Public perception?

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by Happy Valley, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Are or could MBs be seen as a viable means of transportation?
    What would be the obstacles to the public perceiving MBs as a 'green' alternative?

  2. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    That's it exactly. I think they could. Bicycles already are in China and when I was in Europe, I was surprised at the amount of bicycles on the roads.

    The obstacles to me are weather, distance, and probably laziness or habit bred by knowing there is another way.

    Riding a bike loses some of its fun in the rain or snow, especially for longer distances. Also, some areas of the US are sparsely populated, and the distances to be travelled limit the day to day usefulness. They still are practical in the more urban areas. Do you really need a two ton car to travel a couple miles to pick up a gallon of milk?

    A couple ideas to promote MBs would be fun and cost. Riding a bike can be more fun than driving a car, very much like riding a motorcycle. As fuel costs continue to rise, a bike becomes more attractive. The cost to drive a mile would also include insurance, licensing, and associated fees.

    Then there is the actual *green* aspect ie. actually wanting to reduce pollution and congestion, and the various problems caused by the fact that the automobile exists.

    Congestion, both traffic and parking are a positive reinforcement for bikes. From personal experience, if I have to go to the city offices for business, it is more attractive to take a bike. I have spent nearly an hour trying to find a place to park, and still have to walk 10 blocks. With a bike, it is a matter of the nearest bike rack.

    I don't see the MB as the primary transportation for the masses, but it is practical to replace the 2nd or 3rd car. This is for the average person of course. Some of us just like to ride our bikes.
  3. Mike Hunt

    Mike Hunt Member

    i rode my bicycle year round for the past five years and i plan to continue doing so on my motorized bike. if i have to go far i take transit. the biggest obstacles truly are laziness and habit, i have several friends that i work with that live closer to our workplace yet they still drive while i ride my bike.
  4. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Excellent post above denny and numerous important points well made. Your reply is very much in keeping with the spirit with which I ask the question.

    Certainly and nothing wrong with that fun some of us have riding our bikes but in my mind if MBs are reduced to just a toy for joy riding they can fall into the ranks with ATVs and snowmobiles. I'm trying to look and see if there can be something beyond that as serious Alt. Trans.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  5. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Good for you Mike! My wife and I live choice. I now work from home but she commutes to work year-round, missed only a couple of days last winter in minus-O temps.

    Laziness and habit can change but probably will require the incentive of $4-5 gal. gas, then it'll be easier to ride a bike than the extra work needed to pay for it.
  6. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    yep, money, or lack of it always makes a great incentive. next might be the inconvenience of trying to find a space to park the Hummer, not to mention cost. Economics is always a great motivator.

    The minus I see to that kind of motivation is that people tend to resist or resent doing something that has become a *duty* rather than a want. Maybe that is the biggest roadblock to acceptance......human nature. :ack2:
  7. AussieJester

    AussieJester Member

    Ironically the latest HT Engines can't pass the U.S EPA emissions test so the 'green argument' isn't the best one to be using ATM me thinks LoL...

    To the O/P China has banned all ICE motored Bikes from capital cities to help cut down pollution. Yes they are still riding bikes but not ICE powered...electric...22million of them apparently.

  8. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    Good Point there Kim. I run mostly 4 strokes and a couple tecumseh two strokes. They all have something that indicates they meet all applicable standards yada yada yada. I understand that this is for utility engines. A question for anyone who has the info.......what does all this mean? What is the difference between vehicle engine, and utility engine etc etc. Would be nice to actually visualize what all this means in the real world.

    22 million of them......wish I had the battery concessions on that market. :jester:
  9. Mike Hunt

    Mike Hunt Member

    i don't understand how my 50cc happy time that burns a liter of gas for every 50km pullutes more than a 2.5liter (50x the displacement) car that probably burns the same amount while parallel parking, can someone explain?

    also 22million people riding ebikes means about the same number of batteries (realistically 3 or 4 batteries per person, maybe more), because they wear out every couple years and you gotta have the spares for a long trip, etc), consider how much pollution is created when making these batteries, creating the electricity to charge them, and then disposing of them when they wear out...
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  10. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Yep, I know KiM. I think you'll see your referencing my mentioning that in the other 'HT engine going extinct' thread.

    For that reason I skipped the HT phase of MB building and for time time being anyway, currently run the R/S EPA/CARBII compliant 4 strokes.
  11. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    No but your post raises a question that's been kicking around in my head for some time and now I'll ask it.....but I'll start a another thread.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  12. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    I think the biggest obstacle to motor bikes being viewed as viable transportation is mechanical reliability. My motorbike always gets me to my destination, but it usually requires a little enroute tinkering.
    I enjoy the tinkering, but your average commuter doesn't.
    While my motorbike may not have a "green" engine, it consumes a 1/4 of the fuel that my car does per mile. It consumes half as much fuel as a Smart Car for 1/20th of the purchase cost. I don't see a down side to this.
  13. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    Eactly. Some people buy a spots car and some buy a Cadillac. And some ride motored bikes. :grin5: What ever trips your trigger. Some of the kits and even some of the *redneck engineered* bikes are more reliable. Beachcruiser and I were comparing notes on our bikes. He has 14,000 miles on his. Mine is over 8,000. If you enjoy tinkering, why not?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2009
  14. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    There are many problems that motorized bikes can address successfully, but as has been pointed out, the key is mechanical reliability. Many of us enjoy tinkering, but the vast majority do not.

    Rising fuel prices will inprove the viability of this option, but there is another factor that has only been touched on - congestion/parking. Some few cities in the US have embraced the "transit mall" approach to core downtown traffic management pioneered by Portland, Oregon. Basically, the core downtown area is controlled access and essentially no on street parking, while the city busses in that area are VERY frequent and are free in the zone. As a consequence, Portland is probably the most pedestrian and bike friendly city in the nation, despite the west side being as hilly as San Francisco. Add in aggressive light rail expansion from the suburbs, a very aggressive bike lane promoting transit plan, and the fact that motorized bikes are classed as bicycles (35 cc and under, or 1 HP if electric) and you begin to see the possibilities that can be realized. For most journeys of 20 miles or less a motorized bike can be as fast, or faster (no hunting a parking space) than a car.

    Add in a change in how road taxes are assessed, and a fairly rapid and large scale switch to bicycles and motorized bikes becomes viable - assess road tax not based on fuel consumption, but on miles driven and vehicle weight category, with bicycles and motorized bicycles being exempt. That approach is viable, as a phased in change over, but there are, of course, issues with it. The most glaring being invasion of the users privacy in tracking the vehicles highway miles.

    Mind you, every new vekicle sold in the US has an RFID system built in, and the government is rapidly emplacing the transponders to query them nationwide. Of course, every cell phone that is turned on to receive calls can be similarly used to track its whereabouts passively, with you never being aware that it is squealing on you.

    For myself, I live in the LEAST bicycle friendly town I've ever seen. There are zero bike lanes, and very few bike paths in the parks. Riding on the sidewalk is illegal, not too mention dangerous, as the sidewalks mostly don't exist or haven't been maintained in 75 years. They crowd 4 traffic lanes into a street originally designed for two lanes with parking permitted on one side only, and on most of the streets traffic moves routinely at 45 - 50 mph, regardless of the speed limit.

    I don't expect to see motorized bicycles becoming a common sight in my lifetime, which is (IMO) a pity.
  15. AussieSteve

    AussieSteve Active Member

    I'm with you guys. My bikes are my only means of transport. (1 x HT, 1 x electric)
    Traffic congestion doesn't exist for me. And running cost.....
    As ibdennyak mentioned, bikes are everywhere in China, due to very low cost and high congestion. I wonder how many motor kits are sold there?
    And SimpleSimon, I reckon you live in the second least bicycle friendly town. I'm in the gravel at the side of the road most of the time, with 100kph, 60mph, semi-trailers flying by 3 feet away. No footpaths / sidewalks.
    ... Steve
  16. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    How true - I have found that it is cheaper to ride my bicycle into downtown Tulsa than to pay for a postage stamp to send in the city utility bill. And parking? Downtown Tulsa has horrible parking issues, the few lots charge literally $6 for 60 minutes of parking! With my MB, I just ride up, lock the bike to a parking meter - without putting money in it.
  17. Motor Bicycle "Respect"

    Hi guys, my first day on this topic. There are many reasons that Motor bicycles get no respect. We have no "Legislative" power, we have no "Big Money" behind us, as of this writing I know of no PAC's nor successful Advocacy groups.

    Sadly, this country operates on Money, and Influence, and we have neither. One reason we have nothing is that we have no "Real" companies involved in Motor Bicycle.

    When I say this, I am not picking on any Vendors that sell, it is that we have nothing that has any real impact nationwide. As in Harley, GM, Ford, Triumph, or any other therefore we have no political power, and sadly the "New" American way is Power! It is not as often what is right and just, but how much justice can YOU afford?

    BUT this lack of power is completely due to the "wagon seller" mentality of the Motorized Bicycle in America!

    Freedom? Yes we are free, but the "Mom and Pop" nature of this business can, and probably be its demise ultimately. As "mom and Pop" in this country we no longer have the respect that we deserve, and can easily be steam-rollered over by either Big Money, or by Legislation.

    This is because we have no clout, and currently there is little to no action being taken in this direction.

    Another thing that is detrimental in the MB world is OVER-SIZED engines, OVERPOWERED engines, SHIFT kits, EXPANSION chambers, and other non-compliant devices. Everything listed above is not legal on most states streets, and likely to get noticed, raise suspicions, and ultimately "clip our wings", yes cause our products to be deemed completely illegal for street use.

    So what shall we do to improve our public image, and become a group that will be respected? I will not say, I would love to hear it from you. I will interject here, that a trail of smoke, no matter how small and seemingly inconspicuous, will NOT be an asset when you are dealing with the modern "Go Green" public.

    BTW there have been no complete 2-stroke kits sold to the Chinese public for at least 5 years that I know of, and there are no plans to make these available as full kits ever. The Chinese Government recognized, as much as 10 years ago, that the smoky, poorly designed "Chinese Volkswagen" had too many downsides and not enough upsides! They continue to sell parts, even engines, but you must show that you have a bike you are supporting, not that you are intending to build a new bike.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programs,

  18. AussieJester

    AussieJester Member

    While i agree with what you have said Mark the above also can be extended to pretty much anyone that has a 49cc bike as they are all capable of going OVER the 20mph limit set for motoredbikes in most states, whether they have an expansion chamber (not sure why that alone makes any difference legally wise) or the illegal shift kits the stock bike still are capable of breaking 20mph.

  19. A few details

    Hi AussieJester, a couple of lil things for you, as being out of country, it is unlikely that you'd know.

    The Moped, or MB speed limit in most of the US is 30 mph. In addition it has been illegal since about 1974 to "modify any exhaust system, or part therein to change sound or performance", and it has been entirely illegal to modify any vehicle in any way to divert from it's potential smog output.

    Now do we modify cars? YES! are they going to take away all cars? NO! same statement is true if you substitute the word Motorcycle.

    Can or will they stop Motor Bicycles, yeah! carp, do you think they want us creating vehicles that they cannot heavily tax?

    Currently California Harley's (this I state because I know) have Catalytic converters which are illegal to remove or modify! Other state Harley's do NOT have Cats, but must have 7,000 plus miles on it to be "Imported" as used and are not welcome here new!

    Recently they got a law passed, and not only are we stuck with Cats, (have been since 1974) but when checked at Smog Checks, they had better have OEM numbers on them!

    Shifting has always been Illegal in CA. and the rest of the country on Mopeds, and Motor bicycles as far as I know, and for as long as we have had restrictive motor vehicle laws and if you want to shift, buy a Motorcycle, or make an attempt to license your home-built as a Motorcycle (good luck here).

    I have been riding 2-wheels here in CA. since 1965 myself, and am no stranger to our restrictive laws here. One interesting difference here in CA. is we have no displacement limit, but that we have a HP limit of under 2HP therefore no Morinis.

    I'm interested in where this goes,

  20. AussieJester

    AussieJester Member

    While Motored Bicycles fall under the moped laws in SOME states, some also have a 30mph limit some lower ...Others require registration and more than not require a FULL DRIVERS LICENSE.. if your younger than driving age your required to pocess a moped license. So anyone riding a powered bicycle claiming its a 'moped' best have it registered and a full drivers license if they are in one of these stricter states or they will be breaking some serious laws, riding without a license and riding an unregistered vehicle.


    Either way can't a 49cc HT push a bike past 30mph in stock trim?

    As i said previously i agree with you, you guyz will have a **** of a time convincing the 'ever greener' public a two stroke spewing visible smoke is good for the environment....Havent been allowed to ride them in major Cities in China for few years now they are banned entirely e-bikes rule the roads in China now not HTs...

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009