What is the top speed of an e-board or e-scooter? Is it faster than the 32 km/h speed limit for an e-bike? Is that a safety problem?

Gorski Consulting conducts substantial observations of cyclists riding on the streets of London Ontario. Cyclist speeds are not always documented however there are locations where they have been calculated. While cyclist speed can be a safety problem there are other transportation devices that raise a greater alarm. Riders of e-boards and e-scooters have been observed travelling at high speeds although the riders’ ability to brake or change direction is questionably limited. This does not bode well for riders who have very little or no protection from impact forces.

As an example, we observed a scenario unfold within the westbound cycling lane along Cheapside St. through a substantial distance of Highbury to Adelaide Street. The photo below shows a young couple who have stopped their cycles in the westbound cycling lane of Cheapside at Highbury.

The decision by this young couple not to wear helmets puts them at a safety disadvantage. Yet riding in a cycling lane, even a painted lane, gives them some degree of perceived safety.

At the traffic signal turned green the above couple began their ride westbound along Cheapside Street within the painted cycling lane. They were soon followed by a female riding an e-bike, as shown in the photo below.

While these cyclists continued riding westbound a male riding an e-board quickly caught up and passed them. Within a few seconds the rider of the e-board was well ahead of the cyclists as shown in the above photo. The posted speed limit along this section of Cheapside Street was 40 km/h, also shown the above photo. While we adhered to the speed limit it became apparent that, although we passed the three cyclists, we made no progress in catching up to the rider of the e-board.

As shown in the photos below the rider of the e-board did not seem to ride to the right of the westbound lane but often rode within it and sometimes in the left portion of the lane.

While the rider of the e-board was wearing a helmet his speed appeared to the similar to the motor vehicle traffic which was likely in the region of 40 km/h or greater. The problem with such a speed is that, if a sudden emergency arose, there is a concern that he would not be able to adjust the emergency like one would if driving a motor vehicle. The braking ability of a rider of an e-board is questionable. And the ability to change direction quickly is also of concern. While a helmet can help to reduce the severity of head injuries the remainder of the e-board rider’s body is essentially unprotected.

While there are al sorts of motor vehicle drivers on the road, many are challenged to detect a fast-moving rider of an e-board. Partly because drivers do not expect the e-board to be riding amongst regular motor vehicle traffic and the drivers are accustomed to looking for the presence of other motor vehicles. This presents a challenge to prevent collisions.

The question remains: how fast are e-board and e-scooter riders travelling along city streets? Are their speeds regulated to under 32 km/h like their cousins, the e-bikes? Should they be riding within a painted bike lane or do they understand that riding in all areas of a lane populated by motor vehicles will eventually lead to a safety problem? How prepared are we to deal with the greater numbers of various e-powered transportation units?