"This new age we are entering could almost be called the age of the battery. Just about every household will have some kind of transportation dependent upon batteries. And the new batteries will just keep getting better and more stout all the time."
You knew this was coming. This is the new toy, available to the well healed Yuppies who work and live in a metro location. Especially those who have worried about their carbon footprint. Now they can take that nice bike ride to work, and put some "umph" behind it. How do you do that? Strap an electric motor on the bike. One that can be recharged about 500 times before the battery needs to be replaced.
Sounds good! Maybe I should sign up! Not so fast buck-o. Seems there are some minor details to work out first. Like where to ride this thing in downtown rush hour. Well, that is an easy question. The City of Minneapolis (for example) has recently spend scads of money getting the streets all hosed up by putting in confusing bike lanes. These new bikes can ride in the bike lanes.
Really? Along with the electric scooters we have been hearing about? So, in these very narrow bike lanes, you will have regular bikes, recumbent bikes, electric bikes, and electric scooters. Sounds like a traffic jam within a traffic jam to me. Besides all of which, who gets the right of way? Anyone? Everyone? No one?
A little bit more about these electric bikes. They can be pricey. Up to a few thousand dollars. They can travel up to 28 miles per hour. However, if you are peddling, the sky is the limit on how fast you can do. They can travel up to 70 miles on a single charge. And once the charge is totally depleted, the recharge takes about 6 hours.
Starting to get the picture how a typical downtown is going to look in five to ten years? Driver-less people movers, streetcars, LRTs, driver-less cars, e-bikes, and e-scooters. Sound like progress? Or does it sound like mayhem. I know what my vote would be.
A couple more questions. Does a pedestrian have any rights anymore crossing one of these very busy streets? Also, if you should go to the pub and have a few too many, can you legally still ride your e-bike home? How about if you only pedal and do not use the electric motor?
Also, once you arrive at a place on your e-bike, where do you put it? Will there be enough secure bike racks? With the price of some of these e-bikes going into the thousands, it seems to me they would be a tempting target for a thief.
This new age we are entering could almost be called the age of the battery. Just about every household will have some kind of transportation dependent upon batteries. And the new batteries will just keep getting better and more stout all the time.
Will I get an e-bike? Nah. I live out in the toolies with littered with roads with no shoulders. But I will enjoy seeing how this all pans out in the metro areas. Stay tuned. This show could get very interesting.