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E bike speed limit on MUP

Old 04-06-19, 08:50 AM
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E bike speed limit on MUP

So our city passed a resolution allowing e-bikes on our MUP trail system. This is a good thing in my opinion more people on bikes is always better. They adopted the standard set of rules for the e-bikes. Except they have limited them to a speed of 15mph however the non e-bikes have no speed limits except in a few stretches that go though the really busy parks.


The trail rules in short:

E-bikes are allowed anyplace in the city but class 1 e-bikes only on the trail. Motor size restricted to 750 wats and must only be pedal assist. Max speed of 15mph.


All e-bikes on city streets are allowed with a max speed of 20mph or posted speed limit Standard bike again has no speed limit except for posted speed.


Just wondering if this is standard practice? I didn't like this speed limit regulation but I do understand their reasoning. We are hoping we can at some point get this changed. Our PD do patrol our MUP on bicycles, motorcycles and 4wheelers. They actually enforce laws in the high population areas. Again this is a great thing, they are really good cops that are very friendly and helpful.


FWIW I don't ride an e-bike just a involved cyclist.
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Old 04-06-19, 09:06 AM
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The MUPs in my area have a 15mph speed limit on everything.

So I don't ride them unless i know they are empty.
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Old 04-06-19, 09:41 AM
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Our MUPS don't have any speed limit signs...It's impossible to enforce speed limits on MUPS..
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Old 04-06-19, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
So our city passed a resolution allowing e-bikes on our MUP trail system. This is a good thing in my opinion more people on bikes is always better. They adopted the standard set of rules for the e-bikes. Except they have limited them to a speed of 15mph however the non e-bikes have no speed limits except in a few stretches that go though the really busy parks.
Curious why you would want to remove that restriction.

MUP's are by definition for multiple modes of usage, many of them not all that fast.

If someone needs an assist bike to enjoy a MUP, it's pretty hard to argue that they also "need" to go faster than a casual Sunday rider.

If someone wants to expend the personal energy to with care pedal faster, that has a redeeming merit that doing it on an electric motorcycle does not.

Pretty clearly there was an effort here to strike a balance between trying to open the MUPs to more users, and trying to preserve the comfort of existing users, especially the non-cyclists. It may not work, but it seems fair and well-intentioned, and makes a clear statement that the path is for exercise and enjoyment, not an electric motorcycle route.

We now have some stretches of bike lane here where the dominant mode is electric delivery motorcycles - going uphill faster than unimpeded traffic in the adjacent car lanes. That's what they're trying not to have your MUP become.

Last edited by UniChris; 04-06-19 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 04-06-19, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Our MUPS don't have any speed limit signs...It's impossible to enforce speed limits on MUPS..

they do enforce ours but only in area with high traffic. We have maybe 4 parks that are super busy on weekends and they keep it tight there but usually only on weekends. I avoid the trail on the weekend because of the high traffic but weekdays its pretty free flowing.
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Old 04-06-19, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post

It someone needs an assist bike to enjoy a MUP, it's pretty hard to argue that they also "need" to go faster than a casual Sunday rider.


.
this is a good point. I guess the e-bikes I have seen where ridden by "older" people. I am not trying to insult the older crowd btw.

The restriction just seems to be a useless ordinance I guess. On the west side of our trail there is pretty much 14 miles of open riding where the speeds get a bit higher. Very little foot traffic on the west because its a bit remote. Only the hardcore marathon runners ever get over there so it where a lot people who want to open up a bit go with very little risk to have a family out for a fun ride.

I guess I didn't think of the e-bikeers as people who didn't really want to actually go that fast. That is probably very true. I just think if I ever where given the opportunity to ride an e-road bike I would really want to see what I could do on it.
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Old 04-06-19, 10:17 AM
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It's a developing technology so the rules are evolving too.

How much difference does it make in real life? What's enforcement like? I do a fair amount of riding on various trails and I've never seen any effort at speed enforcement. Maybe if folks on e-assist bikes start cruising 30 MPH or so or are involved in a lot of incidents that will change.
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Old 04-06-19, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Our MUPS don't have any speed limit signs...It's impossible to enforce speed limits on MUPS..
"Impossible" means that nobody has been sufficiently motivated to figure out how to do it yet.
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Old 04-06-19, 10:54 AM
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I think it's more about sending a message about what kind of usage is encouraged and in reassuring existing MUP users, than it is about literal enforcement.

If there are complaints, probably the first thing they do is go out on a nice afternoon with some cones and the bike officer (or as likely a cruiser), park in a fast spot, and wave people down for reminders / warnings.

Making a ticket for 18-in-a-15 stick would probably require something like two cameras and 100 feet of coax, but that's not really the desired tool for keeping behavior reasonable. Making a ticket for 25-in-a-15 stick is a lot easier than making one for 25-in-a-20.

As for seeing what an e-cycle could do, that might be the place for roads. There was a time in history when bicycles and motorcycles diverged, and with modern throttle e-things looking a lot like those early heavy-bike-frame motorcycles, I suspect (hope) we're now on the cusp of a second divergence - electric motorcycles that can keep up with motor traffic on secondary roads make a lot of sense for the segment of the population comfortable operating them. They just need to be treated as the motor vehicles that they are. And when operating at traffic speeds, the safer place to be is in the flow of traffic, rather than coming into sudden conflict when a secondary route meets a primary one at every intersection.

Meanwhile MUPs need to stay a comfortable place for human effort - accessibility measures shouldn't defeat the original purpose.

Last edited by UniChris; 04-06-19 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 04-06-19, 11:19 AM
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Like oldnslow2, speed limits for the MUPs around here are 15 mph for everyone. Faster just isn't safe for the pedestrians on it. Enforcement? I'm sure if there were enough complaints the police would patrol it more for a while.

If you want to go over 15 mph, you should probably be on the roads anyway. You may feel intimidated by cars, but that's what you're doing to the pedestrians right now.
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Old 04-06-19, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Like oldnslow2, speed limits for the MUPs around here are 15 mph for everyone. Faster just isn't safe for the pedestrians on it. Enforcement? I'm sure if there were enough complaints the police would patrol it more for a while.

If you want to go over 15 mph, you should probably be on the roads anyway. You may feel intimidated by cars, but that's what you're doing to the pedestrians right now.

also a great point of view. I might have been in haste to be concerned about a speed limit issue.

Our law is written that the e-bike may not exceed 25 mph unassisted and 20mph assisted. Not sure if this is an industry standard. I didn't even know there were three classes of e-bikes.
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Old 04-06-19, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
"Impossible" means that nobody has been sufficiently motivated to figure out how to do it yet.
our PD does enforce speed. they actually do write cites/warnings.

Radar is hard to use on cyclist but LIDAR systems work very effectively. Its laser based speed informant. These are the hand held units that police use. Very accurate and effective.
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Old 04-06-19, 11:39 AM
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The larger metro areas where I've lived have had 15MPH speed limits on MUPs. Like others have mentioned, this makes things safer for pedestrians, kids, and slower riders, and also sends a message that cyclists wishing to go faster belong on the road.

It strikes me as somewhat odd that the speed limit is not uniformly 15MPH for all MUP users. Perhaps the city planners do not realize that many cyclists are achieving those speeds without electric assist. Given some of the city planning I've witnessed, I suspect something similar in my town.
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Old 04-06-19, 11:43 AM
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If you had an ebike you would find that the best battery mileage is right around 15 mph. Go 20 mph and the wind resistance hogs the battery.
Maybe you misunderstand why people are riding ebikes. It's not really to go faster, but more about assist for hills, wind resistance...and you enjoy the ride more!
People that get an ebike with a throttle will not last long, as they are not really bikers and will lose interest, hopefully before they hit a car or tree or another person from going too fast.
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Old 04-06-19, 11:55 AM
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Not for me worry about
I might get 15 mph downhill down wind

Id be a proud owner &
frame a bike speeding ticket
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Old 04-06-19, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
It strikes me as somewhat odd that the speed limit is not uniformly 15MPH for all MUP users. Perhaps the city planners do not realize that many cyclists are achieving those speeds without electric assist. Given some of the city planning I've witnessed, I suspect something similar in my town.
Personally, I think that's a good distinction. Pedaling a bike at 18 or 20 mph where conditions make that appropriate has a real redeeming merit of providing serious exercise - done unwisely it can definitely be detrimental to other trail users, but done safely it is in line with something that public policy is overall trying to encourage.

Conversely the argument for going 20 MPH on an e-bike is mostly getting to work faster. If someone is going to bike commute a distance where those speeds make a real difference, they need a level of commitment to dealing with conditions not typically seen from e-bike purchasers. We've got a guy locally who has been asking question after question about a 30-mile e-bike commute on a combination of a rural MUP with bad pavement, a notorious mud patch, a few miles of bad city streets, and what is apparently the heaviest used recreational path in the nation - but as far as I can tell, he ordered his toy before sampling even a mile of that route on a pedal bike.
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Old 04-06-19, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Meanwhile MUPs need to stay a comfortable place for human effort - accessibility measures shouldn't defeat the original purpose.
Both your posts on this matter are measured and very much correct. But THIS is the nutshell version.

EDIT: Whoops. All three of your posts.
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Old 04-06-19, 12:58 PM
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Seattle has a test rule allowing class 1 & 2 ebikes on MUPS, but not class 3 (I don't know offhand how to tell the class).
City of Seattle Multi-Use Trails - Parks | seattle.gov

Speed limit is still 15 MPH AFAIK. Many of the trails go through several municipal jurisdictions. Some choose to aggressively enforce the speed limit. Bike or motorcycle cops can sit at a cross street with a speed gun. My brother was ticketed for speeding on the Burke-Gilman in Lake Forest Park. The cop had to ask how to spell "Cervelo" as he wrote the ticket. I've also heard of stop sign enforcement on the trail here.
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Old 04-06-19, 01:21 PM
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I don't understand why we call them e-bikes. They are motorcycles. Seems like something wanting to be something it no longer is.
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Old 04-06-19, 01:39 PM
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Rural here, in past couple years hunters got MTB modified with a mid drive motor,
the timber company still considers them bicycles,
and so they are allowed past the locked gate bars across the logging roads ..

Petrol powered bikes are forbidden..

Elk & deer are to be found there ...
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Old 04-06-19, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Maybe you misunderstand why people are riding e-bikes. It's not really to go faster...
Specialized, Trek & Giant all advertise 'class 3' or 'pedelecs': relatively powerful e-bikes that, according to their marketing verbiage, continue to assist rider effort up to 28mph/45kph.
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Old 04-06-19, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post
The MUPs in my area have a 15mph speed limit on everything.

So I don't ride them unless i know they are empty.
I'm in the same area but never noticed posted speed limit signs. I "assume" 15 as that's a typical standard, just cannot remember seeing actual signs anywhere.

Certainly the Jones Beach path - Wantagh to the beach wants a LOT of postings. Cannot tell you how many times we see hard core roadies hammer on this section when its crowded. Crazy some times.
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Old 04-06-19, 06:18 PM
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Thursday I was heading back on the Bethpage Parkway path and I hear 2 guys yelling for me to get out of their way. They passed me on what looked like a 50lb. e-bike.I got out of the saddle and jumped on the wheel of the 2nd rider. I can see they were trying to drop me but I hung on. One yelled "you think you can keep up with us" but the obvious answer was YES, we were doing 22mph. When we approached the bridge over the SS I made a move and passed both of them. I crossed Linden and they hung a left onto it.

I was pretty tired since I hung with them for 2 miles but I made my point.

They were DICKS.

The section we were on was north of where the casual riders/walkers go. If they continued into the preserve someone would of gotten hurt. Glad they are smart enough to take public roads at that point.

BTW... twice i've seen kids on minibikes on the Bethpage Parkway segment.
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Old 04-06-19, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I don't understand why we call them e-bikes. They are motorcycles. Seems like something wanting to be something it no longer is.
Well alright, lets rename them then. While were at it, guess we should rename motorcycles to combustible-enginecycles.
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Old 04-06-19, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
T
It strikes me as somewhat odd that the speed limit is not uniformly 15MPH for all MUP users. Perhaps the city planners do not realize that many cyclists are achieving those speeds without electric assist. Given some of the city planning I've witnessed, I suspect something similar in my town.
this is what prompted me to start the thread and our group to sort of go on the offensive, equal for all cyclist. But now read some reply's I get the reasoning. After talking to some other folks we are just going to leave it be this summer and see how it goes and if any complications arise. We have good city leaders with out trails and parks so I guess we should give them some credit.

FYI:The three classes are defined as follows:
  • Class 1: eBikes that are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2: eBikes that also have a maximum speed of 20 mph, but are throttle-assisted.
  • Class 3: eBikes that are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph.
  • Max wattage for all classes is 750/1 hours power.
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