Alt-Wheels Notes #4

“We make things with wheels. Yeah, they’re big things, but still — wheels! We can make small things with wheels too!”

The above abomination is what happens when a car maker “goes micro.” Volkswagen.

Those Who Think They’re “in Charge”

Popping his dim head out of his egocentric Presidential-aspirational bubble, the Mayor did this:

Which is a whole big three weeks of theater. Why do I say that?

See: LAUGHABLE: The NYPD is the Front Line of Mayor de Blasio’s ‘Crackdown’ on Bike Lane Parkers?

Even so, the NYPD’s 19th Precinct tweeted this:

And this:

“How does this even seem ok?” We might have to clone that Commanding Officer. Maybe the entire Precinct. If even one Precinct can make drivers fear obstructing a bike lane, word of mouth might do the rest. We can hope!


I want to concentrate on that red light fine. It can never be clear that ignoring red isn’t endangering someone. A car can be far away but that driver will notice the violation. It puts Alt-Wheels in a bad light — making their riders seem worse than drivers or making it seem as if Alt-Wheels have special traffic privileges. Traffic rules should apply to Alt-Wheels too and should be obeyed. It enhances the predictability of the traffic flow for everyone.

Now as to the consequences of mowing down a cyclist — there seem to be none unless the driver has an outstanding warrant, no registration, a suspended or non-existent license, or is obviously impaired by a substance. I don’t know what should be done. If we throw someone in jail, then we’ll hear sob stories about how it’s so unfair to their children, how they need to work, etc. There are times to be completely deaf to such appeals. Especially when someone else’s life has been ended. I’m unqualified to say more than that.

DOT’s Forthcoming ‘Cycling Safety Plan’ Won’t Likely Break the Car Culture

“Car culture” is subsumed by the culture. When we have reports of subway cars being turned into shelters by the homeless, fare-evasion no longer being enforced as it was under “broken windows,” and obviously crazy people intimidating mass transit riders, who can blame people for wanting to get to and from some place as safely as they can manage? “Car culture” is just a single domino in a line of dominoes that begins with the culture itself.

All that being said, an additional problem is that we still don’t have rental eScooters due to hand-wringing and a seeming inability to get the bills in front of the Governor to sign. Their (one, two, three) status remains this:

CitiBike isn’t enough. I’ll repeat it: Not everyone can pedal.

And not everyone wants to pedal.

There is no real ready alternative to “car culture” aside from dysfunctional mass-transit and sweat-inducing CitiBike for people not involved in “bike (Alt-Wheels) culture.” People are fond of saying that building more highways induces more traffic. I think that goes two ways. If we had rental eScooters it would induce the government to create more lanes and paths. Every rental eScooter ride shows people they can do without their car for short trips. Isn’t that one of the goals of changing “car culture”?

Assorted News

An Electric Scooter Company Makes The Case For Ownership In A Ride-Share Economy

. . . availability anxiety is real for commuters. When expensive app rides keep you waiting, your personal electric vehicle is as easy as drop and go. Plus, while the average spend on scooter share is nearly $4 per ride, you can own a Boosted vehicle for as little as $2 per day. For daily use, it simply makes more sense to own the vehicle.



Meanwhile, San Diego deals with “eScooter clutter” differently and directly:

eBikes get some charging station attention too: ParkENT Cycles: Secure Charging Stations for Electric Bicycles

While the NYC DOT still says Oonee must vacate its downtown location near the ferry terminal, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey understands the future: PORT AUTHORITY LAUNCHES PILOT PROGRAM WITH NEW BIKE PARKING FACILITY FOR PATH JOURNAL SQUARE CUSTOMERS, PATRONS AND EMPLOYEES



Alt-Wheels User/Owner Reports

What Happened When I Rented an E-Scooter for (Almost) a Month

From a cost perspective, my rental was an unqualified success: Over the course of 19 days, I took 41 rides, averaging almost exactly a mile per ride. On a per-trip basis, 41 rides for $25 is a lot cheaper than the by-the minute rentals, which usually end up somewhere in the $3 to $4 range. (Of course, in Bird-free San Francisco, none of those trips would have otherwise been taken on one of their vehicles.)

Alexander De Croo is the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium. Here he is riding a Boosted electric skateboard (click link for video at Twitter):

Until we get a cohort of politicians who can do that, we’ll always have “leadership” that doesn’t grok Alt-Wheels at all. We’ll wind up with Alt-Wheels streets of the kind I’ve seen in videos of too many European cities: Tiles or cobble, which are horrible for the small wheels of electric skateboards.

Amsterdam: I Tried Commuting on an Electric Skateboard for 7 Days

You might want to watch that video twice. Once for the riding, then a second time to notice the streets and their surfaces.

Last Kick

Lee Iacocca Was an Early Pioneer of Electric Mobility

A full decade before Zero launched its first electric motorcycle in 2008, essentially a 140-pound mountain bike, Lee Iacocca was already selling an electric-assisted bicycle. They’re everywhere today, but in 1998 the Ex-Ford and Chrysler automotive genius was at the bleeding edge of two-wheeled EV tech. He was so early to the e-mobility game that he may have actually been way too early. Here’s how it shook out.

Waaaaay ahead of time.

Previously here:

Alt-Wheels Notes #3
Alt-Wheels Notes #2
Alt-Wheels Notes #1
Alt-Wheels Notes category

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