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Old 09-29-11, 09:56 PM   #1
Cyclomania
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Should Electric Bikes be allowed in the Bicycle Lane?

Here I am riding up this steep long hill with plenty of car traffic and zoom, this electric bike passes me pretty closely. It's rather startling when you see a bike going as fast as one would if it were descending down a very steep hill. All it would take is for me to veer a little to the left (I already sometimes do that on hills!) and "wham!" The cars too are surprised, not anticipating any bicycle going that fast up hill. I saw a near miss with a car trying to merge into a lane following an intersection with this speedster almost careening into him. You see the Ebike took the exiting lane (on the right) and the car was wanting to merge to exit the highway! The Ebike merged back onto the highway and crossed in the path of the merging vehicle. Glad no one was hurt.

My question is safety here. Mopeds and scooters are required to ride in traffic. When it appears that electric bikes are going at least 30+ MPH, should they be required to ride in traffic also and not be so scary a vehicle for us slow pokes to contend with in the bike lane?

Cute and Leathal

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Old 09-29-11, 10:08 PM   #2
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Absolutely not. Putting a motor on something that looks more like a motorcycle than a bicycle makes it into a MOTORIZED vehicle which should and usually are banned from paths.

Mopeds have pedals also but instead of an electric motor have a gasoline engine, why not allow them also if you are going to allow high power electric mopeds.

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Old 09-29-11, 10:12 PM   #3
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Anyone else been startled by these electric bikes or is it just me?
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Old 09-29-11, 10:19 PM   #4
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Damn few Ebikes are able to do 30mph.
In most states they are limited to 20 mph or they have to be tagged as a moped.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:24 PM   #5
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In California, electric bikes and scooters are required to use the bike lane.

Operation of Motorized Scooters: Prohibitions

21235. The operator of a motorized scooter shall not do any of the following:

...

(b) Operate a motorized scooter on a highway with a speed limit in excess of 25 miles per hour unless the motorized scooter is operated within a class II bicycle lane.
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Old 09-30-11, 01:10 AM   #6
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Anyone else been startled by these electric bikes or is it just me?
It's just you.

I'd allow e-bikes on MUPs, they are no faster than a road bike. On proper bike lanes I'd allow any two-wheeled vehicle. This is already the case in some parts of the UK, where instead of bike lanes, "no-car lanes" are being introduced. That means that buses, bikes, harleys share the space. I have no problem with it.
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Old 09-30-11, 02:24 AM   #7
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No motorized vehicles in the bike lane. There's already a lane for those; it's called the traffic lane.
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Old 09-30-11, 04:48 AM   #8
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Depends...some ebikes are boost others are more like a moped. The boost versions I have no issue with sharing bike lanes. Regardless of the type of bike it boils down to the competency and decency of the rider. I have had plenty of people on regular bikes buzz me in the bike lane on flat ground. I was riding at ~12mph and they were going more than double that. So maybe they need to be in traffic?

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Old 09-30-11, 05:02 AM   #9
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Regardless of the type of bike it boils down to the competency and decency of the rider. I have had plenty of people on regular bikes buzz me in the bike lane on flat ground. I was riding at ~12mph and they were going more than double that. So maybe they need to be in traffic?

Aaron
^^ This. it's the reason I tend not to use bike lanes when on my road bike, the bike lanes are full of people who, perfectly reasonably, want to potter along. If I'm not pottering along we're an inconvenience to one another and I should be riding in the road.
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Old 09-30-11, 06:06 AM   #10
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I think there needs to be a distinction made between motor-assisted bicycles (regular bicycles with a low-powered hub motor) and those contraptions that are clearly an electric scooter with barely-functional pedals attached. I saw one a while ago that had pedals so far apart as to be unusable, and the rider was clearly using the motor as the primary means of propulsion.

This is what I mean:


This sort of thing is a power-assisted bicycle (as long as the electric power isn't too great)


This is not.

The former type of bicycle have fairly sensible reasons for their existence- such as some people who physically can't ride a normal bicycle for long distances etc. The latter, imho, exist solely to avoid having to license, tax and insure a motorcycle.
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Old 09-30-11, 06:27 AM   #11
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I saw someone riding the second kind of bike up a long hill after the batteries had died. Looked painful
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Old 09-30-11, 12:00 PM   #12
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At some point, it makes sense to have speed limits on bike paths. If you are exceeding the speed limit, regardless of how your vehicle is powered, you should be required to use the road.

I don't use bike paths, MUPS or the like, but I see a dangerous pattern emerging. When you mix older folks out for a short walk, with casual riders with their baskets and riding perhaps 10 MPH and the Lance wantabes at 20-25+ and then want to throw in some even faster electric "bikes". Not the best combination.
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Old 09-30-11, 12:31 PM   #13
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Cute and Leathal
Yeah, she can ride where ever she wants.
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Old 09-30-11, 12:37 PM   #14
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Electric bicycle yes. Electric scooter no.
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Old 09-30-11, 12:45 PM   #15
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As long as they do a better job of keeping the actual mopeds and bikes retrofitted with gas powered engines out of the bike lane, I'd think that was a good start. Here, I dodge a fair few of those. Once that problem gets taken care of, then we can talk about what to do with e-bikes (for the most part if they have a 20 mph limiter on the assist, I'd think they were fine, it's more of a driver issue to me).

Around here where I ride, most bike lane users are commuters or roadies. At least the ones I see. I don't see too many out for a little potter around types in the bike lanes. MUPs, parks, and sidewalks, yes, lanes on roads, not very often.
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Old 09-30-11, 07:45 PM   #16
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Another point I wanted to bring up is the quietness of these Ebikes. You have no warning unless a beep or ding or calling out on you left. Absolutely caught by surprise. I just hope I don't find myself a casualty of these darn quick demons!
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Old 09-30-11, 08:20 PM   #17
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I live in China, and the city I live in has copious wide bike lanes. There are many bicycles in them, but they are vastly outnumbered by ebikes.

When I first arrive here 2 1/2 years ago, I was faster than all ebikes, the top speed I was observing was about 34 kmph. This is not the case anymore. I am often overtaken when I am doing 36 kmph, and have drafted them doing 40 kmph. I expect this trend to continue.

There is an advantage to having the bike lanes full of them, they are not likely to remove the bike lanes, which would have happened if the remaining bicycles were the only ones using them. These ebikes help constitute critical mass.

z
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Old 10-01-11, 12:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I think there needs to be a distinction made between motor-assisted bicycles (regular bicycles with a low-powered hub motor) and those contraptions that are clearly an electric scooter with barely-functional pedals attached. I saw one a while ago that had pedals so far apart as to be unusable, and the rider was clearly using the motor as the primary means of propulsion.

This is what I mean:


This sort of thing is a power-assisted bicycle (as long as the electric power isn't too great)


This is not.

The former type of bicycle have fairly sensible reasons for their existence- such as some people who physically can't ride a normal bicycle for long distances etc. The latter, imho, exist solely to avoid having to license, tax and insure a motorcycle.
Good luck with that one!

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Old 10-01-11, 12:57 AM   #19
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Electric bicycle yes. Electric scooter no.
Good Luck with that one!

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Old 10-01-11, 12:58 AM   #20
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Yeah, she can ride where ever she wants.
+1 ^ Ditto ^
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Old 10-01-11, 08:40 AM   #21
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I was tinkering with the idea of a motorized bicycle myself, in Ca as long as it's under 50cc it's exempt from moped laws as well, I've seen that "second" type of "bike" as well.. and thought it was a pathetic exscuse to ride a moped in the bike lane... as cbad said, other then mopeds and up, any motorized vehicle is to ride in the bike lane.. much to my chagrin this seems to include tourists on segways...

I think electric bikes are fine in the bike lane personally, but overtaking someone without warning on a hill.. whole other story. Even on the flats I find myself disgruntled when passed by a guy in a kit on his aerobars who's too "busy" to give me a on your left.... it's startling tends to be way too close and is dangerous. So I can only imagine dealing with the same issue when your struggling to do 5mph up a hill...
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Old 10-01-11, 09:36 AM   #22
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Here I am riding up this steep long hill with plenty of car traffic and zoom, this electric bike passes me pretty closely. It's rather startling when you see a bike going as fast as one would if it were descending down a very steep hill. All it would take is for me to veer a little to the left (I already sometimes do that on hills!) and "wham!" The cars too are surprised, not anticipating any bicycle going that fast up hill. I saw a near miss with a car trying to merge into a lane following an intersection with this speedster almost careening into him. You see the Ebike took the exiting lane (on the right) and the car was wanting to merge to exit the highway! The Ebike merged back onto the highway and crossed in the path of the merging vehicle. Glad no one was hurt.

My question is safety here. Mopeds and scooters are required to ride in traffic. When it appears that electric bikes are going at least 30+ MPH, should they be required to ride in traffic also and not be so scary a vehicle for us slow pokes to contend with in the bike lane?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws

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CPSC rules stipulate that low speed electric bicycles[24] (to include two and three wheel vehicles) are exempt from classification as motor vehicles providing they have fully operable pedals, an electric motor of less than 750W (1 hp), and a top motor-powered speed of less than 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) when operated by a rider weighing 170 pounds.[25] An electric bike remaining within these specifications will be regarded simply as a bicycle for purposes of federal law.
The states are all over the place with the legal status of electric bicycles.

===============

Regardless, it's the responsibility of the passing vehicle to give the overtaken vehicle enough room even if doing that requires leaving a bicycle lane.
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Old 10-01-11, 02:10 PM   #23
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws
Regardless, it's the responsibility of the passing vehicle to give the overtaken vehicle enough room even if doing that requires leaving a bicycle lane.
I wholeheartedly agree! Not all of us were trained on a velodrome to keep a straight line or not be startled by flybys. Only wish there was a three foot rule for cyclists passing cyclists here in Oregon!!! Other's may argue, well that puts me in traffic when passing. Look behind you and make sure it's clear to pass then and leave plenty of room!!!

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...but overtaking someone without warning on a hill.. whole other story. Even on the flats I find myself disgruntled when passed by a guy in a kit on his aerobars who's too "busy" to give me a on your left.... it's startling tends to be way too close and is dangerous. So I can only imagine dealing with the same issue when your struggling to do 5mph up a hill...
Thanks for identifying with my cause! I've had it happen twice now with the same speedster demon on his Ebike. You don't need to be an experienced cyclists on an Ebike and any fool can endanger other cyclists at his whim upon an Ebike!

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Old 10-02-11, 02:40 PM   #24
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These things are going to be a plague, and may mark the end of the era of bicycle advocacy. Manufacturers are essentially putting fake pedals on mopeds, dealers are salivating at the untapped couch potato market; the bicycle infrastructure is there for the taking; politicians are reliably caving in everywhere.

The "assisted" designation is pure hype. No one is pedalling a 75+ pound electric vehicle. A sales rep told me quite honestly that the pedals are there for legal reasons, to avoid the need for a license, and that while they are functional, they're extremely awkward and it's not expected that they'll actually be used.

I've already been buzzed by a couple of these on (formerly) bike trails and it's a real drag.

Why would I push for my tax money to be spent on more "bike lanes" that are going to be swarmed by powered vehicles?

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Old 10-02-11, 05:17 PM   #25
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Yeah, she can ride where ever she wants.
Agreed!!

I test rode that bike last year and it's a moped! I could not carry that bike any distance and you need a garage to store it. Having said that, it had a lot of power.
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