2018-07-14 / Letters

Electric-assist Bicycles Reflect Island’s Car-less Culture

To the Editor:

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the use and abuse of electric bikes on the Island. People seem to feel that electric bikes are not in keeping with the character of the Island and, in some cases, are being ridden recklessly. To me, electric bikes are far less intrusive to the ambiance of the Island than the mobility scooters that are seemingly ubiquitous.

The current city ordinance concerning electric bikes is modeled on the state’s rules regarding handicapped parking permits, i.e., a doctor’s declaration of need is required to receive approval to use an electric bike. I propose that the city should go in the opposite direction and allow unrestricted use of Class 1 (i.e., pedal-assisted) bicycles by anyone 65 or older. Class 2 (i.e., motor-scooter like) bikes would still be prohibited. This approach would be far easier to enforce. Riders 65 and over as a group would almost certainly not be reckless riders. And it would make living on Mackinac Island less challenging for the older generation.

For further information about the increasing popularity of electric bikes, see this: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a21272148/e-b...

Tom Corrigan

Mackinac Island

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