Alt-Wheels Notes #12

Three struck, two killed (so far) in less than 24 hours.

Breaking News Preface

Look at this damage:

Now imagine the damage done to the body of the dead cyclist!

Boy, 17, killed on bicycle, was ‘loving with everybody,’ shocked Fort Wadsworth family says

Bloody Tuesday: Second Cyclist of the Day — 17th This Year — is Killed

Seventeen cyclist deaths so far this year.

Now imagine you’ve been thinking of ditching your car or the rotten bus and subway service provided by the failing MTA and using a bike or other Alt-Wheels (say, an electric scooter) to get to your job. That idea was just crushed under the wheels of those news items. You would have to be beyond committed to ignore that news and still go ahead. That people still do is worthy of respect and admiration.

Also see: Why Am I Scared to Ride a Bike?

Actual Preface: What Are Alt-Wheels?

Alternative Wheels. I don’t like the term “micromobility.” In fact, I hate it. It sounds like tiny wheelchairs. The person who coined that marketing term apparently never saw TV ads in American for “mobility devices” — which are basically motorized wheelchairs. Alt-Wheels are these: pedal bikes, kick bikes, handbikes, recumbent bikes, pedal tricycles, electric tricycles, electric bikes, kick skateboards, electric skateboards, kick scooters, electric scooters, electric unicycles, and the Onewheel. In Singapore, anything small and electric is separated from that bunch and they’re called PEVs: Personal Electric Vehicles. (And, by the way, while cyclists look to Denmark, it’s Singapore that’s the world leader in electric Alt-Wheels.) I don’t like using the term “vehicle” because that’s a legal term. And if governments start considering Alt-Wheels as that, we’ll have “rider’s ed,” registration, licensing, and insurance requirements for all of them. And that damn well should not happen until Alt-Wheels have street parity with cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, and everything else of that ilk, gas or electric.

New York State/City

The Alt-Wheels bills are still in limbo:

See the Assembly and Senate websites for yourself: Assembly Bill A7431B, Senate Bill S5294A, and Senate Bill S6597.

This smells of corruption in the NYC Department of Transportation:

Dockless Bike-Share Grows in Staten Island, Brakes Elsewhere

Days after announcing a major, four-borough Citi Bike expansion, the Department of Transportation told THE CITY on Friday that test runs of dockless bike-sharing will cease at summer’s end — except in Staten Island.

Staten Island will continue to have dockless bikes because CitiBike (which is now owned by Lyft) is afraid to come here. Fine. But why should other areas lose dockless bikes because CitiBike is coming in? What happened to competition, free enterprise? Whose palms are being — or have already been — greased at the DOT? Rental bikes with docks are a pain. The docks aren’t ubiquitous and my destination isn’t a damn dock; it’s where I want to go, not where I have to put a rental bike. The dockless bikes in my area are just about everywhere. If CitiBike came here, I’d likely have to walk over a mile because they’d put the closest dock at the high-demand ferry terminal. Docked bikes are caged bikes. Dockless bikes are free-range bikes. Like with chicken, free-range is better.

And you’d have to be, as the TV ad says, “nose-blind” to not smell graft at NYC DOT when reading this: ‘How Does That Represent Chinatown?’: A Public Art Proposal Ignites Backlash And Controversy.

Get Ready For 7-Miles Off Car-Free ‘Summer Streets’ In August!

On the first three Saturdays in August, the city will close nearly seven miles of pavement, between East 51st street and Foley Square along Park Avenue, Lafayette Street, and Centre Street, and organize a spate of activities—for pedestrians, bicyclists, children, roller-bladers, puppers, and more.

I’ve avoided being in the city all of this month. I’ll have to go in one of those Saturdays to see it for myself.

Two recent examples of what cycling in NYC is like:

You are not stuck in traffic, you ARE traffic!

Distracted driver almost left hooked me

Electric Scooters

The Boosted Rev has started to ship. See buyer reactions in a Boosted promo video.

Scoot, now owned by Bird rental eScooters, is adopting the Bird One as its upgraded eScooter.

San Diego Impounds 2,500 Scooters Over Comic-Con Weekend

Screensnap from video at above link:

Imagine taking an eScooter to ComicCon and finding it — and all the other ones — gone when you leave that day. This is poor planning. There should have been space dedicated to parking them.

On May 6, 2019, I posted Bird Rental eScooters: Boom Or Bust? Now this video from a veteran rental eScooter recharger has instilled some doubt in me:

How long will scooter rental companies last?

Electric Skateboards

Meepo posted an information-free promo video for a new board:

Meepo Classic 2 – Most Stable and smooth ride

Electric Unicycles

The LA EUC Games: Saturday October 26th, 2019, Encino Velodrome, Los Angeles, California

Like E.P. Ingersoll of The Horseless Age, who eventually objected to motor vehicle competitions in the late 1890s, I’m not sure this will further electric unicycles (EUCs) in any way other than being seen as a thing for sports, like the competitions back then. However, it’s still early enough days that many people are unfamiliar with EUCs and might develop enough curiosity to explore further and use them as a car replacement for short trips.

Last Kick

The Dangers of Elite Projection

Elite projection is the belief, among relatively fortunate and influential people, that what those people find convenient or attractive is good for the society as a whole.

There are people who think the transportation solution to everything is a pedal bike. I think that’s Elite Projection. Nothing other than bikes exist to them. I repeat: Not everyone can pedal and not everyone wants to pedal. I hope not to fall into that trap of tunnelvision. Alt-Wheels are not the answer to everything. But they can be a solution for many things people aren’t thinking about, such as this statistic:



Additional news, elsewhere:

Posted once a day: Transportation Alternatives Daily Bike Forecast by Bike Snob NYC

Has a Morning Links compilation: Biking in LA

Updated many times a day: Streetsblog and Streetsblog NYC

Previously here:

Alt-Wheels Notes category

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