During this time of good weather, late nights and less clothing, I search for an agreeable public space along a greenway, to stop for a while to nurse a coffee and watch the passing parade. I look for one specific thing.
Electric bikes. And the occasional electric scooter.
Here’s the curious thing: there aren’t any. Well, hardly any – at least nowhere as many as you’d reasonably expect in a city as cycle-friendly as Vancouver, particularly one with hills. Especially, say, North Vancouver.
At the opening of the Shipyards this weekend, I looked for any bike that had a battery pouch. None – not too surprising in a pedestrian-heavy area. But Tony Valente, the CNV councillor, also confirmed that there aren’t as any many electric-assist bikes as you’d expect in a community whose main street, Lonsdale, is essentially a hill. He thinks they’re on the way.
But why aren’t they already here, given how popular they are – along with a tidal wave of electric scooters – in other cities as near as Seattle?
Perhaps it’s our culture. We think battery-assist bikes are somehow cheating. If you ain’t sweating up that hill, you’re a lazy weak person.
And we’re law-abiding. Since electric scooters are illegal everywhere but in parking lots and your backyard, we’ve held back the inevitable.
But if what I saw in Tel Aviv is indicative, along with other global cities, the electric scooter is on its way, proliferating in traffic in a mere two or three years to the point where they often seem to be the traffic. Here’s a typical scene along the beach front in TLV:
And on Allenby Street, a major avenue through downtown.
I welcome your theories. And an answer to the questions: where should electric-assist cycles and scooters be? On bikeways, separated routes, side streets, in any traffic? Or anywhere unless very specifically prohibited, like sidewalks and seawalls?