Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

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Rutabaga
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Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 4 days ago

So there is a heated debate going on in the cycling community about whether the speed limit for e-bikes should be raised. Much of the argument against this idea seems to me to be of the "people who don't know how to ride a bike will be able to bomb off at 20mph and it won't be safe" variety. Does this argument have any merit? I can't help feeling it is rooted in the old "it's cheating, they're not proper cyclists" lazy stereotyping.
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rocky » 4 days ago

I’m ambivalent about this and can see arguments on both sides. Much will depend on how many extra accidents occur if the limits are raised.

My views on e-bikes are similar to my views on helmets. It’s up to the individual to choose. I have no view on the people who ride them nor would I judge them.
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Regulator » 4 days ago

Rutabaga wrote:
4 days ago
So there is a heated debate going on in the cycling community about whether the speed limit for e-bikes should be raised.
Is there? I've seen little about it other than via 'another place'.
Much of the argument against this idea seems to me to be of the "people who don't know how to ride a bike will be able to bomb off at 20mph and it won't be safe" variety. Does this argument have any merit?
If this is the argument being made - and I'm not sure that it is - then I don't believe it has merit per se but it is clear that safety, particularly of other vulnerable road/path users, is an important factor.

I have yet to see a convincing argument for changing the current limit. 'Keeping up with people on the club run' simply doesn't cut the mustard.
I can't help feeling it is rooted in the old "it's cheating, they're not proper cyclists" lazy stereotyping.
I don't believe (other than from one example from elsewhere) that this is really an issue. I certainly haven't seen any real evidence that this is a belief that is widely held or widely expressed.

I say this as someone who has an electric bike.
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by ransos » 4 days ago

Generally, we look for a reason to make a change in the law, so I would ask what problems are solved by raising the limit?

The current limit is at the upper end of typical cycling speeds, which instinctively feels about right. I do have concerns about introducing a higher speed differential on the (often busy) cycling infrastructure around Bristol. I've used e-bikes from time to time, and one thing I've noticed is they gave me the ability to go faster than appropriate for the conditions, more often.
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 4 days ago

Regulator wrote:
4 days ago
Is there? I've seen little about it other than via 'another place'.
Perhaps you aren't so much in the general cycling community as some others then? I can assure you, it is a hot topic.
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Mister Paul
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Mister Paul » 4 days ago

Isn't this about where a bicycle becomes a moped? There are regulations around the use of mopeds on the road. There's very little difference potentially now between an electric moped and a less-restricted e-bike, and I think that the problem is nearing because of this.
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 4 days ago

But you don't need to make any input at all to a moped? You have to pedal an ebike.
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Mister Paul » 4 days ago

Rutabaga wrote:
4 days ago
But you don't need to make any input at all to a moped? You have to pedal an ebike.
If we're thinking about comparing the implications of riding both at a similar speed, what difference does that make?
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 4 days ago

I was just speculating that an ebike is not a moped.
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by LowlifeDes » 4 days ago

Rutabaga wrote:
4 days ago
But you don't need to make any input at all to a moped? You have to pedal an ebike.
What was a moped, many years ago, was got going by pedalling it up to speed and releasing a decompressor lever to bump start it. Later some became small motorbikes with proper kick start and, in some cases, a reversible pedal crank so that your feet weren't in different positions.

I have seen people riding electric vehicles that required no pedalling, with detachable pedals they had stored in a top box. They were styled to look like a small version of a scooter. The riders insisted that these were e-bikes and fully entitled to be on a cyclepath.

For all the many positive benefits of e-bikes, I see history repeating here.
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by ransos » 4 days ago

Rutabaga wrote:
4 days ago
But you don't need to make any input at all to a moped? You have to pedal an ebike.
I've ridden an e-bike that did not require me to pedal.
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Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 3 days ago



Car up!!

(Watch to the end, it's only three minutes.)
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