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Carey Rogers, Treasurer Tom Grose, Chair.
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What Nashvillians Think About E-Bikers, Cyclists
and Dogs on the Greenways
The Parks Department just completed a survey about e-bike riders on Greenways. The back story is interesting but not necessary for this review. They will release a report soon and we’ll have more to say. We had to submit a public records request to get the data. It all started when BCycle, the bike share that now rents e-bikes, asked to operate in parks and on greenways.
They included a question about “do you sometimes feel unsafe” and why. It did not ask if your experience on greenways is positive or negative. It must be positive because greenways are pretty crowded on nice sunny weekend days. E-bikes are allowed on greenways but that fact was not included in the survey.
Most Like Us But Some Don’t
Fifty-four percent of the more than 2,600 respondents approved of Class 1 (pedal assist) e-bikes but only forty-one percent approved of class 2 (throttle e-bikes). Many class 2 bikes also have pedal assist and are clearly misunderstood.
People from age 18 to 65 approved of class 1 e-bikes but those over 65 disapproved. Walkers and runners approved at about 54% with cyclists at 70%. What’s wrong with the other 30%? Men approved at a 65% rate compared to 51% for women.
Approval rates were higher in East Nashville, Inglewood, Germantown, Belmont, (and others) with disapproval coming from Belle Meade, West Meade and Bellevue. Is there a trend?
The survey included a question if you ever felt unsafe on the greenway and why. A large minority 44%, never feel unsafe. The primary reasons (respondents could make multiple choices) for feeling unsafe included cyclists (41%), and dogs (on and off leash) 46%. I would point out that the choice is “cyclists” and not just e-bike riders.
Those who felt safe approved of e-bikes at a 75% rate and those who fear cyclists exhibited an approval rate of 29%. That is not unexpected but is a significant difference.
Those who self-reported as walkers and runners approved of class 1 e-bikes at about 54%. The dog averse group approved of e-bikes at about the same rate.
People more familiar with e-bikes, who know someone, have ridden or own one, approve at higher rates. Ninety-five percent of e-bike owners approved, and I would like to discuss this with the five percent.
Note: These numbers are preliminary so don’t take it to the bank. We have had several people analyzing data and the totals may change a little because of spoiled entries, some were from out of county, and we differ about how to count “I don’t know”.
We have found over 50 cities with exactly the same law as Nashville where class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed on greenways and trails.
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Previous thoughts are found at "Old Stuff" on the menu.