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Segway ends production of its original scooter (fastcompany.com)
304 points by bookofjoe 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 382 comments

I think the Segway just missed the mark. The real game-changing device is the e-bike and we can see its immense popularity. Segway may have only sold 140,000 of their devices over its lifetime, but e-bikes are selling by the tens of millions.

One problem with a Segway is that there isn't great space for it. It's far too fast for sidewalks at 10MPH and it's too slow for bike lanes where cyclists often want to go 15MPH. We don't have space to accommodate them and cities are often unwilling to make even minor changes to their infrastructure, never mind the large changes that would be needed to accommodate Segways throughout cities - and take away space from other modes of transit like cars.

E-bikes piggyback on roads and bike infrastructure that cyclists have been using for a long time. It's often less than ideal infrastructure, but it works. Likewise, bike parking accommodates e-bikes in a way that it might not accommodate a Segway as well.

E-bikes are also a lot cheaper. $1,000 can get you a solid e-bike (RadPower just launched its RadMission 1 today at $999). While many e-bikes are $2,000-$3,000, that's still around a third of the price of a Segway. Walmart has some e-bikes for around $700 which are nothing amazing, but have more speed and range than a Segway.

E-bikes typically have a lot more range than a Segway. While a Segway X2 SE has a range of 12 miles, e-bikes typically start at 25 miles of range for low-end bikes on very high assist levels. My e-bike ($1,500 purchase price) is rated for 50 miles and I can usually get 80+ on eco mode which still offers decent assist.

I think there's definitely utility in mid-speed (10-30 MPH, faster than walking, not quite car speed), battery-powered, lightweight transit devices. I just think that Segway missed the mark with something that was way too expensive, put riders in a riding position they didn't really like, had a control system that didn't seem to connect with people as much as it needed to, and didn't fit in with existing infrastructure enough. We're seeing a huge surge in demand for these type of devices, just not Segways. Heck, Ninebot (who purchased Segway) is selling loads of electric powered razor-style scooters.

I loved the iBOT. When I heard that the creator of the iBOT was making a mobility device, I expected something amazing. The iBOT was a wheelchair that could go up and down stairs and keep someone at a 5-7 foot height. It seemed amazing. Then the Segway was introduced and I thought "how on earth could someone think cities would be reconfigured for this?" It seemed to ignore what we knew about what people liked to ride while being incredibly expensive and generally less useful.

I can use my e-bike for so many things. I can get around my city with little worry about range and I'm usually faster than car traffic. I don't have to worry about range because I have so much extra. If I had a Segway, I'd be moving about at under 10MPH (with traffic signals and such) and I'd be constantly worried about range. 12 miles is a short distance for a round trip. If I travel 6 miles on my e-bike, I have at least 40 miles of range left. If I travel 6 miles on a Segway, I'm down to half my battery - or less if there were hills. I might not have power to get back.

The Segway was just never useful enough and it cost so much. E-bikes, electric kick-scooters, electric long-boards, etc. are all showing that there's a big market for mid-speed mobility tech. There just wasn't a market for Segways.

My electric cargo bike gets across town (with multiple passengers) as fast as driving, always gets the best parking, and can do the Home Depot run. You inspired me to post some photos: https://twitter.com/jchris/status/1275588731353722882?s=21

The bike is a Packster 80. The new ones since I bought mine have more power. https://www.splendidcycles.com/products/riese-and-muller/rie...

This is an $8,000 bicycle.

That's the part I don't get; carrier bikes (bakfietsen) have been around since forever, used by tradesmen and the people alike. Motorized variants as well, I mean it can be botched together with an old lawnmower engine if need be.

It wasn't a problem that needed solving, but it was a solution that rich people rediscovered. I guess two-stroke engines were beneath them?

Electric bikes are dirt cheap to make. They're practically free in China, with everyone riding electric scooters.

That this bike is expensive has nothing in the slightest to do with it being electric.

>>> I guess two-stroke engines were beneath them?

Too much maintenance with mixing up oil and gas.

Yeah, at least it should be four-stroke with dedicated oil lubrication.

Why doens't an E-bike doesn't need annual inspection while something like


does require annual inspection? Still looking for a real lightweight bike with an ICE. Speed wouldn't matter, 20MPH / 30km/h would sound reasonable.

> Why doens't an E-bike doesn't need annual inspection while something like ... does require annual inspection?

Emission testing as a moped, which is inapplicable to e-bikes.

(Probably also some bureaucracy, but that's separate.)

> lightweight bike with an ICE

That's an oxymoron. You can, however, get lightweight and entirely stealthy e-bike.

That gives you much more for much less, saves you the terrible noise of a small ICE with improper exhaust dampening, saves you a lot of maintenance, and probably also saves you and those around you some lung cancer while we're at it.

You'll be looking for a long time for your lightweight ICE bike. Probably be faster just to build it yourself with a leaf blower motor.

Also noisy and failure-prone.

Also very dirty exhaust

Severely damaging air quality in your community should be beneath everyone.

> It wasn't a problem that needed solving, but it was a solution that rich people rediscovered.

Alternative interpretation: It wasn't a problem that you needed solving, but others may have had a different experience.

Try bringing a two stoke engine onto a subway. That’s not their only appeal, but e-bikes simply work better in many urban areas.

Cargo e-bikes are vary niche, but still have real advantages over two stroke engines.

If you are dropping down into a subway why would the engine be running? Unless you mean the hazardous fuel on the bike not being allowed on the train.

Bringing a gasoline vehicle into the MTA would get you ticketed real quick. Oil/gas smells, potential leaks, hot exhaust - lots of things you don't want on an underground shoulder to shoulder transit vehicle.

At that price people could afford multiple electric scooters by established brands like Kymco. Scooters[1] are easier to manoeuver than regular bike frames.

[1] By scooter I mean the Vespa variety not the children’s toy.

You mean a discussion about the cost-effectiveness of ebikes isn't the time to brag about your fancy ride?

I guess you have never seen a Stromer[1]. The iPhone of e-bikes.

[1] https://www.stromerbike.com/

It doesn't even have a mid-motor but rather a cheap-o hub motor. It's like the iPhone 1 of e-bikes.

Why is a mid-motor preferable? Doesn't it introduce an other point of failure at the chain because of the additional torque, which is not present when having the motor at the rear? I always thought, that having the motor where the force is needed would be better, because there isn't any conversion necessary.

So I never considered buying a mid-motor ebike.

Crank motors are generally much more responsive than hub motors if used for pedal assist (as is required by law many places).

Having it apply torque via the chain/belt also mean you can gear the motor output on your back wheel.

Why people dislike hub motors.

They weight near nothing for power levels legal on bicycles.

Even on low end mopeds, motor weight is not that big of a problem.

It is at power levels of around 7.5kw, when it becomes a problem.

Wow, that's expensive. At that price I could buy a used 2012 Chevrolet Volt, a car that can do both short trips (up to 35 miles) on electricity, and long trips (on premium gas).

Or, of course, I could buy a cheaper regular gas car. One main benefit of a car is resale value. I'm pretty much guaranteed that it'll sell for not a lot less than what I bought it for, especially if I buy it several years used.

The Volt requires premium gas? That seems unlikely... It's basically a generator for the car, so I wouldn't expect the compression to be terribly high.

The Gen 1 Volt required premium gas (i.e. model years 2011 to 2015). The Gen 2 Volt (model years 2016 to 2019) runs on regular gas.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt#Drivetrain:

Prior to the 2016 model year, the Volt required premium gasoline of (R+M)/2 octane rating of 91 or higher because the higher octane permitted the 10.5:1 compression ratio engine to use more ignition timing advance to maximize fuel efficiency by 5 to 10% compared to regular gasoline. For users who drive mostly in electric mode, and to avoid maintenance problems caused by storing the same gasoline in the tank for months, the 2011 Volt has a sealed and pressurized fuel tank to avoid evaporation. As a result, the fuel filler must be depressurized before opening the tank. Also, the engine management system monitors the time since the engine last ran, and prompts the driver to run past the 40-mile (64 km) all-electric range before recharging to consume some gasoline. If the driver does not run on gasoline, the system automatically runs the maintenance mode, which starts the engine to consume some of the aging fuel and circulate fluids within the engine.

However, according to https://www.cars.com/articles/does-the-chevy-volt-require-pr...:

Premium gas will maximize the fuel economy when the engine is used, GM powertrain spokesman Tom Read said. In an emergency, regular gas can be used on the Volt, but fuel economy will be compromised, and the engine may become noisier. The Chevy Volt’s engine computer will detect the octane change and retard ignition timing. Still, Read highly recommends refilling the Volt’s tank with premium fuel as soon as possible to avoid damaging the engine.

Also, from https://www.reddit.com/r/volt/comments/5nghhu/do_i_really_ne...:

Premium gas has a much longer shelf life and even though the gas tank is pressure sealed, lower grades of gas can chemically degrade over time (ethanol can oxidize into acetic acid in certain conditions). Not sure how the gen 2 volts deal with that but maybe the pressure sealing works better than expected. Besides that you will get worse gas mileage as the timing is adjusted for a smaller compression ratio (higher compression = more efficient otto cycle) and carbon build up could occur on the exhaust manifold with reduced exhaust gas temps, but who knows. I don't think you'll see a real impact in engine life if you burn all the gas in the tank always and you run premium occasionally.

Interesting... Thanks for taking the time to educate me!

Still, a lot cheaper than a car. Seems like it's on the high end for ebikes tho

My e-bike, which was a little on the pricey side, cost me ~1000 USD new. 8000 USD is absurd, and over 1000 USD more than I originally paid for my current car (a 2010 VW). Hell, whenever they're on sale, VW UPs are pretty close to that price brand new.

There's nothing in this bike that makes it reasonable to price it like a small car.

What's your current bike?

I paid €6000 for a 3 year old used car that can also drive me on vacations across countries and I don't get wet in the rain.

I love biking but 8 grand is just taking the Mickey.

If you're going to start comparing prices you have to take into account ongoing costs for maintenance, taxes, insurance and fuel. After 3-5 years of ownership those probably exceed the initial purchase cost of a car like that.

Comparing cars and bikes like this is pretty worthless, they're not meant to replace each other but to supplement each other. You don't go on a family road trip by bike, and you don't need to go shopping for toothpaste by car. And you certainly shouldn't use the bike to carry furniture hanging out like that.

On the other hand an $8000 bike, while it may work just fine for OP, is absolutely insane for most people out there. You can get the same functionality out of a <$2000 bike. Regardless, the way OP is using it is neither safe, not legal. I hope it was done just for the photo op and some Twitter likes but I would hate to be around that bike when one of those chairs fall off, or a gust of wind catches the payload like a sail, or simply ride past it and be forced to move further into the traffic or pedestrian lanes to go around Oversized Load here...

Of course. But a car is much more difficult to steal than an ebike and in the EU bike theft is so rampant that police doesn't even bother with them but take car theft a lot more seriously, not that anyone would bother stealing my 2014 Camry but if I would leave my ebike chained in the city overnight there's no guarantee I would still find it in the morning.

Bike theft is rampant here in the US too. My brother got his bike stolen after leaving it chained up in a city park for 15 minutes, and another one stolen after leaving it overnight in a bike garage. One of my old coworkers who bikes a lot said he has had 3 bikes stolen. That has really put me off to getting a bike to use in any big city.

I am halfway through this life and never had a bike stolen ( NL ).

Can't compare it to a car without also mentioning the bike's disproportionately (far) lower possible utility.

And the bike's lower maintenance cost which most people should be able to do themselves.

Love your ride so much you want to display it in the living room? Can't do that with a car :-D

>Love your ride so much you want to display it in the living room? Can't do that with a car :-D

You've clearly never seen houses of millionaires.

And anyway, I like my bike but since it's always full of dust from the streets or brake pads and even worse when it's raining why would I bring it in the living room, that's just crazy. My bike is tool to get me from A to B, not a hobby to spend my time tinkering with or cleaning every day.

I mean you could if you really love your car.


$8000 for an electric rickshaw.

I live in the Netherlands and we have an Urban Arrow electric cargo bike. We frequently use it to ferry around three kids or heavy objects. It's got a range of about 40km and we have a spare battery so we can double that. We've used to to travel to the coast with the kids carrying everything we need for a couple of days away. I love this thing!

Funny thing is, when I first saw cargo bikes when I moved here I thought they were super goofy, but after trying one I was blown away at how functional they are. I can just imagine people in my hometown being very confused if we ever take it back to the UK.

There are at least 3 cargo bikes doing the school run at my daughters small primary now. Not in London.

You see cargo bikes all the time in London - not sure where your home town is but they are pretty common round my parts.

They also cost almost as much as some new cars.

I do not know where you live but in the BeNeLux, as far as I know, getting a new car for less than 10k € is not gonna to happen. Used cars is another story and can be more "competitive" in pricing with e-bikes.

Lets not pretend that the value is even comparable here. You can get a modern car with safety, speed and reach that is hundred if not thousand times ahead of this electric bike. It's purely a high-class fashion vehicle and there's nothing wrong with that as long as you don't pretend it's something more.

Value is always relative to your intended use case.

I own a similar sized and prized cargo bike. It replaces all my urban transportation needs, carrying me and my 3yo kid and all the cargo we need. It’s cargo capacity is in line with a small car. My average speed in the city is about 20km/h which is very much in line with a cars average speed in an urban setting. On many of our daily commutes it’s even faster than a car. For us, it entirely replaces a car. It’s cheaper to maintain. I can largely fix it myself.

I ride it for about 3000-4000 km per year, which is a definite indicator that it’s not a toy device.

(1) bikes are priced disproportionally high compared to cars, (2) e-bike even more so, (3) this is a top of the line model from a fancy brand, (4) cost of ownership of a bike is a very small fraction of a car, with a bike when you've paid for it you're done, maintenance is cheap and DIY. Cars: insurance, expensive maintenance, road tax, fuel etc.

Personally I almost always buy my bikes second hand, there are always deals to be had where bikes are only a few months old and are sold with a 50% or more discount.

In Belgium, second hand bikes tend to be overpriced, because many sellers aren't aware of the disproportionately high cost of local labor compared to the cost of producing a new bike. The price of local labor should be taken into account because you need it to maintain the second hand bike. I used to buy my bikes second hand, but I've switched to buying a new one every three years, and it requires little maintenance since I choose a higher end one.

I agree with you comparison to cars. In the last five years prices have significantly gone down thanks to big players like Decathlon or online brands, but they're still quite high. 500 euros can buy you 1000 kg of second hand metal, or an entry-level bicycle. I know there's more to it, but I still don't understand why good quality bicycles cost so much to produce.

Yes and no, at least for Brussels than I know. Yes, fancy road bike and so on tends to be expensive for second hand. No because, if you look at more "old" bike and you reach to a lot of bike association, often you have kind of repair shops managed by non-profit were you can learn to repair your bike only paying for the pieces your need with someone. Not the best gear will be available but you can easily transfer that knowledge after to maintain your bike on your own.

Brussels and cities in Wallonia can be very hilly and valley-y and require either a good enough bike and/or physical condition. Outside of the cities, Ravel are a good way to travel and avoiding small roads when cars are going way to fast because of habits. An e-bike in those cities is really a nice tools to navigate. The bike infrastructure is not as much there than in Flanders but it will finally come to the same level, I hope. I see way less cargo bike than in the Netherlands too but that will come with the bike infrastructure because riding the city is still tough IMO.

Another angle: or why cars are so incredibly cheap for what they offer. Do keep in mind that car manufacturers make a lot more on the after-sales track than bike manufacturers ever will and some might be willing to reduce the sticker price a bit but raise the price of parts and maintenance to counterbalance that.

I think it's just the difference that car industry is much bigger and much more efficient with its labor. It's also widely different markets so clearly markup is very different. Where automobile markup is often not more than few percent hipster urban ebike market can easily justify 500% markup.

I expect bike and component prices to go down with wider adoption. Especially e-bikes. I was for example surprised to see that on my kids-towing e-bike in a hilly city I have to change front-disc-brakes pads approximately every 1'000km which, at 20€ a pair of disc-brakes pads in Switzerland, translates to approximately 0.02€ per km just for braking. Which at the end of the day is not an issue for me but seems SO expensive in comparison with a car.

I believe it might have to do with the near-monopolies of bike component producers, like Shimano or SRAM. It might also be related to the antiquated model of distribution with local bike shops that have little freedom about how they can sell within the exclusive contracts they have with big brands.

There's also the mix of leisure practice of cycling that clashes with a more practical use. In the first case, bikes are almost a Veblen good. People are happy to spend crazy amounts of money to save what is in the end very little weight.

For instance I recently looked SRAM Eagle groupset prices. The cheapest version is $380, and the most expensive one is $1,381. The weights are 2032 g and 1,502 g respectively. Almost 4 times the price for saving 25% of the weight!

Consumers that are ready to spend that amount of money get a lot of attention from the industry, that has little incentive to cater to the needs of daily cycling commuters, who're looking for cheap, reliable and durable bikes.

Bikes could not possible get 'wider adoption' where I live and yet prices are what they are. Switzerland is probably one of the worst countries for bike brake maintenance, here I got for many years between pads/discs and I cycle a lot, as much as most people would drive their car.

A lot of those 50% off used bikes are probably stolen which is why they are so cheap. Bike theft is rampant in a lot of cities and it is trivial to export them to other places to sell them.

Not a chance. Frame # check is an easy thing to do here and if someone's new bike gets stolen it is a sure thing that will get reported to insurance / police.

But new bikes get stolen to be chopped up for parts regularly. Joke on the subject: The bike theft report form for the Netherlands contains a field labelled: "Where did you steal the bike yourself?"

> Lets not pretend that the value is even comparable here

If you want a car, the value is not comparable, and you should get a car.

If you do not want a car (for any reason), it doesn't make any sense to "compare value".

I do not understand why so many people react with "you could get a car for this much" when looking at expensive E-bikes. Well, perhaps you could, but so what? A car is not equivalent to an E-bike, except that they are both options for transportation. But so is public transport, an airplane, an 18-wheel truck and a cargo ship.

In my case, while I would probably not want an $8000 cargo bike, I do not have a problem paying around $2000 for a good quality E-bike — and I would not compare it to a car, nor would I compare it to an 18-wheel truck. It's a different mode of transport.

With car share schemes, the value of buying a car when you only use it occasionally is greatly diminished while a cargo bike can be used daily for the school run.

But it depends where you are. American towns and cities are largely built for cars. Many European cities are built for walking and are pedestrianizing their city centers. Depending on your situation there's no need for a car aside from really occasional use. Calling a cargo bike "purely a high-class fashion vehicle" is not correct.

> It's purely a high-class fashion vehicle

But that's true of any motor vehicle that isn't a sub-$1000 used Corolla.

Buying a $10,000 e-bike isn't something I'd do personally, but it's certainly no crazier than buying a $100,000 Tesla.

I don't agree about the way you assess value, and I don't think it's so much about fashion as you pretend.

Mobility choices are lifestyle choices. Buying a bicycle means getting rid of parking issue and exercising everyday by default, without the cost of having to decide to do it. Despite road violence coming from car drivers, it's less stressful because it keeps you connected to your environment. The value of a bike compared to a car is like the value of a lower paying job that has less pressure, in a lower cost of living area, a shorter commute, and better offices and colleagues. You can't compare them easily.

> Lets not pretend that the value is even comparable here.

Agreed, but for opposite reasons. As someone living in a city I drive a few times a year. I bike 200kms a week, though. So the value of a bicycle is vastly better.

This is an argument out of ignorance.

You don't know anything about electric cargo bikes, but you're confident in judging them anyway. Why?

Do I need to know how to pilot a helicopter to know that's its a complex and expensive machine?

The response is quite mind boggling. Are you really implying a vehicle with engine, safety systems that have been refined for a century and probably has markup in single digit percents is less valuable than a niche product that produced for the high-class with a 1000 percent markup?

I know many tech people are spoiled high class citizens but this thread is just ridiculous. There's nothing wrong you liking the bike just don't judge the rest of the world's peasants claiming that it could equate and replace whatever poor people are using.

> Are you really implying a vehicle with engine, safety systems that have been refined for a century

The ignorance displayed here is astounding. Appealing to the length of cars' history, when bikes have been around for even longer? Really?

> produced for the high-class with a 1000 percent markup?

Even more absurdity. I'm sure the markup is higher than for cars, but a thousand percent just reveals how little you know in a subject you're nevertheless overwhelmingly confident on.

You complain about the actual knowledgeable people being "spoiled high class citizens", even as you advertise your ignorance on the subject with nearly every sentence.

Oof, it's almost like the concept of hyperbole is alien to you. Sure it's not 1000 percent markup but it's much much higher than middle class automobile.

It's a niche product for upper class urban citizen, of course markup is high here. You can't serisouly be thinking that a electric bicycle has actually worth 8000$ of parts right? Not even 4000$, right?

Not actually true.

The first car dates from 1769, the first bicycle from 1839.

The value of a tool is how it serves the user's needs. Different users, different situations, different needs.

Cars are wildly impractical in much of Benelux. You’re forcing your worldview where it doesn’t fit.

The other poster said Home Depot though so is most likely American. Go reply to that person with your myopic views.

"wildly" is wildly exaggerated, "the Benelux" is much more than the car-unfriendly urban areas.

As much as I don't agree with the aggressive tone of the grand-parent post, I tend to find it less a problem outside the urban areas due to the bike roads in the "countryside" more available either in Belgium or the Netherlands. It is also the part of the countries when the need of a car is enhanced due the need to travel way longer distances to reach day-to-day facilities (supermarket, shops, etc.).

And yes, different countries, different prices, requirements etc. Comparison is fallacious but taking inspiration of something done in another part of the world and applying it with the constraints of your own environment is always useful.

The question of mobility is much centred around the mobility in urban areas of various sizes. I may project here because I used to live in urban areas most of my life.

It's more than half way there https://www.motortrend.com/price/0-15k/

This is how I see stuff being hauled around in China on a daily basis!

to be fair, you also live in a city that has been slowly building out bike infrastructure.

unrelated, it's been too long - we should grab lunch after this mess starts to settle down :)

"Slowly" sure is the operative word. But at least it's happening at all.

Man, that's a sweet ride!

If you like that then checkout Urban Arrow, they are everywhere in the Netherlands. Very popular.

We have one! I thought it was super overpriced, but my wife uses it every single day for hauling kids around.

Everyone in the Netherlands has one of those, they’re considered pretty ordinary bikes there.

that's because you get to use bike infrastructure and play by bicycle rules but not ride a bicycle. As soon as a large enough group of people did the same everyone on a bike-style coveyance would be stuck in traffic with no place to park.

Bikes are considerably more space efficient, especially since drivers have been opting for considerably larger vehicles. The same space a single SUV requires can fit 5+ bicycles, even if they’re larger cargo bikes like the one he’s riding.

I was trying to adjust for the size of that R&M bike but you’re right that even the “minivan” of bikes takes up far less space.

These electric cargo bikes are a hazard. They have a lot of mass and drive really fast, using infrastructure intended for human-powered vehicles.

Getting hit by one of these would be not much different than getting hit by a small car, yet they race along narrow bicycle lanes, next to little children learning to drive their bicycles. I hope these get banned soon.

This is preposterous. People with cargo ebikes are not randomly plowing into other bikers.

Good point, it's not random. According to GP they are happening on multi-purpose paths not made to accommodate motorized vehicles.

I ride those paths regularly. There is not some epidemic of cargo ebikes plowing into people. Seriously, the whole HN thing of "if I imagine it that must be true" needs some reality checks.

is it more believable to think they could hit a pedestrian?

One of the few dangerous bike accidents I had involved a eBike. They should require a license to operate, their acceleration and breaking is far less predictable than normal bicycles and 15 year old kids should not be allowed to operate them.

I’m very greatful for what Segway did for the “micro-mobility” industry.

But personally I think electric scooters are the future rather than e-bikes. They are simpler to maintain and cheaper to produce. I think eventually (in the next 5 years) they will get significantly cheaper as well, owing to improvements in competition, volume, and battery tech - imagine if the current M365 cost only $100 new. They’re fast enough for the bike lane or streets, and they’re small enough that it’s less scary encountering them on a sidewalk. And you can bring them on public transportation more easily.

Even now you can get that M365 for less than $400 (think I paid 350), amortized over a year that’s about $1/day and all you need to do is keep the tires pumped/replaced and charge it. It’s perfect for me for “last mile” to and form public transportation

Electric scooters have the same problem with segways in that they are too fast for sidewalks but too slow for bike lanes. And when you want to make a left turn, the scooter just can't go fast enough for you to safely merge onto the left-turn lane for cars like a bike can, so you end up waiting for two traffic lights like a pedestrian.

I use my scooter a lot in San Francisco and I’ve found that I’m normally going faster than many of the bikers in the bike lane (>15mph). I also don’t have that problem turning, although sometimes I cheat and kick-scoot at sidewalk crossings. It would definitely depend on the environment though - I’m sure in more heavily suburban areas with faster speed limits, more lanes, and less stop-and-go they would not feel safe to ride around cars. But I do think they’re pretty compatible with biking infrastructure

After 6 months of practice only few bikes were faster than my scooter (25 km/h), I never experienced issues with turns.

Only issue is the rough roads - when I want to ride on the rough roads I use bike.

In every other aspect e-scooter is better: doesn't require special outfit; I don't sweat; it's compact enough to take it to the shop or cafe (without bending); less details I need to care about - pedals, brakes, speed switches, saddle - I just use what I've bought and it works fine. My bikes usually worth ~$500 (same as e-scooter) and they requiere some fixes/replacements from time to time. Scooter had just one flat tire replacement, that's all.

At least where I live scooters have a max speed of 25 km/h, and very few cyclists go faster than that in a city environment.

No they don't. Electric scooters are definitely fast enough for bike lanes. Most cyclists in urban areas are only going like 12-15 mph, well within electric scooter speeds.

What’s the solution for the safety problem of scooters, where a small obstacle can send the rider flying forwards into a broken jaw?

Ride it on good roads and use your good judgment regarding speed vs. quality of the road. You can also decrease your tire pressure if you want, though that has drawbacks. I just don't see this as much of a problem. I think mine maxes out somewhere between 15-20 mph

Limiting speed. E = m*v^2

Happens with bikes as well. People wear helmets for a reason.

And as it turns out the proponents of helmet wearing for bicycles are car companies. Bike helmets don't really do much to protect the front or sides of the face, only impacts directly to the top of the head.

So people wearing helmets riding on bikes are mostly doing it for legal not safety reasons, regardless if they know it or not.

Don’t ride a scooter?

Bigger wheels.

Like... Like a bike?

Yeah! But without the ridiculous pedaling nonsense. So... not like a bike.

Like the bicycles from 19th century, bigger front wheel.

Like an e-bike then?

They look interesting but are illegal in the UK.

They are illegal to use on the street and the pavement/sidewalk at the moment - you can legally use one on private land (with permission etc).

However this is likely to change very soon since COVID-19 - there is "urgent legislation" on e-scooter rental trials going on: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/legalising-renta...

Infuriatingly, privately owned e-scooters will remain illegal even if rental fleets are legal. I do not understand why it would be legal to drive a rented e-scooter, but illegal to drive a privately owned e-scooter :-/

It is infuriating!, and I do hope is only for the duration of these 'trials' to help manage them.

But the Government's hand is being partly forced here. Despite the current legal situation many many people have e-scooters and use the on the streets.

They are widely sold, even on the high street by major chains like Halford's etc, and the current restrictions are widely ignored or not seen as a priority by all parties, as it is quite rightly seen as hopelessly out of date by everyone expect perhaps the Department for Transport.

Being actively confiscated in Gloucestershire. Overt Police social media warning people not to use them.

I believe they have changed the rules to be more permissive in a number of counties in the UK as way of a pilot:


> But the scooters, which are already in widespread, if unlawful, use across the UK, will initially only be allowed in four “future transport zones”: Portsmouth and Southampton; the West of England Combined Authority (WECA); Derby and Nottingham; and the West Midlands.

Maximum speed of 12.5 mph, that's not great. Why do they not simply let electric scooters be treated the same as bikes?

Or 15.5 potentially. I believe that the popular Xiaomi m365 does 15.5mph

I agree it is not super-fast, but for use in urban environments 15mph would be pretty usable I reckon. My pre-lockdown commute in london on the tube would take about 35 minutes door to door. Walking it is 4.2 miles, cycling 4.9 miles. lets call it 5 miles for sake of argument.

So for a 12.5mph scooter it would be 24 minutes. For a 15.5mph scooter it would be 20 minutes.

That is pretty good I reckon - it takes me 10 minutes to walk to the tube station, so to be half-way/almost half-way to work before I would have even got to the station would be pretty decent I think.

Only thing is, this all makes sense when it is glorious sunshine and warm outside. It might be less appealing in December :-)

The law is out of date. e-bikes are just cycles under the road transport act, electric scooters are 'mechanically propelled vehicles' - i.e. just like cars and trucks.

In theory a scooter would be legal on roads if you could convince the DfT you met the safety regs, had a type certificate, license plate, VIN etc - it would still be illegal to use on a bike lane and I don't know that anyone has managed to do this!

Also you look like a dork on a Segway, the image problem is huge, that is a problem you don’t have with a bike.

Big time. Maybe it was the fact that the styling landed it somewhere between a cheap toy and plasticky medical equipment. A very "velcro orthorpedic mall-walking shoe" kind of look. From my cultural perspective, the closest current thing to Segway-level dorky is a riding a tiny-wheeled folding bike with a huge mushroom helmet in staid business casual. Folding bikes and helmets are both fantastically useful objects— I would say more useful than a Segway to most— but they are dorky as all getout. (I'll refrain from commenting on business casual.)

The people who say "who cares if you look like a dork" either have a less-important use case for their own public-facing image than others, or exist in a cultural facet that perceives those things as more culturally acceptable. Even some people whose personal appearance is extremely professionally important— lawyers for example— can withstand looking really square because the cultural context they exist in calls for it. If a bouncer at a nightclub looked as square as a lawyer, their job would be a lot harder. A lawyer would get raked over the coals for wearing a club bouncer's poorly-tailored polyester suit. Your appearance influences most people's perception of you, and their appearance influences your perception of them, whether you care to admit it or not.

I mean, I know some people who thought google glass looked cool. I wouldn't wear google glass if it could make me fly.

Speaking of which, now that the Segways are done for, I wonder if Google Glass will overtake them as the cultural icon for dorkiness in the aughts? I heard people explain google glass as being like "a Segway for your face." I wonder if now Segways are going to be "like Google Glass you could ride."

It's called an electric chariot, thank you.

Electric Chariot sounds like a band I would have joined in High School.

I mean you look like a dork on anything. In my high school being seen on a bike was humiliating as it meant you were either too young or too poor to have a car (both uncool).

But when a lot of people decide to look like dorks for a while, that effect wears off. Everyone made fun of the e-scooters for the first few months they came out, but they’re just so darn practical, they’re not weird anymore.

This is the single most important reason the Segway never really took off. It makes the rider look lazy. Also, much too heavy to take with you across any kind of barrier. It's a 'last mile' solution with no idea about how to cover the gap between the two last miles.

Plenty of people wear ridiculous cycling gear (myself included) (helmets look especially dorky, but they're less dorky than being confined to a motorized wheelchair for the rest of your life so wear your helmets, kids.) so I don't buy that. (Nor did I buy a Segway, mind you.)

I think your right on the other part though. The Segway's target market is people that live and work and play mostly within a 1.5 mile radius. Unfortunately the original Segway was too expensive but more critically, far too big and bulky. The target market which stays within a tiny region are able to do so because it's so dense. But that density means that apartments (and stairwells and elevators) are too small to fit the original Segway. Nor did it fit well in the trunk of a car. Leaving very few buyers outside of Segway tours for tourists.

The quickest way to become a massively ridiculed cliché tourist in any European town is to take one of those Segway tours. My god I would never set foot on one of them, it's just so embarrassing.


Hmm, I never even give a second glance to people taking the Segway tours in my city (Chicago). But whenever I see one in my neighborhood, 7 miles from downtown, hoo boy is it hard to not stare.

I remember the prediction the future cities would be designed around the Segway and how we all laughed at this at the time, but now when considering cities where we'd consider moving to, favorable e-scooter laws and infrastructure are near the top of our list.

Escooter infrastructure is basically the same as bike infrastructure. Not sure "way more bike lanes" is what people meant back then.

What's a good ebike? Are the conversion kits any good?

I have a steel frame touring bike that I use to get to work on (a Trek 520 clone) occasionally. It's great but if it was a bit easier I would probably commute by bike more often.

I'm really impressed by the kits from ebikes.ca. The owner, Justin, innovates several of the components sold through there and other retailers. Specifically their "cycle analyst", which is a multi function ebike computer controller.

For my needs, I ended up with a geared rear-wheel hub kit, as the motor is smaller and hidden by the gears and disc brakes. The battery came from Luna Cycle.

I will say though, buying the controllers or motors straight from China is cheaper by a factor of 50-80%, and allows you to get more headroom. Though I wouldn't trust Chinese batteries, and shipping can be slow.

It's a different price for a different product. Grin Technologies does their own design, and makes great stuff.

Not for the motors, and the Grin ESCs are not the only ones available. In any cases, Chinese Kunteng ESCs are also very well made, with an open-source firmware available and provide pure-sine wave control as well as regenerative braking for less than a third of the price of a Grin ESC, and also have headroom (people have been overvolting them by significant margins without issues).

Yes, Grin has its own custom motor designs.

Yes, and they are pretty bad. For the price of a Grin motor you can buy a much better, fully custom QS Motor with components and windings of your own choice, and have enough money left to buy a second one. The Grin motor will be slightly lighter but will also overheat earlier, so there's really no advantage - you can just get a smaller motor and push it harder. Nothing is free - Grin motors aren't really better than anything out of China and for the outrageous price they sell at you can literally get a motor custom made.

How can something be 150% cheaper?

Ah sorry, I meant the reverse, that Luna cycles is more expensive by 50-150%. Will fix.

Justin from a .ca website: nice.

He is also really active on some of the ebike forums.

If you consider converting your bike, make sure that your bikes brakes are good. Mass will increase and you’ll generally ride faster. There’s a reason most solid e-bikes use disk brakes.

In most countries e-bikes are limited to 250W and 25km/h, so considerably slower than what I do on my road bike with rim brakes. But your point still stands about weight. And if the e-bike is replacing other commuting, the weather will not always be nice which is another reason to use good disk brakes.

Many modern road bikes offer disk brakes, too. I certainly wish for having them on mine, but I’d need a new frame and I like my current one.

(the power limit is on average, btw, not peak power delivery, but that’s a nitpick)

Yeah, I skipped on getting expensive Ultegra or extra light carbon frame, as I feel that don't really impact performance much. But I will definitely go for disk brakes next time. It's just smoother, and doesn't strain the hands as much when going down steep mountains. Even better performance as I with a disk brake bike dare to go faster because I know I can easily slow down before.

You are probably also right about the power, but from my workout yesterday my avg was 242 watts, and peak 686 w. So I still think it's about the same 8)

Take care though, hydraulic disc brakes doesn't always mean more stopping power. I found budget ebikes are mostly fitted with really cheap disk brakes that felt spongy and lacked safe stopping power. Good cable rim brakes are always better than cheapo hydraulic disc brakes.

I got this https://www.bafangusadirect.com/bafang-750w-bbs02-mid-drive-... and it works great! I've had it for a few years now. strong enough to handle pulling both my kids in a bike trailer and also a lot faster than I was expecting for commuting back and forth to work.

These days I'm kinda reluctant to rec reddit due to all the toxic nonsense, but the ebike subreddit has some really great resources, particularly for people who want to do a diy buildup.

No... Reddit is still most definitely shit, even for Ebikes...

Check out Endless Sphere.

For commuting, the Crosscurrent by Juiced Bikes

To me it seems like the electric scooter (Bird, Lime etc or private scooters) is more the replacement for Segway, than an e-bike.

E-bike is more likely to replace a car trip.

> The Segway was just never useful enough and it cost so much. E-bikes, electric kick-scooters, electric long-boards, etc. are all showing that there's a big market for mid-speed mobility tech. There just wasn't a market for Segways.

Of course it's not like these ideas were just waiting around for the taking when the Segway came out. Battery tech has gotten a lot better in the years since the introduction of the Segway, and a lot more is possible at various price points than it was at the time. It's clear that the Segway doesn't match up well against any of these lower cost devices today, but this class of device wasn't possible at a competitive price point when the Segway was released, either.

It's obviously not competitive now, but I'm not sure there was an alternative / more successful approach available when the Segway was released. The strongest case against the Segway, I suppose, is that "maybe it should have been a really expensive bicycle instead of a really expensive scooter," but I'm not sure it would have done any better. It's fundamentally the "really expensive" part that was always going to be a limiting factor, and there was no way around that.

I don't feel that safe on a Segway. I feel much more secure on an e-bike. The experience of the "ride" just wasn't that good.

Segway make ebikes now https://store.segway.com/dirtebike

It's really a re-badged Sur-ron Chinese ebike. But it's a very good one.

Almost but not quite a re-badge ... they added a number of features you won't get on the Sur Ron. It's more like an AMG Mercedes or a Alpina BMW.

They tweaked the app. The suspension is the same, the range is the same, and the motors are the same. Not comparable at all to AMG or Alpina. Yes, it's one of the top models, but you can still get it directly from Sur-ron.

Segway Ninebot invested in Sur-Ron.

You can also retro fit your bike. I’d imagine this is a popular option since it’s fairly cheap and you don’t really need the motor all the time. Occasionally you may need some assistance.

>> (10-30 MPH, faster than walking, not quite car speed), battery-powered, lightweight transit devices.

That's car speed. It isn't highway speed, but when an ebike passes me at the dog beach doing 25mph I'm tempted to put a stick through the front spokes. In a car, 30mph in a school zone would get you a massive ticket ($$$+). Any vehicle capable of such things should be limited to the roads, plated and licensed like every other electric motorcycle. (Don't bother with the helmets. Darwin can work that one out.)

> I'm tempted to put a stick through the front spokes

You're tempted to risk killing someone because they're doing something dangerous? I'm not sure that's a reasonable response.

Ask me that after I help take a dog to the dog hospital. Plenty of dogs, and people, are hit by ebikes. They are particular dangers at parks because, unlike pushbikes, ebikes are nearly silent.

Plenty of people get bitten by dogs, does it mean I have to attack every dog owner?

>> unlike pushbikes, ebikes are nearly silent.

So an ebike is typically a regular bike PLUS an electric motor. Not sure how that can be quieter than just the regular bike. You can definitely hear whirl of the electric motor as well.

>> Plenty of dogs, and people, are hit by ebikes

Last year only 9 of the total reported bicycle-pedestrian acidents in NYC were with e-bikes.

An e-bike is just a bike from a traffic rule perspective. It is a bit noisier than a regular bike, goes about the same speed (in fact, the motor cuts out at about 15 mph). Its main advantages are that it helps with acceleration and with headwind/hills, but once you're at 15 mph you're on your own.

If you have a situation where dogs regularly interfere with bicycles and the other way around then I suspect that the problem is more with the dog owners (you?) than with the cyclists. I've been a dog owner for many years and my dogs have never been in a situation where cyclists would endanger it, though, I have to admit, one of my hounds once did endanger a cyclist by giving chase (pink spandex, not 100% the dogs fault, but then again they supposedly don't see color). I consider that wholly my fault, the dog pulled the leash right out of my hand and then refused to stop giving chase and that should have never happened.

It all sounds to me like you need something to be worked up about and you've decided that e-bikes are a menace to dogs when in fact the spaces where dogs are allowed to run free are not typically exclusive to dogs but are also shared by dogs with foot and cycle traffic. The responsibility for keeping the dogs and the other traffic safe lies squarely with the owner of the dog. A well mannered dog will stay with its owner and will not interfere with others on foot, bike or otherwise.

Finally, dogs are a much bigger danger to other pedestrians, and children in particular than your typical e-bike will ever be to a dog.

The motor cuts out at 15 mph in the EU, in the US the standard ebike limit is 20 mph, and many ebikes go yet faster than that.

Has the particular cyclist you’re thinking of assaulting committed such a misdeed?

> In a car, 30mph in a school zone would get you a massive ticket

Bikes can stop faster, maneuver easier, and cause significantly less damage than a car when striking something. You rarely ever hear of bikes seriously harming pedestrians for a reason (but of course yes it does happen on occasion).

I'm not supporting dangerously biking through a school zone but this is a silly comparison to make, of course the fines would be lower for a bike.

Bikes don’t stop faster than cars. Plenty of cars approach 1G of deceleration. At .3Gs I’m going over the handlebars of a bike.

Furthermore, in NYC, half of serious pedestrian injuries are caused by bikes, meaning a cyclist is about 200 times more likely to seriously injure a pedestrian than a driver.

I am all for bikes, but let’s not be delusional about the safety issues or basic physics of how poorly they brake.

>> Furthermore, in NYC, half of serious pedestrian injuries are caused by bike

I would be interested to see that citation.

I would also note that very very few people have ever been killed by a bicycle, which cannot be said for cars.

8 over the past 15 years, vs 2300 killed by cars: https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nycdot-pedestria...

The BYC DOT publishes stats every year that refute this completely. About 30x as many pedesttrians are hurt by cars vs bicycles, and 100x as many killed. You would expect that same ratio to stand up to whatever the GP means by "serious injuries"

>> in NYC, half of serious pedestrian injuries are caused by bikes, meaning a cyclist is about 200 times more likely to seriously injure a pedestrian than a driver.

This absolutely false, but nice try.

2017 city wide stats:

Bicycles: 315 accidents involving pedestrians with 1 fatality. Motor Vehicles: 10,561 and 106 pedestrian fatalities. Not to mention 4,397 bicycle injuries and 24 fatalities.


Not OC, It would be great if you could normalize the data for number of cars/bikes and for Km/miles done (I do not see this data in your link). Because I am wondering if maybe there are fewer bikes then cars so the numbers comparison will be unfair.

I am not against bikes, cities need better infrastructures, I only needed to drive once on a busy city and I said that I never do it again.

On the other hand, car infrastructure tends to be better separated from people walking compared to bike infrastructure.

A longer distance car drive may happen on a highway fully separated from pedestrians, while cyclists are almost always on bike lanes right next to sidewalks or trails/paths basically shared with pedestrians.

Car infrastructure in most places probably has had 1000x as much money pumped into it as bike infrastructure. If bikes had even 10% of that, you could have luxury, hyper-safe bike paths anywhere and everywhere.

I know, if the numbers look bad for bikes in cities with bad infrastructures and better in cities with good infrastructures after normalization then you can show that investment prevents deaths. Sometimes pedestrians are at fault too so everyone would be safer if bikes can be separated from pedestrians and if data confirms this force a speed limit for bikes on certain sections.

If you're going over the handlebars of a bike at .3Gs, I think you might be using your bike incorrectly. I'm personally limited as far as braking mainly by my tires slipping or, on downhills, by stoppies. All of which happen at much more than 1G.

Motorcycles can also generally brake at 1G, again limited by the presence of an ABS system, so it's not a physics question, it's that either you have bad brakes or you do not know how to brake on a bike. Even only using the rear wheel should allow you significantly more than .3G

I did some measuring and thinking when I returned my bike to the bike room. I looked up some stuff, and .5g is where one typically goes over the handlebars. .3g is typical stopping speed for an average rider. Elite riders can achieve .7g by moving their butt way behind and below the seat. The front tire friction limit is around .8g with good dry conditions. My bike is way too small and I have the seat post about 1cm into the tube, and I’m also a bit top heavy. The wiki page on bike physics says rear wheel only braking gets about .25g.


I measured my mountain bike, and the seat is 41” high, and 35” behind the front contact patch. This is terrible for braking, though not entirely out of line with some of the fancy road bikes in the bike room. I should probably get a different bike, as I am quite sure I go over the handle bars at about .3g rather than the more normal .5g.

At any rate, I am not sure how one learns limit braking on a bike. Modern cars the computer does it for you if you just stomp the pedal and some cars even do it preemptively with collision avoidance.

Apply both brakes. When the rear wheel starts to skid, you are near the limit of your braking ability with the front brake.


It's really quite simple. And you learn it with cursory research about braking on bicycles. Really this ought to be taught in schools.

One learns to avoid locking up the brakes by feel and experience. ABS is not necessary, though it is more reliable. For an extreme example, Formula 1 drivers or MotoGP drivers do not use ABS, and yet are able to brake at the very edge of possibility.

Indeed, it is actually possible to brake ever so slightly more efficiently without ABS than with ABS using very slight wheel slip, and smoother braking allows for weight pre-loading going into a turn.


According to this study, braking using both wheels on modern motorcycles (And, by extension, modern bicycles as both have in the past decade standardized braking systems that operate at the limit of grip) achieved .75G +- .15G. This is without ABS, and the limit using perfect braking at higher speeds yielded deceleration rates greater than 1G.

If the average, skilled rider is able to achieve .7G on modern bikes, this is not at all worse than cars where the average driver is assumed to brake at .4G. According to https://nacto.org/docs/usdg/vehicle_stopping_distance_and_ti... , a moderately skilled driver is assumed to be able to brake at about .5-.6G. This compares favorably.

As for braking technique, it is about extracting as much braking force as possible from the rear tire, then attempting to lower one's center of gravity by leaning down and backwards. An absolutely crucial difference is that in a car, braking is very detrimental to turning, causing over-steer. This is not so on a bicycle or motorcycle, which contributes furthermore to safety, as most accidents are avoided via steering, then steering and braking, and then only braking.

According to this, braking forces of up to 0.83G are possible on a normal bicycle, without suspension nor special positioning: http://www.industrializedcyclist.com/braking-pitchover.pdf

Unfortunately, I see this reaction all the time. The problem is bikes can do this, not just e-bikes, but the perception is that it's only e+bikes, which is why I fear they'll be legislated out of existence.

Not all bikes / riders. Many cyclists have trouble with more than 10 - 12 MPH over an extended time period. I know that when I was a decade younger, and working out for 2 years cycling for 30 - 50 miles per day, a 15 mile ride into work (on a mountain bike) took a good chunk over an hour. I could average 15, but I'd be sweating heavily when I got to work.

So the argument is that it isn't bad when a small percentage of cyclists hit 25 - 30 mph, but when all of them are able to that is where the issue is.

My personal feeling, however, is that especially the models that are pedal assist (where you put some effort into it, and it multiples your effort) is a good way to get otherwise low-fitness people to bike ride more. The more cyclists, the more push for bicycle friendly infrastructure. And people still get exercise on them, more so than in a car.

But regardless of powered vs unpowered, anyone that rides a bicycle fast by pedestrians and dogs is doing it wrong. On an ebike, it should be no effort to slow down to 5 - 8 mph, then speed back up after passing someone.

> pedal assist

I can’t wait for pedal assist ebikes to become more affordable. It opens up biking as an option for a lot more journeys, not just for lower-fitness people, but in regions where it’s hilly.

For where I live in Los Angeles, the places I bike to are a couple of miles away (or close enough that walking makes more sense), but uphill all the way. Having pedal assist would mean that I don’t arrive sweaty with tired legs. I don’t need to go 25mph, just 10mph with less effort.

One thing to keep in mind is that there are different types of pedal assist. There is cadence sensing, where the assist is based on how fast you are peddling. If the assist level for a given cadence is low enough, you still have to put in some effort to maintain speed. If it is higher, then you put in no effort (except freewheeling) to maintain speed.

Second type is torque sensing. This is quite a bit more expensive (an additional couple hundred, plus higher installation skills if you are converting yourself).

Another note is that most assists don't sense hills, so you will have to manually adjust the assist level when going up hill. So at that point, using a throttle-only setup, with a throttle lock (hold throttle in a position for 2 seconds and it keeps it at that setting) works really well. In that case it gives you the sensation of having a good wind at your back helping you out.

The primary cost can be the battery -- anywhere from 200 to 1000, depending on capacity and quality. Second is the motor, 200 - 500. Some come with kits that give you simple throttle control, or you may want to add an advanced ebike computer kit (like I mentioned in the previous comment).

All told, I'm about 1200 in my ebike, plus the bike itself.

They exist. Pedal-assisted = moped. There are electric mopeds.

Hopefully they will be nerfed and not banned -- there is an effort to get ahead of things with reasonable legislation: https://www.bosch-ebike.com/us/everything-about-the-ebike/st...

I agree with you, other than the murder part.

Electric bikes allow people who don’t have fast riding skills to ride faster than they can control, which makes them a danger to other users of the footpath.

All motorized vehicles allow people who don't have fast riding skills to go faster than they can control.

E-bike users usually have a better handle on the control part than the users of other motorized vehicles, if not they won't make it past the first turn. Besides that, all e-bikes sold legally have a motor that progressively down-tunes as it approaches it's legal limit speed (usually at or near 15 mph / 24 km/h). That's easily achievable on a regular bike so people can't ride faster than they could normally. They can however do so for longer and it takes them less effort to start up or go against the wind or up a hill.

My grandma used to have a motorized bicycle to help her get around, the difference with ebikes is that it had a LOT less torque, and that it made a sound so you could hear them coming up from behind you. E-bikes are a lot more zippy and quiet.

Even worse are the high powered e-bikes (rated for 50kph, helmet required), because their users ride them as if they're either a bike or a scooter depending on the situation, zipping between bike lanes and the road whenever. And they're silent.


Legally they are classed as scooter so I don't see why they shouldn't be driving them like scooters.

You won't see me near one, going fast on a racing bike is already dangerous enough, anything faster and I'll take four wheels over two any day.

> All motorized vehicles allow people who don't have fast riding skills to go faster than they can control.

Yes, but all other motorized vehicles need a licensed operator and to be driven on a road, which I think should be the case for e bikes as well

> That's easily achievable on a regular bike

That really depends on your definition of a regular bike.

The Japanese commuter bikes everyone rides to work or school might get up to 10km/h with some effort.

Giving someone who has only ever rode at about a pedestrian’s jogging or running pace a machine that can hit twice that is a recipe for injuries or death.

TL;DR: E bike riders should be licensed and not share footpaths with pedestrians

E Bikes that require a license exist (Stromer, many others), those go > 25 Kph, which is a speed most fit cyclists can easily achieve. So if you want E Bikes to be licensed you should also require regular bikes to be licensed. Where I live that would cause a national revolt on the scale that no sane politician is going to go near it.

The difference is the vast majority of people riding push bikes here aren't "cyclists", they are schoolchildren, parents, and office workers, riding very slow bikes. That's why I think E Bikes should require licensing where regular bicycles don't.

Here everybody rides bikes, and E-bikes have - if that was still possible - driven adoption higher still. The number of people that cycle to and from work/school is very large, parents, office workers and children here cycle up to 30 km round trip daily to just get to where they're going. High school age kids from Monnickendam/Marken/Edam go to school in Amsterdam-Noord and quite a few of them make the trip by bike.

Requiring high school age kids to get a license for a bicycle would make absolutely no sense because there is nothing that such a license would give them that they didn't already have. Traffic lessons start pretty early at school here and by the time kids are 10-12 depending on how good they are at this they go to school on their bikes by themselves.

What really helps is that bike traffic here gets prioritized in many places over vehicles, that hitting a cyclist with a car is going to get you into a lot of trouble and that most vehicle drivers are also cyclists. Those things more than anything else helps to keep cyclists safe.

I guess urban Japan is just denser than The Netherlands. I would say most people don't ride more than 5km in one direction; any further and people will generally rent a spot at a train station closer to their destination and bike the last leg of their commute.

It makes sense that's why my opinion is that e Bikes are too fast to be used on footpaths and yours is different.

> What really helps is that bike traffic here gets prioritized in many places over vehicles, that hitting a cyclist with a car is going to get you into a lot of trouble and that most vehicle drivers are also cyclists. Those things more than anything else helps to keep cyclists safe.

This is exactly the same in Japan. A car hitting a bike is automatically judged to be at fault even if the bike was breaking traffic laws, so drivers are very cautious. In principal the same applies to cyclists vs pedestrians.

That of course, doesn't stop people from being terrible drivers or cyclists!

I don't think there should be a draconian licensing scheme, just the same rules that apply to the slowest grade of motorcycles (speed limit 30 km/h)

- Must pass a theory test. The moped test written test is quite easy but anyone who can pass it will know basic road rules and that pedestrians always have the right of way, and that if you hit someone you are in big, big trouble.

- age 16+

- must wear a helmet

I'm wondering if a workable idea would be instead of having pedestrian paths and bike lanes and wondering where new kind of vehicles should go to have different tiers of lane with different speed and weight limits.

For exemple:

* < 10 km.h^-1 & < 15 kilograms vehicle for pedestrian paths (Which would for exemple allow small kids to ride there).

* < 25 km.h^-1 < 30 kilograms for the bike lane equivalent.

* > 25 km.h^1 or > 30 kilograms on the road.

Wow, what an asshole thing to say. A 'dog beach' isn't exclusive to dogs and you are still responsible for what your dog does. It's a beach where dogs are also allowed.

Sometime around 2012, my parents got me a segway tour in a city I was planning to visit one time. Kind of the dorkiest thing ever. My girlfriend and I grudgingly did it, and it ended up being awesome. Even though you look super dorky, those things are really fun, and they're a great way to get a tour of a lot of city in a short amount of time without a lot of exhaustion. Since you're in a group, you're with a bunch of other dorks and you all look like dorks together, but you're all having fun anyway so you don't care. I was really surprised how quickly they stop and how well they can turn.

I had the same experience. They are so much fun.

The tour I did in DC had 3 accidents in 75 minutes with ambulances called for two of them. It was wild.

> The tour I did in DC had 3 accidents in 75 minutes with ambulances called for two of them. It was wild.

Sorry I have to ask but this reads weird to me, but do you mean accidents in DC or accidents with 3 people from your tour?

Yes, three people on the tour crashed, two of them required an ambulance.

Wow that is unfortunate, thanks for the clarification, I'm not familiar with the area or Segways, though I do go to DC every few years for the museums.

The first accident was coming down 15th by the treasury where there are large bollards on the sidewalk- an older gentleman in his sixties was zipping around and he went full speed down the sidewalk and clipped the wheel on the very edge of one and it spun around throwing him off- very much like going over the handlebars on a bike. I assume he broke something between his wrist and collar bone (or both).

The next one was going off a sidewalk if memory serves but was minor.

The third one was over on the north side of the Capitol- we were idling around while the guide was talking and this older lady in her fifties or sixties was kinda floating through the crowd but didn't seem out of control- she went around this big tree and either lost control or wasn't paying attention as it was getting dark and went full speed around the side of a tree and ran right in to a lamp post. It knocked her out.

I was getting nervous riding back feeling like we were all going to experience some mishap.

Kinda feels like age of the people may have been a factor here. Segways do require good reaction times and constant awareness of your surroundings because they don't stop (even when stationary they have power to the wheels keeping them balanced, and if you move they move) and it the tour guide thought anyone was too young, old, or otherwise not capable to control the vehicle, they shouldn't have let them go out in public.

Not saying that was the only factor, it could easily have been the tour guide not giving adequate safety instructions or simply people ignoring those instructions... or a mixture of all three!

Your life has the plot of a Loony-Tunes short.

Leetrout did a segway tour in DC. On that tour, there were 3 accidents in 75 minutes. Presumably with people on the tour.

This reminds me, I should probably do a Segway tour on the National Mall before the last ones fail. Segway tours are a lot of fun.

I definitely recommend it! The tour I did went around the tidal basin and visited all the major monuments on the western half of the mall. I really enjoyed the stories and factoids from the tour guide—she pointed out a lot of stuff I had missed on self-guided walking tours. I think the tour agency to was somewhere near the GW campus, but I forget the name.

Did y'all wear helmets?

Yes, bicycle helmets.

I've never ridden a segway before, but I can honestly say i've always secretly wanted to. Damn people look silly riding them, but they way they just effortlessly glide along looks fun to try at least once.

I think the marketing approach they took was part of the problem. I remember early segway ads and stuff, they always took this elitist 'we're going to change the world' sort of spin with their ads that was trying to appeal to a higher end market more interested in fads than anything else. They hooked the 'stubborn early adoptors' while alienating the larger market. At least in my opinion.

This is how their marketing always came across to me and probably helped form my opinions on segways and similar vehicles in general and I doubt I'm alone in my views.

The funny thing is, I bet if they'd found a way to appeal to the extreme sports market they may have found a small niche for themselves. Strange vehicles like this seem to keep a strange second life in that market.

I still see people occasionally riding those razor scooters that were popular for a while in the early 2000's, but, it's always people that are really good at them have spent lots of money customizing them and use them for trick riding. And of course, the skateboard, which has gone through a ton of designs and incarnations, but has been kept alive for half a century or more by people pushing it do the limits. Despite being fairly impractical for primary transportation and I tried for a while as a teenager.

I'm not sure if segways are the best for this, but I bet with some effort, they could have created a small market there that would probably still be popular.

On that note though, I do still see a fair amount of people riding devices clearly inspired by the segway, those handle-less varieties and other gyroscope balanced things and such. So, I think they're not dead so much as they've evolved and the concept of 'personal electric vehicle' has grown beyond what the segway originally was.

I do feel like the electric vehicle future they marketed is coming, they're just not the leaders they told us they'd be and instead of one strange new thing, we've got a variety of things now and on the horizon.

I had a chance to ride an off road segway once and it was pretty fun, so I'd recommend it if you get the chance.

Never seen a segway advert, so I never really got an elitist vibe from them (although I did see one for a similar product marketed at kids called a dareway - it was this kind of standing Davros chair thing that balanced on two drive wheels and a number of hidden casters).

I have to say, I never even knew offroad segways existed, but that sounds like it'd make for an interesting camping trip.

I lived in downtown Chicago when Segways came out, and while the tourists ate them up, the locals hated them.

Since everyone using them was still also learning how to ride them, they were constantly crashing into cars, people, dogs, gardens, and anything else that wasn't moving out of their way. The complaints to the city were endless, and I think the local alderman managed to get some kind of restrictions on them.

I thought they seemed like a good idea, though a little large. I expected they'd eventually take off, but now that I live somewhere that tourists don't venture, I'd actually forgotten that Segways exist.

I think the seeds of that good idea became the much more compact electric scooter (Bird and friends), and for those willing to climb more of a learning curve, eskate and onewheel.

The critical thing for all of those, though, is that they can work as last mile devices because you can carry them indoors, onto buses/trains, etc. A segway is strictly worse than a bike in that regard because you still have to park it outside somewhere, but it's an awkward shape that doesn't fit into the usual facilities for doing so (and obviously it wasn't supposed to get wet, either).

Yes, personal electric transportation is flourishing, the segway was just the not-quite-there prototype.

heh, I spent 30 minutes in San Fran trying to learn to ride one of those Scoot moped electric scooter things. Almost fell in the garage several times. Thankfully, it's much easier on the street - more grip, and low-speed turns on an incline are probably the worst.

Still, it's scary to think about how dangerous they are and iirc you can ride them without any sort of motorcycle license.

Got pulled over for going down a "one way after dark" street. Asked the cop how I was supposed to know. He said "Natives just do." Didn't give me a ticket though.

Sorry, random unrelated memories.

Once my younger brother got big enough to want to push the shopping cart at the grocery store, I lived in constant fear for the health of my Achilles tendons. I don't know how many times he crashed into the back of my ankle, and those were only when I wasn't watching him like a hawk.

I look at a Segway and wonder where that deck would intersect with my ankles today.

I had a go on an off road one fairly recently (maybe a year or two ago at most?) And it was pretty fun! A comment above says they aren't good for cities because they're too fast for the path and too slow for a cycle lane, but I think they're great for country lanes and open grass.

I've done two Segway tours at Disney World and it was awesome. The first one was at Epcot with my son. We got into the part before it opened and we were the only ones on the tour so we got to see and do some things that bigger groups don't. The second time was a bigger group with more family members at Wilderness Lodge using off-road Segways. This was probably even more fun as we got to see a lot of things that we would never have seen; horse barns, lakes, fields, flowers, bats, etc.

All in all, the Segway tours were a really great way to see a lot of things you don't normally see at Disney. I would totally recommend taking the tour if they still offered it.

Not sure if this was true of the newer Segways, but the first generations of Segways had the performance limits encoded into the key. So you could turn it on with a key to train someone to use it, or if you had access to the tools, program an unlocked key that allowed you to go faster than factory spec.

My family did segway tours in a few European cities.

They were especially great in hilly Rome. We hit all the major spots within a few hours. Cruising around the Circus was pretty cool!

But -- we all had minor falls at some point. Cobble-stone streets are not to be messed with!

I spent a couple of days on foot and buses in Rome.

It's the last place on earth I would consider getting on a Segway with the speed/mess of traffic I encountered.

Even riding a bus felt like a serious gamble.

Agree. I did tours twice with them and they’re really fun to ride. I’d sure rather own an ebike though to actually get around (or a bicycle or a moped or most other things)

I did the one in SF (electric tour company) three times. It was a great experience each time, and I would highly recommend them.

Was it DC?

Most likely Washington DC


I don't think that's fair. I did 73km of walking on the 3 days I spent in Paris. I'm a relatively fit guy and by the end of it I had some pretty severe pain in my feet. I would've been grateful for some way of seeing everything and taking the load off at the same time.

A friendly suggestion: do as the locals do.

Walk, take the public bus, take the metro.

Skip tuktuks, Segways, quads, organized tours, "sightseeing" private double decker buses.

Gentrification is killing the beauty of Europe and other places, tired feet or not.

The locals aren't trying to maximize the value of their limited vacation time.

Yes, do as the locals do is a great way to go about actually knowing a place. But if you want to spend one day of your multi-day trip ticking off things to see in a more efficient fashion-- on a "hop-on, hop-off" bus or Segway or whatever-- go for it. I've been on several trips with my kids (youngest, now 6) where a day of easy sightseeing in the middle has been a lifesaver.

Correct, the locals aren't trying to maximize value. That's the job of the companies that provide the "efficient" services you mentioned.

Locals just have to pick up the trash, see the prices skyrocket and remember how unique the place uses to be.

I'm sorry-- if I visit for a week, whether I take a bus tour one day or continue to travel like a local doesn't affect these things. You'll have to find different boogeymen to blame instead of a symptom.

Check how Lisbon has changed in the last 7 years.

Have a nice day.

I've seen a lot of places I periodically visit change a lot.

It's not the occasional use of a bus tour that does it.

You'll have to find a different boogeyman to blame instead of a symptom.

While those are good options for going from point A to point B, you lose a lot of the qualities of just wandering around a new city and exploring new things.

Indeed, FC mentioned sore feet.

Another issue with walking as a tourist is you need to balance walking comfort (say, sneakers) with shoes that don't feel too casual for visiting a restaurant or bar. I inevitably wear street shoes, which means you can feel the impact of a full day walking. Yes, I know there are often dorky shoes people wear that straddle the line.

But you coulda done 73km on a bike, and you wouldn't have even thought about the distance.

I've personally seen more asian tourists riding them than white tourists. But why are we bringing race into this in the first place?

The grandparent poster is reporting their subjective feeling about something they've observed, so presumably race is being mentioned, along with assumed nationality, and inferred attitude because those are part of the subjective impression the poster was left with from their experiences.

what the hell is wrong with you. get your racism stuff off of HN.


Here are some of his recent comments:

Americans systematically avoid hard discussions, to preserve that "everyone is happy" feeling

Just look at a typical city council video in the United States. Everyone who is there is old (because they have nothing better to do than spending 4 hours in a city council meeting), 60+, and they're against anything new.

You may want to look a little bit more in the dictionary or wikipedia for the definition of racism :-)

Don't be so judgemental. I could probably find a lot of things in your life which I would find "dorky". There is no universal definition of Dorkiness, it is a condescending term for things that people don't agree with, without any kind of justification. It is a matter of personal taste and opinion. Keep it to yourself please.

This was mostly self-deprecating in this case, so it gets a pass from me. And I mean, if anything can ever be qualified as "dorky", this is: https://www.citysegwaytours.com/uploads/3716/Chicago-Two-Hou...

But dorky stuff can be a lot of fun. Maybe it's because I'm not a native English speaker but "dorky" doesn't have a super negative connotation to me, it can be quite endearing actually.

The helmets don't help. Without those... still dorky? Not sure. Less so, at least, but does the dorkiness decrease enough to pass under the threshold of ultimate dorkiness?

Dorky is such a razor-edge. Basically it means you're doing something culturally unusual that maybe has connotations of being "too technical" at the expense of, I guess aesthetics. Like using technology to get around instead of moving through the world like a graceful gazelle with pure and beautiful movements that approach art, you know like all of us do all the time when we're not on Segways riiiight? (cue 5 seconds of news report on obesity epidemic with the usual footage of random overweight people lumbering down the street)

Thing is, even iPhones were dorky at first. So then how did iPhones become cool (except secretly as a Gen-Xer who lived 10 years of life without so much as an Atari, I still think you're all dorks and myself too but anyway) but Segways remained dorky? Ironically the only explanation I come up with is that they (Segways) never became wildly popular. But that's essentially a circular argument. I dunno, I dont expect I'll ever be able to explain the behavior of "the crowd."

IMO, the dorkier, the cooler.

they needed to embrace dorkiness!

Yes - you have to OWN the dorkiness!

Lol. Thanks for that laugh. Ironically, as you get older, doing something 'dorky' in public and not caring what anyone thinks is a signal of total individualism/self-assurance. Which is cool in my book.

> "if anything can ever be qualified as "dorky", this is"

Segway made it into Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" parody song https://youtu.be/N9qYF9DZPdw?t=74

I'm judging your meta-judgmentalness

What am I judging? The fact that it's condescending?

They are judging your hyper-sensitivity to something that shouldn't be taken very seriously at all.

Perhaps I am being too sensitive, I am trying to introspect. What's clear to me is that when we call people nerds, dorks, weirdos, geeks, etc. it has an undertone of condescence. May be it triggered me because I was called a nerd in highschool and throughout college, almost always in a derogatory manner. What's wrong with being nerdy and interested in technology and science and math I said to myself and ignored others as much as possible.

I can understand this very well because the same happened with me. It's important for us to learn to not care about what others think of us, to see these actions by others as more of a challenge than an insult, and to completely own what we do. People like to play games where they test each others confidence, and unfortunately, perceived weakness is often met with ridicule, rather than empathy.

Thanks, I appreciate your comment.

I mean, more power to the people who don't care what others think right? No reason to care if others find something dorky. I would focus on yourself if you find that you keep yourself from doing harmless things because of what other people think.

Reminds me of seeing an imagine of a lady walking her dog while riding a segway with people making fun of her. My thought was what if she'd blown out her knee? Or was like a friend of mine who had really bad arthritis in his hips. Or my 85 year old dad who can ride a bicycle, ride a horse, drive a truck, but because of his sciatica can't walk more than an 1/8 of a mile.

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