There’s actually not anything wrong with e-bikes. I have an e-bike. It’s great. It’s a pedal-assist e-bike, which means that it’s an actual bike. The problem is e-bikes with throttles. These are bikes that you don’t need to pedal, which will propel themselves on their own, meaning they are essentially mopeds.
Stop buying your kids mopeds.
Seriously, what’s the matter with you people?
I’ve been seeing these things all over the place lately. Kids ride them in the streets as though they’re actual motorcycles, on bike paths as though they’re actual bicycles, putting theirs and others’ lives at risk and generally being obnoxious as hell. Granted, I live in an obnoxiously wealthy county, where obnoxiously wealthy parents seem to buy their obnoxiously spoiled children any damn thing they want. But anyone with a couple thousand bucks to blow can buy a class 2 e-bike with a throttle and irresponsibly give it to a child.
Am I a crotchety old man before my time, complaining about the new and crazy things kids are able to do today and lamenting that it was better in my day?
Things are new and strange and I see problems all over the place. And the current generation of children annoys the hell out of me.
But that doesn’t make me wrong.
Children shouldn’t be riding motorized vehicles of any kind. They’re not good at it. They’re reckless and lack the mortal fear required to operate one properly. They should not be zipping around on these little electric motorbikes masquerading as bicycles. Again, by all standards, it’s a moped. And, as a matter of damn principle, if you can’t be bothered to pedal a bike, you don’t deserve to ride a bike.
When I bike to and from work, pedaling, as bikes are intended to be pedaled, I must come across a few to a dozen of these damn things. They’re all over the bike path on my route, despite the signs prohibiting motorized vehicles. If they stay out of my way, fine. But a lot of them ride in clusters (gangs) or go swaying and zigzagging all over the path. And because the throttles top out at around 20mph, a lot of the time they’re actually going too slowly and getting in my damn way. And, of course, there is often more than one kid on a bike. It has to be at least half the time that there’s a friend or sibling riding on the back, one or both of them not wearing a helmet. Then there are the gangs of them hanging out in parking lots, blocking roads, acting like hot shit. Bunch of little hooligans.
Am I being a little hypocritical about all this? Would I have loved to zip around on an electric bike, acting a damn fool, when I was a kid?
Of course I would have. I was a damn kid. The difference between me and the damn kids of today is that my parents would never have bought me one. The expense aside, they wouldn’t have gotten me something that made me more of a reckless menace to myself and others than I already was. I got into enough shit and sustained enough injuries riding regular bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, and other things that provided plenty of fun and mobility, but not excessively so, and which required me to actually exercise.
“Throttle e-bikes” aren’t the only problem, either. There are also electric scooters. My god, those things, and the children that ride them, are intolerably annoying. Zigzagging through streets and on bike paths, getting in the way, constantly on the precipice of causing an accident. And, dear lord, the electric skateboards… As if skateboarding isn’t perilous enough without having to propel yourself with your own damn foot…
These things will probably all be outlawed at some point. This is the pattern of American consumerism: an innovation is made to a product which makes it more fun and dangerous; it’s marketed to children; those children piss everyone off for a while; a handful of those children are badly maimed or killed; parents that should have known better get upset; governments pass laws against the deadly fun machines; repeat.
I don’t hope that a lot of children get injured or die using these things. But, also, I kind of do. Because that’s the only way they’ll stop.