E-Bikers, A Few Etiquette Improvements

I was going up a hill with many other riders in the area. Passing some when I heard a woman on a 3 wheel trike yelling to move over to get past. So a bunch of us put in the extra effort to move out of the way only for her and her partner following her to come past using motorized ebikes (motors fully engaged). Maybe ebikers instead of demanding others get out of their way especially on extra wide 3 wheelers could just fit in while the rest of us under our own power make it up the hills. Instead of expecting us to put in extra effort to allow them to motor past us. I think there needs to be some rules of etiquette going forward for ebikers.

This was not a couple who had special needs for a motor assist. They just chose ebikes to make RAGBRAI easier for them

This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  mootsman.

56 Replies

Cory Rood, August 6, 2019 at 1:15 pm

I had been guilty of misusing the term “on your left”. I first heard the term when I started riding with a club. It seemed that it was a notice of intent to pass, and if the rider in front had room to move to the right he/she should. Riding Ragbrai my announcement seemed to fall on deaf ears, so I would say it louder. Later I learned that it isn’t a request for the lead rider to move, it is just a statement of intent to pass. This year I said “On your left” a few times, but I usually just go far left of the center line to where I know it is safe to pass. A couple of times, though, I said “Could you move to the right please?” I tried to say this politely, and thanked riders who did move. As I said in another post I also announced “Coming through the middle” once, and I had to slow to make sure the other riders knew I was coming. I take each situation as a unique event and look for the best outcome. If I have to wait for a space, then that is what I do. None of us should expect to have an open road at all times, whether we ride a human powered or electric powered bike. Just make sure to pass as safely as possible.

Oh, I just remembered why I didn’t just go far right all the time. This year is the first time I saw rumbles at the center line. I didn’t like crossing those, so I would tend to stay right of center. I hope those rumbles are not the future.

While on a ride like RAGBRAI the center rumbles are annoying, in smaller groups they are great. they do a fantastic job of keeping distracted drivers in their own lane!

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Larry Klaaren, August 6, 2019 at 2:02 pm

[/quote]Oh, I just remembered why I didn’t just go far right all the time. This year is the first time I saw rumbles at the center line. I didn’t like crossing those, so I would tend to stay right of center. I hope those rumbles are not the future.[/quote]
At some point on the ride, I stopped for water or something, and the lady at the stand sid they had just cut those two days before.

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jwsknk, August 6, 2019 at 2:27 pm

I think center and fig line rumbles are the new thing. Being g in Anes where the SIT us, some people gave tried to address ur with then. One suggestion was to do like on the fig line cut 10 feet, leave a 10 for gap etc. It would still let drivers know they were leaving their lane.

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LawnchairMan, August 6, 2019 at 2:39 pm

What is a fig line?

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jwsknk, August 6, 2019 at 2:42 pm

What is a fig line?

fog line auto spell keeps changing it. Really it does. The fog line, the white line between the lane and shoulder.

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LawnchairMan, August 6, 2019 at 3:14 pm

Thank you for the clarification, jwsknk. I assumed you meant edge line. And you were referring to the DOT in Ames? I assumed your hand had shifted on the keyboard. Auto-spell does get frustrating.

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LawnchairMan, August 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm

I saw edge line rumbles back in Ragbrai 2012. I was riding in the dark next to a rider who had a headlight. I came so close to the deep rumbles that it scared me. Shortly after that I invested in a good headlight of my own.

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“Bicycle Bill”, August 6, 2019 at 10:21 pm

That’s why I still use a laptop for most of my internet experience; I don’t try to do everything from a hand-held device like an iPhone.  And if I did, I would still turn off auto-correct, spell-check, and predictive texting. I spent thirteen years going through Catholic schools, and trust me when I say that I know how to spell.  Not to mention that nothing I post here is so all-fired important that it can’t wait until I proof-read it and correct any errors that might have crept in.

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Sandaltan ., August 6, 2019 at 11:49 pm

Beebs, u b old skool from back in da coulee, i lk that.

RIDE RIGHT (cept for da skeeters u got)

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mootsman, August 7, 2019 at 6:59 am

Some still miss the point about the e-bikers demanding others get out of their way on a hill when the road is already covered with riders, left to right, passing each other.

Myself as with most fast riders DO NOT shout on your left indiscriminately. Mostly we wait for the left side to clear up and then pass. This because we can see the riders currently passing on the left have no room to move right so we wait for them to have the chance to move back to the right. We allow the rider on the far left time to complete their pass. We are the vast majority faster riders you NEVER here from and yet many on this thread focus on the faster riders they do here from.

We learned this from years of training and experience while getting faster. Be patient, the road will open up again.

But just purchasing speed by buying a motorized bike means you never gained that experience so it must be learned somehow. A guide for e-bikers would help. If you are a self-powered rider who blocks the left side just hanging out there and not passing, sure you’ll here “on your left” from both fast riders and e-bikers. But that wasn’t the point.

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jay williams, August 7, 2019 at 1:01 pm

TJ previously put his $.02 in saying Ragbrai was an “inclusive” event, embracing e-bikes. Not just for the handicapped anymore!
Forget training! Forget fitness, experience, courtesy or safety! Let’s go town to town on electric cycles. Save that pedal mashing stuff for the curmudgeons.

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“Bicycle Bill”, August 7, 2019 at 9:22 pm

If that’s the case, I’ll be there next year with my old PPV — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_Powered_Vehicle — which by then will be converted to electric power, furnished by an on-board generator connected to a 3.5-hp Briggs and Stratton lawn mower engine.

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KenH, August 8, 2019 at 2:32 pm

Ebikes will naturally amplify the bad habits of their riders. If the rider has none, and a lot do not, this is not a problem. But some do have bad habits and up to an extra 750 Watts makes them more of an issue. But just as it is unfair to stereotype all fast riders it is unfair to stereotype all ebike riders. I do think ebikes are going to become a more serious problem in the future but I could be wrong and I have no reason to demand their exclusion so far. Not that my demanding it would make that happen!

An ebike with a gas engine? I do not believe that Iowa law excludes that so I guess it would be possible. A 3.5 HP engine would seem to be excluded by the 750 W limit because that is only 1 HP. However, there is no limit on the power output of the battery on an ebike so a bike that used a gas engine could be potentially have 3.5 HP as long as the motor controller never applied more than 1 HP to the motor. The rest could be used to power your 1800 Watt sound system….

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Sandaltan ., August 8, 2019 at 9:55 pm

“……so a bike that used a gas engine could be potentially have 3.5 HP as long as the motor controller never applied more than 1 HP to the motor. The rest could be used to power your 1800 Watt sound system….”
….could also power the air conditioning system cocooned around the rider. Give an engineer an inch and he will take a meter.

RIDE RIGHT Goodnight Ken

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“Bicycle Bill”, August 9, 2019 at 12:06 am

The gas engine is not provided the propulsion; it is merely powering the generator, which is creating electricity to power the e-bike motor, so the engine power rating of 3.5 HP is irrelevant.  Think of a railroad locomotive —— the huge diesel engine inside is just running a huge generator. The motors driving the wheels are electric, and they get their juice from said generator.  My PPV will be the same thing, on a smaller scale.

No A/C, by the way — the cockpit is open, although I may rig some sort of nylon top as a sun-shield or rain cover.  I suppose that I could fit an in-dash car stereo system in there somewhere, though.

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