Letter to the Editor: In support of e-bikes

To the Editor:

Recently Becky Pritchard wrote a story in the Islander, which was also published in the Portland Press Herald, about three people who are suing the National Park Service in the grounds that the people who made decisions to allow e-bikes in the park didn’t have the authority to make that decision.

Some tourists to Acadia, people from New Brunswick, N.J., started the suit. The reason they are doing it, according to the complaint, is that “bicycling is one of their main activities in the park,” and they have concerns about safety and “environmental impacts, such as noise and habitat damage with the introduction of e-bikes to the carriage road network.”

Other National Park Service sites mentioned by name in the lawsuit are Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore and Muir Woods National Monument.

This is just another assault against people who want “pedal-assist electric bikes,” especially for people with some disabilities such as problems with walking.

The people making these arguments seem to think that these bikes have some motor that you can hear, like on a motorcycle! Obviously these people have never been in a Prius, when the car is moving ahead on battery, or next to an electric bike for that matter!

The parks do not allow the Class 2 e-bikes onto the carriage roads. Those are the ones that are not pedal assist; they move ahead without pedaling.

Pedal-assist bikes are Class 1 and 3. These types of e-bikes stop when you stop pedaling. You cannot climb a hill without pedaling — same as a normal bike. It doesn’t move forward unless you pedal. And the so-called “sound” is just a click, like on bikes with gears. No “put-put-put.”

I feel that the rule of not having class 2 bike on the carriage roads, and only allowing Class 1 and 3 peddle assist bikes is perfectly reasonable. I also feel that people under 16, unless disabled in some way, should not be allowed to ride e-bikes on carriage roads (I am sure they would think I am discriminating against them. I don’t mean to).

As far as the argument of these bikes zooming along the carriage roads, I have never seen anyone other than some guys with some kind of touring bike fly along a carriage road … and talk about gears clicking! This was years ago when I could walk the roads.

I truly see the real benefit for allowing e-bikes onto these wonderful carriage roads, especially for older or disabled people.

As to whether or not the people who made the decision were in some insane legal nonsense unauthorized to make that decision, my feeling is, sure, rectify that and pass the same decision with the person deemed “authorized.”

Do not let these “bike purists,” people who seem to have found a loophole ruin it for the people who have now found a hopeful possibility that they can once again get out and enjoy the carriage roads the way they once did.

Anny Seavey, Southwest Harbor

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