Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Stevie Wonders…

Steven Schindler

Special to the Village News

There’s a growing menace sweeping the nation. It’s everywhere. It’s on our highways and byways. In big cities and small towns. On our streets, alleys, strands, boardwalks, and sometimes our sidewalks. They usually come in pairs, but often they travel in groups of five, 10, even a dozen or more. They’re on two wheels and your safety and well-being are the last thing on their mind.

Hells Angels? The Pagans or the Outlaws motorcycle gangs? Nope.

Who is this new generation of two-wheeled warriors who threaten, injure and yes, sometimes kill?

They are people on E-bikes.

As the Dean of Discipline in my high school used to say to an auditorium filled with students, “I know you wouldn’t break any laws, but I don’t know about the person sitting next to you!”

My wife and I run or walk every day. Sometimes in a park, on a path, at the beach, on a horse trail, or in our neighborhood. And besides the occasional rattlesnake sunning in the middle of a trail, by far the most dangerous aspect of being out there is when someone comes flying down the path, a Slurpee in one hand, a phone in the other, going 40 miles per hour, and the only sound you hear is them yelling as they face-time, “Look ma, no hands!”

I know, I know, not everybody on an E-bike is an oblivious fool hurling down the road going way too fast with up to 80 pounds of steel, and 200 pounds of flesh coming at you. In fact, some do use their pedals, and actually obey the rules of the road. I’m not talking about those people.

I’m talking about the ones who speed, don’t pay attention, disregard traffic rules and don’t give the right of way to runners, walkers, dog walkers, baby carriages, and elderly folks with walkers. They’re on the phone, drinking, eating and have no business whatsoever, riding what really should be classified as a motorcycle. In fact, a gas engine motorcycle would be safer. At least you could hear it coming up behind you!

When I was a kid in the 60s and 70’s what we called mini bikes were all the rage. They were small framed two-wheeled bikes usually powered with a lawn mower engine that one of the handy kids salvaged from a junkyard. And they were loud. And guess what? The cops would chase them and confiscate the minibikes, and that was the end of it.

Today, E-bike shops are pushing these menacing missiles on tourists and other unexperienced riders, who haven’t been on two wheels since Elvis squeezed into a white jumpsuit on the Strip in Vegas, and sending them off into traffic, telling them they’ll be safe if they stay in the painted bike lanes. You know, those lines on the road that magically protect you from cars and trucks, right?

And it’s not just E-bikes. E-scooters are just as dangerous. And in towns and cities across Southern California, it’s not just the ones speeding around. They’re also being dumped in the street, on sidewalks, and wherever these rude roadsters decide to abandon them.

So, they’re not only wreaking havoc while they’re speeding, but causing trouble as road and sidewalk obstacles as well. Not to mention the deadly fires that have been started by malfunctioning Lithium batteries on bikes and scooters while charging overnight in homes and garages.

It’s really nothing to kid about. People have been killed while riding on E-bikes, as have pedestrians, and many have been seriously injured in accidents with cars. I just can’t understand why the powers-that-be think it’s OK to have E-bikes on our roads, bike paths and sidewalks without any attempt at law enforcement or serious regulations.

Could it be that anything that has an “E”gets a pass from state legislators and city councils because it promotes their all-electric agenda that they are obviously pushing on everyone in the state despite the unintended consequences? I’ll let you answer that question.

And this just in, I’m starting to see ads on the internet for the next generation of E-bikes for people who find two wheels too much of a challenge: E-trikes!

Steven Schindler’s latest novel is “Fallout Shelter.”

 

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