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

138 Replies

Anonymous, January 5, 2020 at 1:06 pm

Damn, you were SMOKED by an biker.

Just kiddin’ :)

#1314139

Jon Bubendorfer, January 6, 2020 at 5:22 pm

Oh my.
People here are seriously trying to compare motorized bikes to bikes with sails? and compared to various frame materials?
Seriously, I think our educational system is failing us. Critical thinking is a valuable skill people, practice it more often.
(yes I’m rude and quite negative, but I’m tired of stupid people)

#1314152

Jose Medina, January 6, 2020 at 7:45 pm

Hey Jon. We don’t like rude or negative on Ragbrai . Stupid is ok. Just like the PBV trailers say ” Its not so much the heat but the Stupidity. I have been in 30 Ragbrais and some days , yes we feel Stupid being in the heat, rain, storms, hail, tornados etc. But I would not trade it for anything riding on Ragbrai with the most wonderful people on earth. Stupid is ok !

#1314154

Jon Bubendorfer, January 6, 2020 at 7:56 pm

Hmm. I’m not sure how to reply.
I’m missing the connection to the comparison of ebikes to “bikes with sails” and “alum\Ti\steel\carbon” which were used as metaphors (Poor ones IMO) in your post.

I’m a little slow somedays (jeeze, I could lighten up) – I appreciate your humor. I like to ride as well, and still regularly wear my 1996 RAGBRAI jersey. But I admit to not riding a full RAGBRAI in many years (silly me did do the 121 miles last year on the loop and wasn’t Cumming such fun!)

EDIT: I don’t like fast\powerful motorbikes on the trails! I want people to know my position, no need to guess.

#1314158

Joseph Schlau, January 7, 2020 at 9:09 am

[quote quote=1314152]Seriously, I think our educational system is failing us. Critical thinking is a valuable skill people, practice it more often.
(yes I’m rude and quite negative, but I’m tired of stupid people)[/quote]

Critical thinking should not be confused with being argumentative or being critical of other people.

There are many definitions of critical thinking. None of them seem to include inferences on one’s level of education nor labeling people as stupid as valid steps in the process.

#1314176

Joseph Schlau, January 7, 2020 at 9:18 am

[quote quote=1314158]I like to ride as well, and still regularly wear my 1996 RAGBRAI jersey. But I admit to not riding a full RAGBRAI in many years (silly me did do the 121 miles last year on the loop and wasn’t Cumming such fun!)[/quote]

The route and loop last year was 116 miles. How is it you rode 121?

How is wearing a 96 jersey related to a discussion on ebikes?

#1314177

Joseph Schlau, January 7, 2020 at 9:36 am

[quote quote=1314158]EDIT: I don’t like fast\powerful motorbikes on the trails! I want people to know my position, no need to guess.[/quote]

Why don’t you like e-bikes on the trails?

As long as they are slowing to a safe speed and providing a courtesy warning like “on your left“, they present no more danger than say a road bike passing a comfort bike on the same trail. It the technique not the technology that matters.

In any case, the e-bike discussions on this and another thread relate to Ragbrai. Since Ragbrai takes place on open public highways, e’s have the same status as a bicycle on any highway in Iowa.

#1314185

garywilk, January 9, 2020 at 6:01 pm

I think on your left applies more to trail riding to let people know you will be passing on the left lane. We have many paved trails around St. Louis and always say passing on the left to let walkers, bikers, dog walkers etc know I will be passing on the left. Everyone should hold their line and always look left if moving over to the left. If anyone passes on the right, they should say hold your line or passing in the middle if there is enough room and then go through slow to give them time to react. People just need to make slow movements. 2019 was the first year I saw a real aggressive rider passing everywhere and even passing on the right and almost taking people out. Was the first time I thought I was going to see someone put someone in the ditch intentionally on ragbrai. It should not matter if ebike or racer or in my dads case a 75 year old doing ragbrai, just ride with respect.

#1314241

LawnchairMan, January 10, 2020 at 11:11 pm

Hi Joseph,
Just for your information, I too got 121 miles on century day last year. Looking at maps, I calculated 120 before I left home, so I expected it. Any chance you skipped Honey Creek Resort? Or some other part? Maybe our camp sites were on the far sides of town. Who knows?

#1314268

Joseph Schlau, January 11, 2020 at 6:48 am

[quote quote=1314241]2019 was the first year I saw a real aggressive rider passing everywhere and even passing on the right and almost taking people out. Was the first time I thought I was going to see someone put someone in the ditch intentionally on ragbrai. It should not matter if ebike or racer or in my dads case a 75 year old doing ragbrai, just ride with respect.[/quote]

Was this a regular bike riding like this?

#1314273

Joseph Schlau, January 11, 2020 at 6:55 am

Yes, I was looking for Jon to reply to this and other comments as well.

#1314274

Joseph Schlau, January 11, 2020 at 7:27 am

[quote quote=1314241]I think on your left applies more to trail riding to let people know you will be passing on the left lane.[/quote]

On your left was only one example I cited. The prevailing traffic conditions dictate the maneuver. The main point is that the bike or person you intend to pass acknowledges you are there and has control of their bike.

A warning not heard because a rider/walker is engaged in conversation, is listening to music on a headset or speakers, or just does not understand English is of limited use. Passing children is a particularly delicate operation because of their divided attention and inexperience.

Last year I was following a rider who was taking selfies. One hand on the grip and his mind focused on getting that perfect picture of himself. Definitely not ready to react. I waited until the photo session to end before passing. I guess a variation of this technique is the talking/texting riding style as well.

#1314275

mootsman, January 11, 2020 at 9:24 am

Kind of getting back to my original post it sounds like. Unsafe and rude riding are a problem but the majority of fast self propelled riders learned both how to ride fast safely and good ride etiquette while training up to the ability to ride fast. But ebikers just purchased speed so had no such training period. A guide to teach both would be a good idea.

#1314278

mcpartla, January 11, 2020 at 10:09 am

The line is further confused by the introduction of many different styles of e-bicycles. For example, the Juiced e-bikes look and feel more like a motorcycle than a traditional bicycle but some conform to the traditional classes of e-bicycles.
https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/24/20875870/juiced-scorpion-ebike-price-specs-release
Will RAGBRAI and the Ride Across Iowa support these e-bicycles? This is a different topic from Etiquette but important to what will be “allowed” on the 2020 rides. Last year’s RAGBRAI Director said “if a bike is legal on the Iowa roads it is okay on RAGBRAI” or something to this effect. At that time I thought my Class 3 Trek CrossRip e-bike which requires pedaling to receive battery power up to 28 mph was legal on Iowa roads so I thought I was fully supported on RAGBRAI 2019 but my questions to info@ragbrai.com indicate this might not be the case. PeopleForBikes also said Class 1 e-bikes are legal on Iowa roads but whether Class 2 and Class 3 and e-bike machines not classed is unknown. And then what about all the many other types of machines participants choose to ride on RAGBRAI … are these riders supported?

But regardless of the machine a rider uses all of us need to ride safely.

#1314280

Joseph Schlau, January 11, 2020 at 2:55 pm

[quote quote=1314280]At that time I thought my Class 3 Trek CrossRip e-bike which requires pedaling to receive battery power up to 28 mph was legal on Iowa roads so I thought I was fully supported on RAGBRAI 2019 but my questions to info@ragbrai.com indicate this might not be the case.[/quote]

Here is the Iowa Statute on bicycles. Since the Crossrip can only attain a speed of 28 mph with considerable pedal effort, it does not violate the law. The law specifies the 20 mph be attained solely by the motor.

Solely being the operative legal term.

Our Crossrip + bicycles do not have a throttle. The speed must be attained with a combination of motor and significant pedal effort. The Crossrip has only a 350 watt motor.

c. “Bicycle” means either of the following:
(1) A device having two wheels and having at least one saddle or seat for the use of a rider which is propelled by human power.
(2) A device having two or three wheels with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than seven hundred fifty watts (one horsepower), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden, is less than twenty miles per hour.

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/ico/chapter/321.pdf

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