Monday, January 22, 2018

Put On Your Coats, It's Time To Go Outside!

Good morning!  Isn't it great to be alive?  Here's my latest Outside column, which is about how our mayor is waging a misguided war on ebikes:



There are many reasons I continue to make this town my home, but certainly one of the main ones is the astounding level of governmental graft and hypocrisy.

Anyway, go ahead and chew on that, and I'll be back tomorrow with an update on the Loophole Bike:


Note that my finger managed to encroach on the shot, and it's just this level of professionalism on my part that compels people to send me expensive bicycles to review.  

Until then,

I remain,

You'rs Truely,


--Wildcat Rock Machine



39 comments:

Fergie said...

Gotta hassle the poor people somehow. Everyone knows the biggest threat to NYC, nay, Amerika itself is food delivery people getting the slightest break.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...WRM, you are fighting the good fight, brother. I hope you keep it up.

minim said...

Pode

Grant Wiersum said...

podio?

Work Life Balance said...

Just thought I'd round out the podium.

Dooth said...

No crackdown on the ebike food deliveries in the Bronx, though...because no investment bankers or Park Avenue matrons. And the cops have bigger fish to fry.

streepo said...

scranus

HDEB said...

Government prefers to pick on those who can not afford quality attorneys -- C.R.E.A.M.

HDEB said...

It is far easier to pick on those who can not afford quality legal representation -- C.R.E.A.M.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Last podium spot?

theEel said...

weed.

McFly said...

Termites love salt.

Anonymous said...

It's worth noting that NONE of the e-bikes being targeted by DeBlasio are legal in forward-looking places like Paris or the Netherlands. Meanwhile, ALL the e-bikes being promoted in those places are legal TODAY on the streets of NYC. Time to quite complaining and start working within the law.

Hee Haw the barista said...

Isn't your country on a general strike or something?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I still remember 1980, when ol' Ronny Reagan told Amerika that the reason the federal budget wasn't balanced was because of all the waiters and waitresses not paying taxes on their tips!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I still remember 1980, when ol' Ronny Reagan told Amerika that the reason the federal budget wasn't balanced was because of all the waiters and waitresses not paying taxes on their tips!

Anonymous said...

Keeping up with the today's transalt piece, the Outside piece and the many comments by the tireless Elizabeth F, I'm actually getting sort of angry at e-bikes. I'll always take an e-bike over a car and certainly recognize their great potential in many cases: octogenarians and package delivery for instance. But their most grating point for me has always been their co-opting of an infrastructure that was built on the philosophy of human propelled locomotion, whether that's a pedestrian or a triathlete, a kid with wheels in their sneakers or a tall bike, people who moved themselves. And for almost half a century now, I know I've sent my money, written my letters and attended meetings to help add a little weight to getting better infrastructure that was **motor free**. So it's hard at times not to feel, "here comes these Johnny-come-lately eBikes with a big 'Thanks for the great infrastructure suckers!' We've got a loophole and we're pedal-assisting our lazy American asses through it."

Now I've gotten over that thinking. I think of "multi-use" paths and "bike lanes" more like light weight vehicle lanes. And that's a good change I suppose. Hey, I know I live in the US and it's going to take an electric gadget to motivate people. And afterall there's plenty of room for eBikes on the streets once cars are cleared out.

But now there is this schilling for eBikes on behalf of food delivery people... yeah, it's a fun avenue to take a nice shot at hypocritical "Vision Zero" policies. But the eBike advocates not only want to co-opt the bike paths, they want to co-opt the grassroots infrastructure, tap into decades old energy in order to sell more of their product. Truthfully, in many cases this product just isn't warranted and it undercuts one of the most powerful arguments for self-propelling, ie. it's significantly healthier for the population which means lower healthcare costs.

I certainly have sympathy for the plight of food delivery workers' work status and don't agree with the crackdown. But, come on, go get your own damn food, by bike or foot. The eBike advocates are only useful to me in reducing cars. Otherwise, I see them mostly as a predatory commercial movement for lazy America. I don't have a lot of breath left for championing their cause and don't entirely see them aligned with my own.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12:53pm,

If you have a source for that I'd love to see it. I thought electric scooters under 45km/hr can be registered in France. The point I make in the Outside column is that instead of cracking down on the sorts of ebikes that are illegal in NYC we should be working towards updating the legislation. (As it is there is no way to register a throttle-assist ebike or electric scooter in NYS.)

While you're educating me, show me how Paris is cracking down on food delivery people. Seems to me when it comes to fighting climate change Hidalgo's putting her argent where her bouche is.

--Wildcat Etc.

janinedm said...

Work within the law? The law in New York State and City on e-bikes is a patchwork full of conflicting dead ends. I assume you're under the impression that pedal assist bikes are legal and throttle bikes are illegal. I don't think that's the case under state law, as it doesn't specify. Moreover the word "assist" may specifically be interpreted to include pedal assist bikes. What is for sure is that throttle bikes are prohibited in NYC. But the reason delivery guys ride them and will continue riding them is wage theft and lack of protection for our city's deliverymen. They are not paid enough to survive and have to maximize tips.

I also have a bit of a personal thing, because I ride an Omafiets most days and have gotten my conditioning up to "not slow." Fast would be an exaggeration, but there's no way I'm slow among Cat 6s. Anyway, most people see my thick tubed upright bike and my ability to ride it uphill and assume it's motorized and are complete dicks about it. So, I see what these "real cyclists" are like on a frequent basis.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:18pm,

Legitimizing ebikes doesn't preclude keeping bike infrastructure for human-powered bikes. However it's silly to act like they're something that can be stomped out. Legislation and infrastructure should accommodate them. For example, why not require throttle-assist ebikes capable of a certain speed be registered and ban them from certain bike lanes? Seems to me the most dense parts of the city should be less accommodating to private cars and more accommodating to smaller, more efficient vehicles.

--Wildcat Etc.

Grump said...

Different countries have different rules on the max speed of E-bikes, before the motor stops propelling the bike. In the U.S., I believe that it's 30kph. In The U.K. it's around 20-25kph. Most European countries have a limit like ours, and one or two Scandinavian countries gave a limit of 40kph.....NY State law requires a helmet on any E-bike that can exceed 20mph.(and insurance)


janinedm said...

I guess it depends on your point of view. Perhaps because I came to cycling for commuting and then got into more recreational rides later rather than vice versa, I've always seen myself as more aligned with all of the utility cyclists (i.e. people riding bikes as part of their work or as transportation) than with dentists who solely like to ride in circles and and up and down the same hills.

Knüt Fredriksson said...

I spotted Amy Alkon's bike in the wild:
https://imgur.com/a/FUvrP

JLRB said...

One time I saw a guy on an e-bike do such and such so they are all bad actors.

LOCK THEM UP

dnk said...

Snob, right on, right down to the snowstorm detail. First vehicle I saw moving down my street after the "bomb cyclone" affair of a couple weeks ago was a food delivery guy on an ebike. Before the first plow came through.

All anyone gives a fuck about after ordering food is "where's my food." Late dinner = lousy tip.

Delivery make little money, work in all weather in dangerous conditions, have no health coverage, and are reliant upon New Yorkers who have little qualm about handing out a 5% tip or none at all.

See this NYT article from 2012 on all of the above.

Unfortch, little has changed since then --- six years ago it was a different administration targeting delivery workers --- but de Blasio sure does take the prize for rank hypocrisy with all of his progressive-speak chest thumping, while at the same time targeting immigrants and encouraging more car traffic.

dnk said...

My link above didn't work, but this will do the trick:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/nyregion/for-food-delivery-workers-speed-tips-and-fear-on-wheels.html

Fausto Coppi said...

Nice work on the excellent column, Snob. Yes, this is delivered with irony or snark.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Guerilla time!

Some super smart very industrious Far East Company should find the mechanics for certain top tier bike racers and "copy" their hidden doping motors. I can't get umlauts.
Put them in like Canondale-sized tubes and no one will know diddly. Put Fat Bike tyres on them and away they go. Could even be waterproof.

Motor? What motor?

AND JanineDM for Mayor!


vsk

Jeffrey Abelson said...

Before ebikers were zooming up and down Washington hts sidewalks we still got delivery...

leroy said...

Dear Anon 12:53 pm -

Work within the law?

You mean the law that in its majestic equality prohibits both the wealthy and the poor from delivering food via e-bike?

When you mention Paris, the France that comes to mind is Anatole France.

Mr. France observed that "the majestic quality of the law ... prohibits the wealthy as well as the poor from sleeping under the bridges, from begging in the streets, and from stealing bread."

So I'm not sure that working within the law here works.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Jeffrey Abelson,

Before computers we still banked, communicated, created...should we go back on that too?

--Wildcat Etc.

Die free said...

Keep it up snobby!

Also, nice bike rack...

N/A said...

Before wheels, we still walked. Try that, Fuck-O!

E-bike Zen Master said...

> Work within the law? The law in New York State and City on e-bikes is a patchwork full of conflicting dead ends.

I agree it's confusing. But out of that confusion and morass of laws comes the realization that pedal-assist bikes ARE legal in NYC. The DeBlasio and Trottenberg have also (grudgingly) admitted so as well, and suggested they will direct NYPD to not ticket them. And e-bike shops selling pedal-assist e-bikes don't get fined either (or successfully fight the fines). This is by far the best write-up I've seen on the issue, by a lawyer:

http://www.citylandnyc.org/scooters-hoverboards-bicycles-whats-legal/

The basic point is: for much of the Vehicle & Traffic Code, NYC makes its own laws. For example, turn on red is allowed in NYS but not in NYC. And NYC has outlawed "motorized scooters" --- a category that covers e-bikes with throttles but not pedal-assist bicycles, since they require SOME human power to move. There is work to improve and standardize e-bike laws in New York. If this work succeeds, pedal-assist e-bikes will also become legal in the rest of NY State. However, no current proposed legislation is likely to have a material effect on NYC law, since pedal assist e-bikes are already defacto legal.

E-bike Zen Master said...

> Anonymous 12:53pm, If you have a source for that I'd love to see it.

OK, here's the basic summary for e-bikes, which require no licensing or registration:

* NYC: Pedal-assist up to 750W and 20mph (34 km/h) allowed. Throttles not allowed.
* EU (France): Pedal assist up to 250W and 25 km/h allowed. Throttles not allowed.

As you can see, pedal-assist e-bikes that are perfectly legal in NYC would be illegal in Europe. Our laws are MORE lenient, not less.

https://www.juicybike.co.uk/uk-europe-ebike-law

> I thought electric scooters under 45km/hr can be registered in France

Yes they can.

* Europe: Mopeds up to 45 km/h require registration and insurance (cheap), but not drivers license.
* New York State and City: class B (30mph) and C (20mph) scooters require registration, insurance and drivers license.

So in NY, you need a license for essential the same vehicle you don't need a licence for in Europe. But either way, you still need registration and insurance.

> (As it is there is no way to register a... electric scooter in NYS.)

See the GenZe 2.0 electric scooter. It has received "type approval" in NYS as a Class B moped (30mph) (meaning, this particular model has been certified by the State), comes with a VIN, and can be registered. I went over this with a sales rep, and have also seen one on the streets of NYC, with a license plate. Vespa is also working on an electric model. The GenZe 2.0 cannot be ridden in a bike lane or path, which is appropriate. (30mph is a LOT faster than 20mph).

So far, laws in NYC and EU are quite similar. Where things divege is the treatment of "speed pedelecs" a.k.a. "class 3 e-bikes", which go up to 45km/h (or 28mph in the USA). NYS and City simply ban speed pedelecs, whereas the EU is trying to change regulations to accomodate them. Beyond that I'm confused; but my research indicates that they will require some combination of type approval, registration and insurance. I.e. they are more like mopeds than bicycles.

In any case, I don't think NYC needs speed pedelecs. They aren't appropriate on bicycle infrastructure (due to their speed), and New Yorkers who want one can already purchase an electric Class B moped for use in the streets.


> The point I make in the Outside column is that instead of cracking
> down on the sorts of ebikes that are illegal in NYC we should be
> working towards updating the legislation. (As it is there is no way to
> register a throttle-assist ebike... in NYS.)

The e-bike industry funded unsuccessful efforts to legalize throttle-assist e-bikes ("class 2 e-bikes") for three years in a row. Every time they got something moving in Albany, it was killed by downstate concerns --- basicaly, NYC-based e-bike hate, NYPD concerns, centered around consternation over delivery workers. Legalization of throttles is simply not politically possible at this time. Full statewide legalization of class 1 e-bikes IS politically possible. Have you tried e-bikes? There's not much practical difference between one with or without a throttle, throttles aren't worth fighting for.

Also look at Europe vs. China. Europe is full of pedelecs that are popular, integrating well into existing bicycle infrastructure, and creating few problems. China has a poorly regulate market full of throttles, and cities are banning e-bikes right and left --- even though there are 200 million of them in the country.

If manufacturers REALLY want to sell throttle e-bikes in NYS, they can always go through the effort of type approval and sell them as class C mopeds (up to 20mph).

E-bike Zen Master said...

> While you're educating me, show me how Paris is cracking down on food delivery people. Seems to me when it comes to fighting climate change Hidalgo's putting her argent where her bouche is.

I agree with you 100%.

Taking the bait... I don't know much about restaurant delivery in Paris. I do know that the industry has been growing in China, with complaints similar to those in NYC. In Paris, there seem to be separate delivery companies. A quick Google of them does not turn up any e-bikes; I see manual bikes, Smart Cars and gasoline scooters. But if e-bikes are used, I'm sure they are the pedal-assist 25 km/h type that are legal in Europe. The situation in NYC, where e-bikes are legal but the stores mostly sell illegal e-bikes, is simply dumb.

http://inspirelle.com/9-tried-and-true-paris-food-delivery-services/

dnk said...

Jeffrey Abelson,

According to US Census Bureau the population of NYC has grown by 500,000 in the past two decades (roughly the time frame of ebike proliferation). A lot more people calling for takeout food.

Bryan Bracy said...

For the love of all things cringe-worthy, get some vegan range free wood fenders for that bike, Snob!

Fausto Coppi said...

Crap! Was supposed to say "Nice work on the excellent column, Snob. Yes, this is NOT delivered with irony or snark."

Sorry about that. Need to lay off the PEDs...