Letter to the editor: Safety concerns regarding electric bicycles in city parks

Editor:

My concern: electric bicycles in city parks.

Last summer we were walking our dogs at Civic Playfield (outer path) at dusk, when we observed a kid on an electric bike just barely miss an elderly female walking a dog on the inner path. I let the kid know that “motorized vehicles” aren’t allowed in the park; he informed me that his electric bicycle doesn’t have a motor. Right.
I called the police (non-emergency) reporting it as a “hazard” as this kid was easily going 20 MPH with only a dim red light on the back. A couple officers walked over from the precinct, who we talked to; after that they spoke to the juvenile, who parked his bike. We spoke to the officers again asking what the laws were re: electric bicycles in parks. They were very nice and responded with “that’s kind of a gray area.”
What’s it going to take to make this black/white? For someone to get hurt?  These “bikes” are nothing more than small motorcycles, prohibited by signage at the park entries. Just the other night there was a teenage female with an electric bike (at dusk), letting her friends take turns on the “race track” at Civic Playfield. If this is indeed a “gray area,” I urge our legislator to clarify and enforce this. Starting with proper signage banning electric bicycles.
Respectfully
Gary Raymond
Edmonds
  1. I see the electric bikes, scooters and unicycles and non motorized sometimes also riding in traffic or the sidewalk in a very unsafe manner all the time. But let’s not forget the group of people that drive their cars and motorcycles the same way. It is almost like we have a large segment of the population with a death wish.

  2. 100% agree with Gary. “Gray area” / no clarity is not appropriate. No bikes, e-bikes or other, on footpaths.

    1. These types of bikes were originally intended to give the elderly and mobility-challenged a little extra assistance going uphill….

  3. I would like to add….. Please teach all bike/cyclists to WARN in advance that they are “passing on the left” or “passing on your right”… I’d at least appreciate that.

  4. Jim,
    You make a very good argument for more bike lane’s. That should keep things on wheels off the sidewalks and streets where vehicles go

    1. I should have added bike lanes, it isn’t so much where they are riding but how they are riding, basically they ride with reckless abandon.

  5. I had a scooter whiz by me recently. Too high a speed and no warning sound. He was keeping up with buddies on the street. VERY dangerous. I’ve noticed more dangerous driving too with cars going through red lights. Some sort of campaign to slow down is warranted.

  6. Electric bikes are motorized. They have an electric motor. They don’t have an engine, but they have a motor.

    1. Remember mopeds? Gas engine two wheeler you could pedal. Treated as a motorcycle regarding rules of the road. E-bikes are the same. A moped that is no different than a slow motorcycle.

  7. I’d wish some folks would take a moment and breathe. Good for the officers for talking to the young kid. He probably learned something. E-bikes are really new along with those e-unicycles etc. things will get sorted but the best thing is education for adults and children. Get cranky but then let it go.

  8. Any one whether it is a car a motorcycle or a bicycle if driving on city streets should be held to the same standards if you want to prevent road rage and accidents. Any area clearly marked as no motorized vehicles should be enforced. What do we have to do people have cameras everywhere to ticket everyone for everything they are not responsible enough to observe and do on their own. Ya want to live in a society like that? Didn’t ya read any science fiction. I read them all and at the time I just thought I was reading science fiction for entertainment. I didn’t realize I was reading our future. I guess I should have realized. Big Brother is not a good concept it takes away freedom and if we all behave here, we won’t need to be forced to act properly. We can have that in our as I see it small very small city if we want to bad enough. Otherwise, ya might as well pack up and head out to another state or a bigger city that will have the space and allow the wild behavior that possibly some of you desire. I would love for you all to stay and for all of us to realize common courtesy in all ways wins every time, eventually.

  9. To add to the general knowledge, the bike I ride is an electric-assist model. It will not move unless I pedal. And I can turn off the electric battery and use just leg strength to pedal. What drives ME crazy are the ”
    throttle” e-bikes that can move without any pedaling at all by the rider. Children have no business riding them and they are mostly if not entirely prohibited on bike trails. But I see them there anyway. So dangerous!!

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