the lead batteries.

Re:Americans Pay More (2, Interesting)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991852)

I doubt that, as there's nothing like RoHS in North America, and every car has lead acid batteries, regardless.
There are plenty of sealed lead acid batteries around (old people scooters for example, a similar device...).

Why it cost more in Portland (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991832)

The Three R's of Portland
or
Why Portland Sucks

"Latte Town" was coined a few years back and is the most appropriate term for the City of Portland that I have ever heard. A Latte town consists of mostly white, educated baby boomers and young single people. The inhabitants of the town are usually newcomers who have priced out all the original inhabitants. These towns are usually expensive, pretentious, abound in natural fibers and are laid back on the surface. Latte towns like Portland pride themselves on their most cherished concepts of diversity and inclusiveness. Most Portlanders accept this myth as Gospel but upon close examination Portland's dirty little secret is revealed. Portland is an overwhelmingly white, non-ethnic city. It is as vanilla as it gets so it makes one wonder what all the celebrating of diversity is all about. Drive through any neighborhood surrounding the downtown area and the impression that you get is that Portland is nothing more than a series of elitist ghettos compromised of rich white homosexuals, rich white yuppies, rich white hippies, rich white trust funders, and rich white kids from the suburbs pretending to be street people. Where's the diversity? Well it doesn't exist but the average Portlander likes the concept and in their eyes the different shades of rich whites all constituent diversity. In a series of articles I will attempt to breakdown and explain these subtle distinctions between the various factions of lily white, latte people that make Portland what it is.

The Artist-Intellectual
The visitor or newcomer to Portland is bound to be struck by the sheer numbers that belong to this group. They seem to be everywhere and are in fact everywhere. They are the reason that all the coffee shops have tables and chairs. The artist-intellectual fancies himself as a poet, a writer, a musician, a filmmaker, etc. You get the drift. They spend most of their days idling around the coffee establishments that one finds every 10 feet. They are usually equipped with a notebook that they use for their poems, journals or their artwork. No one ever gets to see the contents of these notebooks. More often than not they have a beaten and weathered paper back copy of some book authored by Kafka or William S. Boroughs. They love to discuss their favorite subject, themselves. Given the opportunity they will prattle on for hours about their poems, art work or the film they are making. You never get to actually see any of their work but you do get to hear about it. Their lives are like one never ending semester in grad school. Initially I believed these losers but then got to thinking. What would an aspiring actor, artist, musician, filmmaker being doing in Portland Oregon, a latte town? Why wouldn't they be in NYC or LA? Because they're phonies, that's why. Here's how it works with these clowns. They flunk out of college in New Jersey so their parents send them to Reed College in Portland in hopes that they will get their act together. They drop out of Reed but stay in Portland while still on Daddy's tab or some trust find. One Saturday Josh or Seth drifts down to one of the hundreds of hippie craft markets downtown. Some hippie is selling didgeridoos that he made I between bong reps. Josh buy one and takes it home where he proceeds to get baked after which he blows a few sour notes into the didgeridoo. The next day he's a musician. Not really but that's what he's telling everyone at the coffee house and pretending is good enough for a Portland artist-intellectual, in fact it's everything. In three months he will switch his designation from musician to filmmaker and then onto to something else 3 months later. As long as it sounds cool he will keep this charade up and no one in his circles will call him on it because they are doing the same thing.

The Activist
This group is usually comprised of people that used to be part of the artist-intellectual group in Portland. They have gotten a little older and may have finally, after 12 years, obtained a liberal arts degree from Portland State or Reed College. They may still run in artist-intellectual circles but have latched onto some "cause" at this time of their life. An activist always lives off some sort of trust fund or inheritance. When you ask an activist what he does for a living he will actually say he is an "activist" with a straight face. I used to look in the want ads and at the state employment office but never once did I see an advertised job entitled "activist". The activist usually lives in some semi communal house with other activist and artist-intellectuals, the kind of place where people sleep on mattresses on the floor and where the walls are covered with hippie tapestries. Oh yeah there are always like 15 cats roaming around the house and it stinks of cat piss, body odor and patchouli. The activist is still a bum at heart but feels the need to pretend that he is productive and feels extremely self conscious about living off some one else's money but not enough to actually get a job. So the activist associates himself with the following types of groups: art councils, school-to-work collaboratives, environmental groups, preservation groups, community-supported agriculture, antidevelopment groups, and other ad hoc activist groups. Affiliation with these groups will change every 6 months or so. It all sounds cool and actually creates the impression that they work.

The Crone
The Crone is a middle-aged woman that lives alone with her two cats. She is extremely bitter and unpleasant to be around. Crones usually populate the SE and NW sides of Portland. Often you can see that the Crone was quite attractive in her day. You can easily envision her twirling around dressed like Stevie Nicks at some Grateful Dead show back in 1978 Nature and time have not been good to her. She's always had a bad attitude but at least in her younger days she had perky breast and booty to match. Nice T&A can go a long way for making up for a crappy attitude but now she's only left with the bad attitude and the Stevie Nicks get up. The Crone is usually involved in several crackpot wymn's organizations that promote some sort of radical and unrealistic form of feminism. They usually have names like the United Front of Sisterhood or Radical Wymin For The Extermination Of The Male Species. Crones usually have jobs in local government or at State Universities, places where their inability to get along with anyone has no bearing on keeping their jobs. I worked with a Crone at City Hall. She filed a sexual harassment charge against me because she was eavesdropping on a phone conversation I was having and I said the word "chick". She filed another sexual grievance against a guy because he displayed a family picture on his desk of his wife and four kids at the beach. His wife was wearing a bathing suit, one piece, and this sexually offended the Crone who viewed this as objectifying women. The Crone wishes she were a lesbian because she hates men so much. She's tried to convert but it never took. Now her only objective in life is to feed her cats, read Tarot cards and make every one else's life a living hell.

The New Age Spiritualist
This could very easily be the official religious doctrine of Portland. All Portlanders fall into one of two groups when it comes to God. They are either atheists or they are new age spiritualists. You can hear them espousing their creed everywhere, "I'm spiritual but not religious", as if this automatically put them on the moral high ground. This belief system can best be described as spirituality without obligation. The new age spiritualist lives in a moral temperate zone where he picks and chooses tenants from all faiths that suit his lifestyle of the moment. Anything self sacrificing or too stringent is discarded and deemed "dogmatic" or "too religious". This way he can have the best of both worlds. In reality he gets little more than a set of watered down moral concepts that do nothing more than validate the liberal sensibilities that may be in fashion at the moment. For example, the New Age Spiritualist eschews judgmetalism. Particularly judgementalism that conflicts with their desires but he will embrace judgementalism when it comes to condemning cigarette smoking or individuals that don't have the right perception on the three R's which are racial sensitivity, recycling and reproductive rights. The new age spiritualist's home will be adorned with religious objects of oppressed people. Amazonian figures, Native American totems, Egyptian deities, animistic shells, or Shinto statuettes abound. The rules is that it's OK to display religious articles as long as you have no real association or knowledge of the said religion. A Crucifix would be seen as something a little too extreme.

The Dude
This is without a doubt the most ubiquitous character roaming the streets of Portland or any other Latte town for that matter. The Dude is usually a young white male that has great enthusiasm for games that are usually associated with extreme sports and the X-Games. He is called a Dude because this is the most commonly used word in his vocabulary. You've heard them before. They are the kind of guys that refer to everyone as 'dude' and use 'dude' as a noun adjective and a verb. When they say 'dude' they put a lot of emphasis on the "u". They say 'duuude' instead of 'dude'. Their aspiration is for life to resemble an extended hobby. Work is playful and play is something they pursue with earnest. Most don't work but if they must you can find them working at places that sell skateboards, snowboards and other thing that are of supreme importance to the Dude. Dudes are usually extremely stupid and have flunked out of all the worst community colleges so they rarely associate with the activist or artist-intellectual unless of course there is some sort of sharing of drugs thing going on. The Dude is held in high esteem in Portland because he is seen as someone who is bucking the system. He will quit a job in a heartbeat if the swells on the Columbia are optimal for shredding. He lives for the moment, the perfect wave and the perfect buzz. Priorities and responsibilities are no more than an after thought for these Portland cowboys.

Hippies
These dirty repugnant characters are the status quo in Portland. They seem to run across three generations and are composed of people who came from privileged backgrounds because no one from the real world could possibly embrace the fairytale concepts that the hippies hold dear. The hippies day is a full day consisting of sleeping till noon, smoking pot, protesting progress and reason, playing hackey sack and seeing how long they can go without bathing before they become infested with ticks. The hippie's biggest fears are work and responsibility so they go to great lengths to paint the "system" as thoroughly corrupt in order to avoid growing up. In their eyes any participation in the "system" is "selling out". This allows the hippy to live a lay about life without any moral quandary. Hippies without trust funds and generous parents must do some sort of work in order to buy pot and overpriced organic hippy food. This is why Portland has so many "markets". These are closed markets in the classic Marxist tradition. The hippies sell their hippy crap to tourist and yuppies with more money than sense. Here you can buy beeswax candles, dream catchers, and soap dishes made out of bird feathers. Bring plenty of money cause this shit ain't cheap. All major credit cards accepted. Hippies are easy to spot in Portland. Just envision the crowd at the original Woodstock in 1969. That's exactly what you will see with the Portland hippy. They will usually go by names like Sunshine, Rain, Heather, Noah, Seth or Jeremiah although the varieties are endless. Some hippies are hard to spot. They are usually 40 and over and have compromised themselves with jobs. Make no mistake about it, they are still hippies and when 5:00 pm rolls around they ditch the suit in favor of Birkenstocks and hemp clothing. These are the ones that make sure that the hippy ethos is forcefully inserted in all spheres of Portland's civic, cultural and business affairs. They are the ones that ensure that Portland remains soft on crime and educational standards and hard on increased taxation, subsidies and cumbersome business regulations.

The Psycho-Feminist
This is usually a young woman in her 20's or 30's. She has attended college and has received some feminist indoctrination in how awful the male species is. The problem is that the Psycho-Feminist still prefers men sexually. Some how she must balance her desire for empowerment with her more natural desire to find a mate. The Psycho-Feminist is truly as confused individual. She really has no idea how to reconcile her place in the world. She cannot balance her professional aspirations with her private life and is in constant turmoil over making any sacrifice between marriage, family and career. If you have had the misfortune to have dated or married such a woman I feel for you. Once you get out of that relationship, and you must get out, you will need years of therapy before you are right again. The Psycho-Feminist will subject you to years of emotional abuse over her gender turmoil. She's not man but doesn't know what it means to be woman. One minute she will want flowers and doors held open for her the next minute she will be cursing you out like a drunken sailor for some perceived slight. This breed more often than not ends up joining the ranks of the Crones. You can usually find the Psycho-Feminist at Powell's Bookstore completely immersed in some feminist manifesto like "Our Bodies Ourselves". Guys do yourselves a favor and find a nice foreign-born girl.

The Sensitive Male
Nature abhors nothing more than the sensitive male yet he proliferates in Portland. You will often be out at the Saturday Market and say to yourself, "Another lesbian couple!?" Upon closer examination you noticed that the more feminine looking partner is not a lesbian but is fact a man, the sensitive male. This is a guy that is really in touch with his feelings and it is not below him to gently weep after reading a poem or a love story. He usually "is not really into sports". He prefers careers in the "healing fields" like massage therapy, teaching yoga or some sort of new age mumbo-jumbo therapy. He is devoid of any passion or a sense of humor. Regular guys horrify him. He is disdainful of them and feels that his sensitive approach to life is superior. A psycho-feminist usually scoops him up and she controls every aspect his life. Eventually he decides, after years of dream remission therapy, that he is a homosexual and he leaves her. The sensitive male likes to read Iron John Bly and participates in events allied with the Men's Movement. He can usually be found pounding on a drum in the woods with other sensitive males. He is best personified by the hippie school teacher Mr. Van Dreesen on the Beavis and Butthead cartoons. Wymn in Portland prefer that all men go down the road of sensitive male and throngs of counselors in the mental health and educational professions have made it their business to castrate young men by turning them into these cream puff, pussies knows as the sensitive male.

The proper way to handle a Marxist.Radical Marxists: No Life, No Critical Thinking Skills, No Class!!
A few years ago the country got to witness firsthand the #1 reason why Portland sucks - Radical Marxists! On simple Thursday, GWB (our duly elected president) came to town for a fundraiser (good heavens!). Predictably, there were be hordes of smelly, ranting, screaming protesters greeting him, reinforcing the well-earned stereotype that Portlanders are childish 60's throwbacks. First of all, let's get one thing clear - no left-wing protester or group is ever what they claim to be (despite the kid-gloves treatment they receive in the local media). Many of these groups are often Trojan Horses for more sinister, anti-American groups such as the World Workers Party (a Maoist Group that supports the likes of that shitstain-with-a-pompadour, Kim Jung Il). Calling your 'gang' an 'Organization for Peace and Justice' does not change what you really are (pro-Communist garbage). But don't expect the local new personalities to tell us this. It's not on their teleprompter. The most notable thing to look for will be the complete lack of critical thinking skills. Many of these dregs have announced that they will be working to 'educate' people about the president's policies before his visit ('educate,' of course, is a convenient euphemism for 'convincing the stupid.'). Anyone who isn't a mouth-breathing Mongoloid is already pretty aware of who George W. Bush is, and how he has responded admirably against the Islamos that want to kill all of us (liberal sympathizers included, by the way). Why would you admit on television that you are seeking out people who don't know what the fuck is going on in the world to help you with your cause? The activists hope (and are often correct) that they will find some unplugged, ignorant, urban-legend-believing street trash who will agree with them that Bush 1) "Stole the election" (despite the numerous Florida recounts after the election which proved conclusively that Bush would have won with or without the Supreme Court decision) 2) "Ruined the economy" (despite the fact that the bubble burst under Clinton in 1999) and 3) gives "Tax cuts to the rich" (despite the fact that everyone gets tax breaks - everyone that is who fucking pays taxes in the first place!). As a result, the professional protester does not respond well to having his or her 'logic' questioned. With no real facts or debating skills to back them up, they will ignore any challenge posed to them and immediately fall back on their "I have a right to dissent" shtick. In fact, in order to avoid being challenged at all, they will noisily chant, scream, block traffic, blow whistles and bang drums (there's even a 'No War Drum Corps' if you can believe it)! This ensures that all Bush supporters are drowned out, and none of the anti-Bush troglodytes will ever have to defend his or her uninformed positions. Their newest tactic will be to stage 'Die-ins' in which the protesters will pretend to actually care about dead U.S. soldiers. This is actually true - the protesters DO hope that our brave troops come back soon (so they can spit in their faces and call them 'baby killers'). Finally, the ignorance of these people will lead them to conclude that since Bush is so poorly received here (and the likes of Hillary can come and go in Portland with no security concerns) then people must actually LIKE Hillary more than Bush. This overlooks the obvious, inescapable truth that people on the Right are actually more tolerant, accepting, and civilized than leftists are. When a Republican president comes to town, he is greeted with violence, hatred, drums, whistles and shit flinging (literally). This has earned Portland the well-deserved moniker of 'Little Beirut.' On the other hand, when a prominent Democrat or Greenie comes to town, the worst they can expect to encounter a well dressed person holding a sign.

Re:Why it cost more in Portland (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992090)

....They drop out of Reed ...

and found Apple, now a $50Billion enterprise

Re:Americans Pay More (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992074)

I'm not 100% sure, but I'd bet this is retaliation for the Chinese Steel subsidies/trade practices. I believe American and European manufacturers are not allowed to buy steel in China or in Chinese-controlled markets. In other words, the price Chinese bicycle manufacturers are paying for steel is artificially low and could be considered by some as an unfair manufacturing advantage.

That being said, this is just speculation on my part. The Steel thing is real. Many industries that rely on steel in the US are certainly complaining about it. But I don't really know about the rest.

pollution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991714)

Green transportation?

I live in Shanghai. Yes, there are a lot of electric bikes here. Now guess what will happen to the toxic batteries here.

This is not a solution (yet?)

Re:pollution (2, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992050)

I live in Shanghai. Yes, there are a lot of electric bikes here. Now guess what will happen to the toxic batteries here.

That's a problem because toxic lead-acid batteries are popular in Shanghai. The US e-bike market is almost all NiMH and Lithium-based.

bicycle lanes are for BICYCLISTS (4, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991748)

Some cities are studying the halfway measure of banning them from bicycle lanes while permitting them on streets

It's simple, really. Bicycle lanes exist to protect bicycles which travel slower than the rest of traffic. If you're assisted by an electric motor, there is less of a speed differential with traffic, but now you'll be a hazard to all the bicyclists yourself, since you'll be traveling much faster than them.

I can't wait for the first dooring of a moped rider in a bike lane- maybe drivers will start to take "look in your mirror before you fling open your door" seriously because it'll be in their best interests, both in terms of personal safety and damage to their car; a couple hundred pounds of metal and rider will at the very least bend that door pretty far forward, I'm guessing.

As someone who has been doored, it REALLY sucks getting doored because some stupid asshole can't take 2 seconds to look in their mirror before they open their door. The worst part isn't flying over your handlebars, or getting your hand permanently fucked up from getting pinched between the handlebar and edge of the car door at +10MPH with 150lb of momentum. The worst part is hitting the door and having that throw you right into the traffic lane and get hit/run over by a car, truck, or bus. It's not the door itself that kills bicyclists- it's getting hit/run over by the traffic that was just behind them. Yet another reason why bicycle lanes in the US, which are sandwiched between parked cars and traffic, are almost worse than nothing at all. In Europe and elsewhere, bike lanes are completely separated and often run nowhere near the road- they're a separate network.

Also, there is a special place in hell for all the hipster retards riding their 70's-era mopeds (Puchs seem to be the most popular.) In our part of town, there's at least a couple of them zipping around in their tight black jeans and flannel shirts, leaving a contrail of blue smoke which is so bad to ride behind and breathe, one has to pull over and wait a minute or two for it to dissipate. They're putting out 50 times the pollution of the SUV next to them, just to save money on gas and look cool.

Re:bicycle lanes are for BICYCLISTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991854)

brotip: if you get doored, it may be your fault.

i've ridden for years in the city and look way far ahead anytime i'm on my bike. see a head in a driver's side seat ahead? get ready for a door prize or maybe be careful?

Re:bicycle lanes are for BICYCLISTS (2, Interesting)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992010)

There are many cyclists who are capable of traveling at or above the urban speed limits, and around here do.
Should they be banned from the bike lanes? what exactly is the bike lane speed limit?

I would love to see what would happen if someone did try and enforce a nice and slow and safe limit on them, i bet a rather vocal group of riders would go nuts.

Also, to address your other BS.

Have you looked in the rear vision mirror of a parked car when bikes are coming past? they are VERY hard to spot, especially when going fast (as they often are), that is why riders must take care - I ride motorcycles, and we get the same problem, except hitting something much faster, attached to something much heavier, kills us more often... you know what we do? take care!

And there is NO moped in the world that makes more pollution than an SUV, you are just showing everyone your own personal bias and one eyed view of transportation. Stop thinking you are so perfect and deal with the real world, as the rest of us do.

Re:bicycle lanes are for BICYCLISTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30992154)

It's simple, really. Bicycle lanes exist to protect bicycles which travel slower than the rest of traffic. If you're assisted by an electric motor, there is less of a speed differential with traffic, but now you'll be a hazard to all the bicyclists yourself, since you'll be traveling much faster than them.

At least in Europe, electric bicycles are regulated so that the assisting motor can only assist up to a certain speed, which is below the average speed of any fast cyclists. Otherwise they're considered electric mopeds instead. In the reviews of electric bicycles I've read, the usual conclusion is that the motor is a convenience when going uphill and also useful, if you have a lot of weight on your bike, like urban mailmen that use electric bicycles. One magazine actually asked the postal service for operating experience of bikes they were reviewing.

Re:bicycle lanes are for BICYCLISTS (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992166)

"Moped" driver? "Hundreds" of pounds?

Electric bicycles are not mopeds... at least not here in the US, where the silly useless-pedals-to-satisfy-legality designs are occasionally available for sale but have basically zero market traction. People who want a self-propelled vehicle that weighs hundreds of pounds can buy a motorcycle, even an electric one; the lightweight parts to make a good e-bike (as opposed to an electric moped, which isn't expected to be light enough to pedal and so can use lead-acid batteries, suspension components built for the motorcycle market, etc) are vastly more expensive. No sane person spends the extra money to get an e-bike when what they really want is a moped.

Moreover -- here in my state (Texas), anything over 100lb can't be legally considered an electric bicycle regardless.

moped owner here (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991762)

Hey, bicycle, electric bike, and moped owner here. And I don't mean scooters like your Honda Spree and Vespa PX. I mean moped. Your Puch Maxi, your Vespa Ciao, your Tomos LX. It's so interesting watching the moped revolution of the late 1970s in the US come alive again in even fuller force in China and other Asian countries today. We Americans could save a mighty lot of gas if a lot of us switched to two-wheeled transport; and I get the feeling that at some point it might have to happen yet again.

Re:moped owner here (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992080)

It would happen alot sooner if they weren't so damned expensive. For what they go for, you can buy a pretty decent used car.

fastest ebike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991802)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6o-g7YeC4Q - Something about 120km/hour (75mph) seems pretty cool to me. Imagine what you'd think if you were in a car on the interstate and you got passed by someone on a mountain bike. Even though I believe the US states have legal limits at 20mph most everywhere and 30mph in California.

Energy (3, Interesting)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991820)

In an age when most of us could do with more exercise, not less, and could reduce energy usage not increase it - these seem like a bad idea. It will be interesting to see if the percentage of people who are obese in either of these countries increase in parallel with the switch to electric bikes.

I've been to Amsterdam, spent a few weeks there, and you'd be amazed at how few people are fat in that city - a lot of which can be contributed to the fact the ride everywhere. Compare that to the US, Britain, and even Australia - and it's quite the difference. America of course wins the prize - so if anything you guys need more incentive to ride pushbikes, not less.

Re:Energy (4, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991860)

In an age when most of us could do with more exercise, not less, and could reduce energy usage not increase it - these seem like a bad idea.

If you had actually read the article, you'll notice that most of the "electric" bikes here in the US are actually pedal/motor hybrids, which turn off and on at will.

For my 5-mile commute into work, I'd love to ride every day, but I can't afford to be arrive sweaty and take a shower there daily (in warmer months I try to go 2-3x a week)... now, if I could use a hybrid and cut down the effort so I only got a light glaze of sweat, I'd try to bike much more often... if I don't bike, I pretty much have to drive as I live in suburbia.

Re:Energy (1)

trouser (149900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992094)

You can't afford to arrive sweaty and take a shower? It costs money to shower? Or perhaps time. You don't have the time to shower. And it would be impossible to leave 5 minutes earlier, arrive 5 minutes earlier and take a shower?

I ride 8 kms (approx 5 miles) each way 5 days a week, rain, hail or shine. There are no showers at the office so I just take it easy on the way to work to avoid getting sweaty. I carry panniers mounted on a rack on the back of the bike instead of a backpack to avoid getting a sweaty back. I ride a lot faster heading home. I have a shower and a change of clothes there.

Re:Energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991956)

Dude, the little I remember from Amsterdam is that I don't think most of their physical exercise comes from on a bike - more like between sheets

in japan... (3, Interesting)

biggknifeparty (618904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991824)

Almost every Japanese senior citizen rides one of these... surprisingly fast. They're expensive too there, like $700 dollars. Also, they don't lock them up because generally in Japan people don't steal things.

Whatever reduces our oil dependency! (3, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991830)

I like this news very much.

Although I'm not a huge fan of bicycle riding myself, it's good to see people able to find inexpensive and efficient transportation. It won't work where I live (not urbanized enough), but it's an excellent solution for big cities, which is where most of the fossil fuels get burned anyway.

Bucketload of idiots (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30991886)

Ah it visualizes itself - the whole stadium full of hyperventilating "green" idiots.

Struggling to classify low-speed vehicles. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30991942)

Trying to fit these things into traffic in a crowded area is tough. New York State classifies such vehicles as follows:

  • Motorized Scooters, Mini-Bikes, Dirt Bikes, Go-Karts, Motor Assisted Bicycles - not allowed on streets or highways.
  • Limited Use Motorcycle, class C (20 MPH or less) - allowed in right hand lane or shoulder only. Insurance not required, inspection not required, motorcycle driver license not required, helmet not required.
  • Limited Use Motorcycle, class B. (20MPH to 30 MPH) - allowed in right hand lane or shoulder only. Insurance required, inspection not required, motorcycle driver license not required. helmet required.
  • Limited Use Motorcycle, class A. (30MPH to 40 MPH) - allowed in any traffic lane. Insurance required, inspection required, motorcycle driver license required, helmet required.
  • Motorcycle. - allowed in any traffic lane and on freeways. Insurance required, inspection required, motorcycle driver license required, helmet required. Motorcycle Safety Foundation training recommended.

So New York State makes a clear distinction between a bicycle and anything with power. (Segways are handled somewhat differently, but are limited to 12.5 MPH. New York City prohibits them on sidewalks.)

Realistically, once you pass 20MPH, you have most of the risks of a motorcycle, and may as well get one.

What most of you have missed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30992004)

These things are a really really good idea.

1) Power to weight works in favour of an electric bike. 500W on a bike is a BIG gain, on a 4 Ton SUV it's noise.
2) The battery range V distance just works.
Electric cars/motorbikes won't work except as a second or third vehicle simply because most people do drive their car 300km or so now and then. For an electric car that's a beyond there "get me there and back range". For a bicycle 30km return is about all most people would do - beyond that it takes too much time out of a working day.
3) If you do get stuck (run out of charge) an electric bicycle is small enough to pick up later with a car. An electric car/motorcycle would require a recovery vehicle (big $$)
4) Cheap enough that most (western) people could afford one as a second or third vehicle. Massively more efficient than taking the car to work where it's a short commute (10-20km) and not a lot slower.

I'd have to say though - to make these work needs either dedicated bike lanes or banning cars from some of the main roads in commute time

I used to ride a bicycle to work - gave it up it was simply too dangerous. (I ride a motorcycle and it's FAR safer than a bicycle).

 

Maybe not in North America (4, Informative)

spooje (582773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992016)

I really don't see this catching on in the US.

Here in Beijing lots of people (me included) ride electric bikes because it's too expensive to have a car and traffic jams are so bad it takes me 15 minutes to ride to the bank whereas it would take me about 1 hour to get there by car during rush hour traffic. Motorcycles aren't allowed in the center of the city so an electric bike is really convenient for getting around.

Then there's the question of money. I bought my bike for 2,100RMB (about $300USD). This is a little under half a month's salary for the average Beijinger so these things are very affordable especially compared to cars and motorcycles. I supect this is one of the reasons electric bikes are getting popular in places with a lot of poverty like India.

Then there's lifestyle. Here there's no Costco so I'm not hauling bags and bags of groceries at one time. Also I live in the neighborhood where I work so my commute is only about 10 minutes. That's the perfect range for one of these bikes. If you had an hour commute like many people in the US, you'd never be able to take the bike since the average charge seems to get me through about 45ish minutes before I really need to recharge. That's with peddling to help out the battery.

Re:Maybe not in North America (4, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992078)

Then there's lifestyle. Here there's no Costco so I'm not hauling bags and bags of groceries at one time.

I'm here in the US, there is a Costco, and I have no problem at all getting groceries home in the cargo trailer attached to my bike [cycletote.com] ; a 100lb load is easy to tow in that trailer even on my unassisted bicycle.

If you had an hour commute like many people in the US, you'd never be able to take the bike since the average charge seems to get me through about 45ish minutes before I really need to recharge. That's with peddling to help out the battery.

Range is a matter of what kind of battery capacity (and motor efficiency) one is willing to pay for. My other (US-made electric) bike has a 2h30m runtime per battery (5 hours total if the external is attached) on economy (350W) mode, 50min per battery with no pedaling at full-power 850W. Yes, I paid the early-adopter tax -- but my legs run out of juice well before the bike does.

sustainability and other side effects (1)

Exter-C (310390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992148)

There are several known benefits to the electric bike which are pretty obvious. However there are some points which I find a little dangerous. The primary point being that you can often not actually hear these electrical bikes coming up behind you. Often its nothing but the risk of being hit is increased and it does happen. The second issue is where do we charge up these bikes? is there any environmental impact to charging the bikes or is it just going to be moving the carbon from cars in the city to coal fired plants in the rural areas?. I also wonder who is going to get heart disease and other health problems from no longer exercising on a daily basis by riding. Are we all going to have to buy gym memberships to keep fit rather than simple lifestyle changes like walking or cycling?

fule cost are why (2, Interesting)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#30992180)

lets face it fuel cost are a joke these days. i even have looked into a electric moped the model i am looking at goes 60 and has a 85 mile range all battery powered. a street legile model in other words. most of your driving is to work or around town and that little moped would fufill my needs for almost all my driving.and i live in a state that mostly warm year round. my fule burning car would only be driving on long trips or on the freeway being i woudlent dare take anything that small and noiseless on a freeway even thow its legile to do so. i also see alot more gas powerd ones running around hear more and more every year they get crazy mpg abought the same as the eltric model i am looking at but with fuel of course. why pay crazy fule price whatever amount they dedcide to gourge on this year when for a cuple grand you can get a small ultra efficient means to get around..fuled or otherwise. nut any kind of bike has its risk on the road drivers just dont respect bikes at all in the usa why thers so many accidents on them.. .
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