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Seattle is testing an electric bike lane sweeper

A street sweeper in a Seattle bike lane.
Photo from SDOT.

OK Broomer is starting to look like a boomer compared to the all-electric eSwingo 200+ bike lane sweeper SDOT is currently renting. The new style of sweeper is part of the city’s goal of electrifying as many city vehicles and machines as it can.

Tenting before buying is wise because while the sweeper is rated for 10 hours of operation per charge, that figure is based on operation on flat roads. And Seattle, well, our streets are rarely flat.

“One of SDOT’s goals is to determine the product’s operational capacity as it navigates the complex topography within Seattle,” SDOT noted in a blog post. “This will include assessments of the demand for sweeping, maintenance needs, charging time, charge hold, and durability in inclement weather.”

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The rental period will go through the fall and winter when Seattle’s wonderful street trees drop an enormous volume of leaves onto the city’s bike lanes. So electric or not, it will be great to have more sweeping capacity available.

It the machine passes the Seattle test, it will be much quieter while also releasing zero emissions. While its reduced size is very useful for clearing protected bike lanes, it will surely also be useful for many other jobs.

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3 responses to “Seattle is testing an electric bike lane sweeper”

  1. asdf2

    Glad SDOT takes the trouble to keep its protected bike lanes clear of debris. There are lots of other cities out there that don’t.

  2. CyclingPhysics

    I passed one of these guys on 12th Ave on Capitol Hill the other day. He was driving in the regular car lane and I passed him in the bike lane. He had a pickup with flashing lights behind him and about 10-12 cars stuck behind him. Just before Yesler Way he catches up with me on a red light and tells me that I’m making him look bad (jokingly). He complained that the thing goes 13 mph max, no matter if it’s on cleaning mode or not. Thus if he needs to get to a location he has to drive around in traffic going 13 mph. Seems a bit crazy to me, surely they could get little machines like this to hit at least 25 mph, that way he’s not blocking traffic all around the town. I’m not sure how long he was out there for, but he definitely made a car backup which created a lot of nervous and angry drivers looking for their way around him.

    1. Hat

      I guess they’ll have to add more protected bike lanes for the bike lane sweepers to drive in ;)

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