Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Everything to do with cycling
Post Reply
User avatar
Rutabaga
Hero Member
Hero Member
Posts: 1075
Joined: 1 year ago

Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 2 months 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.
0 x

User avatar
Rocky
Hero Member
Hero Member
Posts: 1024
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rocky » 2 months 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.
0 x

User avatar
Regulator
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 1222
Joined: 1 year ago
Location: Cambridge

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Regulator » 2 months ago

Rutabaga wrote:
2 months 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.
1 x

ransos
Full Member
Full Member
Posts: 201
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by ransos » 2 months 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.
0 x

User avatar
Rutabaga
Hero Member
Hero Member
Posts: 1075
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 2 months ago

Regulator wrote:
2 months 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.
0 x

Mister Paul
Full Member
Full Member
Posts: 172
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Mister Paul » 2 months 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.
0 x

User avatar
Rutabaga
Hero Member
Hero Member
Posts: 1075
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 2 months ago

But you don't need to make any input at all to a moped? You have to pedal an ebike.
1 x

Mister Paul
Full Member
Full Member
Posts: 172
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Mister Paul » 2 months ago

Rutabaga wrote:
2 months 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?
0 x

User avatar
Rutabaga
Hero Member
Hero Member
Posts: 1075
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 2 months ago

I was just speculating that an ebike is not a moped.
0 x

LowlifeDes
Hero Member
Hero Member
Posts: 758
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by LowlifeDes » 2 months ago

Rutabaga wrote:
2 months 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.
0 x

ransos
Full Member
Full Member
Posts: 201
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by ransos » 2 months ago

Rutabaga wrote:
2 months 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.
0 x

User avatar
Rutabaga
Hero Member
Hero Member
Posts: 1075
Joined: 1 year ago

Re: Raising the limit for speeds of electric bikes

Post by Rutabaga » 2 months ago



Car up!!

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

Post Reply