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California "Electric Bicycle" Facts

Old 03-22-17, 07:02 AM
  #26  
NoPhart
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I believe Electric-Powered Mobility Devices (OPDMD category) are a completely different category. I'm not aware of what the watt limitation restriction is on disabled devices (if there is any), just that they follow the rules stated in the location they are in. Sometimes that means restrictions on access to things like "single track" because the width of these devices can be huge.

As for Electric Bicycles ridden by someone with a disability. My best guess is they fall under the same Electric Bicycle classifications for the rest of us.
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Old 03-22-17, 09:39 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by NoPhart View Post
It's great that you claim to have these private conversions with people, but can you provide a link that substantiates your claims? If they did actually occur, it is likely that they were referring to "motorized vehicles" not the new "electric bicycle" classification.

The real reason it is mute regarding Orange County Parks Trails is they all have 10mph speed limits, be it a bike or e-bike you are riding.

Directly from the Orange County Park Trails site:
Orange County, California - Park Rules

* A speed limit of 10 MPH enforced at all times.

-and-

* Use of motorized vehicles and equipment is prohibited.

Class 1, 2 & 3 Electric Bicycles are not classified as motor vehicles.
I asked the Rangers at some parks myself and spoke to individuals at People for Bikes at Interbike and the expo. Is that enough or does Moses need to have it engraved in stone to get the message through to you?
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Old 03-22-17, 11:44 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by NoPhart View Post
I continue to be amazed at the amount of quality thought that went into California AB1096.
So was I. I couldnt believe a bunch of politicians could come up with something like that. I was right! People for Bikes did all the homework and CA basically rubber stamped it.

Most of the troubles in other places stems from having NO DEFINITION of an e-bike. The definitions of "motorized bikes" seem to all be describing mopeds and not bicycles. So you get an overzealous LEO giving you a load of crap because he thinks your machine should be under moped laws. Yeah, higher output bikes deserve that.

FB brought up class 3 bikes in use with other cyclists. I havent had a problem. However I dont blast by inches away on a crowded path/lane.

Glad to have threads chatting about this. I am opening an e-bike store soon and educating myself will be good when I come across problems that might give my customers grief.

-SP
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Old 03-22-17, 11:47 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by NoPhart View Post
This brings up a good point. I would think the equation Volts * Amps = Watts would apply, but I have no idea what measure they would use if enforcement takes place. As I understand it, stamps on motors are only in relation to what the motor is designed to handle, clearly not a statement of how the motor is being used.
E-bike checkpoints sounds rather Orwellian to me. E-bikes being sold in stores have to comply with the law and list the bike classification on the frame. DIY kits are a different story as the sellers of these kits don't have to meet the same requirements.
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Old 03-22-17, 02:50 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
So was I. I couldnt believe a bunch of politicians could come up with something like that. I was right! People for Bikes did all the homework and CA basically rubber stamped it.

Most of the troubles in other places stems from having NO DEFINITION of an e-bike. The definitions of "motorized bikes" seem to all be describing mopeds and not bicycles. So you get an overzealous LEO giving you a load of crap because he thinks your machine should be under moped laws. Yeah, higher output bikes deserve that.

FB brought up class 3 bikes in use with other cyclists. I havent had a problem. However I dont blast by inches away on a crowded path/lane.

Glad to have threads chatting about this. I am opening an e-bike store soon and educating myself will be good when I come across problems that might give my customers grief.

-SP
Yeah, and there's the rub... Seems like the N American limit of what is higher HP but is still an "assist" is different than the EU limit...

750Watts is NOT an assist to me, nor should it be considered to be by anyone else and have it still be considered a bicycle, it's NOT, it's a motorized bicycle... JMO it seems...

Last edited by 350htrr; 03-22-17 at 03:08 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-22-17, 03:46 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
I asked the Rangers at some parks myself and spoke to individuals at People for Bikes at Interbike and the expo. Is that enough or does Moses need to have it engraved in stone to get the message through to you?
2old - I don't mean to get you upset. Key individuals could very well be stating "electric bicycles" are not legal, but what are they basing that claim on? The only thing I can find is the prior to AB1096 "motorized vehicle" classification, which "electric bicycles" are no longer part of. No one I have interacted with can show me the ordinance stating the NEW "Electric Bicycle" classification is illegal. It's that simple.

My best guess is that they will eventually address the changes enacted by AB1096. Right now they appear to be allowing their use and not restricting them. Again, my best guess is that they will adopt AB1096 as it is written and as they are now doing. If they take no action it means Class 1 & 2 can be ridden until formally excluded by ordinance. Class 3 is already illegal without further action.

Peace.
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Old 03-22-17, 04:02 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Yeah, and there's the rub... Seems like the N American limit of what is higher HP but is still an "assist" is different than the EU limit...

750Watts is NOT an assist to me, nor should it be considered to be by anyone else and have it still be considered a bicycle, it's NOT, it's a motorized bicycle... JMO it seems...
350htrr - I can completely understand your views, but what I am personally making a serious effort to understand is what the law actually is, not what I want it to be. I prefer to be armed with knowledge if someone confronts me on a trail even if it is an enforcement officer that does even understand the law he is supposed to enforce. Yes, that does happen, officers are human too. I ride with one from LAPD and they haven't even been educated on AB1096, let alone do they make any effort to enforce it. They put their effort towards behavior of the individual, which is usually at the root of most problems in society.

I think the fact the AB1096 allows Class 1 & 2 with an OPT OUT is really the best way to do it. I hope most areas simply adopt AB1096 as is. Personally I don't see a throttle as an issue and don't like having to use PAS only, because that means you are always under power. It wastes your battery all the time you don't need or want it. Simple throttle use on hills or in a headwind and no power the rest of the time is my personal preference when riding off-road.
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Old 03-22-17, 05:11 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by NoPhart View Post
2old - I don't mean to get you upset. Key individuals could very well be stating "electric bicycles" are not legal, but what are they basing that claim on? The only thing I can find is the prior to AB1096 "motorized vehicle" classification, which "electric bicycles" are no longer part of. No one I have interacted with can show me the ordinance stating the NEW "Electric Bicycle" classification is illegal. It's that simple.

My best guess is that they will eventually address the changes enacted by AB1096. Right now they appear to be allowing their use and not restricting them. Again, my best guess is that they will adopt AB1096 as it is written and as they are now doing. If they take no action it means Class 1 & 2 can be ridden until formally excluded by ordinance. Class 3 is already illegal without further action.

Peace.
1) I've said it before and it's probably true that the courts may need to decide what the law says. I know two individuals with the intent and wherewithal to fight in court if they are cited or their bikes confiscated. I don't want to be a test case, so won't be the one who receives the citation.
2) Rangers are responsible for policing parks. Those I've asked say that e-bikes are prohibited in their parks. Can it get any clearer, or does your interpretation supersede? I actually met an individual who was accosted by a Ranger at a local park (Orange County, CA) who allowed him to complete his ride, but was informed that e-bikes weren't allowed in the park.
3) The Irvine Conservancy which manages 60,000 acres of wilderness land in Orange County allows e-vehicles of certain types, including bicycles, tricycles and others, only if ridden by physically challenged riders.
4) As I've said before, the chances of encountering any policing action in this area are negligible, so it's a moot point. I've talked to many e-bike riders and there was a single incident where a Ranger was involved.

I know facts won't have an impact on your arrogance so I'm not going to comment further, and I don't care what you think or how you interpret the law. I said this so that others aren't mislead.
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Old 03-23-17, 08:30 AM
  #34  
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2old-

Its hard to cover EVERY SINGLE WACKY CIRCUMSTANCE where we ride. Having SOMETHING in the laws about electric bicycles can protect us most of the time from over zealous LEOs. Parks can be interesting. Public access is mandated by the fact they used government funds to build/maintain them. A popular MUP in my area has 5 different jurisidctions along its length. They all should be using the same rules, but after checking I know they arent and none of them are pro-active enough to make real policies concerning e-bikes. I may be THEY GUY that forces them to.

I hope the rising popularity of e-bikes wont be their downfall, like 3 wheel ATVS. They got popular. People used them stupidly and they got banned.

People for bikes rocks!

-SP
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Old 03-23-17, 08:38 AM
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All very good points until...

Originally Posted by 2old View Post
... I know facts won't have an impact on your arrogance so I'm not going to comment further, and I don't care what you think or how you interpret the law. I said this so that others aren't mislead.
Sad, very sad to see...

I have no arrogance regarding the recent NEW laws being discussed. I can tell you that VIP's in the OC Park system are not enforcing the "no motorized vehicles" with regard to the NEW classification of "Electric Bicycles." They are monitoring the situation with open eyes, while they decide if further action is necessary. That seems like a good approach to something so new.

Like I said before, Class 1 & 2 Electric Bicycles are basically a mute point on OC Park trails because of the 10mph speed limit already in place. Enforcement officers continue to concentrate on the human behavior of the riders on their trails which is much more important than excluding properly behaving cyclist on Electric Bicycles.
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Old 03-23-17, 09:57 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
2old-

Its hard to cover EVERY SINGLE WACKY CIRCUMSTANCE where we ride. Having SOMETHING in the laws about electric bicycles can protect us most of the time from over zealous LEOs. Parks can be interesting. Public access is mandated by the fact they used government funds to build/maintain them. A popular MUP in my area has 5 different jurisidctions along its length. They all should be using the same rules, but after checking I know they arent and none of them are pro-active enough to make real policies concerning e-bikes. I may be THEY GUY that forces them to.

I hope the rising popularity of e-bikes wont be their downfall, like 3 wheel ATVS. They got popular. People used them stupidly and they got banned.

People for bikes rocks!

-SP
THAT, is exactly why I think the N. American laws will need to change. When the E-Bike actually gets popular, and everyone starts to use them we will have hordes of people "misusing" them because they can. A 750 WATT motor is going to be used as a moped, why? Because it can be, that's why...

If you are going to work to get a law in place, my suggestion to you is get one like the EU is bringing in, to replace the one they already have, because they realized that people could/would/do misuse the 350 watt E-Assist and use it like a moped...

They are switching to a more bicycle friendly type of assist, where the assist starts to taper down at 10MPH and by the time you get to 20MPH you are on your own, the assist cuts out completely... IMO That is the best way to keep everyone happy and safe...

Doing it that way would silence the opposition to E-Bikes being ridden in any place where normal bicycles can ride. It would even silence me about the 750watt motor being too much, because I don't want to cut the assist for people who need it, I want it reduced at the higher speed where some are using it as a moped.
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Old 03-23-17, 01:59 PM
  #37  
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I don't understand why some think 750w is so powerful. My cargo bike is 750w and it doesn't take much of a hill to drop the speed below 10 mph if I use the throttle. At first I thought something was wrong with my bike as I thought it would be more powerful, but checking with on line calculators it seems to be spot on. After all, 750w is only 1 hp, I have a weedeater, and a shop vac with more power.
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Old 03-23-17, 02:08 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
I don't understand why some think 750w is so powerful. My cargo bike is 750w and it doesn't take much of a hill to drop the speed below 10 mph if I use the throttle. At first I thought something was wrong with my bike as I thought it would be more powerful, but checking with on line calculators it seems to be spot on. After all, 750w is only 1 hp, I have a weedeater, and a shop vac with more power.
It's too "powerful" because it's "supposed" to be a bicycle with "some assistance".

NOW on a cargo bike/trike hauling stuff, or someone needing assistance, I am quite sure it's not too powerful.
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Old 03-23-17, 02:20 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
It's too "powerful" because it's "supposed" to be a bicycle with "some assistance".

NOW on a cargo bike/trike hauling stuff, or someone needing assistance, I am quite sure it's not too powerful.
But there's several hills on my commute where it will stall out if I'm not pedaling fairly hard.
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Old 03-23-17, 03:26 PM
  #40  
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In a perfect world I wish the rules limited just speed and not power. Even 1000W is not that much if you're riding into a strong headwind. I don't think most people understand how the controllers work on a PAS e-bike. The simplistic notion that a nominally rated 750W motor is always having 750W sent to it is not how a controller works. That said, I think the CA law is pretty reasonable.
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Old 03-23-17, 09:44 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
In a perfect world I wish the rules limited just speed and not power. Even 1000W is not that much if you're riding into a strong headwind. I don't think most people understand how the controllers work on a PAS e-bike. The simplistic notion that a nominally rated 750W motor is always having 750W sent to it is not how a controller works. That said, I think the CA law is pretty reasonable.
No it isn't putting out 750watts all the time, Sometimes it's putting out 50watts, sometimes it's putting out 200watts, sometimes it's putting out 500watts, sometimes it's putting out 750watts, it depends on how far you twist the throttle.

But people often want to, and do use it with wide open throttle and not pedal, that, is a moped in my book.
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Old 03-23-17, 10:47 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
But people often want to, and do use it with wide open throttle and not pedal, that, is a moped in my book.
So what?
The net result of full throttle at 750w, or pedaling with 350w PAS on a flat surface is the same, 20 mph.
The net result of full throttle at 750w, or pedaling with 350w PAS on a 10% upgrade is the same, 5 mph.
The net result of full throttle at 750w, or pedaling with 350w PAS on a 10% downgrade are 20 mph for the full throttle 750w because the rider is just coasting as the power is cut, and maybe 25 mph for pedaling with 350w PAS because the rider is pedaling, but with no PAS.

Full throttle at 350w? One could still get to 20 mph on flat surfaces, but would stall on not too much of a hill.

The whole throttle "issue" on e-bikes that meet current regulations is a red herring, it's meaningless in the real world other than fulfilling different desires or riding styles of the individual.
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Old 03-24-17, 07:38 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Doing it that way would silence the opposition to E-Bikes being ridden in any place where normal bicycles can ride.



Silence the opposition?? What a hilarious thought! Especially these days!

Honestly I dont care at all to silence others. We just need a little legal protection so they cant ruin it for EVERYBODY.

-SP
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Old 03-24-17, 09:27 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
So what?
The net result of full throttle at 750w, or pedaling with 350w PAS on a flat surface is the same, 20 mph.
The net result of full throttle at 750w, or pedaling with 350w PAS on a 10% upgrade is the same, 5 mph.
The net result of full throttle at 750w, or pedaling with 350w PAS on a 10% downgrade are 20 mph for the full throttle 750w because the rider is just coasting as the power is cut, and maybe 25 mph for pedaling with 350w PAS because the rider is pedaling, but with no PAS.

Full throttle at 350w? One could still get to 20 mph on flat surfaces, but would stall on not too much of a hill.

The whole throttle "issue" on e-bikes that meet current regulations is a red herring, it's meaningless in the real world other than fulfilling different desires or riding styles of the individual.
EXACTLY. And... the riding stile is the bicycle, not the moped that the law is supposed to be protecting, Allowing a motorised bicycle to be used as a regular bicycle in places where only a regular bicycle is ALLOWED... Thus in "reality" there should be NO THROTTLES ALLOWED! But the law does allow it so, the 750w motor is and can be used as a moped, which is not, I believe the intent of the law. It's to allow more people to ride bicycles but with some assistance...

Last edited by 350htrr; 03-24-17 at 10:34 AM. Reason: add stuff
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Old 03-24-17, 10:47 AM
  #45  
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An upper speed limit (20mph?) is a simple and practical guide.


BTW: I am against throttles.
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Old 03-24-17, 11:21 AM
  #46  
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One of the problems that infects those who are pro-ebike (the anti-ebike crowd is a whole different problem) is that there are two different, but not necessarily opposing, views of ebikes. One group sees them as a better bicycle; the others view them as better transportation. As most here realize, I fall into the, “better transportation,” camp.

Clearly, if ones goal is to maximize the level of physical output, for a given distance traveled, then an ebike is not ideal; in fact, a bicycle is not ideal. This is actually a case where an auto is a better choice. I recommend the largest auto that a person can obtain; a school bus might be a good choice. Then, push that auto, or school bus, to your desired destination and, when done, push it back.

As much as pushing an auto might serve to maximize the level of physical effort for traveling a given distance, it isn’t ideal as transportation. In many cases, bicycles are ideal. However, in many cases, the effort necessary to use bicycles dissuades their use. In most of the cases where people could choose to ride a bicycle they, instead, use an auto, with all the associated social costs. Those people are not looking for a better bicycle; however, they may be receptive to better transportation.

This is the exact point that many will cry, “sin.” To some the bicycle is, essentially, sacred and the effort is part of the veneration process. Others look to the bicycles less for spiritual redemption and more as a device to reduce their auto dependence and to reduce the externalities associated with their transportation. Those in the second group are not necessarily looking for a better bicycle; they are looking for better transportation.

The ebike can serve both of these users. However, one is not more pure than the other. Those two users are simply looking at different destinations while traveling on the same road. Neither is to be scorned.

How does this work in the real world? How does this help resolve the question of, should ebikes be limited to 350W as can ask for, of 750W as seems to be becoming the standard?

The answer is simple, it doesn’t matter. If both are being operated on a path where the speed limit is 15mph then both should be operated at 15mph. The fact that one rider is sweating profusely and pedaling madly while another is gently pedaling along, or, heaven forbid. . .using a throttle-type controller, what matters is safe operation under the law, not how much effort they are exerting.

I will finish by recounting something I have written here before:

I will throw out another example, one that is slightly more dramatic; my daughter was hit by a car. Of course they just drove off. She needed to get home and was not able to pedal the bike due to the pain. She was able to use the throttle only to get home and a deliveryman helped her get he bike into her apartment. A long, hot, bath and a lot of painkillers later and she was fine.

(Why didn't she call for medical assist? This is America, she couldn't afford it. Medical issues are the#1 cause of personal bankruptcies and personal debt can easily land a person in jail.)
Unlike many here, I am glad to see ebikes used for transportation, as an alternative to driving autos, they both reduce social cost and add to social capital. I really feel it is something we should be encouraging, rather than mocking and condemning.
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Old 03-24-17, 11:40 AM
  #47  
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Great post. I also use my e-bike primarily for transportation, to directly replace car use. That's why I didn't put the mid-drive motor on my road bike. I put it on my utility bike to help make hauling heavier loads easier, and to ride to work more often than I'm physically able to on my road bike. Only time I use the e-bike on recreational rides is when I'm pulling a heavy load like my son on his trail-a-bike. Did that last Friday night, and I tell you what, I would have about died on that ride if I had not had the motor to help me along while pulling an extra 75+ pounds behind me.
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Old 03-24-17, 11:50 AM
  #48  
350htrr
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
One of the problems that infects those who are pro-ebike (the anti-ebike crowd is a whole different problem) is that there are two different, but not necessarily opposing, views of ebikes. One group sees them as a better bicycle; the others view them as better transportation. As most here realize, I fall into the, “better transportation,” camp.

Clearly, if ones goal is to maximize the level of physical output, for a given distance traveled, then an ebike is not ideal; in fact, a bicycle is not ideal. This is actually a case where an auto is a better choice. I recommend the largest auto that a person can obtain; a school bus might be a good choice. Then, push that auto, or school bus, to your desired destination and, when done, push it back.

As much as pushing an auto might serve to maximize the level of physical effort for traveling a given distance, it isn’t ideal as transportation. In many cases, bicycles are ideal. However, in many cases, the effort necessary to use bicycles dissuades their use. In most of the cases where people could choose to ride a bicycle they, instead, use an auto, with all the associated social costs. Those people are not looking for a better bicycle; however, they may be receptive to better transportation.

This is the exact point that many will cry, “sin.” To some the bicycle is, essentially, sacred and the effort is part of the veneration process. Others look to the bicycles less for spiritual redemption and more as a device to reduce their auto dependence and to reduce the externalities associated with their transportation. Those in the second group are not necessarily looking for a better bicycle; they are looking for better transportation.

The ebike can serve both of these users. However, one is not more pure than the other. Those two users are simply looking at different destinations while traveling on the same road. Neither is to be scorned.

How does this work in the real world? How does this help resolve the question of, should ebikes be limited to 350W as can ask for, of 750W as seems to be becoming the standard?

The answer is simple, it doesn’t matter. If both are being operated on a path where the speed limit is 15mph then both should be operated at 15mph. The fact that one rider is sweating profusely and pedaling madly while another is gently pedaling along, or, heaven forbid. . .using a throttle-type controller, what matters is safe operation under the law, not how much effort they are exerting.

I will finish by recounting something I have written here before:



Unlike many here, I am glad to see ebikes used for transportation, as an alternative to driving autos, they both reduce social cost and add to social capital. I really feel it is something we should be encouraging, rather than mocking and condemning.
Good post there Robert. I agree with 99% of everything you just said. BUT... That throttle bit, you do know that setting the assist to it's highest is about 95% the same assistance as the throttle only, but you still NEED to put in 5% effort, In my mind you ARE riding a bicycle with assistance, good enough for the girls I go with, but not pedaling at all, it's a moped. It just IS.!
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Old 03-24-17, 12:25 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Good post there Robert. I agree with 99% of everything you just said. BUT... That throttle bit, you do know that setting the assist to it's highest is about 95% the same assistance as the throttle only, but you still NEED to put in 5% effort, In my mind you ARE riding a bicycle with assistance, good enough for the girls I go with, but not pedaling at all, it's a moped. It just IS.!
I keep coming back to the situation my daughter faced, which I recounted above. In some peoples "HTFU" universe they probably, honestly, feel she should have sat there until, no matter what the level of pain, she felt desperate enough to pedal home.

Others, undoubtably, feel she should have preyed on the sympathy of someone and gotten a ride home in an auto.

As it was, the throttle allowed her to "moped" home. I understand that you feel that it was fundamentally wrong to do so. I happen to think that your position is unreasonably calloused or impractical (by the way, she is now 3 and has never had a drivers license, because with her bicycles and e-bike, she has never felt the need for an auto).
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Old 03-24-17, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
I keep coming back to the situation my daughter faced, which I recounted above. In some peoples "HTFU" universe they probably, honestly, feel she should have sat there until, no matter what the level of pain, she felt desperate enough to pedal home.

Others, undoubtably, feel she should have preyed on the sympathy of someone and gotten a ride home in an auto.

As it was, the throttle allowed her to "moped" home. I understand that you feel that it was fundamentally wrong to do so. I happen to think that your position is unreasonably calloused or impractical (by the way, she is now 3 and has never had a drivers license, because with her bicycles and e-bike, she has never felt the need for an auto).
Yes, there will always be situations where it would be better to have a throttle, or even to have a 2,000w motor, for someone who wants to ride a trike instead of a wheelchair for instance... Where do you draw the line for a motor assist E-Bike to be a bicycle? Well, having to pedal sounds "right" to me for the masses. People needing a throttle or higher wattage because, well because they need it, no problem... Exceptions can always be made, but to use a 750w motorised bike with a throttle where only bicycles are allowed, under the guise that they are legally bicycles, will fail once the E-Bike gets adopted by the masses I suspect the LAW WILL be amended... to guess what, something like the EU E-Bike law. JMO

EDIT; Or worse, something I certainly wouldn't want... E-Bikes will become legally just like mopeds, mopeds started out just like E-Bikes I believe. I am certainly against that happening. Just looking ahead and don't want the same to happen...

Last edited by 350htrr; 03-24-17 at 01:26 PM.
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