Letter: The state legislature’s plan to ruin the East Bay Bike Path

Posted 5/17/23

To the editor:

It’s ludicrous that the state legislature can deem a motor not a motor, as in the pending e-bike legislation (covered in these pages last week) that deems e-bikes – …

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Letter: The state legislature’s plan to ruin the East Bay Bike Path

Posted

To the editor:

It’s ludicrous that the state legislature can deem a motor not a motor, as in the pending e-bike legislation (covered in these pages last week) that deems e-bikes – short for electric motor assisted bicycles – not motorized bicycles. Nor does the class of e-bike alter the incontrovertible fact that if a bike has a motor, it’s motorized, regardless of how much or how little input it requires of the rider.

As the East Bay Bike path clearly states, “No Motor Vehicles” may be used on it, no e-bikes of any class should be on it. Period.

But increasingly they are. Sometimes benignly, sometimes brazenly, and too often dangerously. I live a few houses down from the bike path. I use it all the time. I walk it, I ride it, and I have several times been startled as a silent e-bike goes flying by, always too close for my comfort.

It’s not e-bikes in general that I oppose: I smile when I see them on the street. But I hate them on the bike path. And no argument for accommodation can in my mind justify their allowance. If pedaling is a challenge for some, they can get a bike geared to their ability. At a very low gear, pedaling is almost effortless, especially on something as flat as the bike path.

But let’s go down a slippery slope. If the state passes the new legislative language stipulating for the DEM and its ordinances that motors are not motors, what’s to stop non-e-bike, non-motorized motorized vehicles from cruising on, cluttering up, and potentially endangering others on the bike path? Already, motorized skateboards do. As do hover boards. So what about electric scooters? What about Segways? What about electric mini-bikes? Or go-karts? Or mini-All-Terrain-Vehicles?

This may all sound absurd, but once the state makes it law that motors are no longer motors, and the DEM and local police departments are barred from treating them as such, the East Bay Bike Path will surely be tested by every other contrivance of motorized non-motorized conveyance.

If the state passes legislation that motors are not motors, if it lifts their unambiguous prohibition from the bike path, it will open up and let loose a Pandora’s box of non-motorized motorized vehicles, and will simultaneously legislate the bike path not a bike path.

Jerry Blitefield
Beach Street
Warren

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