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  1. #1
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    Electric bike legislation

    Could you see these getting legislated out of existence after the first time someone produces bad publicity with one? Just curious. If this weren't such a risk I think electric bikes would have the potential to go the way of the ipod and be a real sensation at some point with the way gas is going.

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    Personally, I hope the government here in Ontario bans the 175lb monstrosities such as the Veloteq. These things are neither a bicycle or a scooter, and have no business being on sidewalks or MUP's. They are also totally unsuitable and inappropriate for use on the road, as most riders I've seen on them haven't the slightest idea of how to ride in traffic, and most drivers don't know how to react to their presence on the road. They look like a motor scooter, but act like an inexperienced bicycle rider, which they usually are.

    On the other hand, I own a Dahon Jetstream P8 fiitted with a Bionx 350 watt electric motor. Total weight is about 42 lbs, and can be pedaled like a regular bike. The power assist is dependent upon the amount of pressure applied to the pedals, so the harder I'm pedaling the more assist I get. It's like having an automatic turbo boost! It also has a thumb-operated throttle which can be used any time. It's great for getting ahead of traffic when pulling away from a red light, or getting up a steep hill while fighting a headwind while riding home after working the midnight shift! And the really cool thing about it is that most people don't even realize that it's an electric bike, unless they look really closely, or get passed by me doing 35 kph or more while riding perfectly upright with one hand!

    So I would really like to see the "bicycle-type" e-bike promoted more, and see it as the perfect alternative to the automobile for most in-town commuting and errands. They are economical, environmentally friendly, and actually encourage the rider to pedal the bike while riding. Perhaps General Motors could include a free e-bike with every Yukon or Tahoe purchased, to improve both sales and gas mileage! After all, if you use the e-bike for 50% of your trips, you've just doubled your gas mileage!

    On the other hand, (four fingers and a thumb), the scooter-style e-bikes such as the Veloteq are unsafe, and should be banned completely as soon as possible. There is no way the rider can actually pedal one of them, SO IT IS NOT A BIKE! There is no way a 175lb e-bike can stop anywhere near as quickly as a 45-50lb e-bike. And what's the point of putting all those useless plastic parts on a bike to make look like a motor scooter? Most cyclists want to LIGHTEN their bikes, or if they have to add extra weight, it had better be functional, like lights, racks, and fenders. The energy costs of manufacturing all that useless junk to make it look like a scooter can't be good for the environment either, let alone the energy penalty of having to move it and deplete the batteries sooner, too.

    Furthermore, if a cyclist is going to ride on the road, in traffic, on a machine that looks like a motor scooter, and interact with other vehicles that assume that he/she is on a motor scooter, that rider better have all the skills and defensive driving abilities and awareness of a properly trained motorcycle rider. Riding a motorcycle in traffic requires a level of situational awareness an order of magnitude greater than driving a car. Since most car drivers are going to assume that you are on a real motor scooter, you'd damn well better behave like one, or face the penalties. I've ridden motorcycles from Alaska to the Cabot Trail, and I know what I'm talking about.

    I realize I'm going to piss off a lot of e-bikers with this thread, but get over it. If you can't physically pedal a bicycle, and that's why you ride an e-bike, fine. You'd still be better off on a bicycle-style e-bike than a scooter-style one. You don't HAVE to pedal either kind, if you can't/don't want to. And if your disabilities prevent you from riding a regular bike, how in hell are you going to pedal a scooter-style e-bike home if you "run out of gas" (charge)? Which is easier to pick up if you drop it, (and you will), a 50lb bike, or a 175lb one? If you're riding on a MUP, (and I see them all the time) on an e-bike, and you collide with an ipod wearing jogger or dog walker, which is going to do more harm, the 50lb bike or the 175lb one?

    So, yes I would love to see e-bikes become more popular, and see them as a partial solution to the coming ****-storm more commonly known as Peak Oil. That's why I bought mine just recently. I just don't see any use or need for the scooter-style e-bikes, and the sooner they are banned, the better.

  3. #3
    Techie Oshawaebiker's Avatar
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    You need to take a closer look out there to see who is riding unsafe. I'm on the road all the time on one of your hated scooter style and from my perspective 75 to 90% of the (Conventional) bike riders out there are more dangerous to them selves and others at the rate they ignore traffic rules, drive wrong way on streets, ride on sidewalks and are generally unstable on there bikes. I think everyone needs to clean up there act for the safety of all. I road bikes for years till an accident made it difficult for me to peddle. I can still peddle but it is not comfortable for me.And I do not own a car, have a license just don't own one, my choice.
    Most scooter style riders I know are very cautious of the rules and there own safety. My experience on the street most cars have no problem with me. The ones that do also have problems with conventional bikes. In case you are unaware yes it is illegal to ride any adult bike of any style on the sidewalk in Ontario. From what I have seen either most people are ignorant of the fact or just choose to ignore it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oshawaebiker View Post
    I road bikes for years till an accident made it difficult for me to peddle. I can still peddle but it is not comfortable for me.
    Definitions of peddle on the Web:

    * go from place to place selling, as in: The farmer came to town to peddle his surplus tomatoes.
    www.business-words.com/dictionary/P_1.html

    * sell or offer for sale from place to place
    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    What exactly is it that you peddle on your e-scooter while not actually pedaling? And why would you choose to do it while propelling a useless extra 125lbs of junk attached to your bike? If you have an injury, wouldn't it make more sense to use a lighter, more efficient bike? That would leave more room for the goods you're peddling while not actually pedaling.

    Oh, and by the way, you "rode" bikes for years, "road" is what you rode on, unless you rode on the sidewalk for all those years; in that case you "sidewalked" bikes for years.

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    Techie Oshawaebiker's Avatar
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    You always know when one has the advantage in a discussion when your opposite can only respond with jokes or wise cracks
    Trust your bike and enjoy the ride.
    Secretary / Technical adviser for the Durham E-Bike Association Est: Aug 2007
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  6. #6
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    The energy costs of manufacturing all that useless junk to make it look like a scooter can't be good for the environment either, let alone the energy penalty of having to move it and deplete the batteries sooner, too.
    If you're worried about the environmental impact of people's transportation choices, perhaps you should lighten up on the e-scooter folks. Sure, it's too bad that not everybody wants to pedal at all. But giving them all this BS about these bikes is likely to just turn them off and make them want to buy stinky gas scooters, motorcycles, or cars.

    I'll take a 175-pound vehicle over a 500 to 3000 pound vehicle any day of the week.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerewa View Post
    But giving them all this BS about these bikes is likely to just turn them off ......
    ......I'll take a 175-pound vehicle over a 500 to 3000 pound vehicle any day of the week.
    So please tell me what in my original post is BS.

    And why not choose a 50 to 75lb vehicle over a 175lb one that does nothing better than the lighter one, except deplete more natural resources?

    Apart from the added extra materials and energy wasted in the manufacture of the scooter-style e-bike, consider how many more bicycle-style e-bikes will fit in a container being shipped from China, and therefore how much more diesel fuel is wasted in shipping the scoots, along with the resulting pollution.

    The BionX units are manufactured in Quebec, and weigh less than 20lbs. Want to compare carbon footprints from factory door to your door?

    Sorry, but you just can't argue logically for the existence of these things. Their only justification is for people who want to look like they're riding a motor scooter and not a bicycle.

  8. #8
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    Oshawaebiker: According to the link you provided:

    http://www.durhamebikeassociation.org/Home/index.html :

    "The scooter style of e-bikes have a distinctive look that is new to the streets of Ontario. These bikes are designed to be propelled through use of the electric motor alone and use a throttle to control the speed.

    ...these e-bikes are considerably heavier, can weigh up to 175 lbs, but this is not an issue since they are self propelled."

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary:

    "bicycle

    noun a vehicle consisting of two wheels held in a frame one behind the other, propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars attached to the front wheel."

    So I guess your electric scooters aren't really electric bicycles are they? They may be "bikes" in the same way that a motorcycle is often referred to as a "bike", but no motorcyclist ever pretends that his ride is a motorized bicycle.

    A bicycle is meant to be pedaled. It may have electric assist, but it is meant to be pedaled. Please tell me, what percentage of time do you actually pedal your e-scooter?

  9. #9
    Techie Oshawaebiker's Avatar
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    That is not a definition it is a generalization. Very weak argument. If it has two inline wheels it is a bicycle. In fact a motorcycle IS a motorized bicycle. It does not matter how it is propelled, pedals, kicked, cranked, electrified or gas powered, they are still bicycles. Your tunnel vision attitude is not about to sway me in my course to promote and support E-Bikes of any style. And mine serves me well. Your attitude may change when your knees and ankles are not what they use to be, but you still want to be out there.
    Trust your bike and enjoy the ride.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oshawaebiker View Post
    Your attitude may change when your knees and ankles are not what they use to be, but you still want to be out there.
    I'll bet your knees and ankles give out before mine, from your lack of pedaling. The human body thrives on motion, movement and activity. It is the only "machine" that wears out from lack of use.

    Also, you still haven't answered my question. What percentage of time do you actually pedal your e-scooter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oshawaebiker View Post
    In fact a motorcycle IS a motorized bicycle. It does not matter how it is propelled, pedals, kicked, cranked, electrified or gas powered, they are still bicycles.
    Technically speaking, yes, a motorcycle is a motorized bicycle. But I never heard any motorcycle or scooter rider claim that he/she is just riding a bicycle that happens to have power assist.

    How can your e-scooter assist something you never do, i.e. pedal?

    Your e-scooter has nothing in common with a real bicycle, and everything in common with motor scooters and mopeds. Neither of them are allowed on sidewalks and MUP's, and neither should you be. They are too heavy, cumbersome and dangerous to mingle with walkers, joggers, skateboarders, and inline skaters, but too underpowered to go out and play with the big boys in the real traffic masquerading as a real motor scooter. They have no place on either one, and hopefully will be legislated out of existence at the end of the trial period here in Ontario.

    As the old saying goes, "They are neither fish nor fowl".
    Last edited by Autoworker; 06-11-08 at 05:10 PM. Reason: forgot something I wanted to say

  12. #12
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    If definitions are a problem, just look up your local DOT definitions for various vehicles. In Washington state for instance, there are bicycles, electric bicycles, mopeds, medium speed vehicles, neighbor electric vehicles, motorcycles, cars, etc.

  13. #13
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oshawaebiker View Post
    You need to take a closer look out there to see who is riding unsafe. I'm on the road all the time on one of your hated scooter style and from my perspective 75 to 90% of the (Conventional) bike riders out there are more dangerous to them selves and others at the rate they ignore traffic rules, drive wrong way on streets, ride on sidewalks and are generally unstable on there bikes. I think everyone needs to clean up there act for the safety of all. I road bikes for years till an accident made it difficult for me to peddle. I can still peddle but it is not comfortable for me.And I do not own a car, have a license just don't own one, my choice.
    Most scooter style riders I know are very cautious of the rules and there own safety. My experience on the street most cars have no problem with me. The ones that do also have problems with conventional bikes. In case you are unaware yes it is illegal to ride any adult bike of any style on the sidewalk in Ontario. From what I have seen either most people are ignorant of the fact or just choose to ignore it.
    So again, the scooter people are making unsubstanciated claims. Not only are scooters safer, the users are more law abiding. Are they more 'manly' too? I really wish I owned one of those manly lawful scooters instead of a bicycle!

    What a pile of horse poop!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell View Post
    So again, the scooter people are making unsubstanciated claims. Not only are scooters safer, the users are more law abiding. Are they more 'manly' too? I really wish I owned one of those manly lawful scooters instead of a bicycle!

    What a pile of horse poop!
    I am not claiming nor have I ever claimed that scooter style are safer. What I am saying is that there is unsafe operation and law braking on all sides. And as far as unsubstantiated I know what I see. What do I have to do bring pictures? It happens enough that if I went out with a camera I would find lots. If you disagree with that fact then you are really blind to the real world. It doesn't matter if one is in Oshawa or Toronto.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    "Could you see these getting legislated out of existence"
    NO
    But they should be treated as motor vehicles, and all laws,regulations pertaining to motor vehicles should be applied to them.


    As to the above arguement about law breaking cyclists. The law should be vigorously enforced on all cyclists.
    Not too much to say here

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autoworker View Post
    Definitions of peddle on the Web:

    * go from place to place selling, as in: The farmer came to town to peddle his surplus tomatoes.
    www.business-words.com/dictionary/P_1.html

    * sell or offer for sale from place to place
    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    What exactly is it that you peddle on your e-scooter while not actually pedaling? And why would you choose to do it while propelling a useless extra 125lbs of junk attached to your bike? If you have an injury, wouldn't it make more sense to use a lighter, more efficient bike? That would leave more room for the goods you're peddling while not actually pedaling.

    Oh, and by the way, you "rode" bikes for years, "road" is what you rode on, unless you rode on the sidewalk for all those years; in that case you "sidewalked" bikes for years.
    Thank you Mr. Dictionary.

    Now can we discuss this without you suddenly turning yourself into a 3rd grade teacher?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    "Could you see these getting legislated out of existence"
    NO
    But they should be treated as motor vehicles, and all laws,regulations pertaining to motor vehicles should be applied to them.


    As to the above arguement about law breaking cyclists. The law should be vigorously enforced on all cyclists.
    Nope. They're in a lower class than Mopeds and as such are fine where they are.

    Be careful what you wish for. If you legislate too much, you might end up turning away potential riders right back into their cars.

    The goal here is to get people out of their cars, not back into them. Your approach will scare people away.

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