On December 18, 2018, the Sioux Falls City Council passed the first E-Bike ordinance only allowing E1’s. Listen to the testimony for allowing E2’s also (FF: 27:00). Folks, nothing has changed in 5 years! The only thing that has changed is that E-Bikes have become safer, lighter, more affordable and technologically advanced. Just look at this ride, the battery is so powerful you can use it as a power source (it has an inverter) and can be ridden full throttle and full headlamp for 105 miles on one charge.
Councilors Starr and Stehly tried to amend it to allow all E-Classes and were voted down. Starr’s argument holds true today, this is an opportunity for people with mobility issues (old folks) to get some exercise.
E-Bikes are not going away, in fact I think in 10 years you will probably be hard pressed to find a traditional bike in a storefront and E1’s will be considered dinosaurs.
I had to chuckle a bit during public input, former Mayor Rick Knobe suggested they put signs on the rec trail that inform people to be ‘courteous’. LOL. He got his wish.
As I have mentioned earlier today, both the Active Transportation Board and the Parks Board tabled the recommendation citing ignorance of E2 technology.
And that is FAIR.
As I told Councilor Neitzert after the first meeting, I would much rather have NO recommendation then one from a group of volunteers that don’t understand the topic.
While Greg wants to rework the ordinance, AGAIN, and bring it back, I told him to just bring it to the council as is. Councilor Starr agreed and further added that we gave these boards an opportunity to make a recommendation and they passed citing their lack of knowledge on the topic. So what would make you think they would become any wiser in a month or two?
I think the council has at least 5 votes to pass this, and there will be public opposition and support. Even if it fails, you can use the experience to figure out what needs to be reworked. Or better yet, pass the ordinance with an amendment that funds a year long study of the effects of E2s on the trails and speed limits. After a 12 month review the city council can come back and tweak the issues, or expand the availability. This isn’t rocket science folks. You could even put a 12-month cutoff on the temporary ordinance with the intent to re-introduce or make permanent.
One of my friends who recently moved back to Sioux Falls after living in the Southwest for the past decade is an E-bike fanatic and was really involved in her last E-Biking community and she was amazed by how far behind Sioux Falls is when it comes to regulating the technology. We are essentially 5 years behind the rest of the country (ironically when they passed this stupid ordinance to begin with).
We want to be big kids when it comes to parking ramps and hotels on the river but we play like tots* when it comes to modernizing city policies. I think I am going to start handing out binkies at these meetings moving forward.
*There was an ‘incident’ at the Parks Board Meeting that I will posting about in the near future.
I ENCOURAGE ANYONE WHO WANTS TO RIDE THEIR E2 ON THE SHARED USE REC TRAIL TO ATTEND AND TELL THE BOARD WHY YOU WANT THIS CHANGE!
The board will be taking action on the E2 recommendation from Councilor Greg Neitzert with some clarity with rec trail speeds and ADA mobility devices.
As I have mentioned in the past there is a lot of misinformation out there about E2s.
The Micro Mobility Device industry is one of the fastest growing in the world, most users in Sioux Falls are over 60 years of age and finding an E1 bike has become increasingly difficult and will probably be non-existent in 5 years. Police Chief Thum has told councilors that he supports the change and doesn’t see any issues with it, just more concerns about speed, which is addressed. The Parks Director (and probably the board) support the change also telling us at a recent meeting their hasn’t been any major accidents involving E2s on the trail in the past 5 years. I have heard about 2 major accidents, but didn’t get a lot of details.
Besides the health and mobility advantages for seniors, I like my E2 for commuting and can easily switch from the trail, to a sidewalk to a street, riding safe speeds on all (I can lock in certain speeds depending on level, essentially a cruise control).
The opposition is coming from the fact that E2’s can be throttled (I have suggested a no throttling rule on the trail) which is a shallow argument since most users only throttle when starting out or going up a hill. There is also the ‘what about the kids’ group, and I get it, I want kids to safely play along the bike trail, but when I am riding my bike ON THE TRAILmy main focus is my safety and the safety of riders and walkers around me. If your child suddenly decides to break free in a public park and jumps in front of my bike on the trail, that’s on the parent or caregiver. I have never had a close call with kids. WHY? Because parents ARE responsible and ARE watching their kids when in the parks. I have almost got into serious accidents when dogs off leash decide to run in front of my bike, maybe that is the rule that needs to be enforced?
Your attendance is crucial form informing the board about your experiences with your E2.
If you cannot attend, please call or email your councilors HERE telling them you support the change.
IF PARIS CAN CLEAN UP THE SEINE WE CAN CLEAN UP THE BIG POO
I found this story amazing (imagine what you can do when you spend actual money on cleaning up the problem);
But now clean up efforts, which started in 2018 as part of what is known as the “Swimming Plan,” are coming to fruition, and local authorities say residents will be able to make use of the river once again as part of the legacy of the Olympics, which is returning to the French capital after 100 years.
They cleaned up the river in 4 years!
Two disinfection units at wastewater treatment plants run by the Paris region public sanitation service will be operational from this summer, and structures that will help to improve water quality, such as a rainwater storage basin, are under construction.
The basin will hold rainwater and gradually release it into the sewage network, preventing pollution when wastewater overflows during periods of rain.
These basins would obviously have to be upstream from Sioux Falls, but we could build a filtration damn in Sioux Falls that would actually help with water flow of the Big Sioux. I heard an estimate several years ago of $75 million (probably closer to $150 million now).
I know a lot of people make fun of the French, but if it wasn’t for them we all would be drinking tea and eating Spotted Dick.
THE LEVITT CAMPGROUND HAS OFFICIALLY OPENED FOR SUMMER!
I like to go for nightly bike rides around 8-10 PM Downtown. Last night as I was riding thru Levitt and I saw two separate couples sleeping within 50 feet of each other with blankies on the Levitt Lawn. But Monday night was a real laugher as I saw two private security officers with heaters in their hands (who are supposed to be stationed at Shriver Square) yelling at the homeless who were sitting on a tree bench in front of Oshima. As they were instructing them to leave, one of the fellas says, ‘This is public property we can be here.‘ I had to laugh that a homeless inebriated person knows their civil rights better than the rent-a-cop. We are NOT going to fix the homeless problem downtown overnight, but I am not sure we are approaching this the right way.
UPDATE: Yes, that is a guy passed out on 14th street. Not sure what is going on, but it was an interesting scene.
GET YOUR MANURE FITNESS ON!
The mayor is hosting this event tomorrow, and I am wondering who the poor schmuck will be that has to power wash all the goose crap off the sidewalk and around the fitness park before the event? I love this new park, but the only time you can get a real workout is before 7 AM because after that the kids seem to think it is a playground, even though they have a wonderful play set just to the south of the fitness pad. Great edition, the only other critique I would have is that a cover, even something linen like at the DTSF dog park, be put over the pad for shade. Just make sure you show up early so you are not tripping over toddlers to get to the stair stepper.
100 DAY CHALLENGE IS COMING TO A CLOSE
I believe the final day is July 31st. I put myself to the challenge this year and I am averaging 14 miles per day with 1,331 miles as of yesterday. About 10% was stair stepper, 25% regular bike and the rest E2 on low setting with NO throttle assist (I do not count throttle miles in the challenge). Since the E2 threats from the SFPD I have NOT ridden on the trail with my E2 which has given me a great opportunity to explore residential routes. A great one is if you take 4th Avenue and 26th from Mckennan Park going South to 33rd which takes you all the way to 41st street. Even at 4:30 PM I see very few cars. I know the city is trying to setup residential routes, but I would encourage commuters to avoid all primary and secondary arterials and ride on residential. I can count the number of cars I encounter on one hand and you can cruise along at a safe 15 MPH.
RENEWABLE ENERGY IN SOUTH DAKOTA IS NOT AT 80%, ALL OF THE TIME
I had a chance encounter last week with an engineer operator from a major energy company in South Dakota, he told me he works at the plant near Sioux Falls and the generators run on Natural Gas. I asked him about the 80% claim. He said that it is NOT wrong, but out of context. He told me that when Hydro, Solar and Wind are at max capacity they supply 80% of the power, the problem is the wind isn’t always blowing, the water isn’t always flowing and well solar doesn’t work real well at night. He said that the yearly average is closer to 45%. He said the advantage of Natural Gas generation is that you can switch it on and have it operational within hours.
Dogs have multiple parks in Sioux Falls, they also have sidewalks, any greenspace, your house, backyard and even at a bar or restaurant. As a bicyclist I only have a few options, but if you have to ‘find’ places where your dog can be walked in Sioux Falls, you really have deeper issues, like how to smell ‘fer’.