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 Legislation
The Alt-Wheels bills are still in limbo:
Here is my (now ongoing) proposed solution to move things along:
In every locality that an eScooter rental company enters, they must hold thirty days of free lessons to people in a variety of locations. A full damn month of teaching people how to ride and the local laws about riding (because each municipality can set their own conditions) should increase the safety factor. These 30 days of free lessons should be held before any rental eScooter company is allowed to deploy their fleet to the public at large.
Now add that, get the Assembly and Senate to agree, and sign the damn bills!
New York City & Cycling
The bright, red bikes that have blanketed the borough’s North Shore for over a year will soon be gone.
After failing to reach a contract agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT), JUMP bikes will be removed from Staten Island streets as of Sept. 4.
“We wanted to work with the DOT to expand, but unfortunately they offered a take it or leave it contract and refused to negotiate,” said Harry Hartfield, spokesman for Uber, JUMP’s parent company.
According to Uber, the company clearly emphasized its willingness and desire to put bikes in all five boroughs, but DOT did not want the company to interfere with existing Citi Bike service.
“Despite the fact that JUMP offers dependable electric bikes, and is ready to serve New Yorkers in all five boroughs, the DOT decided to protect a monopoly for a bike program that continues to have serious issues and had to remove its e-bikes from the street,” Hartfield continued.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
The NYC Department of Transportation is a corrupt agency. There is no reason to protect the CitiBike monopoly just as there was no justification to evict the Oonee pod from its Whitehall ferry terminal location. The next Mayor of this city needs to sic investigators on that agency or just summarily fire everyone in the executive level. What will the DOT do when the Governor signs the Alt-Wheels legislation and then NYC finally allows rental eScooters to enter? How many cheating hands will this agency be allowed to play?
A homeless man who flew off his e-bike when he crashed into a pedestrian in Central Park has died, police said Thursday.
Charles Cheeseboro, Jr., 43, was riding his battery-powered two-wheeler near Terrace Drive at around 3:20 p.m. Monday when he struck Pinchas Berger, 77, who was in a crosswalk.
The crash left Cheeseboro with a serious head injury — he was taken to Weill Cornell Medical Center where he died two days later.
The number of deaths caused by drivers blowing through red lights has reached a 10-year high, with more than two people being killed every day, according to a AAA analysis of government data.
The study shows that 939 people — including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists — were killed in red light crashes in 2017, the most recent year with available data.
The number is a 28% increase since 2012 and the highest death toll since 2008.
It’s not our imagination that things are getting worse.
When I complain about cars, it is as much about their other effects than it is about their fuel supply. On MNN recently I described how senior citizens are being killed in huge numbers by cars, in cities designed for the benefit of moving cars, not people. I want to live in a city where people can switch from cars to bikes without worrying about getting killed. That has nothing to do with whether the cars are electric.
Will electric cars make evacuations even worse? Has anyone else even thought of this?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines mobility as “the ability to move or be moved freely and easily.” Is that ability valuable to us in its own right? Generally no. What we value is the stuff that mobility helps us access. Your job. Your kids’ school. Your church. Your doctor. The grocery store. Friends’ houses.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
I would also add: The freedom to discover new places while riding an electric skateboard, electric scooter, electric unicycle, or Onewheel at ground level without being encased in a big box on four wheels that has to keep moving because there are other big boxes on four wheels that want to keep moving.
After all of those depressing entries, here’s something absolutely delightful. A report by Melodie Bryant of her experience and observations while visiting Amsterdam: HOW THEY DO IT: Just the facts
Upon arriving in Amsterdam, it is easy to overlook how many ways the city serves its residents. For the newcomer, the number of bikes (and the outrageous parking for them) is the most obvious difference. But underlying that, is a multi-faceted infrastructure – from street design, to vehicles and parking, to taxing and regulations – where every piece works together. These observations are strictly my own, that of my camera, and a few natives I got to know along the way and to whom I made myself a complete pest. And while many of you may have long known a lot of this, here is what I saw:
There are photos, videos, statistics, and more.
Do you see what happens? I don’t promote this much:
So other other people wind up asking for even more!
A 40-year-old man on Tuesday (16 July) became the first person in Singapore to be convicted in court over the use of a non-compliant personal mobility device (PMD).
According to The Straits Times, Loh Izel Feizal was fined $600 for riding an e-scooter that was 6 centimetres wider than the 70cm limit on the public path.
Loh, who is currently behind bars for drug-related offences, rode the e-scooter along Mountbatten Road at around 7pm on 15 May 2018.
His conviction comes after 48-year-old Aidel Ja’apar was fined $700 on Monday for riding a non-complaint power-assisted bicycle, also the first person in Singapore to be convicted of such an offence.
The LTA is serious about their specs for legal Alt-Wheels. Everyone riding muscular Dualtron eScooters in Singapore is at similar risk.
“I have asked myself whether we would be better off banning PMDs whenever I read of accidents involving PMDs,” Lam [Lam Pin Min, Singapore’s senior minister of state for transport] said when asked if the government would consider prohibiting them, according to The Straits Times.
“However, I remember the call to ban bicycles from footpaths a few years ago. After intensive public education efforts and infrastructural improvements, there is now greater acceptance of bicycles in Singapore. I am convinced that Singaporeans can be taught to use PMDs responsibly, as they have with bicycles.”
And this is why Singapore is moving up the deadline for UL 2272 compliance:
The number of PMD fires has been on the rise, and there have already been 49 such fires in the first six months of this year.
This could soon overtake the 52 such fires that occurred in the whole of last year.
Of the 90,000 eScooters registered in Singapore, nearly 90 percent don’t comply with the UL 2272 standard. Cheap generic Chinese batteries and cheap and dangerous Chinese BMSes (Battery Management Systems), and even cheaper and even more dangerous Chinese charging bricks turn those non-compliant personal transporters into bombs that will inevitably explode.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S.: Study: How San Francisco Skips Traffic
TL;DR: For more than 70% of trips examined, Skip is far faster than a car!
At 55 pounds with a max speed of 15mph, it’s neither the lightest nor fastest eScooter. But note that the max speed is set for Singapore’s laws and could probably be set higher for buyers outside of Singapore. That has usually been the case.
Jay’s experience is very interesting. It seems that of all the large-wheel muscular electric skateboards, the Lacroix might be the one best suited for commuting in dense metro areas.
Twitter (video at tweet):
According to Google, Brighton is 54 miles due south of London (depending on route). It takes about 1-1/2 hours to drive (again depending on route). Afeez was using a Gotway MSuper X (MSX) EUC. It has a range of 62 miles (100km).
It may become illegal to use Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) at Housing Board void decks and common corridors in 15 PAP town councils from 1 September, but residents and shopkeepers say they are still looking both ways before stepping out of elevators, homes, and stores.
For everyone who thinks electric unicycles are a snobbish First World Toy, I give you Brazil:
She testifies about traveling free at ground level:
And he testifies that once you use a rental eScooter, you start to think about owning Alt-Wheels:
One Wheel Appeal, whose EUC accident and aftermath were covered in past editions of Notes, has since had his malfunctioning wheel replaced and, in this video, provides a clever tip for some surface protection:
Jimmy Chang’s video is further evidence that the sales of Alt-Wheels will be artificially depressed due to the lack of pervasive secure storage.
And we get a second Jimmy Chang video in this edition:
I’m not going to spoil it. It would ruin the very real suspense of the video!
I believe the time has come for Amazon to go nuclear on Walmart and every other retailer in the U.S. How? By acquiring the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
This is a very bad idea and a very conventional one. I don’t see why Bezos would ever conclude this himself. Would a company interested in using drones to deliver packages — unconventional thinking at the time it was unveiled on 60 Minutes (less so now) — surrender to a method already in use? Bezos isn’t an idiot. He has to see that the transportation landscape is changing and forces are at work to de-emphasize the use of motor vehicles in major metro areas. In Europe, cargo bikes are used to deliver goods. Even UPS uses them. That seems like a better method to adopt than taking on the burden of a vast legacy infrastructure that is always on its last breath. Bezos would also be a pioneer, something he likes to be.
And, as it turns out, Amazon has already recreated the USPS in its own image: Amazon’s Next-Day Delivery System Has Brought Chaos And Carnage To America’s Streets — But The World’s Biggest Retailer Has A System To Escape The Blame
Amazon is the biggest retailer on the planet — with customers in 180 countries — and in its relentless bid to offer ever-faster delivery at ever-lower costs, it has built a national delivery system from the ground up. In under six years, Amazon has created a sprawling, decentralized network of thousands of vans operating in and around nearly every major metropolitan area in the country, dropping nearly 5 million packages on America’s doorsteps seven days a week.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
Apple will be announcing new things on September 10. According to rumors, one of them will a competitor to Tile. This could have a very significant impact on Alt-Wheels, allowing all of them to be tracked and found when stolen without needing to implant them with GPS and a 4G data SIM (the current method). Here are some preliminary details of how it will work:
Full details after the unveiling.
Additional news, elsewhere:
Posted once a day: Transportation Alternatives Daily Bike Forecast by Bike Snob NYC
Has a Morning Links compilation: Biking in LA