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Licenses for E-Bikes?

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Old 07-11-18, 05:51 AM
  #26  
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Having to license an E-bike is just nuts. Dont give money grubbing B'crats any ideas. Most E-bikes have a limited speed anyway. Far more "real cyclist" buzz by people on bike paths than older people on their E-bikes. Remember you WILL get old some day, and might like a little assist up hills too!!!!
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Old 07-11-18, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Most E-bikes have a limited speed anyway. Far more "real cyclist" buzz by people on bike paths than older people on their E-bikes. Remember you WILL get old some day, and might like a little assist up hills too!!!!
Maybe that's the predominance of e-bike use in cities in the flyover states, but go somewhere like NCY or Philly and you will see a good number of throttled e-bikes whizzing around the streets while being operated recklessly, without much regard for traffic signals/signs or pedestrians. The relative speeds they can get up to, and the quickness of acceleration, is quite remarkable. I often see them passing cars on crowded streets. Being able to get up to speed from a standstill much more quickly than a regular bike can disrupt expectations of timing.

Not saying one way or another that all that warrants licensing. What I am saying is that to suggest conditions are the same all over the country is, well, incorrect.
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Old 07-11-18, 07:20 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
there are so many variants of "e-bikes" that really clear definitions would need to apply and have clear slopes between licensed and non licensed, then you have scooters, electric motor cycles there is Pedal assist, where the motor helps, but you can't start the bike on just a motor, or really ride it that far unless you pedal that far, but I see these going pretty fast and far with minimal pedalingand there is Electric, where the bike (really not a bike) does not need any pedaling
Agree on that point. To me, the cutoff is pedal-assist that cuts off in the 18-20MPH line. Most reasonably fit people can do that on a regular bike, especially for short durations, there really is no difference except for how long one can do it.

Anything that is operated by a throttle, or doesn't cut out over that point should be regulated like mopeds, because that is what they effectively are. Dunno how they are handled worldwide, but in Michigan you can ride them at 14 or 15 with special permit or drivers license if you have one, and a three year registration sticker costs like $12.
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Old 07-11-18, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'm surprised e-bikes (and gas powered bikes) aren't regulated similar to mopeds.
In my state, any bike with an engine smaller than 50cc does not have to be licensed or regulated. I don't know if it says anything about electric motors, probably not, likely just falls under the bicycle statutes.

The reason I know this is because a few years ago when I was a dispatcher we had issues with people riding those Chinese-built mini motorcycles on city streets. They didn't have to be licensed, but the law stated that they couldn't be ridden on streets in a class C city (which we were).
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Old 07-11-18, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Bikes have to be pedaled. So for those not requiring any pedaling, requiring a registration but not licensing. Also, horsepower (or watts) limitations since speed can vary greatly depending on surrounding conditions and other environmental factors.
E-bikes require pedalling. They only provide electric power assist up to a certain speed. Here, for instance, Class-1 and Class-2 e-bikes provide power assist up to 20 mph, and Class-3 e-bikes up to 28 mph. Once you've reached that speed, the assist will be cut off.
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Old 07-11-18, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by daihard View Post
E-bikes require pedalling. They only provide electric power assist up to a certain speed. Here, for instance, Class-1 and Class-2 e-bikes provide power assist up to 20 mph, and Class-3 e-bikes up to 28 mph. Once you've reached that speed, the assist will be cut off.
Not all. Again, it is not correct to presume all are the same, there are many options that have a throttle.

And 28 MPH, even with pedaling, is a bit on the extreme end. You are well into (maybe past) pro level group ride speeds at that point.

Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Maybe that's the predominance of e-bike use in cities in the flyover states, but go somewhere like NCY or Philly and you will see a good number of throttled e-bikes whizzing around the streets while being operated recklessly, without much regard for traffic signals/signs or pedestrians. The relative speeds they can get up to, and the quickness of acceleration, is quite remarkable. I often see them passing cars on crowded streets. Being able to get up to speed from a standstill much more quickly than a regular bike can disrupt expectations of timing.
Same here, except for bikes with gas motors mounted on them. I'm sure it is just a matter of time til those are replaced by ebikes.
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Old 07-11-18, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Same here, except for bikes with gas motors mounted on them. I'm sure it is just a matter of time til those are replaced by ebikes.
We have them as well. I have even seen what amount to gas powered skateboards.
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Old 07-11-18, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Not all. Again, it is not correct to presume all are the same, there are many options that have a throttle.

And 28 MPH, even with pedaling, is a bit on the extreme end. You are well into (maybe past) pro level group ride speeds at that point.
Bikes that don't require pedalling are not bikes. They should be classified as mopeds. If your argument is to require a license to operate mopeds (including those types of "bikes"), then I agree.

King County, where I live, has a pilot program now to allow Class-1 and Class-2 e-bikes on MUPs and in bike lanes, but not Class-3.

In my personal experience, wanna-be racers on road bikes are much more dangerous, especially on trails, than e-bike riders.
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Old 07-11-18, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by daihard View Post
Bikes that don't require pedalling are not bikes. They should be classified as mopeds. If your argument is to require a license to operate mopeds (including those types of "bikes"), then I agree.
Says you, but there are many (myself not included) that disagree with that belief.
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Old 07-11-18, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Seriously? I can pedal my bike up to 24mph on level ground quite easily and with a nice downslope?? Who knows! Just because a person is FIT does not mean they have the judgement to operate a bicycle but ... they can. So? Require licensing for regular bicycles as well? Seems only fair. Somebody bored?

There's a certain logic to it, although I probably don't favor licensing e-bikes. It takes some non-negligible amount of time riding on a bike to develop the fitness level necessary to get it up to 24 mph, and that implies learning how to control it as your speed graduially increases. The ebike rider can hop on the thing and have it up to 20 mph with little skill other than not falling over, get themselves to the top of hils they could never pedal up unassisted, then fly down the downhill without the requisite experience needed to keep control of the bike. Basically, this postulates that there's a non-perfect correlation wiith the fitness level needed to maintain high speed and riding skills, and the electric bikes break that correlation, and you have unskilled riders going fast..
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Old 07-11-18, 01:27 PM
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Pragmatically I think it's become necessary to make a distinction between pedal assist bikes that only move when pedaling and where the assist drops out at speed, vs. throttle electric mopeds/motorcycles.

While the latter are more environmentally friendly than their gas/petrol engine predecessors, safety wise they are worse, as they're almost completely silent and so give no warning when improperly operated (ie, in disallowed areas, wrong way, without lights, etc). So they should have at least the same requirements and restrictions as engine-power mopeds and motorcycles.

That's not to say that you can't do bad things with a pedal-assist bike, or even a pure pedal one. But it takes at least some effort. I also think the allowed pedal-assist behavior or wattage may need further tuning to more accurately model what an average person (vs trained athlete) could do on the type of bicycle for which bicycle infrastructure is designed.

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Old 07-11-18, 01:30 PM
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Regulation of these things is really about controlling the risks to other people, not the rider. There are really two factors that can drastically increase those risks. Speed is the obvious one, the less obvious one is weight. Getting hit by a car at 10 mph is way more likely to kill you than getting hit by a bicycle going 15 mph. E-bikes can be a lot heavier than the reasonable maximum operating weight of a pedalled bicycle.

I'm starting to see some really heavy e-bikes on crowded commuter paths right now,, and they're doing about 20. They look a LOT heavier than a tandem bike. I haven't seen anybody looking like they weren't riding them responsibly, but they really are heavy motorized vehicles on a bike path. These things belong in the street.
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Old 07-11-18, 02:54 PM
  #38  
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When George Clooney got hit on a scooter filming overseas recently it was no different than another much talked about incident in a thread here that had a You Tube video in it. That car's driver made a poor turn and didn't see the cyclist as well. Having a license or not is a matter for the jurisdiction. In the US small motorized bicycles are classified as 'mopeds' if they are capable of being pedaled as well and usually below a certain displacement (which would be different for e-bikes but those two are somewhat unregulated).
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Old 07-11-18, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Pragmatically I think it's become necessary to make a distinction between pedal assist bikes that only move when pedaling and where the assist drops out at speed, vs. throttle electric mopeds/motorcycles.

While the latter are more environmentally friendly than their gas/petrol engine predecessors, safety wise they are worse, as they're almost completely silent and so give no warning when improperly operated (ie, in disallowed areas, wrong way, without lights, etc). So they should have at least the same requirements and restrictions as engine-power mopeds and motorcycles.

That's not to say that you can't do bad things with a pedal-assist bike, or even a pure pedal one. But it takes at least some effort. I also think the allowed pedal-assist behavior or wattage may need further tuning to more accurately model what an average person (vs trained athlete) could do on the type of bicycle for which bicycle infrastructure is designed.
+1... I agree with everything stated here, having owned and been riding one for 6 years, (an E -Assist bicycle). Thumb: an assisted bike like mine that must be pedaled and cuts out assist above 20MPH is still a bicycle, as I see it and experienced it, BUT, as soon as a throttle is used it becomes a moped, even when pedaled, as I have used a throttle on my bike about 0.01% of the time. (fun, fast, not much effort required) THAT just is how it works in my experience IMO.

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Old 07-11-18, 05:58 PM
  #40  
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Licensing should serve a clear purpose, and be effectual at achieving that purpose. Driver’s licenses are, in my view, a spectacular failure - if their purpose is to keep people safe. They serve other legitimate purposes.

One purpose licenses serve is to prevent certain people from doing certain things. I think we need to be honest about that. We certify people to guarantee certain knowledge or skills. We license people to control what they are allowed to do.

There are licenses for scuba diving, flying, and commercial driving. We don’t want everyone doing those things. Some of them have very stringent health requirements that have nothing to do with ability or education.

There probably are people who shouldn’t be riding pedelecs. I don’t think it’s an overwhelming problem. If we need to prevent certain people from riding e-bikes, I certainly think we would need to prevent those same people from riding bicycles, as a number of people have pointed out.

It’s good to think about these kinds of things.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Really..??? Well now, it seems our "liberty" is,/MUST be, being eroded by needing a licence to drive a car too... No.? as for the E-Bike licencing, or moped thing, there already are rules/laws for that, too...
Well, the whole concept of use of public roadways is a "privilege" is a problem for me. Sure I see the advantage of ensuring competency.

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Old 07-12-18, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
there are so many variants of "e-bikes" that really clear definitions would need to apply and have clear slopes between licensed and non licensed, then you have scooters, electric motor cycles there is Pedal assist, where the motor helps, but you can't start the bike on just a motor, or really ride it that far unless you pedal that far, but I see these going pretty fast and far with minimal pedalingand there is Electric, where the bike (really not a bike) does not need any pedaling

beyond that there then get to be criteria for roadworthiness like like lights, break lights etc

I think the simplest way to regulate is:

If a vehicle (bike, scooter, boosted skate board, etc) can go faster than 18 MPH on the flat without any human assist, the operator should be required to have a drivers license, and no sidewalks

If a vehicle can go faster than 25 mph on the flat without any human assist then, the vehicle needs to be licensed and meet defined roadworthiness standards along with the operator being licensed

this is just first shot at speeds but seem reasonable

As I said in another post, weight of the vehicle also needs to be a consideration. If the motor allows someone to propel a 150 pound vehicle 17 mph on the flat, that's a much bigger safety risk to others than a light ebike going 21 mph. Some of these cargo bikes are really, really big and heavily laden. They'd be entirely impractical without motors.
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Old 07-12-18, 10:17 AM
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Look at these posts. Its the same old BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone wants to regulate the other guy. Personally I get so tired of people that want to control OTHER people. And especially the ones that want to tax THE OTHER GUY.
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Old 07-12-18, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Look at these posts. Its the same old BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone wants to regulate the other guy. Personally I get so tired of people that want to control OTHER people. And especially the ones that want to tax THE OTHER GUY.

Don't care about the taxation or the licenses, but I don't want heavy powered machines creeping onto the bike paths.

Not seeing a lot of support for licensing ebikes on this thread, but there definitely need to be some lines drawn as the motors get smaller and more powerful.
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Old 07-12-18, 04:06 PM
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We have mopeds (illegally) on the bike path here, I don't find it a problem. Bigger problem is the occasional car that blocks the whole path (seems more common lately with homeless who have cars).

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Old 07-12-18, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Look at these posts. Its the same old BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone wants to regulate the other guy. Personally I get so tired of people that want to control OTHER people. And especially the ones that want to tax THE OTHER GUY.
You wouldn't think so until an unlicensed driver hits you and there's no way to find him. On a bike your can rarely collide with more than one individual, and rarely serious injury or death. But with a car or larger vehicles you can cause an awful lot of damage and then drive away. Point being, its sometimes necessary in a large society, but cycling is not one of those instances.
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Old 07-12-18, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt74 View Post
If we need to prevent certain people from riding e-bikes, I certainly think we would need to prevent those same people from riding bicycles
There certainly can be issues with improper operation of pedal powered bicycles.

However the physical effort does put some limitation on it.

If you can just sit there and squeeze a throttle, you're on a motorcycle, and we already have rules for those.
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Old 07-12-18, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Look at these posts. Its the same old BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone wants to regulate the other guy. Personally I get so tired of people that want to control OTHER people. And especially the ones that want to tax THE OTHER GUY.
By that logic, it's fine for someone to ride their Harley though the bike lane at 50 mph. In whichever direction they choose.

Street anarchy doesn't work.

Rather obviously a society has to draw a line somewhere, the question is where.
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Old 07-14-18, 11:31 PM
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Exactly

Right. Anyone can now climb 5000ft with an e-bike. But not everyone has the skills to descend.

​​​​​Similarly on MUPs. It took me year's to develop the stamina and most importantly skills to ride at 17mph on a MUP, but now a first time rider can do it. Skill here means anticipation, reaction etc. that comes with experience.


Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
There certainly can be issues with improper operation of pedal powered bicycles.

However the physical effort does put some limitation on it.

If you can just sit there and squeeze a throttle, you're on a motorcycle, and we already have rules for those.
Exactly

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Old 07-25-18, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
There aren't enough of them around here that anyone has thought about it much.
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I think they're coming quickly. It is hard to say how many. Maybe 1% to 5% of the bicycles?

But, they generally seem to be mixing with the bikes ok, and don't seem to be causing any major problems. So, as long as they aren't killing or injuring a bunch of pedestrians, or other cyclists, then they can be largely ignored....
jon c, I'm just a little west of your location and I agree with CliffordK; they're coming quickly.

I've always been kind of sad in how few cyclists I see on the roads, even when gas prices were skyrocketing -- it's easy to find bikes riding on the residential roads near the beach (as recreation), but no one using the bike as a form of transportation; however, lately I've been seeing more and more bikes away from the beach...specifically ebikes. Not seeing too many on the roads yet, but their numbers are definitely increasing.

It's weird seeing an old lady riding effortlessly at 20-mph, blowing stop sign I don't know what the answer is, but like many I don't want to see licenses/registration, but I only wonder how this is going to evolve. I do think it's going to get worse as more and more hit the roads.

BTW, I've never ridden an ebike and don't know much about them, but I have looked at a few youtube videos that describe the various classes and I've heard a lot of people say that ebikes are a good thing because it gets people out and exercising, but all the people I've seen riding them don't really seem to be exercising

These things really seem to be doing the vast amount of work required to motor along at 20-mph.
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