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E-Bike laws, what is your definition?

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View Poll Results: What is the level you think an E-Bike is still a bicycle?
E U 250 watts no throttle cuts out under 20 MPH
3.57%
E U 350 watts no throttle cuts out 20MPH
10.71%
USA 750 watts no throttle cuts out 20 mPH
25.00%
USA 750 watts with throttle cuts out 28 MPH
28.57%
Who cares, as long as it has pedals
10.71%
No motors, it's not a bicycle if it has one
14.29%
500 watts no throttle cuts out 20 MPH
3.57%
500 watts with throttle cuts out 28 MPH
3.57%
Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

E-Bike laws, what is your definition?

Old 09-23-16, 04:47 PM
  #1  
350htrr
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E-Bike laws, what is your definition?

Just curious as to what level you think government should set the limit to what is considered a Legal E-Bike...
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Old 09-23-16, 06:06 PM
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I think the California law is pretty reasonable - throttle up to 20mph and pedal assist up to 28mph.
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Old 09-23-16, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
I think the California law is pretty reasonable - throttle up to 20mph and pedal assist up to 28mph.
Now that it is the law in California, other US states had better use the same definitions or there will be extreme confusion in the market, which is bad for consumers and worse for manufacturers.
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Old 09-23-16, 06:47 PM
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I don't know if the government needs to regulate E-Bikes or not. I like the 20MPH speed limit. That puts it near the top speed a typical cyclist will go at on the level, and somewhere between 10 and 20 MPH is generally controllable on bike paths and infrastructure.

30 MPH might have an advantage of blending better with traffic, but helmets aren't particularly designed for high speeds, and 30 is really pushing it for shared bicycle infrastructure.

Watts? What about E-Cargo-Bikes?

My vote is to at least define E-Bikes as all motorized bicycles. Whether there needs to be strict regulation yet, I'm not sure. However, define it so perhaps some bike routes would be restricted as non motorized only. And, also so that one has a method to start tracking them now, and into the future.

As far as where one might do non-motorized? One idea would be right now I'd like to see a trail by trail analysis of bicycle access to wilderness areas, but I'd certainly draw the line at "motor-bikes".
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Old 09-23-16, 06:56 PM
  #5  
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Are aftermarket modifications of throttle cut outs commonplace?
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Old 09-23-16, 07:27 PM
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[QUOTE=CliffordK;19077823]I don't know if the government needs to regulate E-Bikes or not. I like the 20MPH speed limit. That puts it near the top speed a typical cyclist will go at on the level, and somewhere between 10 and 20 MPH is generally controllable on bike paths and infrastructure.

30 MPH might have an advantage of blending better with traffic, but helmets aren't particularly designed for high speeds, and 30 is really pushing it for shared bicycle infrastructure.

Watts? What about E-Cargo-Bikes?

My vote is to at least define E-Bikes as all motorized bicycles. Whether there needs to be strict regulation yet, I'm not sure. However, define it so perhaps some bike routes would be restricted as non motorized only. And, also so that one has a method to start tracking them now, and into the future.

As far as where one might do non-motorized? One idea would be right now I'd like to see a trail by trail analysis of bicycle access to wilderness areas, but I'd certainly draw the line at "motor-bikes".[/QUOTE]

But, aren't E-Bikes "motor-bikes'?

Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
Are aftermarket modifications of throttle cut outs commonplace?
I'm certain they are... There are even "legal" E-Bikes that are sold and have provisions for upping the speed to whatever the system can do, for "off road" riding, you understand...

Last edited by 350htrr; 09-23-16 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 09-23-16, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
But, aren't E-Bikes "motor-bikes'?
Exactly.

I did see a couple little old ladies riding E-Bikes on the recent Crater Lake car-free-day, which I thought was cute. But, there are certain activities that I'd opt for human powered wheels only.
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Old 09-29-16, 07:29 PM
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While I too dislike any government interference, somebody has to set some sort of standard.

The US definition of a BICYCLE includes electric assistance limited to 750w and 20 mph.

Some states have adopted that standard and others (like New York) are absolutely clueless.

The Europeans have their own ideas as well as other countries.

What we "think" it is or should be is meaningless if some LEO decides to give you a hard time.

-SP
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Old 09-30-16, 07:18 AM
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Technically in the US, you do NOT need a throttle cut out.

There was a lot of hand wringing a couple of years ago when the specialized turbo was coming to market. There was the concern that it could be powered up to 27mph, thus invalidating its designation as a bicycle.

I was really curious how this would work out and if they could legally bring the bike to market as advertized. The compromise worked out was that the bike had to have a top speed of 20mph under its own power, but it could go higher with rider input.

So, I designed my bike the same way. It goes about 20mph by itself with no pedaling. But with pedaling, I can comfortably do 26-27mph. Thus, it fits the US Federal definition of a bicycle.
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Old 09-30-16, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
I think the California law is pretty reasonable - throttle up to 20mph and pedal assist up to 28mph.
I believe that is also US federal definition and not in the poll selection.
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Old 09-30-16, 08:13 AM
  #11  
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I really don't even understand the essential question asked in the title.

My definition is the definition that is stated in the law where it is applied.

I think what you mean is, "what is my desired law."

It really depends what the bike is being used for. If it is a recreational bicycle then a small "helper" motor would make a lot of sense. For one thing it would lesson any excuses made at stop signs. I find that I definitely am more willing to come to a complete stop when it is less effort to get moving again.

However, if the bike is being used a an auto substitute then I am in strong agreement here with several who question wattage limits. I have a bike with a 350W motor, it strains when pulling a loaded trailer or is carrying a large load (but then, so do I).

While I have, intentionally limited my current, primary, ebike to 20mph (750W, PAS, no throttle, normally pulling under 200W) I actually find the law that California made to be a very good compromise. I didn't vote because the California definitions are not on the list of options.

Last edited by Robert C; 09-30-16 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 09-30-16, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
As far as where one might do non-motorized? One idea would be right now I'd like to see a trail by trail analysis of bicycle access to wilderness areas, but I'd certainly draw the line at "motor-bikes".
Some good thoughts for discussion.

One of the biggest problems in the US is that there are very few (to none in many places) where you can safely use a vehicle at 20-25mph. Pedestrians want you off the sidewalk, cars want you off the street, bikers don't want you on a bike path...

My ebike tends to be used for commuting, my pedal bike for recreation (yes, there is some crossover). I don't need a motor to go mountain biking, or for a weekend road workout. Sometimes I do need a motor (ICE or electric) to get to work.
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Old 09-30-16, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
I really don't even understand the essential question asked in the title.

My definition is the definition that is stated in the law where it is applied.

I think what you mean is, "what is my desired law."

It really depends what the bike is being used for. If it is a recreational bicycle then a small "helper" motor would make a lot of sense. For one thing it would lesson any excuses made at stop signs. I find that I definitely am more willing to come to a complete stop when it is less effort to get moving again.

However, if the bike is being used a an auto substitute then I am in strong agreement here with several who question wattage limits. I have a bike with a 350W motor, it strains when pulling a loaded trailer or is carrying a large load (but then, so do I).

While I have, intentionally limited my current, primary, ebike to 20mph (750W, PAS, no throttle, normally pulling under 200W) I actually find the law that California made to be a very good compromise. I didn't vote because the California definitions are not on the list of options.
What I was asking is basically what level of assist still keeps an E-Bike legally a bicycle in your opinion. Like for riding on trails that say no motorized vehicles but bicycles are still allowed... And if you think the California laws are good for that then you can vote either one of the 750 watt choices...

Last edited by 350htrr; 09-30-16 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 09-30-16, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
What I was asking is basically what level of assist still keeps an E-Bike legally a bicycle in your opinion. Like for riding on trails that say no motorized vehicles but bicycles are still allowed... And if you think the California laws are good for that then you can vote either one of the 750 watt choices...
The trouble is that your 750W choices do not reflect California's laws, in fact you have the "features grid" backward.
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Old 09-30-16, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
The trouble is that your 750W choices do not reflect California's laws, in fact you have the "features grid" backward.
Well, I just went with some basic numbers... And I was just trying to get an idea of what most people think is a legal bicycle even tho it has a motor, not necessarily what law they agree with. You can always vote who cares as long as it has pedals.
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Old 09-30-16, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Some good thoughts for discussion.

One of the biggest problems in the US is that there are very few (to none in many places) where you can safely use a vehicle at 20-25mph. Pedestrians want you off the sidewalk, cars want you off the street, bikers don't want you on a bike path...

My ebike tends to be used for commuting, my pedal bike for recreation (yes, there is some crossover). I don't need a motor to go mountain biking, or for a weekend road workout. Sometimes I do need a motor (ICE or electric) to get to work.
I had mentioned wilderness areas which are a different issue, and current laws would exclude any motorized vehicles (also being interpreted that bikes are machines).

My speed varies A LOT. But I regularly hit 20-24 MPH (level), at least for short segments on bike paths and streetside lanes. I've passed at least one E-Bike that was governed to 20 MPH. And my top offstreet bike path speed (very short) was 30+ MPH. *#!%! Strava. But... for me, those high speed spots are carefully selected.

Locally we don't have so much bike traffic that riding 20 MPH on a streetside lane is any problem. I periodically pass slower rides, just look back and pass them. I did recently almost get creamed by a motorcycle that decided to cut around traffic on the bike lane.

The offstreet paths vary. Some are straight. Some have curves. Some are 20 feet wide. Some are 6 or 8 feet wide. They do get users of all types.

Perhaps there is some jealousy between bikes and E-Bikes. But, the two do seem to ride quite differently. At least from what I've observed. Governed E-Bikes are often ridden flat out at 20 MPH or the max speed independent of conditions. But, perhaps the riders are also riding a bit more upright, and can concentrate on the surroundings better. Road bikes (subset of all bikes, of course), are also often ridden flat out, and about the same speed. Concentration may be on the road ahead, and keeping the speed up. So, perhaps not quite the situational awareness. But, at least I will also vary my speed to meet the situation. So, if I see some pedestrians ahead, I'll frequently drop the speed to a crawl. Do E-Bikes do the same? All of them?

I had to smile at a couple of little old ladies doing the Crater Lake bike ride a couple of weeks ago in E-Bikes. But, I do think "able bodied" people should just pedal. My personal opinion. Our local bike coop/bike delivery did recently add pedal assist to one of their delivery bikes. It does work good for a heavy cargo bike, although my observations were that the riders did pedal, but also depended very heavily on the E-Assist. Something that would leave me in a hard sweat left them hardly breathing.
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Old 10-01-16, 06:41 AM
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A strong rider will do:
18 mph long distance
20+ for short distances
25mph riding in a pack (drafting)
Over 30 sprinting.

Keeping an ebike in the 20mph range sounds reasonable. More than that is iffy. I’m sure many e-bike riders keep it pegged at 20mph because they would like to go faster. I’ve never seen one going more than about 15mph around here, but then again, they are very rare so far.

I would hope they would all slow down to about 10mph around pedestrians, or give them a very wide berth (15 ft) and let my presence be known.
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Old 10-01-16, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
While I too dislike any government interference, somebody has to set some sort of standard.

The US definition of a BICYCLE includes electric assistance limited to 750w and 20 mph.

Some states have adopted that standard and others (like New York) are absolutely clueless.

The Europeans have their own ideas as well as other countries.

What we "think" it is or should be is meaningless if some LEO decides to give you a hard time.

-SP
The definition is actually for "low-speed electric bicycles", there's no mention of it being a bicycle, and it's a CPCA pertaining only to sale, not use. Use is regulated by the states or locally.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-...-bill/727/text
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Old 03-24-17, 04:27 PM
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Bump, to let newer people vote.
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Old 04-04-17, 03:53 PM
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Most of the trails/paths/greenways in Ohio have signs stating "No motorized vehicles." While this was originally intended to keep motorbikes off the paths, the invention of the E-Bike has caused some confusion.

As a matter of fact, Ohio law doesn't even recognize them as existing>

4501.01(L) "Motorized bicycle" or "moped" means any vehicle that either has two tandem wheels or one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear, that may be pedaled, and that is equipped with a helper motor of not more than fifty cubic centimeters piston displacement that produces no more than one brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of no greater than twenty miles per hour on a level surface."

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Old 04-05-17, 08:26 AM
  #21  
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I'd vote for California Class 2, but it's not on your list?

*** 750W PAS or throttle limited to 20mph ***

IMHO the CA electric bike class system and trail laws are great just like they are.

The 20mph maximum assist speed limit is the key to safety and probably acceptance as well.
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