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In Defense of Electric-Assist Bikes
Christopher Priest writes for The Urbanist to make the case for the potential of e-bikes to broaden the population of people who bike in Seattle and around the United States.
"The e-bike manufacturers say their primarily demographic is older riders, mainly baby boomers with mobility issues," according to Proest. And e-bikes are gaining popularity, with growing sales. "The reason for this is because, as one cyclist put it, e-bikes 'flatten the city'–they remove the part about cycling that so many people dislike, the actual physical labor."
Priest makes the argument in context of the proliferation of dockless bike share bikes around the city—Lime, for instance, offers e-bikes. So some of the recent controversy over dockless bike share bikes is also a controversy about e-bikes, and the new speeds they're capable of on sidewalks and pedestrian paths.
Since Priest's opinion article was published, Seattle Parks and Recreation proposed a rule that would limit the speed of bikes, focusing mostly on e-bikes, reports Stephen Fesler.