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The following is testimony was given by me at the hearing at DOT today, May 29th, regarding the new rules covering ebikes:

The flowering, here in its most natural and needed environment, of human-powered, with modest electric assistance, and human-scale transportation, is the best remedy for the damage inflicted by 100 years of control of this vital aspect of our lives by the mining and manufacturing industries. Using tons of materials to move us from place to place within urban spaces, when tens of pounds will do just as well, makes sense only to those selling us this mistake, pound by pound, year after year.

When I asked a Swiss participant in the “Tour de Sol” electric vehicle event in 1989 why a country with only 6 million people had 90 percent of all of the solar vehicles in the world, he replied “We have no car company and we have no oil company”

Your actions today are opening the door much wider to a fully sustainable future. You are to be congratulated for that. Now please apply your new awareness to similar vehicles, like pedicabs and cargo delivery vehicles, that have the potential to replace dangerous, oversized and polluting alternatives.

Also, please permit those using this equipment in their work to modify it, to conform to your new requirements without having to purchase brand new equipment, if the result is exactly the same. This is an unfair burden to place upon anyone when it serves no valid purpose. You can, instead, institute a regular testing procedure to ensure compliance and the Department can use the opportunity to simultaneously provide some beneficial orientation regarding traffic rules and best practices.


TO THIS I WOULD LIKE TO ADD:

The New York Bicycling Coalition deserves much credit for bringing awareness to this issue over the last four years. They are currently leading the charge in Albany in order to bring forth appropriate legislation on the State level. Any help from DOT in this regard is most helpful and appreciated of course.

We need to learn to respond to situations such as this, whether it be new technology or unforeseen environmental effects, without waiting decades to assess and act. We may not have an infinite amount of time to deal with matters of this magnitude.

I was the NY distributor for a variety of electric bike brands, including Giant, Panasonic and FORD, without much success over the past decades and all of these machines fell far short of adequacy, since they relied on heavy lead acid batteries that made them very cumbersome. The advent of lightweight lithium ion batteries has changed the situation radically though and it is now virtually impossible to distinguish some electric bikes from non-electric ones. Most importantly, the onus of using these machines has all but disappeared. The bike culture has finally come to embrace these vehicles and those who use them. Instead of sneers you get intelligent questions about how they work. All over Europe and the rest of the world electric-assist vehicles are being welcomed. We are late to the party but at least we are getting there.

I am currently designing prototypes of wheelchair-carrying pedicabs that will require pedal-activated electric-assist motors to function properly. The benefits of this technology, especially to those with mobility challenges, will be enormous.

Thank you again, on behalf of all air-breathing animals.
 
Introducing: Max and BiB
 
Max, the most accessible vehicle ever.
 
The Next-Braking Wave-Form:

This is a series of vehicle designs for Pedicabs that can carry three passengers, the legal limit, as well as people in wheelchairs and cargo. Also shown is a number of configurations of weather-protected tricycles, operated by both arm and leg power and equipped with small electric-assist motors. Smaller and slower is safer and least disruptive in our crowded urban spaces. Federal law defines a human-powered vehicle with an electric-assist motor of less than One Horse Power, with a maximum speed of under 20 Miles Per Hour as a bicycle.
 
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The Cube:

Minimal but very flexible. Accessible from both sides when the vehicle is alongside the sidewalk and from the back as well. Equipped with ramps that are at the same level as the sidewalk so it is very easy to use. Seating and windows are folded away and deployed when needed. Operator is in his or her own protective capsule. Can do the work of a large motorized van.
 
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The Max:

Built to the size permitted by the NYC Department of Consumer affairs 55” x 120”. (Coincidentally, perhaps ironically, these numbers are the speed limits on most NYS roads and the claimed maximum speed of most large motorcars.) In actuality this vehicle will not travel at more than 12 MPH, the speed of an ordinary bicycle. This is less than ½ of the desired speeds for most NYC streets, and less than ½ the footprint of a noisy and polluting cargo van. Passenger seating elements fold inside one another so they can be condensed when necessary, to allow enough room for wheelchairs or cargo.
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The Four-Wheeler:

The simplest design possible, with privacy windows as well as clear, (all of the models shown may enjoy this feature) as well as a stable four-wheel configuration, although current State law defines a bike as a two or three-wheeled vehicle. This is obviously an arbitrary distinction which prevents the design of the safest and most stable human-powered vehicles for no discernible reason.
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The Tube:

One version allows the rider to determine his posture when moving, from standing straight up to sitting or leaning or even practically lying down. Since maximum visibility is needed to provide safety, conspicuous extensions are deployed above the vehicles, aided by LEDs, to make certain that trucks, vans, buses and cars are able to be aware of its presence at all times.
 
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Sociables:

By providing for a common framework, it is possible to provide for a number of these units to be arranged in tandem and alongside one another, or both. Users may also choose to determine their posture when moving. Unlike Industrial Scale Vehicles, Human-Scaled vehicles can provide for a high degree of flexibility in their configuration and operation. There can be room on some of these frameworks for wheelchairs and cargo as well.
 
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Two Earlier Versions:

In this case the padded seat easily folds up against the wall when the space is needed for a wheelchair or cargo. While in motion, may be left open to the air when desired or protected from the weather.
 
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