Previously, on Cycling Unbound, I was acccused this for my original anti-e-bike post: “It manages to cram in almost every anti ebike sentiment I have ever heard to the point of being just plain funny. Can anyone else smell the stench of inadequacy from the poster?”
Not by a long, long shot! :)
But I will rise to the challenge now that the guantlet has been thrown down.
I can show you how e-bikes are the ugly duckling of transportation. No matter what the advantages of e-bikes there’s something else that does it better.
Yes, I know it seems unfair to compare every vehicle to e-bikes. Too bad. It’s unfair to lie to people about a shitty form of transportation. It’s unfair to claim to sell these things to “increase mobility in those who are unable to ride a bicycle” then have the bike paths illegally over run by 20 something assholes who can ride a regular bike but choose not to because they have been decieved by unethical advertising. It’s unfair that e-bikes tell people that they will be healthy then they wind up sitting on their ass and getting fat anyway.
Also, e-bike riders think that they are superior to all modes in all ways so they beg me to make this kind of comparison. I oblige.
1. E-bikes are slower than everything else on the road including bicycles:
“…a reasonably fit rider can ride at 50 km/h (30 mph) on flat ground for short periods.” Similarly, a scooter does 30 MPH. Does that make e-bike riders feel “inadequate and jealous”?
E-bikes are throttled, by law, at 20 MPH and are thus slower.
2. Greenwashing. Bicycles shift pollution from the street to “dirty coal” power plants while cyclists generally get their energy from food which they grow themselves using compost from their toilets.
3. No crash protection unlike a car which has air bags and crumple zones.
4. Can’t read while riding an e-bike unlike what I do on buses and on my bicycle on bike paths.
5. No protection from rain.
6. Too fast for bike lanes and they are banned from bike paths.
7. Lack of excercise. Just as bad for you as sitting in a car, but wastes more time on your commute as they are vastly slower than cars thus you waste even more time in transit. Hello obesity.
8. No sex appeal. Cyclists look dorky on our bikes but our bodies are to die for. Motorcyclists are sexy. And you can fuck inside of all but the smallest and messiest of automobiles.
9. Promote bad values.
a. Impatience and hurry sickness. Not all the references on how much faster their commutes are compared with regular bicycles. Note a typical e-bike rider is slow on a regular bike because they are out of shape while average daily cyclists soon adjust to their commute and become stronger and faster every day they ride.
c. Dishonesty and cruelty. E-bike riders like to pretend they have a normal bicycle then they laugh at us while they zoom up a hill. I like to mock people in lycra, too, but I don’t go around lying to them. Also, the seldom used peddles are there to pretend that their under-powered e-scooter is a bicycle.
Summary: When it comes to downsides, e-bikes have all the same downsides of bicycles. When it comes to upsides, bicycles have more upsides than e-bikes. Most of the virtues of e-bikes are shared by higher powered motorized vehicles which share little to none of the downsides to e-bikes.
Get a smart car if you don’t want smog (next to you, the power plants still make it to power smart car). If you want to go fast get real motorcycle. If you want to pretend you are riding a bicycle and saving the planet while really riding a dorkier and lower powered motorcycle then get an e-bike.