I know what it’s like to have “trouble” getting around. I grew up in a household where it was bike, bus, hitch a ride or two feet and a heartbeat to get where you needed to go. So I understand that people which choose whatever convenient way they can get from A to B safely and quickly. But a growing trend in transportation is ditching the safely idea. So much so, that what I saw today shocked me.
I’m talking about our good friend the E-Bike. Over the past few years they’ve multiplied on the city streets of Niagara Falls, a cost-effective and quick way to get wherever you need to go. Of course, they’re allowed to drive on the roads, up to a speed of 32km/hr. And since they’re not considered an actual motor vehicle, you don’t need a license to drive them. And as anyone can tell you, that becomes painfully obvious within three sightings.
Blowing through stop signs. Weaving slowly between the side and the middle of the lane. Turning through intersections with no hesitation or awareness of anyone around them. Riding on the sidewalk to get around stopped traffic, just to cut in ahead. I would usually say that like bicycles, it’s a small group of mouth breathers that tarnishes the image of the majority. Unfortunately around here, the maniac E-Bike driver is the majority.
I am honestly amazed that I haven’t seen a serious accident yet, and on one of those things you know the car is going to win. I’ve seen numerous close calls, most of them avoided due to the quick thinking of the people controlling the cars. And again, I’m not saying everyone on an E-Bike is propelling a rolling death trap, it’s just time and time again watching them in action reinforces my thought you should have to pass a drivers/riders test like everyone else on the road. Don’t even get me started on insurance.
I’m worried that this is one of those problems that will go unchecked or cared about until we have a serious accident, or a rash of collisions and insurance issues. For now, if this is the way for you to get around and it’s all you can afford or use, I understand, just try to show the world some courtesy and use the rules of the road. It keeps you safe, it keeps the rest of us safe, and again, even if I was driving a Smart Car, vs an E-Bike? No contest.
Oh, right, the shocking thing I saw today. Driving home, I witnessed someone riding their E-Bike use a hand signal to indicate an upcoming turn. Hand went up, next to their head, elbow at 90 degrees, oh my god, they’re turning RIGHT! Look at that, someone who cares about their safety and the safety of those around them. Nicely done random E-Bike rider! If only could teach the drivers who can’t find their signals in their cars.
UPDATE: I noticed I got a “shout out” from a member of the Toronto Electric Riders Association on their message board. Just wanted to say thanks for reading, and that this doesn’t go for all E-Bike riders, more specifically it’s about the ones here in Niagara Falls. I’ve got nothing but love for those that ride responsibly and share the road, just like us drivers are supposed to do with them! As a fun bonus, I’ve included a video of me trying out
an E-Bike a bike that had a motor a year ago, with, well, let’s just say I haven’t bothered to get back on it lately.