Burning Man and bikes go together like flamethrowers and cold playa nights, but as electric-powered bikes and other motorized (non-mutant) vehicles get more popular, we have a word of caution regarding zipping through the thoroughfares of Black Rock City.
Last year, we saw an increase in complaints about speeders and generally unsafe maneuvers by participants on electric-powered bikes. The speed limit on playa is 5 mph.
We get it. It’s easy to get swept up in moment (“Immediacy!”) to speed across the playa to see the next cool thing. But grazing a leg or a full-on collision can ruin a fellow participant’s entire day (or night, or week).
In any other city, we might see more rules and stricter penalties for those who break them. But this is Burning Man, where we look after each other. Not because it was mandated to be courteous, but because that’s a part of what it means to be a citizen in Black Rock City. So if you’re operating an electric-powered bike this year at Burning Man remember that with the sweet privilege of electric-powered cruising, comes an obligation to:
BE RESPONSIBLE — The speed limit on playa is 5 mph. Yes, even for electric-powered bikes.
BE SAFE — Even if you’re doing the speed limit, operate safely around participants, especially in crowded or highly trafficked areas.
BE CONSIDERATE — Beyond being responsible and safe, it’s also important to be considerate of those around you. That means being mindful of the dust kicked up by your powered vehicle and if you do have an accident, it means taking a moment to ensure any injured parties get proper medical attention.
Lastly, if you see someone speeding on an e-bike or otherwise piloting one unsafely, don’t hesitate to speak up and ask them to slow down or be considerate. Remember, we’re all in this together. And Black Rock City will be better for it.
Top photo by Robert Bruce Anderson