MBs on Bike Paths...

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by John-Forrest, May 15, 2009.

  1. John-Forrest

    John-Forrest Member

    This is a tricky issue I've been wondering about. Should Motorized Bikes be allowed on bike paths? It would certainly be convenient as more and more bike paths get built over old railtrails - and they are talking about interstate bike paths! It would be nice to get away from crazy highways and roads where you're risking your life wondering whether that big truck behind you sees you or not.

    On the other hand, I also ride a regular bicycle and love the peace and quiet of being on a bike path usually in scenic areas. It might get crazy with motorbikers, the noise, the smell of gas. So I can understand the point of view of a bicycler.

    I can easily picture electric bikes on the bike path; that seems to be ok. I have ridden my MB on bike paths without turning on motor - people look at me kind of funny, but seem to tolerate it. But on longer stretches on a day when there is little traffic, it would be nice to turn on motor, and keep it a steady 20 or so.

    As the energy crisis gets really bad and prices go up to $5 gallon (and, believe me, they will!), there may be a demand that mopeds and MBs could share bike path. But can the bikers accept us? Perhaps a wider path with lanes?

    What do you think?

  2. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    It's a no go. The law in my state, MA, states no motorized bikes on bike paths or parks.
    Besides that, there is no better way to shut down motorized bikes than get crossed up with cycling interest. Just my take, avoid them as much as possible particularly during busy periods when there is a lot of traffic.

    Now, I think it would be convenient as heck but ICEs just don't mix. I don't agree with that and think it's ironic that Ebikes get a better review by cyclists and much of the public in general as being greener. They make less noise generally but the power that charged the battery pack was generated miles away where no one sees it and I'd challenge anyone on the environmental impact of my 35cc 4 stoke vs an oil/coal fired plant or nuke.

    Nimby, not in my back yard but it makes people feel good though. Like rail trails. Sorry, bike trails are nice but every rail line shut down and made into a bike trail is one less light rail or train we should have operating for mass transit and freight and offering real solutions to an energy shortfall.
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  3. John-Forrest

    John-Forrest Member

    It's an intriguing question: Bikes or trains? Obviously human powered bicycles are the most energy efficient and least polluting method of transportation. Trains are somewhat cumbersome, heavy, and noisy. The irony is, now that energy is becoming a big issue, people have been thinking about bring back trains - and the quickest solution to that would be build rails where the bike paths are. A difficult choice!

    Maybe we should tear up the interstates and put trains there. (Joke)

    Meanwhile it's pretty scary for us on MBs, mopeds, electric bikes, and low cc motorscooters, competing with cars, SUVs, and trucks on the highways. Perhaps we should become vocal about accommodation for us!

    I personally cannot see a problem with 35cc MBs and electric bikes on bike paths. They are pretty quiet and low speed. When we see a lot of traffic, we can shut off our motors and pedal. I would not feel right about riding my 80cc MB on a bike path, but I cannot see the problem with pedalling on stretches of bike paths to avoid busy highways.

    Anyway, we should demand special lanes for ourselves! I picture a six foot wide lane on side of all major highways, even on interstates! (With a guard rail for protection.)
  4. stude13

    stude13 Active Member

    now you have done it. that takes tax money. expect to be skewered. i'll bet i can name the next four respondents who will include pages of quotes. ready set go.
  5. azbill

    azbill Active Member

    I pull my 2 grandkids all over in their trailer...
    my rule of thumb is :
    pedal on cement (sidewalk)
    motor on asphault (pavement)

    I have never had anyone complain while pedalling on sidewalk (usual coment is 'oh, how cute' !!!)
  6. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    One other problem with any bike on "bike" paths is the pedestrians. They put earphones on at the highest volume possible and then they wander all over the path like they're lost.

    They are downright dangerous and I avoid them.
  7. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Most likely they'll be a vectoring of these two factors, $5 gal gas and up and a huge decrease in miles driven by those SUVs, trucks and cars.
  8. John-Forrest

    John-Forrest Member

    The interesting thing about us is we can be a bicycle OR a motorized vehicle. Legally, if you have a motor on your bike, you're a moped, but that currently doesn't seem to be enforced. I figure if I shut off my engine, I'm a bicycle and see no problem with using surfaces that are for bikes only. There are people who don't even bother to register as moped, but seem to get away with it.

    Has anyone ever been pulled over by a cop?

    I suppose when there are hundreds of MBs everywhere, the lawmakers will be forced to figure out what to do with us. I'm sure they will want to make money off us. But if they do that, they better give us space to ride - not on trashy, potholed, glassy sideways! Ever notice how there is NO maintenance on right side of road?

    Maybe we should keep a low profile (joke).
  9. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    That's why I believe it's necessary for us to become proactive at least in the category of common sense. Shutting down your engine in pedestrian areas as you suggest is a good start, you're on just another bicycle.

    And along those lines is why I'm also a proponent of MBs looking like bicycles as the name suggests: motorized bicycles. As recently stated by another member here in the legal forum:

  10. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    if MBs were allowed on bike paths

    it will only be a matter of time before someone is seriously injured
    some MBs would travel speeds of 20 30 mph
    people would not like the noise going by them

    I think some home owners insurance policies ((may)) cover us on a bicycle
    but ((would not)) cover a motorized bicycle

    these THINGS will be settled before long -- test cases to come

    let's not rush it by using bike paths

    ride those things on the street
  11. lordoflightaz

    lordoflightaz Member

    I think riding on bike paths is ok. It is a bike first. Where I live the streets that should have bike lanes don't, (anyone that knows Phoenix, I am talking about Bell Rd as an example.) so I use the sidewalk so that I get to live. If I know that I can move over 1/2 a mile or use a bike path I will. What I consider when doing this is that I am now the one that has to take the MOST care since I do have the advantage of a motor assist and always yield to pedestrians.

    What I find rather funny is that as I go tearing down a sidewalk at a screaming 15 mph, pedestrians can't hear me coming up behind them. I think my bike is rather loud. I don't have a horn so I often have to slow to a dead stop and say"excuse me, can I get past?"

    FYI, Phoenix was originally designed by civil engineers the major roads are 1 mile apart going north/south and east/west. Almost in every case there is a secondary way that is 1/2 mile between these. I tend to travel those secondaries, but most don't go under the freeway. It is almost impossible to get lost if you know the names of the presidents (all the downtown streets were named after presidents up to Grant.). are and can count to 100. Avenues are west of Central Ave, Streets are east of Central. (There were rules for Lane, Drive as Ever wonder why there is a road called "Baseline"? That is what it is the "Base Line" for the grid.
  12. John-Forrest

    John-Forrest Member

    I can see it could get complicated with pedestrians. Where I live, the bike path near me is the Norwottuck Trail, built over an old railway, near Amherst, MA. There are quite a few pedestrians taking a walk, chatting, listening to their MP3 players, watching birds, with children, elderly people, dogs and baby carriages. It's tricky enough trying to manipulate a bicycle around those people, let alone a MB. I myself like to take those walks - and I'd hate to have some kid on an MB running up the throttle to 30 mph behind me!

    It's nice to have respite from motors in special places. I hate trailbikes and snowmobiles when I'm hiking, for example. That's one reason I like to shut my motor off downhill and on scenic level ground.

    I wouldn't want to ride on sidewalks on my MB at all, unless I shut it off to use a short cut. As a rule of thumb, I ride about a yard away from side of road so people can see me better and to avoid broken pavement and glass on extreme side. I keep looking at rear mirror and pull over if I see a big truck coming. Downtown, I ride right in middle with cars, I can keep up with the traffic there, and have to be there to make left turns.

    There's a lot of talk about Obama dollars going to re-build roads and highways - we should advocate for yard-wide sidelanes. Bicyclists AND MBs would unite for that!
  13. iRide Customs

    iRide Customs Member

    They should not be allowed. Most bike paths around here already have signs that say "No Motorized Vehicles". I think you'd just be asking for trouble as you come up on a jogger with a dog etc...
  14. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Yes, one of the troubles with bike paths is that nearly every single one of them is actually considered "multi-use paths" (MUBs) That brings in walkers and joggers and such. These folks do not consider themselves to be part of a traffic flow. And they shouldn't be expected to, for that matter. Leisure foot traffic should not be mixed with serious transportation.

    It would seem that a mandate for a yard wide shoulder on every road would help the alternative transport movement immensely. The cost of construction would not be huge in most places. In many rural places the road bed itself would have to be widened, I suppose. And when you add in the sheer miles involved, then maybe that would be too much. But perhaps exceptions could be made in remote places where there is little traffic of any sort.

    In some suburban spots the roadway might have to encroach currently private property through eminent domain. A touchy subject, but there's little hesitation to do it when it would convenience auto traffic. (Once the money has been appropriated, anyway.) And I know of many places where bicyclists ride on or near the white line while an unused sidewalk sits just a few feet to the right.

    It couldn't be done on most urban streets. But there the need is somewhat less. For a motored bike, anyway. We can pretty much keep up with that traffic.

    If this were done seriously the cost might not be insignificant. But I suspect that the payoff would be huge.
  15. John-Forrest

    John-Forrest Member

    One possibility would be to paint that white line a yard away from side or existing white line. In future years, car widths will decrease and SUVs will become unpopular. At the very least, demand better maintenance for roadsides, create smooth asphalt, sweep the glass, increase fines for throwing glass on roadsides.
  16. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    It's hard to avoid brushing pedestrians on a mult-use path on just a pedal powered bike.
    If you need to take a multi-use path for a short cut or to avoid a dangerous area, kill the motor and pedal.
  17. FightForTheCause

    FightForTheCause New Member

    You need to be able to use bike paths in some areas. Safer than the bike lane for sure. Just if you see people, either shut off or idle your motor as you pedal by them, to show them that you are aware and care of their presence.
  18. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Yup, good advice.
  19. lordoflightaz

    lordoflightaz Member

    Now this brushing of pedestrians sound like a sport. Do you get points for brushing? What about homeless under the bridges? If I hit a shopping cart do I have to take it back to Walmart?

    Most of the bike paths that I go on are in the flood canals. I want to find out how to get on the one that runs just south of the 101 up by Union Hills. I would love to find a back way up to Arrowhead Mall Probably need to do a little Google Mapping, even if the pictures are a couple of years out of date.
  20. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Another weakness of MUPs; there are so few of them that you can't count on them to get you to your particular destination.

    This is so obvious that it shouldn't need to be said. But there is an auto lobby out there that wants bikes off the road. One of their arguments is that we shouldn't be on "their" roads because we have alternatives. Useless, even illusory, alternatives. But they don't care about that. We must care, though.

    Until there are enough paths to transport us properly (if that's even possible) we should avoid them. The roads are our only real paths and we need to keep a presence on them.