Here we go. Now we have the fat-tire 25-mph models out and ready for the bike and multi-use paths. The problem with things with motors is that once they are given an inch, they will rapidly take a mile. Faster and faster and faster. There will always be people riding traditional bicycles. But I'm already seeing a rapid migration of Americans to everything and anything that requires no physical exertion to use. Human-powered bikes are still the rule, but I think they will become the exception in fairly short order as e-bike and scooter prices come down. Boom times for orthopedic surgeons ahead.
To offer another perspective, neither bikes nor scooters are really the rule, but rather cars are the rule, at least if we abide by the frustrations voiced elsewhere here on chainlink. Here's what I'm getting at with this:
While some drivers are already at the no physical exertion stage in some respects, this might be an opportunity for people who are in cars to migrate out them and onto a scooter. As they do, they'll take up less parking (see other threads) and burn fewer fossil fuels as well if that's a priority (see other threads).
There is some migration away from car ownership to fleet car use (uber, lyft, zip and such) already, but that's different.
Will people migrate from bikes to scooters? Perhaps, but the number of car drivers who might find a scooter appealing is likely larger than the number of regular cyclists (the sedentary factor you highlight) and of those regular cyclists I don't imagine the numbers of them switching to to scooters for some trips would be as great as the number of people switching from cars to scooters for some trips.
Another aspect to share is that merely because someone drives even a lot doesn't mean they don't exert themselves. My health club parking lot is FULL of cars. So is the over-flow lot the management uses, the street parking in the area and so forth. There are two small bike racks which do get use, but those are rarely full. People drive there, and then exert themselves, and as I'd mentioned in a separate thread once, you wouldn't want to make a big wager with many of these folks if speed was the game in the pool, running, cycling, rowing, and so forth.
Meanwhile, the trend isn't scooters and cars taking over, at least not in the city. It's essentially a trend in the other direction. Bike lanes, both painted and protected and bus lanes, and even total lane car losses like on Washington Street for a bus stop in the street (where pedestrians have to cross a poorly maintained bike lane to get to it, to the frustration of some cyclists) all continue their expansion in the city. Some argue for more, some less, but, the trend is more bike space versus less.
I'm not saying I endorse the scooter over the car or the bike, just suggesting I don't think people will leave their bikes for scooters. People (especially certain cyclists) seem to have a different motivation for cycling and a scooter won't take that away.
Why do you find valor in physically exerting yourself to get around?
I don't think physically exerting myself to get around has anything to do with valor. My point is that Americans don't like to physically exert themselves and will generally take the easier way out in that regard. This is of interest because it will be a factor in the future popularity of human-powered bicycles. I will say that I don't believe any vehicle that can run on throttle power alone should be considered a bicycle. I will also say that Americans' desire to not physically exert themselves while not getting around causes a lot of damage to the environment.
City law already bans a throttle electric scooter that can go faster than 20 from using the bike lanes and multi-use paths. Assuming that's enforced, and it should be IMHO, I don't know that they'll be any more popular than the current gas model mopeds that have been available for decades.
And if they are more popular, and the e-scooters that are really e-mopeds stick to regular traffic lanes with car traffic where they belong, it may not be such a bad thing anyway to the degree they replace single-rider car usage.
I agree that getting people out of cars is awesome, but i think we will continue seeing lots more of these privately owned e-scooters, e-skateboards and e-bikes that easily exceed 20mph in our bike lanes. I predict these devices will eventually replace old-school gas powered mopeds that dominate some European cities.
The main appeal to privately owned e-scooters in Chicago seems to be that (regardless of legality) they can be used in bike lanes and/or sidewalks to get around traffic downtown and get to/from work faster. They're more appealing than a Vespa because they're cheaper, quieter and more stealth, plus you can fold it up and bring it inside with you or lock it up to a bike rack. They're light enough to carry, take up very little space, there's no special license, no registration, no insurance, no parking restrictions, etc.
I also question how many people using these are really replacing car-trips. It seems more likely that they're using their privately owned e-scooters as an alternative to CTA or Divvy.
I guess that's my point. The City has already drawn the line. Anything that goes faster than 20 shouldn't be in the bike lane. We don't have to let it be a slippery slope. We can enforce the rule, just as we would for a gas-powered moped. The only reason e-scooters are currently allowed to use these lanes is their low speed.
If an e-bike has no pedal assist and does over 20 mph with a throttle, it should be licensed and insured as a vehicle. Period. At that point, it's a moped/traditional scooter, not an "e-bike." If those type of 25 mph e-scooters become the norm, rather than just an occasional nuisance (as gas powered scooters have always been), then we revisit the issue of banning scooters from bike lanes period.
Also, if people think it's a good idea to go 25 on a standing e-scooter or e-skateboard, the potholes in the bike lanes are going to sort them out pretty fast anyway.
TL;DR. We just need to not be complacent and enforce the rules that are already there.
I was riding eastbound in the Kinzie St bike lane this morning near Orleans when an e-scooter passed me doing at least 15 mph. It was really moving. No more than 10 seconds later a cyclist passed me at roughly the same speed. Given the mass of the bike, I think I'd rather be hit by the scooter rider.
E scooters weigh between 22 to 33 lbs. No real difference in mass/weight of a bike.
I was passed on the right by a guy on one of these on the LFT last week. Unfortunately, I don't think there will be any reform until someone is killed on the LFT.
That stinks, but I have to say I'm now routinely passed on the right by cyclists both on multi-use paths and in bike lanes---and not just by Divvy riders either. As ridership grows in cycling as well, the unspoken rules that people depended on to keep things safe and predictable have taken a hit. Hopefully, Active Tran's efforts to get bike education into schools will help, and port over to scooter use as well over time.
Those new ones are less scooter and more Honda Ruckus with pedals. But for longer trips it beats a standing scooter. Just give it enough torque and range and use it in traffic like a gas scooter or motorcycle.
My favorite is still the super low recumbant with a rear wheel motor and full fairing. It moves through trail traffic like a torpedo in a war movie.
Probably before some people's time, but it wasn't too long ago that the old Honda gas powered scooters came with pedals as well. They were only to get it started really, but still, not totally uncharted territory here, and European and Asian cities have dealt with rampant sit-down scooter use for decades.