Letter

printed 06/19/20

Editor,

I just came across your article regarding the “new West Ocean City business.”

It would have been nice if you guys had actually reached out to us so we could explain our operation instead of trying to associate our business with electric scooters and furthermore associating us with “an electric scooter rider had almost run over City Manager Doug Miller earlier that morning” making it sound like it was our customers who almost ran over the city manager.

We don’t even rent or sell electric scooters. I don’t know if it was a typo, but what does “sans use of the electric function” mean?

You do not send the clear message that we do not permit the use of the electric function on the Boardwalk. You made it sound like we are an electric scooter business and that one of our customers almost killed the city manager.

We are a brick and mortar location where people rent electric and pedal bikes from us, sign a waiver (which says the use of the electric function is not permitted on the Boardwalk and that all bikes must be off the Boardwalk by 11 a.m.), and then the renter returns the bike to us at the end of their rental duration.

These electric bikes are regulated federally and by the state just like any other normal bike, which means they can go anywhere that any other normal bike can go unless a local jurisdiction wants to restrict them (which they should not because this is the future and it is inevitable).

They are Class 2 electric bikes that are governed at 20mph. They can be ridden like a normal bike by the use of the seven manual gears with or without the motor on.

With the electric motor on, it can be ridden with electric assist in five speed modes and with a throttle.

Many shared pedestrian/bicycle use paths around the country, such as the Boardwalk, implements a posted speed limit.

Just because an electric bike can go and is governed at 20mph, it shouldn’t mean that they should be banned. A posted speed limit on the Boardwalk would resolve this.

As I said, many pedestrian/bicycle shared paths allow electric bikes and there is a posted speed limit. Yes, people will at times break the speed limit, but so do drivers everyday cruising up and down Coastal Highway and it is enforced, just as it should be on the Boardwalk.

I want to stress that we do not advertise or permit the use of the electric function on the Boardwalk and we make that clear to our renters, who also signs off on that policy in our waiver.

Just because our bikes have the capability to go up to 20mph with the electric assist, doesn’t mean that someone with a manual bike with multiple gears can’t go faster than 20mph on the Boardwalk if they really wanted to, and they are not banned, nor is there a speed limit preventing them from going that fast.

Electric is the way of the future and there are already multiple people we have seen on the Boardwalk with their own private electric bikes, scooters, segways, etc.

It will be more difficult to try and ban these electric vehicles and to enforce them to remain off the boardwalk rather than allowing them and enforcing a speed limit. We should not be banned from the Boardwalk.

Our bikes give individuals with mobility issues the freedom again to get outside and effortlessly cruise up and down the Boardwalk, families to get out and do something fun together, or simply individuals looking to effortlessly ride the Boardwalk.

It allows you to enjoy and take in the beauty of the beach and boardwalk without having to stress about how much further you have to pedal, especially when you turn back the opposite direction into a headwind. It is effortless and fun.

These electric bikes have a mode 1 pedal assist function that governs the speed at 8mph, which I believe is a reasonable speed limit that Ocean City should implement for the safety of the pedestrians and bicyclists.

This is also a common speed limit that I have seen on shared pedestrian/bicycle paths.

I completely agree that dockless rideshare scooters and electric bikes should be banned. It is not a good look when they are littered all throughout the City. Ocean City should definitely enforce that.

Ocean City should allow the use of the electric motor function on our electric bikes on the boardwalk, but implement a speed limit of 8mph.

The Town of Ocean City already allows the use of electric segways on the boardwalk. Electric bikes should not be banned when in all reality they ride the same exact way as a normal bike (pedals, brakes, bike chain, manual gears, etc.).

Putting a speed limit on the boardwalk puts a speed limit on the electric bikes, and I am completely fine with that as safety is our number one concern.

Until the electric function is permitted by the Town of Ocean City, we will continue to have our renters sign the part of the waiver and verbally tell our renters to turn off the electric motor before going on the Boardwalk and to use the manual gears while riding on the boardwalk. Without the electric motor on, it is literally a normal manual pedal bike, which the Town of Ocean City has always permitted on the Boardwalk.

A little about me:

Had a family house in Ocean City since 1982 and now live in West OC.

Graduated from Wi-Hi 2002

Graduated from SU 2006 – Geography

Graduated from CCBC 2013 – Commercial Airplane/Helicopter Pilot

Was on Ocean City Beach Patrol from 2003-2007

Coast Guard 2007-2010

Kurt Dawson - Owner

Pedego Ocean City

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