When I was eleven, I always wanted to drive my Honda Z50 to the local 7-Eleven for a Mellow Yellow and Sweet Tarts. Or, drive it to school instead of my bike. That Honda could do about 28 mph (what an e-bike is governed to for sale in the US), could have saved my mom from taking me somewhere else, kept me outside instead of playing Atari inside, and would have saved me the trouble of physical exertion. But, I wasn’t old enough to have a license or instruction to ride on public roads, or registration, or insurance.
I could ride it to the “Honda Hills”, which is now Alta Laguna Park. But you were still looking over your shoulder because you weren’t legally allowed to drive a motorized vehicle there.
If only my Honda didn’t have that 50cc internal combustion engine (and felt like a bike), I could have made those trips to the store and school, and not be wary of riding on trails.
At the time, the school’s bike racks were all filled with bikes. Then they all disappeared. I just put it down to parents being wary of predators in this current world. But now that the bike racks are full again, with the e-bikes, I’m not so sure anymore.
Electric bicycles are a wonderful advent for parents and children.
For pedestrians walking downtown though, not so much. They now share sidewalks with young people in motorized vehicles. And likely, these youngsters aren’t interested (or even capable without a speedometer) of tackling 28 mph in a 20 mph zone downtown.
Some models don’t even have pedals, it’s literally a motorized off-road motorcycle on public roads piloted by an eleven-year-old child.
And now that these “Honda Hills” are part of the South Coast Wilderness Area, motorized vehicles are back there too. Although technically not allowed since it is a motorized vehicle, it is not mentioned in the ad I see for local e-bike rentals which touts the “world famous spectacular trails of Laguna”.
All things considered, they’re quiet and less polluting (not zero, fossil fuels are still used to create this energy), and are a great tool. It’s much easier to gloss over that part of having an electric motor, in places that don’t allow motorized vehicles.
Duane Alley, Laguna Beach
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