How Many Have Received Fines for Class 3?

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I feel like I only asked you to do one thing -- go back and reread my comment, more carefully -- and you didn't. You keep going on in your replies to me about what regulations should & shouldn't be, downhill top speeds, etc, while I never discussed that aspect in the first place. All I ever said was that what you advocated -- "cruising at 35mph in bike lines" (you literally, explicitly said cruising, clearly implying not just going downhill!) -- was not safe IMO, people should not do it, whether their bikes and local laws allow them or not.

I'm not sure what more I can do but to ask you one more time to reread my actual words, and not read anything more into them. Otherwise ... peace, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Mark,
My intent is not to anger anyone. The speed debate is something commonly being discussed and debated. Everyone has an opinion on it.

I do believe the federal law for eBikes states that the assist can go as high as the rider is actively engaged and a typically geared bike allows a reasonable cadence to as high as 35mph...maybe higher for many road bikes.

Higher speeds do impact safety, obviously but if we really felt human life was priceless we would have speed limits for autos very low. Life and death decisions were made when raising the highway speed limit from 55mph to 75mph. I don't think the same magnitude of risk is involved if eBike assist speeds were raised from 20mph to 35mph.

I'll have an 18 mile commute and about 12 miles of that is possible in a bike lane on a road with a 45mph posted speed limit. Do I sustain 35mph on my current ebike? No. but I do hit that speed on a couple of the downhills virtually daily. I certainly don't think allowing enough assist to sustain that speed changes the safety for myself or others but you do. I'm OK that we disagree but don't get upset because I'm making points that I feel support my opinion.
 

Scarecrow

Member
These are great responses! Both Pro and Con. One of the main reasons I asked is because the ebikes that are Class 3 or above also offer greater Range. I was not wanting to do 30mph on a populated trail in a congested area, of course. But if I buy one with longer range, and it happens to be a Class 3, then I was worried if some Officer might jump out of the underbrush yelling at me about using it. These answers make me conclude that it's nearly impossible to tell, most enforcement Officers aren't concerned -- and, as in all things, NOT acting like a jerk goes a long way toward safe riding. Thanks, everybody!

I should be fair in stating that I want this for RV use while traveling. I started off thinking I needed a motorized scooter for getting around locally, ala Honda's PCX150 (the 2018 model is gorgeous!). But I got quickly attracted to the advantages of an eBike. Less mess and fuss. Easier to transport. Opens up more trails and access byways in the Parks. Lots of advantages. Which brought me here.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
New York City has a problem with jerks delivering pizzas on the sidewalk with e-bikes. Also flauting traffic laws in heavy traffic. Lots of enforcement there. Some high erosion sensitive park trails may get some scrutiny of e-bikes. Most other places, nobody cares about ebikes.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I'll keep being an advocate for higher assist speeds because of the added transportation value it brings to ebikes. I understand the slightly higher risk it brings to riding but I think most riders are intelligent enough to ride at the higher assist speeds only when it makes sense. I just have some long stretches on my 18 mile commute to work which I feel riding at 30-35mph is not risky and will reduce my ride time which matters when you have a busy life but still like the health and saving benefits of riding an ebike instead of getting in a car for all your transportation needs.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
If enough ebikes start running rampant at 30+ mph (or 20+ on trails), then we might see enforcement step up.
Speed limits ... not assist limits!

Why not just post / establish speed limits on various paths. There is an established sidewalk riding in and around Colorado cities of 20mph but when sharing the street with cars on on a bike path on a street the speed limit should be the same as for the cars (a lower speed differential between the bikes and cars will reduce risk for riders but some seem to disagree with that but my guess is they are thinking about pedestrians on shared paths / sidewalks.
 

Riversurf

Member
[QUOTE="Ken M, post: 161779, member: I think most riders are intelligent enough to ride at the higher assist speeds only when it makes sense. [/QUOTE]

You have a lot more faith in your fellow man/woman. What makes sense to someone else may not make sense to you or me.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I'll keep being an advocate for higher assist speeds because of the added transportation value it brings to ebikes. I understand the slightly higher risk it brings to riding but I think most riders are intelligent enough to ride at the higher assist speeds only when it makes sense. I just have some long stretches on my 18 mile commute to work which I feel riding at 30-35mph is not risky and will reduce my ride time which matters when you have a busy life but still like the health and saving benefits of riding an ebike instead of getting in a car for all your transportation needs.
Higher risk than a bicycle, but not compare to cars or motorcycles.

How many people die because they get hit by a car, truck, bus or motorcycle?
And how many fatal accidents ebikes have caused?

But higher risk than a bicycle argument is a little grey area. Yes, ebike is dangerous and have been banned from some trails. It is dangerous when all the other bicycles going 10-12mph and ebikes going 20-28mph. But what about on the road? When cars are going 30-35mph on the road, bicycles going at 10-12mph may be more dangerous than ebikes going 20-28mph due to less speed differentiation.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Higher risk than a bicycle, but not compare to cars or motorcycles.

How many people die because they get hit by a car, truck, bus or motorcycle?
And how many fatal accidents ebikes have caused?

But higher risk than a bicycle argument is a little grey area. Yes, ebike is dangerous and have been banned from some trails. It is dangerous when all the other bicycles going 10-12mph and ebikes going 20-28mph. But what about on the road? When cars are going 30-35mph on the road, bicycles going at 10-12mph may be more dangerous than ebikes going 20-28mph due to less speed differentiation.
Timpo,

This is exactly one of the points I have been bringing up. On the road is about the only time I feel riding over 28mph really makes sense and actually makes you safer because you differential of speed to cars have 50-100 times the total mass of a bike & rider is reduced.

It's as if a lot of riders think that a 10mph differential of a bike to ebike is a bigger risk than a 20mph differential to a car.

I honestly think if more ebike riders did a 15-20 mile commute each way to work maybe they would understand the merit of a little more assist speed when sharing the road with cars. They seem mentally locked on bikes on single track trails which is entirely a different situation, yet they want what makes sense for that riding to be applied to the use of ebikes for commuting.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
[QUOTE="Ken M, post: 161779, member: I think most riders are intelligent enough to ride at the higher assist speeds only when it makes sense.
You have a lot more faith in your fellow man/woman. What makes sense to someone else may not make sense to you or me.[/QUOTE]

I have faith that bike / ebike riders know that not paying attention while riding is going to end just as badly or worse for them as anyone or anything they may impact.
 

LimboJim

Well-Known Member
New York City has a problem with jerks delivering pizzas on the sidewalk with e-bikes. Also flauting traffic laws in heavy traffic. Lots of enforcement there. Some high erosion sensitive park trails may get some scrutiny of e-bikes. Most other places, nobody cares about ebikes.
In NYC, I read that it took a slew of complaints to start the "crackdown" on ebikes. My local park rangers basically say that if no one complains, ride on! 19 out of 20 folks I stop and talk to on the trails here have no idea I'm riding with pedal assist...

As far as trail erosion goes, I've been riding my eMTBs for 2+ years on the same park trails I rode for 2+ decades on MTBs, which no doubt weighed half what most eMTBs weigh. IME, however, they contribute similar amounts of soil dispersion - this was also the conclusion of an IMBA study (chart below). The key is to not tread on trails after heavy rain.

Me 10 years ago = 220 lbs. My Stumpjumper MTB = 26 lbs. TOTAL 246 lbs
Me now = 180 lbs. My eMTBs ~48 lbs. TOTAL 228 lbs
1536527858523.png
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Most trail damage does happen when bikes ride when the trail is muddy, but the erosion from the rain itself is also likely more significant than ebikes vs non-ebikes. Trails need to be maintained regardless. I think non-ebikers just fabricated the claim that ebikes do more damage to trails in hopes of keeping the banned from many trails.
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
Most trail damage does happen when bikes ride when the trail is muddy, but the erosion from the rain itself is also likely more significant than ebikes vs non-ebikes. Trails need to be maintained regardless. I think non-ebikers just fabricated the claim that ebikes do more damage to trails in hopes of keeping the banned from many trails.
The only thing I will say about that is ... I am not riding MY ebike on a muddy trail. I care about it too much to get it plastered up with water, mud, etc. I would be willing to bet most ebikers feel the way I do.
 

christob

Well-Known Member
I am not riding MY ebike on a muddy trail. I care about it too much to get it plastered up with water, mud, etc. I would be willing to bet most ebikers feel the way I do.
I suspect many non-eMTB bikers might feel that way... Mine's not an eMTB; however, I don't ride on dirt trails at all during the course of my typical week or month -- nearly exclusively on the area's paved trails, or roadway lanes as needed.
But yes, I took a short detour onto empty sidewalk this morning commuting to work, to bypass a stretch of the paved trail that is notoriously thick with soupy mud after rain (all Sunday was rain here.)
 

volinbham

New Member
I was in Colorado in late July. Rented e-bikes to ride around Lake Dillon and Frisco (great bike trails). Bike shop had to inform us that ALL ebikes were banned from all bike trails. It was kind of a wink and nod. When I asked what the fine would be no one knew for sure but one guy at the LBS suggested $600! Needless to say I was a bit paranoid while I rode all over those dang trails!

No one seemed to know they were e-bikes (Giant Explore - 20mph).

They did say that Colorado as a state was in the process of setting the rules and wanted unified rules rather than variation from locality to locality (makes sense). Given the great trails and altitude I hope they rule in favor of allowing them.

Also agree with Speed Limit vs Class Limit. I have a class 3 with a throttle (Juiced Ocean Current). It's not exactly the best bike to be doing 28+ on!
 
In Wisconsin it is still officially illegal for an ebike of any class to be operated on bike trails, and further your are officially required to have a driver's license to be on one anywhere (so I guess it's literally illegal for anyone under 16 to ride one?) There were two bills introduced this year in our Senate & Assembly to change this, but our governor apparently shot them down for his own inscrutable reasons:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2017/proposals/ab886
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2017/proposals/sb741
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
In Wisconsin it is still officially illegal for an ebike of any class to be operated on bike trails, and further your are officially required to have a driver's license to be on one anywhere (so I guess it's literally illegal for anyone under 16 to ride one?) There were two bills introduced this year in our Senate & Assembly to change this, but our governor apparently shot them down for his own inscrutable reasons:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2017/proposals/ab886
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2017/proposals/sb741
There is an election coming up in about 8 weeks ;)
 

mwilsonrr

New Member
Timpo,

This is exactly one of the points I have been bringing up. On the road is about the only time I feel riding over 28mph really makes sense and actually makes you safer because you differential of speed to cars have 50-100 times the total mass of a bike & rider is reduced.

It's as if a lot of riders think that a 10mph differential of a bike to ebike is a bigger risk than a 20mph differential to a car.

I honestly think if more ebike riders did a 15-20 mile commute each way to work maybe they would understand the merit of a little more assist speed when sharing the road with cars. They seem mentally locked on bikes on single track trails which is entirely a different situation, yet they want what makes sense for that riding to be applied to the use of ebikes for commuting.
Interesting discussion.

To me, the key point is this: At what point should an electric bike be treated differently than a non-electric bike? Do you want to go a sustained 40 MPH, 50 MPH? The differential to the car would be less so that would be lower risk (of car-based collisions) based on the argument presented.

If so, should you have any additional responsibilities than someone on a single speed cruiser that can go a sustained 10 MPH? Other vehicles that operate at sustained higher speeds require some sort of operator licensing, insurance, etc.

At what point does an e-bike stop being treated like a "bike" and become a "motor vehicle"? It seems like the intent of the current approach is to say it ceases to be a bike when the motor enables you to sustain speeds beyond what is generally possible without a motor. I'm okay with that approach.

My view is that bike paths provide a place for people to safely exercise, hike, ride, commute, etc. separated from motor vehicles. I wouldn't want to see high-speed e-bikes on those paths any more than I would want to see motorcycles. That is one of the things that concerns me about a straight speed limit approach: it opens the door to argue that other types of vehicles should be allowed on bike paths.

Bike lanes on roads provide a safer place for bicyclists to ride. Separating the bicyclists from the traffic makes sense because bicycles typically have different operating characteristics than motor vehicles. They accelerate differently, have different top speeds, different braking distances, etc. High-speed ebikes might be better located in the motor vehicle lanes if their speed is in alignment with the prevailing traffic.

In my opinion, at some point an ebike should be classified as a motor vehicle. I don't mean to state that the current classifications are 100% correct but they seem like a decent starting position. I fully support you in wanting a higher-speed ebike for your commute. I don't think that ebike should be in the same classification as a 3 speed Schwinn. It seems more like a moped or motorcycle to me.

Cheers,
Mike
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Interesting discussion.

To me, the key point is this: At what point should an electric bike be treated differently than a non-electric bike? Do you want to go a sustained 40 MPH, 50 MPH? The differential to the car would be less so that would be lower risk (of car-based collisions) based on the argument presented.

If so, should you have any additional responsibilities than someone on a single speed cruiser that can go a sustained 10 MPH? Other vehicles that operate at sustained higher speeds require some sort of operator licensing, insurance, etc.

At what point does an e-bike stop being treated like a "bike" and become a "motor vehicle"? It seems like the intent of the current approach is to say it ceases to be a bike when the motor enables you to sustain speeds beyond what is generally possible without a motor. I'm okay with that approach.

My view is that bike paths provide a place for people to safely exercise, hike, ride, commute, etc. separated from motor vehicles. I wouldn't want to see high-speed e-bikes on those paths any more than I would want to see motorcycles. That is one of the things that concerns me about a straight speed limit approach: it opens the door to argue that other types of vehicles should be allowed on bike paths.

Bike lanes on roads provide a safer place for bicyclists to ride. Separating the bicyclists from the traffic makes sense because bicycles typically have different operating characteristics than motor vehicles. They accelerate differently, have different top speeds, different braking distances, etc. High-speed ebikes might be better located in the motor vehicle lanes if their speed is in alignment with the prevailing traffic.

In my opinion, at some point an ebike should be classified as a motor vehicle. I don't mean to state that the current classifications are 100% correct but they seem like a decent starting position. I fully support you in wanting a higher-speed ebike for your commute. I don't think that ebike should be in the same classification as a 3 speed Schwinn. It seems more like a moped or motorcycle to me.

Cheers,
Mike
Mike,

It seems many people consider the assist limit as the max speed an ebike can obtain. Obviously that is not the case. So, If the assist limit isn't intended to limit the speed of the bike then what is it's intent? Seems implausible it could be about bike safety when I can hit speeds well over 40mph on my road bike on slight downhills and I'm 57 years old.

You seem to present an argument that it's intended to draw a line between a bike and motor vehicle but again the assist limit does not establish the speed potential of the bike in all situations.

We don't need faster ebikes to be classified as motor vehicles just so DMV and insurance companies can pad their pensions. Current regulations are not enforceable unless you expect police offices to pull over every ebike and conduct a test of the assist speed capability of the ebike (and I can guarantee you that most fast ebikes can just be switched back to compliant mode).

We need human scale transportation solutions that have a realistic chance of getting more people out of cars for the 80% of trips that are less than 10 miles from home. The cadence on many road / urban bikes is reasonable up to speeds around 35mph or a bit higher (this is not exotic gearing so it's been designed in for decades). Why not allow enough assist power to allow pedelecs (not just by throttle) to sustain that speed ... a speed they have been capable of achieving for decades to make them a viable transportation solution for more people. This does not mean and rational rider is going to be flying down sidewalks between pedestrians as those speeds any more than that happens now (there will always be idiots that do unsafe things but you don't use them to ruin the potential of the technology).

We don't put limits on the potential speed of the cars that can be legally driven on the roads, so why not just apply speed limits on whatever paths may be shared by ebikes, bikes, and pedestrians.

I think there will be legal battles (lawyers love the inevitability of this) to decide if the federal ebike regulations that allow for faster than 28mph assist limits so long as the rider is engaged (IZIP sold an ebike called the Express to the public and to police that assisted to speeds beyond 28mph) so I question that states can redefine what the federal government says is a bike. States can limit their usage but they can't redefine what a bike is...at least in my opinion (obviously a lawyer will take whatever side of this argument they are being paid by...I've already tried to get some clarification from lawyers and they refuse to take a stand until they are hired).
 
Interesting discussion.

To me, the key point is this: At what point should an electric bike be treated differently than a non-electric bike? Do you want to go a sustained 40 MPH, 50 MPH? The differential to the car would be less so that would be lower risk (of car-based collisions) based on the argument presented.

If so, should you have any additional responsibilities than someone on a single speed cruiser that can go a sustained 10 MPH? Other vehicles that operate at sustained higher speeds require some sort of operator licensing, insurance, etc.

At what point does an e-bike stop being treated like a "bike" and become a "motor vehicle"? It seems like the intent of the current approach is to say it ceases to be a bike when the motor enables you to sustain speeds beyond what is generally possible without a motor. I'm okay with that approach.

My view is that bike paths provide a place for people to safely exercise, hike, ride, commute, etc. separated from motor vehicles. I wouldn't want to see high-speed e-bikes on those paths any more than I would want to see motorcycles. That is one of the things that concerns me about a straight speed limit approach: it opens the door to argue that other types of vehicles should be allowed on bike paths.

Bike lanes on roads provide a safer place for bicyclists to ride. Separating the bicyclists from the traffic makes sense because bicycles typically have different operating characteristics than motor vehicles. They accelerate differently, have different top speeds, different braking distances, etc. High-speed ebikes might be better located in the motor vehicle lanes if their speed is in alignment with the prevailing traffic.

In my opinion, at some point an ebike should be classified as a motor vehicle. I don't mean to state that the current classifications are 100% correct but they seem like a decent starting position. I fully support you in wanting a higher-speed ebike for your commute. I don't think that ebike should be in the same classification as a 3 speed Schwinn. It seems more like a moped or motorcycle to me.

Cheers,
Mike
I think the realistic limit for an "ebike" is more like a weight + gearing + geometry limitation. Most mopeds basically have vestigial pedals. If the engine dies you're better off getting off the bike and pushing. Fitting an internal combustion engine + fuel system + transmission makes for a lot of design compromises when it comes to the human propulsion side of things. You really need two parallel drivetrains for the human and the engine for the gearing to not be absurd, and concepts like torque-sensing power output are just impossible with internal combustion engines because of how narrow the power band is.

Electric bikes are realistically only going to do about 40 mph. Any more and the human contributes so little that there's really no point to putting pedals on the thing and the energy demands are high enough that a traditional bike just can't carry enough battery to have reasonable range. You have to change the geometry to fit enough battery at which point the thing starts to resemble a motorcycle anyways. The weight of carrying that battery + building a frame that can handle 40+ use + brakes + components that can handle the torque that a 5000W+ electric motor puts out makes any semblance of pedaling go out the window. This isn't really a hypothetical, just look at the Sur Ron MX.