concerns with ebikes laws and ways to improve them

seandepagnier

New Member
Region
Canada
I am in the US, specifically north carolina. I like bicycles. I enjoyed an ebike last year. I am now a pedestrian and I don't think it is very far to walk 5 miles each way to do shopping so have no need for a bicycle currently. I have enjoyed an ebike and had one for almost a year. I use the motor to power a boat now instead. I returned to a place I had visited 4 years ago, and the situation has been transformed due to ebikes.

Unlike most internet users I can change my mine and opinions so I appreciate feedback in a civil discussion.


1) Safety: ebikes are physically heavier than regular bicycles due to the batteries and motor. The average speed of an bicycle is 8-12mph. Kinetic energy in crashes is related to mass times velocity squared. Reaction time is divided by velocity. The first time I tried my ebike I crashed badly as it had many times more power than I can pedal and I did not expect this. Around here I see 10 year old kids on full size very heavy ebikes that they probably couldn't pedal more than 10mph. I had some batteries short out on the bicycle frame. I had to jump off, throw the battery off, remove some cells that were burning hot, and jam a wire inbetween some cells and continue at a lower voltage. This is not very safe but completely legal. An actual collision is one of several ways to trigger a lithium battery fire.

2) Power: A normal rider outputs 120W or so. Few people are capable of 250W for extended periods. It seems 750W is not really appropriate. The argument about 1 horse power... well horses are a completely different animal, and they weigh roughly 800 pounds and travel about 4mph when producing 1 horse power.

3) Speed: I could maintain 20mph if I was very fit on flat ground. When I did this on a greenway when back in 2008 people yelled at me. It was rude to do travel this speed and few people pedal this fast simply because of their own physical limitation. ebikes go this speed all the time regardless of terrain. Sure some riders dont go the maximum speed they can, but that is not the norm around here. These are college students and they go as fast as the machine allows. Some ride on the road, and others ride on the sidewalk passing within inches of me. So far the dangerous ones have all been males in their 20's who aren't pedaling at all going much faster than 20mph on the sidewalk or bike path on what looks to me more like a motorcycle than a bicycle.

4) Future: Where does the energy come from to charge the ebike? I use 100 watts of solar panels for all my electricity. My ebike went 1 mile per 20 watt hours going 15mph. Compare efficiency, and you will find the lower speed has better efficiency. Solar power has a significant environmental impact. The panels have cadmium and should be used sparingly. Is it reasonable to consume excess energy from damaging sources like solar or even dirtier forms of power (we barely have any renewables on the grid as it is)? My ebike motor destroyed my alloy wheel making multiple cracks in the rim, after only few months of use. This means more waste, or heavier wheels, either way: more consumption. I went back to a standard bicycle and after a few weeks, the 20 mile round trip to the nearst grocery store didn't seem far anymore as I got back in shape pedaling again. In the past people took more pride in their fitness, now 74% are overweight and 42.4% obese setting new records. Replacing physical effort with motors seems a poor choice. What kind of society will remain?

5) Ethics: ebike batteries often use cobolt which is mined with child labor. The copper required comes at the expense of innocent lives. Please read about the panguna mine in bouganville if you dont believe me. Tens of thousands of innocent people who lived carbon-neutral lives were essentially murdered for the sake of greed of copper mining corporation "rio tinto" who refused to take responsibility for any wrong doing. Although the people there paid with their blood to shut that mine down, many women were raped and comitted suicide from the trama and the forest there continues to die off to this day as the toxic waste spreads. The children have leisons from swimming in the river and the people dont even have bicycles let alone ebikes. Other copper mines have similar negative environmental impacts. In china where rare earth metals are turned into neodymium magnets, entire villages went extinct from cancer. Most lithium batteries end up in landfill or worse. These factors do not exist for regular bicycles and cannot be ignored.

6) Evidence: reports are showing that over the past 4-5 years (2018-2022) ebikes are more dangerous than motorcycles. This is largely due to motorcycle riders generally wearing much better protective gear. This should be a concern to everyone. In europe, ebikes are 250W and no faster than 25kph (15mph) and generally age restricted. Is it not time to consider learning something from countries that know much more about widespread bicycle transportation?

7) Enforcement: In my own ebike, I used a vesc open source controller with a 1500W BMC motor I got for $100 on ebay. I never ran it above 400W but the power rating is not printed anywhere. I had 72 "2 year old" 18650 cells I got off ebay for $50. The bicycle itself was free, so the ebike cost was $200 total. There was no speed limit and it went a lot faster than I can pedal. One video I saw was an ebike with 7,500W, and by lying to police that it is only 750W they were told to "ride in the bike lane." youtube videos showing "this simple 5 minute hack to unlock your ebike" and another "safety mods" turns his ebike into 8000W capable of 80mph, all with positive feedback comments about how "sick" it is. No police seemed to care at all what speed I went. Anyone can swap a motor controller in 5 minutes or print a different sticker. People do whatever they can get away with. How can regulations on ebikes actually be enforced?


In conclusion: I don't care what speed ebikes go on roads: this is the only place I used mine. My concern is primarily sidewalks, and to some extent bike paths. As a pedestrian ebikes are new, in an marginalized space, and passing within inches at high speed. It is time to abolish these nonsense class 1, 2, 3 rules as they don't even make any sense, and adopt the european standards. An age restriction of 15 years and older anything with an electric motor for no other reason than to ensure less total resource consumption in our depleted world. Do we have to wait until enough kids crack their heads open to open our own minds as well? Can anyone agree? If not, can you explain why?
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
Speed/power concerns are a constant discussion here and most places where advocacy is debated. Not really much point doing that discussion over again, honestly. There are threads all over the place on it.

As for your future and ethics sections. Really, the question isn't "are ebikes totally clean", but rather "how do ebikes compare to other forms of transportation". I have to imagine they are much more efficient in power use/use of rare metals/etc in comparison to pretty much anything with any form of motor. If you're concerned about batteries and power consumption charging your ebike, wait until you hear about electric cars...

Safety is a concern as well; all road users have had a bad couple years, but pedestrians and cyclists have really seen safety drop since the pandemic. I'm not sure the argument is that ebikers need to wear "gear"; our problem is different than motorcyclists and speeds are much lower. We just need motorists to stop killing us. Until road safety is taken more seriously in the US (at all levels from design to enforcement) I'm not sure its going to happen.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
1) Safety:
Cages are far more dangerous!
Again if we cage it we're among vehicles with MANY times the necessary power.
Again highway vehicles capable of twice the country's highest speed limit.
4) Future
This criticism is based on limited experience and perhaps poorly made cheap components. I have 2014 motors in daily use.
5) Ethics
OK, so no chocolate, coffee, or ANY product that isn't fair trade? I do my best but now you're on a torturous
path with all sorts of intricate pitfalls.6) Evidence
Citations please?
7) Enforcement
Jeez Louise, are laws going to be based on what some butt head videoed?
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
If the answer isn't some combination of "regulate car and truck manufacturers design and fleet management decisions" and "change the road infrastructure and drivers education to protect everyone else from poor choices" you're asking the wrong questions. Mandate speed limiters, alcohol interlocks, side-skirts on all flat bed trucks, and a ban on lift kits. Build safer separated and hardened protected bicycle lanes. Fund better drivers education and traffic studies. Put in speed cameras and geofencing around vulnerable school walk zones. Follow through with implementing actual camera enforced stop signals instead of beg buttons and HAWK signals. Hold politicians accountable when the current system fails, make them work for you. Today's public safety picture looks bleak but it doesn't have to be this way. The changes needed are more then just a retail incentive.
 
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m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
It seems like the original poster is working much too hard to find a reason not to ride an ebike, and to justify a position that cannot lead to any other conclusion than one that is ebikes should not exist. There are MANY unsupported claims in that original post, and, taken together, it is what I would characterize as fear-mongering. Honestly this looks to me to be more of a troll posting than a genuine invitation to reasonable debate.

If the world is as the OP characterizes it. We shouldn't ride ebikes at all. However, the world has reached a different conclusion. This is one of the benefits of real life experience vs. living virtually thru the keyboard.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
If the answer isn't some combination of "regulate car and truck manufacturers design and fleet management decisions" and "change the road infrastructure and drivers education to protect everyone else from poor choices" you're asking the wrong questions. Mandate speed limiters, alcohol interlocks, side-skirts on all flat bed trucks, and a ban on lift kits. Build safer separated and hardened protected bicycle lanes. Fund better drivers education and traffic studies. Put in speed cameras and geofencing around vulnerable school walk zones. Follow through with implementing actual camera enforced stop signals instead of beg buttons and HAWK signals. Hold politicians accountable when the current system fails, make them work for you. Today's public safety picture looks bleak but it doesn't have to be this way. The changes needed are more then just a retail incentive.

This. We have the technology to massively curtail the dangerous road behavior now. Speed/red light cameras could automate a lot of the enforcement that law enforcement can't be bothered to do. We could regulate trucks more like cars and ban stuff like bush bars and lift kits that are deadly to pedestrians. The problem is that motorists hate enforcement and the entire system (by design) bends over backwards to enable them, even when they are killing people. So nothing really gets done aside from a lot of hand wringing.

It sucks. Its a battle that cycling advocates have been having for decades, with some success, don't get me wrong. But lots more to do. America is a heavily car-centric society.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Additionally there appears to be some obvious fabrications in the post. Just look at the Safety section. Can anyone imagine a more poor use of judgment when faced with a failing battery condition? Is this even remotely credible? And is it even physically possible given the cells in an 18650 pack are welded together via their contacts, and you don't just pull a few cells out and jam a wire in place of the ones you plucked out? 18650 packs do not work like flashlights.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Yep, it's getting worse, it will take political courage to make it better. Much love to organizations like FSS in NYC that try to help people pick up the pieces.
 

JedidiahStolzfus

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Lancaster, PA
2) Power: A normal rider outputs 120W or so. Few people are capable of 250W for extended periods. It seems 750W is not really appropriate. The argument about 1 horse power... well horses are a completely different animal, and they weigh roughly 800 pounds and travel about 4mph when producing 1 horse power.
1HP = 745.7W
Horses, even pulling a 700lb carriage with people on board, regularly moves at 8mph, up to 12 or a little more if at a gallop.
Your average horse running on a treadmill can easily produce 15+HP.

Not really sure what point you're trying to make, but your suppositions are wrong.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
If the answer isn't some combination of "regulate car and truck manufacturers design and fleet management decisions" and "change the road infrastructure and drivers education to protect everyone else from poor choices" you're asking the wrong questions. Mandate speed limiters, alcohol interlocks, side-skirts on all flat bed trucks, and a ban on lift kits. Build safer separated and hardened protected bicycle lanes. Fund better drivers education and traffic studies. Put in speed cameras and geofencing around vulnerable school walk zones. Follow through with implementing actual camera enforced stop signals instead of beg buttons and HAWK signals. Hold politicians accountable when the current system fails, make them work for you. Today's public safety picture looks bleak but it doesn't have to be this way. The changes needed are more then just a retail incentive.

Accident rates in northern Europe per mile driven are approximately ten percent what they are here in the Untied States. So it is achievable to have far lower accident rates at reasonable economic cost.
 

seandepagnier

New Member
Region
Canada
Speed/power concerns are a constant discussion here and most places where advocacy is debated. Not really much point doing that discussion over again, honestly. There are threads all over the place on it.

As for your future and ethics sections. Really, the question isn't "are ebikes totally clean", but rather "how do ebikes compare to other forms of transportation". I have to imagine they are much more efficient in power use/use of rare metals/etc in comparison to pretty much anything with any form of motor. If you're concerned about batteries and power consumption charging your ebike, wait until you hear about electric cars...

Safety is a concern as well; all road users have had a bad couple years, but pedestrians and cyclists have really seen safety drop since the pandemic. I'm not sure the argument is that ebikers need to wear "gear"; our problem is different than motorcyclists and speeds are much lower. We just need motorists to stop killing us. Until road safety is taken more seriously in the US (at all levels from design to enforcement) I'm not sure its going to happen.
The speeds are getting into the realm where additional safety gear besides a bike helmet may be beneficial. I have crashed a normal bicycle dozens of times, and the worst crashes (still have scars from 15 years ago) were above 20 mph.
It seems like the original poster is working much too hard to find a reason not to ride an ebike, and to justify a position that cannot lead to any other conclusion than one that is ebikes should not exist. There are MANY unsupported claims in that original post, and, taken together, it is what I would characterize as fear-mongering. Honestly this looks to me to be more of a troll posting than a genuine invitation to reasonable debate.

If the world is as the OP characterizes it. We shouldn't ride ebikes at all. However, the world has reached a different conclusion. This is one of the benefits of real life experience vs. living virtually thru the keyboard.
I am not saying that I don't think we shouldn't ride ebikes at all. Because of the many replies referring to cars, I will make clear my view.

Because my post was too long already I did not elaborate. Accusing me of trolling is a poor argument of disagreement which offers no insight, please offer me special consideration as I am an abnormal citizen.

I have never bought gasoline or diesel (I am 36). I never owned a car; refuse to ride in one. I don't fly, or use public transport (there is none here). 90%+ of the miles I travel are by sail power on an engine free boat using wind, tide, and a wooden oar. I have been all over the world and my favorite places don't have cars. The people there were very friendly and patient.

Cars have no future: simply maintaining the current road surface area in the USA (8.5 million lane miles) ensures we can never stabilize CO2 levels regardless of what powers them. It comes out to 2 ton per capita of CO2 per year just to maintain the road surface area, not including parking lots, bridges and other things like lights. The known resources indicate that electric cars may eventually be available to the same 18% of humans that use cars today. Our politicians are pushing hard for the people in the richest countries in the world, the same countries most responsible for climate change, to have electric cars perhaps for a few decades before complete ecological collapse. It is better to stop electric cars before they are widespread, and eliminate all types of cars as societies without them are better. We can use the road space with little maintenance for ebikes and emergency vehicles and essential services. We need to start re-designating car lanes into ebike lanes, and reducing the total pavement area each year. Anything else is denying the scientific evidence and promoting destruction. I would rather lose 90% of species than 98%. We are indeed facing dark times ahead: the question is how bad do we make it?
Additionally there appears to be some obvious fabrications in the post. Just look at the Safety section. Can anyone imagine a more poor use of judgment when faced with a failing battery condition? Is this even remotely credible? And is it even physically possible given the cells in an 18650 pack are welded together via their contacts, and you don't just pull a few cells out and jam a wire in place of the ones you plucked out? 18650 packs do not work like flashlights.
I soldered mine together and I could rip them apart, but you can also tear the nickel (or steel plated nickel in my case) strips. I have had the strips glow red. Mine did work this way, but the point is not to do this, but what not to do, and the fact that it is human nature to do something that is essentially dangerous to achieve a short-term goal.
1HP = 745.7W
Horses, even pulling a 700lb carriage with people on board, regularly moves at 8mph, up to 12 or a little more if at a gallop.
Your average horse running on a treadmill can easily produce 15+HP.

Not really sure what point you're trying to make, but your suppositions are wrong.
This is in reference to an argument that horses being allowed on a particular trail means an ebike should have 750 watts. A horse may output much more than 1 horse power, but this is for limited duration, and/or a larger horse than the definition. Either way, horses generally are slower than ebikes. Do you think ebikes (especially the faster ones) are a good fit with horses on the same roads?

Accident rates in northern Europe per mile driven are approximately ten percent what they are here in the Untied States. So it is achievable to have far lower accident rates at reasonable economic cost.
Thank you for proving my point. We need to closely follow the european standards to reduce accident rates for all forms of transportation, and ebikes are a perfect example.

Consider how in places with more bike paths, more people use bikes because the path offers a special privilege. I am concerned that ebikes erode this privilege as there is no incentive to pedal anymore. This is obvious as 80% of people on the path here use ebikes. I suggest the solution not to ban ebikes at all, but to ensure bicycles continue to maintain special privileges. In europe they do exactly this. Anything with more than 250 watts or above 15mph is a moped. They maintain special privileges over cars, but bicycles (and what I would call "class 0" ebikes) have use of more paths and this encourages their use which is more admirable. Imagine if they decided electric power boats have the same collision regulations as sail powered boats? I would be extremely upset by such a change as it marginalizes sail power which is similarly to human power already over-marginalized.

Giving faster ebikes the rights of bicycles is clearly a policy of motorists who do not value physical effort, they value consumption and personal wealth required to afford them (capitalism) Eroding bicycle privilege in favor of ebikes is unacceptable. Instead it is long overdue time to erode car privileges. We need much higher fuel prices and should be converting roads away from cars to give them to ebikes. I am suggesting more space for ebikes without cars, not less, at the expense of areas for cars not bikes. This will really be a bigger benefit to ebikes than letting them use the sidewalks.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
The speeds are getting into the realm where additional safety gear besides a bike helmet may be beneficial. I have crashed a normal bicycle dozens of times, and the worst crashes (still have scars from 15 years ago) were above 20 mph.

I'm sure it depends on the rider/location/bike, but personally my top speeds are very similar between my electric and non electric bikes, because it always occurs on downhills. Obviously the average speed is higher on the electric, but most of that speed increase comes on uphills and to a lesser extent flats, where I'm going faster than the non-electric but in absolute terms still not very fast. I'm comfortable with the same gear I would wear on my non electric bikes (helmet and gloves, basically).

Obviously if you ride an "ebike" that more closely resembles a motorcycle, looking into safety gear appropriate for motorcycle riding may be appropriate.

Cars have no future: simply maintaining the current road surface area in the USA (8.5 million lane miles) ensures we can never stabilize CO2 levels regardless of what powers them. It comes out to 2 ton per capita of CO2 per year just to maintain the road surface area, not including parking lots, bridges and other things like lights. The known resources indicate that electric cars may eventually be available to the same 18% of humans that use cars today. Our politicians are pushing hard for the people in the richest countries in the world, the same countries most responsible for climate change, to have electric cars perhaps for a few decades before complete ecological collapse. It is better to stop electric cars before they are widespread, and eliminate all types of cars as societies without them are better. We can use the road space with little maintenance for ebikes and emergency vehicles and essential services. We need to start re-designating car lanes into ebike lanes, and reducing the total pavement area each year. Anything else is denying the scientific evidence and promoting destruction. I would rather lose 90% of species than 98%. We are indeed facing dark times ahead: the question is how bad do we make it?
:oops:
First world countries are not going to go back to being without roads and cars. Sorry. May as well say the solution is for aliens to come down and wave a magic technology wand to make everything better, its about as likely to happen.

Giving faster ebikes the rights of bicycles is clearly a policy of motorists who do not value physical effort, they value consumption and personal wealth required to afford them (capitalism) Eroding bicycle privilege in favor of ebikes is unacceptable. Instead it is long overdue time to erode car privileges. We need much higher fuel prices and should be converting roads away from cars to give them to ebikes. I am suggesting more space for ebikes without cars, not less, at the expense of areas for cars not bikes. This will really be a bigger benefit to ebikes than letting them use the sidewalks.

Legally the faster ebikes don't have the rights of bicycles; the legal definition of electric bike is pretty narrow.

In the broad scope of things, ebikes are great for general cycling advocacy, because they expand the footprint of cycling in general and demand for infrastructure in particular.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
... Giving faster ebikes the rights of bicycles is clearly a policy of motorists who do not value physical effort, they value consumption and personal wealth required to afford them (capitalism) Eroding bicycle privilege in favor of ebikes is unacceptable.
By all means everyone is entitled to an opinion, and strong feelings. But the above statement affirms in a nutshell there is extreme bias in the opening arguments and conclusions. So much so I don't think you can take any part of the opening statement as a serious talking point. The OP sees a nail sticking up and his primary interest is in hammering it down. The end result is just another never-ending internet argument.
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
" I have crashed a normal bicycle dozens of times, and the worst crashes (still have scars from 15 years ago) were above 20 mph."

I would suggest that if that's true you should NOT be riding bikes of any kind.
 

seandepagnier

New Member
Region
Canada
" I have crashed a normal bicycle dozens of times, and the worst crashes (still have scars from 15 years ago) were above 20 mph."

I would suggest that if that's true you should NOT be riding bikes of any kind.
All my serious crashes were due to motor vehicles cutting me off in one way or another, or in one case a truck dropping fist sized rocks. Using a bicycle sucks because of motorists, and having these new heavy ebikes on my walking path is similarly shitty.

I talked to my friends in denmark and netherlands. They both agree that class 1, class 2, and class 3, ebikes all are really electric mopeds and should require license, registration and insurance to be allowed on the road. They have no place on a multi-use path or sidewalk. class 1 is the closest, but it would have to be restricted to 250 watts, 15mph, and 15 years of age.

Consider how motorized scooters, one wheel and more are now allowed on the paths because of ebikes. This obviously makes no sense as they were never allowed before.
 

Taylor57

Well-Known Member
I am in the US, specifically north carolina. I like bicycles. I enjoyed an ebike last year. I am now a pedestrian and I don't think it is very far to walk 5 miles each way to do shopping so have no need for a bicycle currently. I have enjoyed an ebike and had one for almost a year. I use the motor to power a boat now instead. I returned to a place I had visited 4 years ago, and the situation has been transformed due to ebikes.

Unlike most internet users I can change my mine and opinions so I appreciate feedback in a civil discussion.


1) Safety: ebikes are physically heavier than regular bicycles due to the batteries and motor. The average speed of an bicycle is 8-12mph. Kinetic energy in crashes is related to mass times velocity squared. Reaction time is divided by velocity. The first time I tried my ebike I crashed badly as it had many times more power than I can pedal and I did not expect this. Around here I see 10 year old kids on full size very heavy ebikes that they probably couldn't pedal more than 10mph. I had some batteries short out on the bicycle frame. I had to jump off, throw the battery off, remove some cells that were burning hot, and jam a wire inbetween some cells and continue at a lower voltage. This is not very safe but completely legal. An actual collision is one of several ways to trigger a lithium battery fire.

2) Power: A normal rider outputs 120W or so. Few people are capable of 250W for extended periods. It seems 750W is not really appropriate. The argument about 1 horse power... well horses are a completely different animal, and they weigh roughly 800 pounds and travel about 4mph when producing 1 horse power.

3) Speed: I could maintain 20mph if I was very fit on flat ground. When I did this on a greenway when back in 2008 people yelled at me. It was rude to do travel this speed and few people pedal this fast simply because of their own physical limitation. ebikes go this speed all the time regardless of terrain. Sure some riders dont go the maximum speed they can, but that is not the norm around here. These are college students and they go as fast as the machine allows. Some ride on the road, and others ride on the sidewalk passing within inches of me. So far the dangerous ones have all been males in their 20's who aren't pedaling at all going much faster than 20mph on the sidewalk or bike path on what looks to me more like a motorcycle than a bicycle.

4) Future: Where does the energy come from to charge the ebike? I use 100 watts of solar panels for all my electricity. My ebike went 1 mile per 20 watt hours going 15mph. Compare efficiency, and you will find the lower speed has better efficiency. Solar power has a significant environmental impact. The panels have cadmium and should be used sparingly. Is it reasonable to consume excess energy from damaging sources like solar or even dirtier forms of power (we barely have any renewables on the grid as it is)? My ebike motor destroyed my alloy wheel making multiple cracks in the rim, after only few months of use. This means more waste, or heavier wheels, either way: more consumption. I went back to a standard bicycle and after a few weeks, the 20 mile round trip to the nearst grocery store didn't seem far anymore as I got back in shape pedaling again. In the past people took more pride in their fitness, now 74% are overweight and 42.4% obese setting new records. Replacing physical effort with motors seems a poor choice. What kind of society will remain?

5) Ethics: ebike batteries often use cobolt which is mined with child labor. The copper required comes at the expense of innocent lives. Please read about the panguna mine in bouganville if you dont believe me. Tens of thousands of innocent people who lived carbon-neutral lives were essentially murdered for the sake of greed of copper mining corporation "rio tinto" who refused to take responsibility for any wrong doing. Although the people there paid with their blood to shut that mine down, many women were raped and comitted suicide from the trama and the forest there continues to die off to this day as the toxic waste spreads. The children have leisons from swimming in the river and the people dont even have bicycles let alone ebikes. Other copper mines have similar negative environmental impacts. In china where rare earth metals are turned into neodymium magnets, entire villages went extinct from cancer. Most lithium batteries end up in landfill or worse. These factors do not exist for regular bicycles and cannot be ignored.

6) Evidence: reports are showing that over the past 4-5 years (2018-2022) ebikes are more dangerous than motorcycles. This is largely due to motorcycle riders generally wearing much better protective gear. This should be a concern to everyone. In europe, ebikes are 250W and no faster than 25kph (15mph) and generally age restricted. Is it not time to consider learning something from countries that know much more about widespread bicycle transportation?

7) Enforcement: In my own ebike, I used a vesc open source controller with a 1500W BMC motor I got for $100 on ebay. I never ran it above 400W but the power rating is not printed anywhere. I had 72 "2 year old" 18650 cells I got off ebay for $50. The bicycle itself was free, so the ebike cost was $200 total. There was no speed limit and it went a lot faster than I can pedal. One video I saw was an ebike with 7,500W, and by lying to police that it is only 750W they were told to "ride in the bike lane." youtube videos showing "this simple 5 minute hack to unlock your ebike" and another "safety mods" turns his ebike into 8000W capable of 80mph, all with positive feedback comments about how "sick" it is. No police seemed to care at all what speed I went. Anyone can swap a motor controller in 5 minutes or print a different sticker. People do whatever they can get away with. How can regulations on ebikes actually be enforced?


In conclusion: I don't care what speed ebikes go on roads: this is the only place I used mine. My concern is primarily sidewalks, and to some extent bike paths. As a pedestrian ebikes are new, in an marginalized space, and passing within inches at high speed. It is time to abolish these nonsense class 1, 2, 3 rules as they don't even make any sense, and adopt the european standards. An age restriction of 15 years and older anything with an electric motor for no other reason than to ensure less total resource consumption in our depleted world. Do we have to wait until enough kids crack their heads open to open our own minds as well? Can anyone agree? If not, can you explain why?
You lost me with ebike laws and living in Canada and North Carolina. There's an acronym for it, but I'm too lazy to look it up. TLTLIU
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
All my serious crashes were due to motor vehicles cutting me off in one way or another, or in one case a truck dropping fist sized rocks. Using a bicycle sucks because of motorists, and having these new heavy ebikes on my walking path is similarly shitty.

I talked to my friends in denmark and netherlands. They both agree that class 1, class 2, and class 3, ebikes all are really electric mopeds and should require license, registration and insurance to be allowed on the road. They have no place on a multi-use path or sidewalk. class 1 is the closest, but it would have to be restricted to 250 watts, 15mph, and 15 years of age.

Consider how motorized scooters, one wheel and more are now allowed on the paths because of ebikes. This obviously makes no sense as they were never allowed before.

If you’re talking about US laws, who cares what people from denmark and the Netherlands think? Our transportation network is different, distances are different, built environment is different and therefore our laws are different.

Do you actually think the proliferation of bikes is dangerous, or do you just not like them? It comes across more like the latter.
 

seandepagnier

New Member
Region
Canada
If you’re talking about US laws, who cares what people from denmark and the Netherlands think? Our transportation network is different, distances are different, built environment is different and therefore our laws are different.

Do you actually think the proliferation of bikes is dangerous, or do you just not like them? It comes across more like the latter.
I like ebikes much more than cars, but I am concerned with the dangers they pose. It is a terrible shame that motor cars were ever allowed in the first place. They have gotten us into a situation where billions of people in the world are beginning to demand reparations for climate justice. This is really an embarrassing age to be an american. The world view of the american lifestyle is plummeting, and I am worried if I visited some places that violence may find me just for being american because people there are literally starving and they blame it on the emissions of the west.

I would like to replace cars with ebikes, but what I witness is that regular bicycles are being replaced instead. This is obvious as they are not re-designating road lanes for ebikes: instead they are taking already limited spaced from bicycles and the proportion of overweight americans continues its upwards trajectory.

I am suggesting that we need separate spaces for pedestrians that ebikes cannot go which is exactly the opposite of what was recently enacted. Now allowing motorized vehicles on sidewalks just because they are electric is absurd. It opens any kind of electric vehicle including one wheel, skateboards and so on. How is a 28mph ebike with obnoxious music blaring from it different from a mountain bike with 50cc gas motor running on pure ethanol (no harmful emissions) on it with the same top speed?

In the netherlands there are separate spaces for different speeds. Separate spaces for <15mph, 15-30mph, and >30mph. Class 1,2,3 ebikes fall into the second category, too fast to be in the space with pedestrians and too slow to share the space with cars. There are designated areas for each speed. It may be possible to pedal bicycles faster than 15mph but its just not at all normal, and when it is, the total kinetic energy is not comparable. Consider a 150lb rider on a 25lb bicycle compared to a 250lb rider on a 75lb ebike. Before the heavier (out of shape) riders were generally more limited in speed balancing this risk, and young children did not achieve those speeds either.

China recently had to update their own laws regarding ebikes (I wonder why):
"Under the new national standards, e-bikes must have pedals, travel at a maximum speed of 25 kph or less and sound alarms when they reach 15 kph. They must weigh no more than 55 kg, including the battery, and the rated output of the motor must be no more than 400 watts"

The primary issue is speed. above 25kph (15mph) and it poses a serious risk to pedestrians. The reason is that the pedestrian does not have time to jump out of the way anymore. I am seriously concerned of being hit by a fat-wheel ebike that weighs 100lbs with a 300lbs rider traveling at an unlocked speed.

Please stop trying to belittle me as biased when most of the world already has laws in place that would prohibit class 1, 2, and 3 from trails and sidewalks. Just because you want to drive a motor vehicle on one of the last nice places left to walk doesn't mean it does not detract from the experience from people who weren't using child-labor produced batteries charged by fracking power. These classes should simply not be considered bicycles for practical purposes, but they are great vehicles compared to cars. Furthermore, most of the ones I see have very fat tires, and are therefore energy-inefficient. There is no punishment for this extra consumption of resources which is a shame. I am not bashing all ebike as you may suggest, I only want to suggest appropriate changes in the United States before more people get seriously injured, and to not infringe on privileges of those who have lower resource use and use solely human power. There needs to be incentives for not using any motors at all. This means keeping sidewalks and greenways free from motorized vehicles. The only exceptions are very low speed motors for people legitimately disabled such as electric wheel chairs and so forth.

When you say who cares what people in denmark think... consider that in the US, there are 10 times more injuries per capita related to transportation compared to northern europe. They use less than half the energy and resources but live longer and are happier. If our transportation network is different, it is time to improve it. I have pedaled across 6 different states, and I don't think the distance is relevant. It is obvious as well that in denmark people travel greater distances by bicycle than they do in the US. This is not about distances or size of a country but about inadequate infrastructure. Imagine giving every other street in cities to ebikes for example. This would really open things up for them more than putting them on the sidewalks.