Author Topic: e-bikes are motor vehicles  (Read 4767 times)

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Offline Figaro

Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2018, 06:30:14 pm »
I think pedal assist e-bikes are great and should be allowed anywhere a "regular" bike is allowed. I live in Lexington KY and we have a very nice bike trail here that I can get on about 3 miles from my house, go out and back, and get in a good 20-30 mile rind. We bought my wife an e-bike this summer and now she can ride with me and it's a lot more enjoyable for the both of us. Don't see where ebikes hurt anyone and they help people get out and enjoy biking.

Offline TCS

Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2018, 09:15:31 am »
Figaro - how would you propose handling the potential of 'speeding' on "regular" bike trails by riders on Class 3 (28 mph, 45 kph) pedal assist ebikes?
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline DarrenBnYYC

Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2018, 09:47:05 am »
Figaro - how would you propose handling the potential of 'speeding' on "regular" bike trails by riders on Class 3 (28 mph, 45 kph) pedal assist ebikes?
Exactly the same way you handle speeding by roadies on carbon fibre racing bikes. They are far worse a problem where I live than the old people on e-bikes.

Offline fastrog

Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2018, 07:22:43 pm »
Another perspective: Despite running marathons and an ultra, climbing mountains and biking a lot, I ended up with congestive heart failure and a mild heart attack in my late 60s. With time and medication, I am back on the bike. I was riding the Transamerica this year until a fall and some broken bones.  I plan to go back in April and pick up where I left off, under my own power. Unfortunately, my heart's blood flow will never be what it was. Might the day come when my blood flow puts me on an e-bike? I hope not, but if it happens, and as long as I kept pedaling the best I could, I would hate to be banned or become a pariah in the touring community.

Offline alexstrickland

Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2018, 01:06:43 pm »
Alex from Adventure Cyclist here. We (myself and magazine staffers) have been watching this discussion for a bit and it's super interesting. Not sure how many here follow the great Leonard Zinn, but he's a great example of someone who's riding an eBike now b/c of a heart condition (story here: Of course, plenty of folks riding them for other reasons too, not least of which is that they are indeed fun.

We've got a few reviews coming in '19, including one in the upcoming February issue. As some have stated here, we've taken a conservative approach in the mag as we tend to want most review bikes to be suitable for self-supported touring, which not a ton of eBikes have been — at least not without considerable compromises or logistical hurdles. That'll continue to change and we'll do our best to keep up. And we'll continue to watch threads like these with interest!

Offline Moonbeam

Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2018, 08:20:23 pm »
I’m new to this site and I’ve been following the talk on the matter of e-bikes. I was against them too at first. I am in my 60’s and a retired cardiac nurse. I’ve had some serious injuries (including a fractured spine). My fiancé and I like to do long distance rides and take in the scenery and sites. I was not able to keep up with him so he bought me an e-bike. I’ll be 65 this month and hoping to ride the metric century. We have done some 40 and 50 mile rides already (none of which would be possible without my e-bike)! We have ridden 1,500 miles together this summer and looking forward to a lot more together! Some day you might find yourself in the same situation and then maybe you will find us easier to understand. We have a total of four e-bikes, they are strictly pedal assist (they don’t go anywhere unless we pedal them) and max assisted speed is 20 mph. They are Class 1 e-bikes.

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Offline John Nettles

Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2018, 10:52:06 am »
To me the problem with e-bikes (and scooters) are that some, not all, are faster than a regular bike (ridden by a "regular" rider) while all are significantly slower than cars.  Therefore they don't ride the same speed with either group.

To me, the solutions are to make two classes of e-bikes/e-scooters.  Those that can go say up to 30mph/50lph are one class and those are prohibited from using bike paths or can be heavily fined for exceeding 18mph/30kph on the path. I guess they would be classified similar to a moped or low-powered motor scooter.

The other class would have a speed limiter that limits the speed to 18mph/30kph and could go anywhere where a bike goes.
Both would have to be pedal assist, i.e. you have to pedal to make the bike go.

I personally have no issues with e-bikes as being a "real" bike.  Everyone I know who rides one either uses the pedal-assist uses the e-bike due to health reasons and will want to ride with the club or don't want to work up a sweat while commuting.
Best, John

Offline DarrenBnYYC

Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2018, 11:32:30 am »
John, such a solution already exists. There is federal legislation in USA and Canada (as well as other parts of the world) that distinguish low-speed e-bikes. Most e-bikes you would find in local bike shops would fall into this category. Many (most?) state and provincial governments have specific legislation that legally defines the types of powered bicycles, as you suggest, as well as the privileges and responsibilities that riders have depending on the type of powered cycle they ride.

This is a good resource:

I advocate for allowing legal pedal-assist electric bikes wherever human-powered bicycles are permitted, because e-bikes open up the activity to many groups of people who would otherwise find cycling inaccessible or impossible for them, and there really isn't a "cost" to adding them to our networks to existing cyclists. In particular, I don't think is a reasonable likelihood that this group would be pose any significant danger to other cyclists, as I think many of the naysayers in this thread might fear. (My feeling is that most of the naysayers fear change more than anything, which is often an unnecessary but significant barrier to progress for many types of social and technological change.)

Offline John Nettles

Re: e-bikes are motor vehicles
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2018, 11:47:44 am »
Thanks for the info.  Generally I agree with you.  I guess I would just prefer to slightly lower the speed a e-bike is classified at since, to me, a wide disparity in speeds on a bike path increases the chance of a collision, i.e. sort of like when joggers and bikers share the same path.  I think a lot of my gripes may be from e-bikes that have been made to go faster than the manufacturer designed.  I have seen e-bikes on our local bike paths that are going around 30mph (I was in a car beside the path so I clocked it). I feel that very high speed (20+mph) is no place for a community bicycle path, regardless of power source, human or otherwise.  Too many kids, older adults, etc. could get hurt.

I am definitely not against e-bikes but I guess just prefer a tweaking of the federal classification criteria and enforcement of the laws, a local level problem.