Alt-Wheels Notes #1

From time to time, I will do a compilation post under the title “Alt-Wheels Notes.” I’m also creating a new Category just for these: Alt-Wheels Notes. There’s no particular order to what’s posted below.

Why Electric Scooters and Bikes Are Finally Coming to New York

Have you ever ordered food to be delivered to your office or apartment?

If you said yes, you helped change how every person will experience New York City streets and sidewalks.

Aside from cyclists who agitated for bike lanes, we owe a debt of gratitude to all of the delivery workers who have been persecuted by The Mayor Who Wants To Be President. They have been the true bellwether for Alt-Wheels in NYC.

Unlike New York State, the State of California knows that electric skateboards exist: AB-1112 Shared mobility devices: local regulation.(2019-2020)

This bill would define a “shared mobility device” as a bicycle, electric bicycle, motorized scooter, electrically motorized board, or other similar personal transportation device, that is made available to the public for shared use and transportation, as provided.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

What term will they use when they finally discover electric unicycles?

Lime has published: 3 Important Stats That Will Help Keep You Safe On An E-Scooter This Summer

48% of injured scooter riders sustained an injury to the head.

According to a meta-analysis of studies performed between 1989-2017, bicycle helmets have been shown to:

Reduce head injury by 48%
Reduce serious head injury by 60%
Reduce traumatic brain injury by 53%

As noted in our spring safe riding article, helmet design has come a long way in the past decade. Companies like Closca and Park and Diamond now (or will very soon) offer stylish, collapsible head protection that’s easy to carry and store when you’re not riding.

Be smart. Wear a helmet.

Skip rental eScooters revealed a bin of LiOn batteries caught fire:

People forget that even well-maintained batteries are potential fire hazards. Lime also experienced fickle batteries.

Skip also has a Pinned Tweet that shows a new eScooter:

With its swappable battery, it could be a customized Inboard Gilder eScooter. Inboard decided they would concentrate on fleet sales instead of selling to individual customers.

Alt-Wheels takes another step towards being legal in NY State:

The Governor still has to sign. And then the battle will begin in New York City. We’ll have to fight The Mayor Who Wants To Be President and a City Council with its Speaker who face-planted on a rental eScooter. In addition, we’ll have to battle some dinosaurs who never realized “their greenway” (known in this blog as the west side bike path) was already being used by eBikes and other Alt-Wheels. Here, let me trigger them by showing a rider I photographed:

When Alt-Wheels is finally legal in NYC — and the west side bike path — can we celebrate by building a bonfire to get rid of this sign:

New York City’s War On Personal Electric Vehicles: Breeding eRats

I love this headline: Electric scooter sales strong despite being illegal in Toronto

Serena Tunge just bought one two weeks ago.

It’s better than hopping on the bus or streetcar and I don’t have to pay for parking,” said Tunge. “They’re easy to use too. You just pedal, push the throttle and you’re off.”

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Exactly. Although that city probably has better mass transit than NYC, our own failing MTA is the best argument for Alt-Wheels.

Corporations have to deal with a new reality. Their employees are using rental eScooters on business trips and want reimbursement as a business expense: Louise Miller On Innovation In Ground Transportation

In a report on first-quarter activity, expense management firm Certify revealed that scooter startups were “starting to appear” in expense reports. Providers, some of which also rent bicycles, include Bird, Lime, Razor and Scoot. It won’t be long before those items are commonplace.

A follow-up article – which is paywalled — brings up a related issue: Business Travelers Using E-Scooters Raise Risk Management Questions

Corporations will allow the expense. They’ll all cave once their most important employees report that the only way they could get to an important meeting or site was using some form of Alt-Wheels.

The “woke” New York Daily News finally woke up to Alt-Wheels: Reinventing the wheels: The right way to legalize scooters and e-bikes

The state legislation sets a top scooter speed of 20 mph. That’s faster than the 15 or 18 mph that scooter-share networks let their gizmos go. Why? A Rutgers study shows that facial and head injuries on the devices have shot up from 2,325 in 2008 to 6,957 in 2018 nationwide. Two-thirds of those injured had no helmets.

The word “helmet” appears nowhere in the bill. New York should require them.

The speed limit is a joke. First, I’ve seen performance cyclists moving faster than that on the west side bike path — by pedaling! Second, until there are protected Alt-Wheels lanes everywhere, riders must compete with motor vehicles and often it’s a burst of speed that can save their lives. Third, eUnicycles consider 20mph “walking speed.” As for helmets, I’m for them but not in the bill. If you’re going to require them for eScooters, then you should damn well require them for CitiBike rentals. The News is bringing up helmets to sabotage rental eScooters. Fine, let me sabotage CitiBike rentals with the same argument!

Are we letting our sidewalks be turned into giant scooter rental lots?

What’s new about these free-range rental scooters, as well as the free-range bikes showing up in some communities in Eastern Massachusetts, is that we’re essentially turning our sidewalks, parks, and other public spaces into giant outdoor rental shops.

And yet all of the public parking for private motor vehicles is taken as a given!

Future Motion announced the smallest Onewheel yet.

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