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Old 12-05-13, 10:46 AM   #1
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Delivery Workers Plead For Relief From Electric Bike Ban

"According to protesters, the ban, which slaps businesses whose employees are caught using e-bikes with a $175 fine and possible bike confiscation, threatens to make it impossible for many delivery workers to both stay legal and keep up with orders in what is often a 10-12 hour day."

Read the full article:
http://gothamist.com/2013/12/05/phot...kers_prote.php
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Old 12-05-13, 10:56 AM   #2
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I have no problem with the delivery bikes. You can argue that delivery guys are reckless, and a lot are, but they're reckless no matter whether their bike is electric or human powered. The mayor should focus on prosecuting car drivers that kill and maim people on a regular basis, not this.
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Old 12-05-13, 11:11 AM   #3
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Then electric bike ban is bad law no matter how you look at it. The problem is that electric bikes are neither fish nor fowl, and legislators and the DMV don't know whether to treat them as bicycles, or motor vehicles. There's also the issue of clearly drawing a line between electric assist and electric powered bikes. Therefore they decided to simply ban them.

The reality is that many leg powered riders are faster than many electric bikes, or light motorcycles. Therefore speed based thinking doesn't make sense. I don't know about commercial bikes but unofficial NYPD policy is to not look too closely at riders who don't create problems, but to crackdown on those who combine power assist with already problematic behavior (running lights, weaving, failing to respect pedestrians, etc.)

I'm sympathetic to the commercial rider's pleas in theory, but the need to make more money is never an excuse for ignoring trafic law. As it stands, they have a choice between riding faster motorcycles and scooters, but having to obey laws, or staying below the radar and riding bikes, where their income may be limited by their leg strength. It's kind of ridiculous to insist on being granted special permission to game the system.
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Old 12-05-13, 06:30 PM   #4
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As it stands, they have a choice between riding faster motorcycles and scooters, but having to obey laws, or staying below the radar and riding bikes, where their income may be limited by their leg strength. It's kind of ridiculous to insist on being granted special permission to game the system.
This should totally be posted in the comments. I would,but I can't remember my login.
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Old 12-05-13, 07:00 PM   #5
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This is a serious problem in our society that is to a great deal not only do to an autocentric culture but also to the "Black or White" thinking of pedal only cyclists who are unwilling to accept hybrid powered vehicles that combine human pedal power with an additional power source or anything for that matter that may better then a car as far as efficiency and reduced emissions and less physical road space use but is not as good as a conventional pedal only very light weight (comparatively) bicycle.

My state has fairly good laws to cover this are but it is still a problem. I feel for people in other areas of the country that are struggling under an oppressive narrow mindedness from both sides where they are trapped in the middle in the grey zone between the hard line "lily white pure" pedal only cyclists and the "black as coal" aggressive motoring public that have needs that can be easily met by a medium weight human/electric hybrid vehicle or even just a medium weight small low speed electric only golf cart type vehicle. Heck so long as you keep the emissions under control so your no worse then a car and hopefully better even non-electric liquid fuel burning lighter weight powered preferably human hybrid powered vehicles should be freely accepted and encouraged as another transportation mode that is better, safer, and more efficient and allows existing roads to carry greater capacity without modification by reducing the size of the individual vehicles.
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Old 12-05-13, 10:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
"According to protesters, the ban, which slaps businesses whose employees are caught using e-bikes with a $175 fine and possible bike confiscation, threatens to make it impossible for many delivery workers to both stay legal and keep up with orders in what is often a 10-12 hour day."

Read the full article:
http://gothamist.com/2013/12/05/phot...kers_prote.php
WOW! I didn't think the law would ever be inforced I still see electric powered delivery men on bkes even today. I guess they are all risking a huge fine especially when the bike police are on the street.

These men don't make enough to warrant a motocycle or scooter because the gas, insurance and repairs will make it unprofitable. It's really a job that pays below minimum wage even in New York City. A bike messenger makes more money!

Before, the electric bikes became common, most of these men were riding old mountain bikes with knobby tires. This was very hard work if you ask me since none were on thin tire fixed gear bikes. I guess they will all have to go back and I'm sure some will have to find other work. The electric bike was really a savior for the older delivery workers.

Unfortunately, the city finally caught up with them since quite a few are the own worse enemy. If they only respected the street laws, there wouldn't have been a problem.
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Old 12-05-13, 10:21 PM   #7
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Another stupid nanny state law by big government. These are people that are willing to work and pay taxes.
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Old 12-06-13, 10:03 AM   #8
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Another stupid nanny state law by big government. These are people that are willing to work and pay taxes.
So, cab drivers shouldn't ever be prosecuted for traffic infractions? After all they're willing to work and pay taxes.

This isn't a clear black and white issue at all. The issue is where to place electric bikes on the spectrum between largely unregulated bicycles and regulated motor vehicles. Also electric bikes themselves vary, from power assist units that only add power when pedals are turned, to throttle units, more like the mopeds of the past.

It's the experience during the moped boom, which created a category of low powered, unregulated vehicles, and the confusion that followed that has regulators nervous.
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Old 12-06-13, 10:32 AM   #9
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So, cab drivers shouldn't ever be prosecuted for traffic infractions? After all they're willing to work and pay taxes.

This isn't a clear black and white issue at all. The issue is where to place electric bikes on the spectrum between largely unregulated bicycles and regulated motor vehicles. Also electric bikes themselves vary, from power assist units that only add power when pedals are turned, to throttle units, more like the mopeds of the past.

It's the experience during the moped boom, which created a category of low powered, unregulated vehicles, and the confusion that followed that has regulators nervous.

Aren't electric bikes already addressed (legally allowed) by NY state vehicle code? Don't they have full right to public roadway like a bicycle or motor vehicle? Is this akin to the Colorado gambling town that banned cycles (doomed to fail)?
Is this a valid way for a municipality to control the license/operation of commercial vehicles? Does NYC outright ban these bikes or do they require a cost-prohibitive commercial license (the way they do taxi-cabs)?
call me puzzled...
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Old 12-06-13, 11:30 AM   #10
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Aren't electric bikes already addressed (legally allowed) by NY state vehicle code? Don't they have full right to public roadway like a bicycle or motor vehicle? Is this akin to the Colorado gambling town that banned cycles (doomed to fail)?
Is this a valid way for a municipality to control the license/operation of commercial vehicles? Does NYC outright ban these bikes or do they require a cost-prohibitive commercial license (the way they do taxi-cabs)?
call me puzzled...
Since I don't own one, I don't stay on top of the laws regarding electric bikes. The state has struggled to define the category. It's tough to separate and define these based on power, max speed, and whether they are purely power assist (augment riders power) or can power if the rider coasts. Meanwhile NYC (under home rule) has opted to ban them outright.

As I said earlier, they don't seem to be out trolling for the bikes, looking for motor hubs. It seems that as long as you ride like a bike at bike speeds, and obey the law they'll leave private cyclists alone. I don't know if they're more seriously targeting commercial riders, or dealing with the e-bike issue after stopping for other violations.

As it stands now, this is a classic case of NYC life, where you can do whatever you want as long as you stay below radar.

Eventually, the city and state will realize that power assist E-bikes can fill a niche in the transportation mix, but given the experience with mopeds I understand why they're moving slowly.
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Old 12-06-13, 11:52 AM   #11
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the grey area in pics

bike with electric assist....it's really a bike that you can pedal efficiently without the electric motor




electric 'bike" Bike in name only it has pedals connected to the wheel to get around regulations, but would not be practical to just pedal for any distance



electric bike.....looks like an elecric scooter

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Old 12-06-13, 12:20 PM   #12
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the grey area in pics

bike with electric assist....it's really a bike that you can pedal efficiently without the electric motor
The reality is that this is a very difficult category to define in statutes. Do we base the definitions on total power (wattage), maximum speed, drive system (torque sensor, or throttle), battery size/range, vehicle weight, and so on. And once we define the category, how are police to know at a glance which are motorcycles, and which are power assist bicycles?

Part of the problem is what people want or expect from an electric bike. I feel there's a legitimate niche for something that would help riders climb hills or start from the line, but the market tends to want the opposite, something that's a below the radar motorcycle, that you might help from time to time by pedaling. It's the way people use them that creates the issues.

BTW- the complaint of delivery riders makes my point. NYC is relatively flat, and human power is very adequate to the needs of delivery bicycles. They don't need help climbing nonexistent hills, and just want something that will go faster with less effort. We already have a category for that, it's called a motorcycle.
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Old 12-06-13, 01:00 PM   #13
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An observation. The standard issue restaurant e-bikes are able to haul ass up to speed pretty quickly. If a rider is sprinting, you can tell that they are sprinting/putting out effort to go fast and gauge their speed accordingly. The e-bikes become unpredictable when you see a 90 year old guy in an apron launch from a light and hit 20mph.

It's bad enough that drivers cannot conceive that a bicycle is moving @ 25-30mph, now you have all sizes and shapes going 0-30 in seconds and able to maintain that speed. It makes it difficult to judge when driving around them. Much different than when a few fast riders leave a light and then the rest plod along. Now everyone is speeding away from lights.
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Old 12-06-13, 01:33 PM   #14
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These bikes do 30 mph?
My 1980 Puch 2 stroke mopeds-100 mpg-would do just 30 mph(we fooled with muffler got ity to do indicated 35mph)
You could actually pedal the Puch-in fact that was how it was started-pedaling -no motor-would get you to a fast walk.Strictly for running out of gas-since it never broke.

Why not govern them- 15-18 mph-bit faster than most bike riders-plenty fast enough for a crowded city.Don't power limit them-they will cheat-speed limit them.Get better range at lower speeds anyway.
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Old 12-06-13, 02:06 PM   #15
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These bikes do 30 mph?
I think only the really expensive ones ($2k+) do 30mph. Most of the cheaper electric bikes (<$1k) electric assist cuts out at 20mph. I'm going to guess most of these delivery guys aren't riding $2k bikes to deliver take-out. They must not be going far because the range on electric bikes usually isn't all that great.
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Old 12-06-13, 02:31 PM   #16
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Thanks-so they are already limited-more or less-to 20 mph-a reasonable not too fast-speed.
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Old 12-06-13, 04:02 PM   #17
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Thanks-so they are already limited-more or less-to 20 mph-a reasonable not too fast-speed.
The rules vary by state.
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Old 12-06-13, 04:54 PM   #18
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Thanks for the E-bike info.
I really loved my Puch mopeds-100 mpg back when my vehicle-1980 D-100- got maybe 13 mpg in the city-no better hy-with $1 gas(had been 35 cents until the 1979 dust up with Iran)
The 1979 oil price spike changed car buying habits for a long time.It permanently lost Detroit a lot of market share as many folks bailed out to smaller more reliable Japanese 4 cylinders
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