Jean Aschenbrenner: E-bikes: Given fire potential, they shouldn’t be on trails
Open Space and Mountain Parks is considering allowing e-bikes on some of its trails. I am concerned about the possibility of fires in OSMP because several recent news articles report fires caused by e-bikes. Although the likelihood of an e-bike fire may be small, the effect of any such fire that could burn our Open Space could be devastating.
E-bikes are powered by Lithium batteries. These are much lighter than conventional batteries and can hold a lot of energy. They contain a flammable liquid that conveys electrical current through their power cells. If the battery is overheated, damaged or otherwise faulty in its construction, the fluid can ignite, creating a powerful fire that is difficult to extinguish. The use of e-bikes on steep OSMP trails could cause a battery to overheat, the bike might fall causing damage to the battery, and bikers might buy sub-standard batteries. Thus fires on OSMP trails are a real possibility.
One article I read said that a quality battery pack sells for about $300. Cheap batteries from China might be less expensive but are not recommended. Many Boulder residents can afford the $300. But some people can’t, and others may decide to buy a cheaper battery. There is no federal requirement that e-bike batteries meet any particular standard, leaving it up to the industry to self-police. And up to buyers to choose carefully.
Many of the fires reported in news articles were started while charging the batteries indoors. But some articles also report riders having battery problems which started bush fires that spread rapidly. Some of the singletrack and some wider OSMP trails proposed for e-bikes have high grasses lining the trails which could easily catch fire.
Given the wildfire potential, OSMP should not allow e-bikes. Keep them on Boulder’s paved bikeways.
Jean Aschenbrenner, Boulder
Don Wrege: Politics: Boulder has been subjected to one-party rule
In Donald Menzel’s August 25th guest opinion, “The greatest political evil under our Constitution,” he quotes Founding Father and former President John Adams’ statement, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other.”
I wonder what President Adams would have thought about one-party rule such as Boulder and Boulder County have been subjected to for the past quarter century.
Don Wrege, Boulder
Evan Cantor: Biking: Courtesy is contagious
Just as I found myself thinking, “We need Courtesy-is-Contagious signs on our multi-use paths,” I almost got run off my bicycle by another. When I heard the words, “Passing on the…” I instinctively moved right to make way. I then made physical contact with a dude who was screaming, “On the right, on the right!”
As we both wobbled our way down the concrete, I said, “Passing on the left is standard in this town and across the entire United States.” His reply was an obscenity-laced rant about how I should learn how to ride a bike. I’d like to remind him and the 7,000 potential brand-new cyclists in our city that courtesy is contagious and the rules of riding are standardized. You don’t sneak up on someone and then pass on the right. I imagine that this rider is the same driver who darts in and out of traffic on Broadway. Maybe I’m wrong!
Evan Cantor, Boulder
Brent Bickel: Dems: Only one party is actually trying to destroy democracy
Friday, the Camera published a projectionist, anti-Republican rant titled, “GOP: Party is working to destroy our democracy.” The main theme was that Republicans are trying to destroy democracy. Seriously? Which party is trying to nationalize election laws contrary to the Constitution? Which party wants to end the Electoral College, eliminate the Senate filibuster (after 180 years), expand the nine-member Supreme Court (which has been around 150 years), and add two more states and four senators to their total? Which party is, in my opinion, colluding with social media to suppress dissent? Which party conducts trials that, in my opinion, do not allow the other party to fairly participate? Hint: It is not the Republicans. Welcome to DoubleSpeak America where the real fascists are the anti-fascists and the real party that is trying to end our bipartisan system, and destroy our democracy, is the anti-Democratic party.
Brent Bickel, Broomfield