mopeds look enough like a motorbike and are already accepted enough that a high enough concentration of them could go a long way towards taking back the road as a true multi-use space, rather than a car exclusive space that other users sometimes get to encroach onto. mopeds and bicycles and jump scooters can all coexist in the same space happily. mopeds and cars can coexist happily.
It seems to work like this:
Are you in big, heavy and fast vehicle? Go in Road Type 1 (cars, trucks, motorcycles)
Are you vehicle-less, or is your vehicle very slow or non-motorized? Go in Road Type 2 (pedestrians, strollers, wheelchairs, etc)
Are something else? Go in Road type 3 (bicycles, mopeds, electric bikes, electric skateboards, non-car people movers etc etc).
In North America, rather than building Road Type 3, we fight viciously over how to sort a galaxy of vehicles into Road Types 1 and 2. Even when a 3rd road type is built, they are frequently designated for some exclusive type of vehicle - ie, places where non-pedelec e-bikes or electric skateboards are not allowed in bike lanes.
Bike lanes are too narrow for motorised vehicles, and some ebikes are pushing the limits as well (eg. Urban Arrow bikes don't make me feel very safe on narrow bike lanes either)
I think it makes the most sense to regulate based on maximum achievable momentum (maximum engine torque is used as a heuristic for this), or even maximum achievable collision force (momentum ÷ surface area of forward-travelling side) of the vehicle at any carrying capacity.
So a motorcycle is a lot more dangerous than a moped, not even because of the weight of the vehicle alone at speed, but because you can fit two people on there, the motorcycle has enough torque to get up to the same speed with those two people aboard, and so the whole vechicle-rider system will have more momentum (impart more collision force) at the same speed.
And some electric skateboards / hoverboards are also very dangerous, because if they manage to fully torque up while without a rider, they can shoot out and hit someone in the legs with a high momentum delivered across a very small front facing plane. Like a bullet!
(And, obviously, trucks are more dangerous than cars, simply because you can put a bunch of stuff in the bed and still get them up to the same speed as a car.)
Although the simple solution here is policy and divided roads, I could imagine a simple-ish technological solution: a torque governor hooked up to normal-force sensors on the suspension. So a motorcycle with one person on it would simply not be able to "work as hard" as the same motorcycle with two people on it [except when going up a hill, since normal forces would increase]; and a vehicle with no rider at all would immediately clutch to neutral and brake to bleed off the "above limit" torque.
A low powered moped doesn't belong in the road in most places.
Bikers want to be treated like bikers. Unfortunately that classification doesn't really exist in the US so it becomes situational.
People are afraid of crashing their car into a truck. A bicycle is just a little annoyance in the road that you squeeze past as quickly as possible.
They're not at all comparable.
Bikes need to realize that YES they are smaller and lighter than trucks / cars but that doesn't mean they can't cause real damage and need to obey the same rules.
If a bicycle hits a car it might scratch the paint. If a bicycle hits a truck you'd be lucky if the truck driver notices.
If the other vehicle hits the bicycle, the cyclist will be lucky to survive.
I know some cyclists take liberties on the roads. I'm sometimes a cyclist myself and I too get annoyed by cyclists. But it's a fact of physics that cyclists are much more vulnerable than any car driver.
lucky if they notice ... lol fuck off. I'm not saying they are the same thing, or that cars are more vulnerable -- if you inferred that from my statement then you weren't reading, I simply stated that they can and do cause damage to property and people if they hit things.
However if someone does not follow the rules then the fines need to be vastly greater for cars.
You don't need to be Einstein to understand: E = m/2*v^2
A good start would be to place all the burden of liability on the driver with the heavier vehicle (maybe have a 20% difference in which it is split 50:50).
The free market could then sort out insurance premiums.
Besides, that bicycle is moving at around half the street speed, while the truck is much nearer the top speed. A 40mph speed is more equivalent.
There are usually opportunities to pass cyclist that present themselves without having to travel a long distance at 15 mph. But there are many instances where one has to spend a long time driving at low speeds in a car (e.g., traffic jams).
this is not universally true.
in the rare case they do (i know a guy who was intentionally run down), and in the common case they just don't care, assuming that any cyclist-involved collision is the cyclists fault for being on the road. your attitude here - to immediately call out cyclists specifically, just because i dared to suggest that non-car, non-pedestrian traffic deserves a safe space to travel in - is exactly the problem. The roads are not the private domain of the automobile, and as long as people treat them like they are, some traffic will be forced to seek refuge on the sidewalk.
I have tried biking in parts of US, and I genuinely fear for my life in some parts of the road. There is often literally no alternative but to go on the footpath and ensure I do not die.
This is in a Boston suburbs, which still have relatively OK infrastructure to accommodate bikes. I believe it would be much worse elsewhere.
How can they be treated exclusively as a pedestrian? Sidewalks are not designed for any user faster than about 3 mph.
One is the substandard width lane which is defined as a lane that's too narrow for a cyclist and motor vehicle to safely pass side-by-side within the lane .
Given that most surface street lane widths range from 10 to 12 feet, they're not wide enough for a motor vehicle to pass a cyclist safely while remaining in the lane. That means that, for all practical purposes, the keep as far right as practicable requirement is an exception rather than a rule.
 http://iamtraffic.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/UVC2000.pdf (page 168 § 11-1205-Position on roadway subsection 3)
2) There’s very little of it, and it’s pretty much impossible to miss because it’s so big.
3) It’s usually professionally driven (YMMV).
Big, slow things are not the same as smaller slow things.
Farming vehicles are purpose built and we have a long running understanding about farmers using roads.
These new vehicles present new problems, and or people are still thinking about it all. We have not settled into any solid norms yet.
They are going from marginal / casual use to daily use. Some regions are there. Many are not.
Bikes where there before paved roads existed. Cyclists where the reason we started building them in the same place.
They are, despite that, "new" in the sense I put above.
Apparently, I need to expand on "norms" The thought did not come across. Next time.
I'm not against biking (I say get rid of the cars and figure something else out together) but the fact is some rural areas lack the infrastructure to make it safe for bikes and cars to coexist.
Although perhaps you're not really talking about mountains? Elsewhere in this thread you seem to be talking about narrow defiles through hills and curves in some impossibly remote location. If we are to take you at your word, the roads you're driving aren't actually suited to automobile travel, and certainly not to 60mph highway-attitude automobile travel.
Cars only coexist with themselves because most drivers have safe habits. Those same safe habits allow car drivers not to kill cyclists.
In the Toronto area we often see these bombing around, riders acting like they are motorcycles but having no training or understanding of safe practices, not wearing proper safety equipment, and several of the privately owned ones have been modified to increase their speed significantly.
I have no issue with the tech, I think it could be a great green solution, but the policies and regulations around it need to get caught up before people are seriously injured.
They have no training, no safety equipment, no licensing, no enforcement, no accountability, and no care. In the meantime everybody else around them is trying very very very hard not to be part of a fatal accident.
So like the poster, I have no problem with technology. I have huge problems with lack of regulation and enforcement, and/or the users of such vehicles.
They are fairly explicitly advertised as tool to avoid regulation, insurance, rules and safety, for their own personal selfish convenience; and again, explicitly designed to mislead - they are designed to look like a motorized scooter [why not make them look like an eBike that they are?], but with semi-functional pedals so they can claim they are a bicycle.
Get these punks off my lawn! :-)
[and let the hate and downvote begin!:]
But while strictly speaking behaviour and concern overall are to your point similar; I think what additionally bothers me personally [and I recognize this is an emotional reaction] is this feeling of overt attempt to mislead.
A bicycle is a bicycle is a bicycle. They are predictably unpredictable - I understand what to expect out of them ("Anything":).
These electric scooters are intentionally made to look like a licensed motorized scooter which (in Toronto) is a vehicle like any other, licensed, insured and held accountable. Motorized scooter's behaviour is in principle predictable like any other car or motorcycle vehicle - they ride in the blocking position of lane and obey all traffic rules.
The electric scooters try to gain the veneer of respectability of motorized vehicle and look different than bicycles/e-bikes... but they do not behave like motorized scooters or motorcycles (and couldn't even if they wanted to - they cannot keep up with traffic to tide in blocking position and move with the flow).
It's dumb. It's also unfortunate that it's going to take ~10 people to die/permanent disability before anything is done about it.
I think you're right about the design of the bikes too. The ones I see are definitely designed to look and function like a moped/motorcycle.
In California, for example, that means helmet is required and the operator must have driver's license that includes motorcycle operation. This is why most ebikes sold in the US are limited to 20mph.
So yeah, I don't get it.
What really gets me angry is dealerships selling scooters, even full motorcycles, to people without appropriate licenses. You don't need a license to own a car/truck/motorcycle, only to use it. They know what they are doing when they sell a 250cc scooter to someone without a license.
After that, they’re not cops.
I bought an airplane before I had a pilot certificate. It wasn’t illegal nor improper to sell that to me; it’s on me, not the seller, to comply with the law, IMO.
As I always bitch and moan about... it needs to be WAY harder to get a license or motorcycle endorsement in the first place. We are constantly attacking the symptoms of the problem, and never going after the actual cause of the problem.
I'm also very confused by your statement -- you seem to think saying that these folks getting a license is not a good idea, and then turn around and say it needs to be harder to get a license?? which is it?
Well, that's their problem. Also take a look at how 3 billion people ride their motorcycles and mopeds (often 3-5 at a time) in e.g. China, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc. and the complains against ebikes are absolutely nullified...
If you look at the road mortality statistics for those countries you'll see that safety equipment and regulations are absolutely necessary if you want to avoid lots of pain and suffering, and externalities. It's just those places simply can't afford them and deal with it in ways more advanced economies aren't prepared to accept.
I don;t live in Cambodia. When people here get hurt in my neighborhood they block traffic, are taken to hospital and are treated by teams of government-paid professionals. Then if they have severe head injuries that medical treatment may continue for many decades. We insist on helmets, as we insist on things like brakes and seatbelts, because we know that individual injuries quickly become everyone's problem.
People are actually aware of motorbikes, since it's the primary method of transport. Also, traffic moves a lot slower, you're usually riding at only 20-30 km/h in town in Vietnam. I felt much safer riding a motorbike in Vietnam than in New Zealand.
Upon saying that, the road injury and fatality statistics for the countries you mentioned are shocking. Vietnam is 2.5x higher than the USA for road fatalities per 100,000 per year, and the USA itself is shockingly high for a developed country, they're double Australia's rate.
Just 2.5x doesn't sound shocking to me -- and probably the most of the difference is not even caused by driving patterns.
E.g. the road conditions in Vietnam vs the US, and the vehicle conditions there (breaks, mechanical faults, age, etc.) compared to the US...
You could say the same of seatbelts, yet their use is enforced by law because automobile fatalaties were a major public health problem. Society has an interest in protecting those who don't protect themselves.
Was it because of that, or merely because the government just likes to overreach and regulate?
Though personally I would prefer a proper modern Vespa
You can get an imported Cirkit electric moped with a top speed of 35mph and 40 mile range for $1,200. It can't totally replace a car for most Americans, but it can probably replace 80% of car travel for most commuters. You can go right around traffic, maintenance and electricity costs are a penny or two a mile and these things are fun to drive!
In the US, anyway, half of motorcycle fatalities involve drunk riders.
Really? I did not realize this at all! I suppose this should make me feel 50% safer on the road as a non-drunk motorcyclist.
One time I was out with friends and I'd ridden my motorcycle. As an experiment, I had one beer and then rode home. Just that one beer that wouldn't have mattered at all in a car was very noticeable when riding my motorcycle, and I vowed no alcohol ever again when riding.
Potato paradox, you're way safer than that! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato_paradox
(assuming there's more sober riders than drunk ones, which I hope is the case)
Ebikes have NONE of that.
As long as they aren't highway-legal, they are a non-starter
For me, for example, avoiding the freeway adds 17 miles to my commute - turning it from a 10 mile one, into a 27 mile one, adding over 100 intersections to it (Compared to the 12 intersections that my regular commute has).
I'm going to have to pass on that.
1. You have a 2 income household
2. Throw kids and their schools into the mix
3. One or both members of the household change jobs
All of those things happen to most families.
Now it becomes a complete toss-up, and you have to be extremely lucky if both or even one of you can work close to home, school, etc. My spouse and I are in that category, so I know it's possible, but I also know we're lucky.
Things might change if there was enough of a safety net, that it wasn't vital to cling to full time employment at all costs.
(2) Housing prices are rising in large part due to foreign investment / money sheltering. I doubt that you could plausibly increase gas and car taxes high enough offset this, and it would be outright dystopian if you did.
I've read all the calls for Americans to give up their ginormous houses and lots, etc. That is tone deaf to the dynamics of the business of residential development markets in the US, again excessively skewed by FIRE sector subsidies, with runaway municipal development fees and processes and bank financing herd trends adding unhelpful vectors. Before John and Jane Doe even pull up to the highway exit leading to the housing development, their limited choices were already baked in for them by other, far more monied and powerful actors.
I also live a longish way from work (30 km) but I've got like 12 trains an hour doing this in 20 - 25 mins.
[Thats like 2.12e2 furlongs in 1.45e-2 fortnites for you non metrics.]
Those scooters should come with lighter Li-Ion systems and at least a 50 mile charge.
The only thing that looks moderately attractive there is the Onyx RCR in terms of range and speed, but what's worrisome is that it doesn't seem to be built for the speeds it's advertised for. I'd be scared to go over 30mph on something that looks like that.
Don't do that.
The issue is more that drivers in the US aren't used to sharing the road with these vehicles.
In Paris, drivers naturally drive far left and far right on roads that have two lanes per direction to leave a corridor for the scooters in the middle.
Then 'going around traffic' is less of an issue for everyone involved.
You don't own the road. It's a shared space.
Was there some article written on this? Can I get a link?
For example here in Spain, most stop lights in cities have special areas at the front where motorcycles are expected to filter through to, e.g. https://goo.gl/maps/JRvxvtVZ8vL2
Are these things catching on in places with unpleasant summer/winter weather?
edit: I had only skimmed the article when I made the comment above. Now having read it, and as somone who used to live in Atlanta OTP and commuted to work across from Ga Tech, I share the author's skepticism these will catch on there. I similarly can't see them working in Raleigh where I live now except maybe among college students. They'd be great for getting around a college town, on and near campus.
That said it’s not clear if it will catch up in any place where these are seen as perks of convenience rather than essential transportation.
This is the line that stuck out to me in the whole article. Is this really where we are? Has tech sunk that low?
Seriously, my 2 mile walk to work has gone from a total joy to me looking over my shoulder to make sure I can change lanes without getting run over by a scooter/bike doing serious speed. And by change lanes I mean step around that dog turd.
Two days ago I said these words to a cyclist on the sidewalk coming toward me: please don't ride on the sidewalk. His reaction was to park his bike and walk toward me flipping the bird and yelling at me to "shut the fuck up"... I've never been in a fight over this, but too often this is the result.
And lest you think I yelled those introductory words, I said them in the most pleading way I could muster.
It is illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk where I live. That doesn't stop the dozens of people I see each day.
And this fun thing happened last night when I left my building (a very busy street): 2 cyclists coming through the intersection and one cyclist wanted to get around the other, so at the intersection he whipped onto the sidewalk, at about 20 mph, and rode between the people walking there. Had I exited my building seconds earlier I could have been serious injured by stepping into his path.
What you're describing here is aggravated assault, which is a serious crime.
I sold my car but if I still had one I don’t think I’d be very uh, charitable to someone topping out at 25mph on Ponce.
The first time you operate anything, it should not be in crazy traffic. Nothing is that intuitive. But I think even the article is clear that it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. If you need to blast down I-75 to get downtown, prooobbbbbably not a good choice.
Oddly enough, I never really warmed to driving...
In which case you probably need to practice patience. There are already plenty of cyclists on Ponce and similar streets of Atlanta who top out at 15mph. They have as much right to be there as motorists, and while you might be annoyed that you’re running late because you didn’t plan accordingly for traffic, they are too often stuck and seriously injured or killed because of aggressive drivers.
Atlanta has historically been a 'need a car' city but these forms of transport have the potential to change that.
Either 2 wheels or 3 wheels (1 front and 2 rear).
The vehicle must be capable of being pedaled as well as carrying a helper motor, which cannot:
―Have a piston displacement larger than 50 cc.
―Be capable of producing more than 1 HP.
―Obtain a maximum speed greater than 20 MPH on a level surface.
this is backwards thinking, two wheel in front is the safer design. decelerating shifts center of gravity forward. turning shifts it to the side . having a wheel there to support it lets you slow down going into a corner (as I am want to do)
If you just say scooter these days, there are about four different things you could be referring to.
A moped does have to have pedals and there are some companies making them. But the entire thing is an anachronistic shell game. These are all motorcycles, just of lesser power/ability. They only exist because of silly legal classifications that mean little on a modern street. Everyone on the street riding something with two wheels and a motor should get a motorcycle license, a helmet, and be subject to proper emission controls.
not sure if pedal-mopeds have similarly fallen out of favour in the rest of the world?
I’ve seen normal street bicycles retrofitted gas engines, ala early 1900’s motorcycles.
I have the understanding that aside from cost, people without a license due to DUI ride these since they can’t legally drive.
A few weeks ago, a bicyclist clipped my bumper at a red light. I made sure it was safe, pulled over, put on my hazards, and got out. In that time, he had the audacity to claim that
1. I was at fault (I was not - I've got front & rear dashcam footage provided to the police & insurance as replacing the bumper is easily $2k for me).
2. When I told him about the dashcam, he then claimed we could split it 50/50 (while also claiming it's not more than $300 worth of damage if I took it to a shop that he said he'd "hook me up with" - which it's not. It's a brand new car and I'll take it to a dealership thank you very much.)
3. Claimed he was broke and could not afford to pay me $2k and since I worked downtown, I could "afford to eat the cost and not feel the difference" - like that mattered.
4. When I did call the cops, he decided to just take his bike and ride off.
Personally, I'm going to try one, on a weekend, before I brave the jagoffs of rush hour.
Instead, they're just going to look at the laws of each state and figure out the maximum speed and displacement they can offer to people without them having to be licensed or to have ever been on a scooter before, and whether if they duck tape some pedals to it they can get away with more. And what city/state official(s) they have to bribe to get those laws changed or to keep them unchanged after people end up severely brain injured and dead.
Oh, did you think those loud-ass Harleys and wannabes have legal exhaust systems on their bikes? They do not. But the laws are so rarely enforced that we might as well not have them. My old Honda, and I'm pretty sure the current BMW, have a stamp in the metal on the muffler with words to the effect of "meets EPA noise standards of 84db", or summat.
I don't know why it's not enforced, either. Seems like easy money on the part of the municipalities.
1. Motorcycle makes a ton of noise because muffler is removed / modified
2. Cop pulls over motorcycle, gives them a citation which requires them to go to a testing center to have the loudness measured
3. Motorcycle owner reinstalls stock muffler
4. Motorcycle owner goes to testing center and passes test with stock system, and thus doesn't get a ticket
5. Motorcycle owner removes stock muffler
6. Goto 1
He said that no one ever pulls motorcycles over for being too loud because they know this is what happens, and all it's going to be is a lot of paperwork with no actual punishment for the rider. Cops would have to carry noise meters for them to be able to give the ticket in-person.
I would happily buy them with money from my own pocket. Absolutely serious, send me an invoice. Yeah, Redmond didn't take me up on it, either.
The fact that it is universally not enforced tells me my simple solutions were obviously missing something. OTOH, if you replace the headlamps in your car, they're supposed to have a DOT stamp on them somewhere (granted, I've never even heard of that being enforced). Given that my stock mufflers have stamps referencing the EPA, seems to me we could do the same as headlights. Roar past a cop, cop looks for stamp, no stamp: here's your ticket. We already regulate car exhaust systems, I have no problem with it for bikes. And unlike a loud Civic, you can visually inspect the system with little effort.
But what it really boils down to is that no one is riding an open-pipe Harley past a Senator's house at 2:00 a. m. Because no one but the cretins that ride them likes the sound of a loud bike.
Step 6 goes to 1, at which point a 2nd ticket is issued. Repeat a 3rd time, now you add points to the license or suspend it, whatever.
I don't see a difference between policing excessive noise and excessive speed. The same tools are present and available.
The only cost to the biker is time/money to swap the mufflers and the finding a cop to show the "repaired" muffler to.
Why are motorcyclists handled with kid gloves, here?
No, because determining whether or not a taillight is broken is objective: is the bulb lit, or not? How good are you at determining what 84db sounds like? "Well, it sounded like 86db to me. The fact that the driver was black is merely coincidence."
Do cops require people to go to a testing center when they cite then for...a DUI?
Another thought that occurred to me is that those loud pipes very likely have a "for off-road use only" somewhere on them. No testing necessary.
No. You don't need to get sent to a blood lab to be charged for, and convicted of a DUI. A roadside sobriety test of dubious accuracy, with a narrative report that may be full of half-truths and flat-out lies is sufficient evidence.
Before portable breathalyzers became as common as they are today, failing to walk the line and touch your nose was sufficient to convict someone.
That's the bar for convicting someone of a serious crime. Surely, we don't need to jump through all these hoops to ticket someone for a loud bike exhaust.
Chopping off the exhaust pipe for "moah powah!" fits much better into human behavior.
Cars are very well executed machines, but I've always wondered what alternatives could happen if there wasn't the weight of backwards compatibility.
(I'm recalling from memory, Kelly's explanation was probably better. Not something I've researched beyond finding that anecdote interesting.)
If by "greenfield" you mean "eliminate all roads", then I think you'll find yourself adding them back in at some point. I've been involved in a few of those design brainstorming sessions around urban transportation and every time it comes down to emergency services. If you need to get somebody across a city as fast as possible in a situation where seconds can mean the difference between life and death, then you need roads and cars.
A greenfield design would be something like this:
Make access/collector roads slower.
Personal vehicles smaller/lighter more like golf carts and e-bikes. Limited to 25mph. For use on neighborhood access and collector roads. The lower speeds and lighter weights allow these vehicles to shed a lot of complexity/cost. Licensing can remain easy, and insurance costs are reduced. Parking requirements are reduced.
Make arterials and highways larger/faster.
Service vehicles, freight and public transportation could be less constrained by lane sizes. Your 'bus' is now two lanes wide and can carry the smaller personal vehicles as cargo (like ferry service on land). The bus has fewer stops because it can expect passengers to travel further under their own power, rather than stop every block. Arterials/highways are for 'professional' uses. Freight, Emergency Services, Public transit. Licensing requirements are more strict etc...
A brand new Wolf 49cc is under $1000 and gets 100mpg.
There is some designated motorcycle/moped parking in the area, when that's not available you will see mopeds triple, or even quadruple parked in a normal car space.
I'm not sure either way if they will take off, but a huge use case near me seems to be people who are in an area far away from where they live that would be conducive to a scooter/moped/etc. For example, people coming into down from the 'burbs, tourists, etc.
But the Wolf isn't the cheapest 50cc on the market anyway. You can find a TaoTao under $1000 any day of the week, but realistically you should be able to pick it up on sale around $800 before tax/title/registrations.
It doesn't matter if you're on a gigantic Honda Goldwing, you're invisible if you're on a two wheeled vehicle. Drivers are idiots.
my guess is the muving scooter would fall under "moped rules" due to 30 mph and no pedals.
For electric mopeds, it's based on horsepower, not engine size.
A motor-driven cycle has 149cc or less engine size. CVC §405
A motor-driven cycle has to be registered and the driver must have a motorcycle license (M1).
They do recommend an in-person training course, but you can also simply watch a series of videos on their app, no special license required.
But you can't drive it on the interstate and most major highways, for obvious reasons.
I'd estimate that when I lived in Indiana, I got the motorcycle out at least once a week in winter. Wait for the snowplows, let the cars dry things out, sorted. One of the more motorcycle-crazy towns I know is...wait for it...Minneapolis. So your hard-core nut jobs will ride regardless.
But let's talk about real people with real levels of sanity. So their scooter business dips for three months out of the year. No way their business plan could have accounted for that.
it takes a ridiculous amount of clothing to keep warm
It takes an electric vest that pulls 50W. With a jacket on top, that keeps me warm to the 30s at 70mph. A speed-limited scooter could get by with much less. Being battery-powered, there are limits to what one could attach to these scooters, but even electric hand grips will take a surprising amount of chill off. And electrically-heated seats are not unheard of.
But enough apologetics, let's get to the "so what?". Fine, these companies don't go where a flake of snow ever falls. That only leaves us with congested cities such as Houston, San Diego, Seattle, SF...
This could take 2+ days, how will I get to work on those days?
> electrically heat everything on the scooter
So I basically need a car that isn't a car at this point, ok!
I'm not saying scooters aren't a viable business, they definitely are, and there are companies who make money selling scooters here in Canada. But they will never be more than a fun summer toy for the upper-middle class.
I bought a 29+ bike for winter riding, with my 3" tubeless tires inflated to 5-10 PSI, I have a ton of grip. I've pedaled up hills with ease, passing cars are spinning their tires. Granted, I have much better bike control than most people (if I do say so myself), but with a fat bike, riding in the winter is actually doable.
(The civilian winter tires have smaller studs of course)
And the lack of outdoor activity isn't limited to the hard winter states. When I lived in Texas, I was often the only person outdoors during the summer.
For those on a budget/single vehicle household the answer is clear. However as a second vehicle, or third it could make more sense.
We scooted for a couple of years, used public transport or hired cars when needed. Only had to ride in snow a few times though.