Doctor's letter

Martinet

Member
Has anyone requested or procured a note from his or her MD that an ebike is needed because of physical limitations and is recommended for exercise and balance maintenance issues. Potential uses are carrying a copy for trail cops and taking a medical deduction for the ebike much like a stairs elevator.
 

Lost

Active Member
I'm in the camp if it's real fine. If it's fake, I'm not on board.
I see too many aholes getting special needs pet permits on ebay just so they can fly with their dog. It is assumed now that most on airplanes claiming that are pure BS, which is a REAL problem for those that are true.
Just my .02
 

Keith_W

New Member
As an MD myself I would have a hard time giving a letter recommending an eBike. Riding a bicycle is a surprisingly complex activity, requiring the proper function of many centers of your brain, your inner ear, your spinal cord, all the peripheral nerves, proprioception, and muscle strength. For all that to work sufficiently to ride an ebike (or a bike), you have to be in pretty good shape. In fact, riding an eBike is more demanding than driving a car or a motorcycle. I can not see a situation where someone is fit enough to ride an ebike but not drive a car.

I would be happy to give a letter recommending a gopher electric vehicle though.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Keith, I will respectfully disagree with your opinion. Riding an ebike helps people who are not in the best of shape to become more healthy. In our part of Texas, the humidity, heat and hills can be daunting particularly for those who have health issues. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be working to improve their health. In my 16 years as an ebike dealer & repair center we've had quite a number of folks specifically buy an ebike because their doctor told them to get more exercise, loose weight, etc. and the ebike was one way for them to achieve those goals, plus have some fun outdoors.

As someone who is petite but has a heart condition that makes it potentially dangerous to overstress myself in the heat, ebikes have been my path to continued freedom and regulated exercise. One of my most notable customers was a very overweight Orthopedic Surgeon who was just coming home after having triple bypass surgery. He told me he wanted to be around for his kids and it was a tremendous wake up call for him. For the following year, he would check in with us to say hi and get regular maintenance on his ebike. He was happy, losing weight and didn't have to be fearful of getting stuck somewhere if he got too fatigued; he had the safety net of his electric bike so he could ride daily. After that year he stopped in one day but with a very sleek lightweight regular bike; his health and weight were so good now that he had the strength and endurance to safely ride a non-electric bike! And as an Orthopedic Surgeon, he felt that ebikes would be helpful to many of his patients to aid their recovery from surgery or to prevent joint or ligament degeneration.
 

Lost

Active Member
Ann, sorta my plan. I am 54, 60 pounds overweight, and depend on an FAA medical certificate to make a living. Any bike that gets you out there is a good bike. My point in the post above is a lot of folks use letters from Docs for abuse. Like I said, if the case were real, I'm all for it. I just would not like to see folks spend $100 bucks on a letter to have in their back pocket in case Johnny Law stopped them on a bike only trail, and be using it for a "get out of jail free" card.
 

Martinet

Member
As an MD myself I would have a hard time giving a letter recommending an eBike. Riding a bicycle is a surprisingly complex activity, requiring the proper function of many centers of your brain, your inner ear, your spinal cord, all the peripheral nerves, proprioception, and muscle strength. For all that to work sufficiently to ride an ebike (or a bike), you have to be in pretty good shape. In fact, riding an eBike is more demanding than driving a car or a motorcycle. I can not see a situation where someone is fit enough to ride an ebike but not drive a car.

I would be happy to give a letter recommending a gopher electric vehicle though.
Keith, as a traditionalist, I somewhat agree with your position and support your right not to write such a letter. Many docs refuse to prescribe medical marijuana because of uncertain science and dosages as well as there existing better treatments in most cases.

However, there are to issues to consider:
1. It has become somewhat standard practice for physicians to recommend intellectual activities (such as taking up bridge, learning a new language, etc.) to older patients as studies have indicated such intellectual activities may delay or forestall dementia. Based on your analysis of mental and physical skills needed to bicycle, is it not unlikely that keeping a patient cycling may forestall such future tragic outcomes as falls?
2. You stated you could give a letter to patients who were truly disabled (invalids) for such items as a gopher vehicle in order to meet basic needs. I would be appalled if a patient could obtain an ebike at public expense, much as I would be if public funds paid for someone's comfort dog. However in the brave new world of ADA a disability is defined much more broadly than the traditional definition of "disability." Should not someone who can no longer navigate a publically funded trail unassisted not have a right to use this public facility with the assistance of an ebike?

I agree with Lost that such access should not be abused. There are way too many phony comfort animals and handicapped parking stickers. However bike path or trail access should have a lower societal impact, "comfort animals" may disturb other passengers and cause allergy distress to some. Too many disabled stickers make parking an ordeal for the truly disabled.

I have not personally sought such a letter and have no issues of access where I reside. However after reading posts in forum regarding issues faced by riders from NYC or Chicago, I believe such a letter may help individuals who are faced with arbitrary and discriminatory laws and regulations. Attempting to interject ADA protection seems legitimate to me, much as I would have supported certifying someone of mixed ancestry as belonging to the same race as his or her spouse during the era of miscegenation laws.
 
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Keith_W

New Member
Thank you for your well thought out replies.

Martinet, physicians do recommend physical therapies to older patients and for those who are gait and mobility impaired. People who have had strokes, Parkinson's, severe arthritis, postural hypotension (i.e. people who are at risk of falling) go to gyms run by physiotherapists where they are prescribed exercise programs which are safe and appropriate to their level of function. Such therapies may include - pool exercises, exercise bikes, balance exercises (e.g. sitting on a rubber ball), and so on.

Anybody who has a functional impairment who wishes to ride an electric bike should also be able to manage a real bicycle (i.e. human powered). Allowing them access to an electric bike in this case would increase their velocity. Increasing the velocity has two effects: it increases both the chance of an accident and the severity of injury. Particularly if they have a physical disability which impairs balance and corrective mechanisms in the first place.

I do not doubt that for many people, ebikes have health benefits. Speaking personally, it will allow me to cycle to work in a reasonable space of time (as opposed to almost an hour when I use my normal bike). For me, using an ebike gets me out of my car. But would I issue a medical certificate for this? No, I wouldn't. Medical certs are for people with disabilities, and I do not consider my lack of fitness a disability.
 

kraisydave

New Member
It is an old topic, but what about someone like me with chemical burns on my lungs from military service? I walk with a cane 30% of the time due to strength issues and joint impact pain, not balance. My balance on a bike is top notch due being a former expert level racer a lifetime ago. Sometimes I can ride for an hour while other days I've riden for 10 minutes and could do no more due to my lungs. Yet my muscles and mind were ready for much more. Due to the extra torque to keep going I could ride much longer and maybe even keep up with friends for once. I do not want my ebike funded. It is a luxury item I could live without. But I would like to ride it where regular cyclists are permitted. A doctor's note would permit that in many areas where ebikes are excluded around my home.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
By way of background. My wife and I run a yacht charter business in Alaska, taking small private groups on week long custom cruises. I was the captain and she the chef. I had a major heart attack at the end of August with cardiac arrest. I was on my boat in Alaska, 80 miles from the nearest town, at night, in fog and rain. We have carried an Automatic Electric Defibrillator on board for ten years but never had to use it. In addition, one of our guests on that trip was a cardiologist. That is why I am still alive. I am incredibly lucky.

I was a pipe smoker and weighed 238 lbs. I had two stents put in and later and implanted defibrillator. I stopped smoking and started losing weight via diet. I then started cardiac rehab, a medically supervised EKG monitored exercise program. In late February I bought my first e-bike and have put over 400 miles on it. I am now down to 208 and have not felt this vital and fit in decades. I have never really enjoyed deliberate, dedicated exercise until I got on this bike. Now I look forward to it every day. We have hired a captain and chef to take our places on the boat but still own and are responsible for the business. We are looking forward to our first summer of leisure in 25 years and have plans to do some serious bike touring.

If there is anyone with a legit claim to using the bike as a life saving, health enhancement it is me. However, I would not even think of trying to get a tax deduction for the purchase of my bike and frankly do not think much of someone that would. I use the roads, someone has to pay for them and I have the ability to do so.

I am frankly ashamed of our generation. Our parents and grandparents built the interstate highway system, put a whole generation through college on the GI Bill, funded NASA and all kinds of fundamental research that has led to new technologies and given rise to all kinds of businesses. Oh, and they also fought a world war on two fronts. They paid taxes to make all this happen and provide opportunities for us.

In the eighties it became politically fashionable to cut taxes and cut government. The result is that we have failed to pay forward the kind of tax funded common efforts to make our children's lives better the way our folks did for us. I am proud to have built my own business but I never forget that I got a major head start from those who went before me.

So for me this whole topic hit a real nerve. I don't need a tax deduction and would be ashamed to ask for one. I suspect most people who can afford to buy an ebike don't need a deduction either. I know I am in the minority, but I am proud to pay taxes. It means I have succeeded. It also means that I care about the kind of world that my children and grandchildren get to live in.

My apologies if some find this too political but discussion of tax breaks is just that...political.
 

kraisydave

New Member
Mr. Alaskan, You make a great point and I totally agree. For me it is not about costs, taxes or anything in the realm. I myself just want to ride my ebicycle at normal bicycle speeds where I use to ride before my injuries. My goal is to show that electric motorcycles, even with pedals, are very different than true assist ebikes. Our area blocked all electric motors while not fully understanding what they were or how they function. A doctor stating it would be reasonable based on my injuries would really help validate my point. Most don't know but segways are considered the same as wheel chairs here from a disability standpoint. Talk about something that needs balance....
Your story is an amazing one. I hope to find the same smile you did on your ebike. Mine should arrive in two weeks. I wish you the best.
 

kraisydave

New Member
We already assume many things after a certain age... Why not ebike assistance?
Actually our argument will no longer matter soon. Google the Orbea Gain 2018 model. Tell me if you can see the 250w motor. MTBs are next. Can any enforcement happen if the motors are unable to be seen or heard?
 
We already assume many things after a certain age... Why not ebike assistance?
Actually our argument will no longer matter soon. Google the Orbea Gain 2018 model. Tell me if you can see the 250w motor. MTBs are next. Can any enforcement happen if the motors are unable to be seen or heard?
Interesting, but like my age I'm not trying to hide it. Just want to ride as long as I can. Have fun be safe.
 

Kurt in CT

Active Member
By way of background. My wife and I run a yacht charter business in Alaska, taking small private groups on week long custom cruises. I was the captain and she the chef. I had a major heart attack at the end of August with cardiac arrest. I was on my boat in Alaska, 80 miles from the nearest town, at night, in fog and rain. We have carried an Automatic Electric Defibrillator on board for ten years but never had to use it. In addition, one of our guests on that trip was a cardiologist. That is why I am still alive. I am incredibly lucky.

I was a pipe smoker and weighed 238 lbs. I had two stents put in and later and implanted defibrillator. I stopped smoking and started losing weight via diet. I then started cardiac rehab, a medically supervised EKG monitored exercise program. In late February I bought my first e-bike and have put over 400 miles on it. I am now down to 208 and have not felt this vital and fit in decades. I have never really enjoyed deliberate, dedicated exercise until I got on this bike. Now I look forward to it every day. We have hired a captain and chef to take our places on the boat but still own and are responsible for the business. We are looking forward to our first summer of leisure in 25 years and have plans to do some serious bike touring.

If there is anyone with a legit claim to using the bike as a life saving, health enhancement it is me. However, I would not even think of trying to get a tax deduction for the purchase of my bike and frankly do not think much of someone that would. I use the roads, someone has to pay for them and I have the ability to do so.

I am frankly ashamed of our generation. Our parents and grandparents built the interstate highway system, put a whole generation through college on the GI Bill, funded NASA and all kinds of fundamental research that has led to new technologies and given rise to all kinds of businesses. Oh, and they also fought a world war on two fronts. They paid taxes to make all this happen and provide opportunities for us.

In the eighties it became politically fashionable to cut taxes and cut government. The result is that we have failed to pay forward the kind of tax funded common efforts to make our children's lives better the way our folks did for us. I am proud to have built my own business but I never forget that I got a major head start from those who went before me.

So for me this whole topic hit a real nerve. I don't need a tax deduction and would be ashamed to ask for one. I suspect most people who can afford to buy an ebike don't need a deduction either. I know I am in the minority, but I am proud to pay taxes. It means I have succeeded. It also means that I care about the kind of world that my children and grandchildren get to live in.

My apologies if some find this too political but discussion of tax breaks is just that...political.
Thank you. Well put, IMO. Big topic of course. Too big for here. I run my own biz also. If the infrastructure and system we're not it place, it would not be possible. It's a privilege I do not take lightly.
 

Bruce Arnold

Well-Known Member
Mr. Alaskan, You make a great point and I totally agree. For me it is not about costs, taxes or anything in the realm. I myself just want to ride my ebicycle at normal bicycle speeds where I use to ride before my injuries. My goal is to show that electric motorcycles, even with pedals, are very different than true assist ebikes. Our area blocked all electric motors while not fully understanding what they were or how they function. A doctor stating it would be reasonable based on my injuries would really help validate my point. Most don't know but segways are considered the same as wheel chairs here from a disability standpoint. Talk about something that needs balance....
Your story is an amazing one. I hope to find the same smile you did on your ebike. Mine should arrive in two weeks. I wish you the best.
I'm with you, KD. I have COPD. My ebike isn't to allow me to go faster, it allows me to ride period. When I'm losing my breath, I can rely on the bike to do more of the work while get my wind back. I'm not looking for any privileges either, but if there were places ebikes weren't allowed in my town, I'd want some changes made to allow me to keep riding. It has benefited my stamina and overall conditioning so much since starting to ride. As it happens, I live in a place that is not particularly bike-friendly so there are no bike paths to be banned from. LOL.
 

Brenda C

New Member
I’m 62 and have advancing distal muscular dystrophy in my legs and my feet look like Club foot now. It’s painful and exhausting to walk the 2 or 3 blocks to pick up my mail or buy groceries. I also have Parkinson’s. I know when I have a functional day, or if I’m nonfunctional. I’m on SSDI.

I just purchased an eBike, 20”, folding, that weighs 40lbs. It’s a low-end product, and with shipping came in about $800. I really cannot afford it, but I really cannot afford a car. I cannot do buses, and taxis are horribly expensive.

I was riding bicycles until about 5 years ago and quit due to PD/DMD pain plus an arthritic hip.

I’m looking forward to my new bike for the increased town mobility it will provide! I need to remain as mobile as possible because there will be a time I will be wheelchair bound.

I do intend on asking my neurologist for just such a letter. I don’t expect any government assistance in my purchase. I do expect police consideration for my mobility needs.

Sadly, your one-size-fits-all attitude is why I’d never consider you as my physician.


As an MD myself I would have a hard time giving a letter recommending an eBike. Riding a bicycle is a surprisingly complex activity, requiring the proper function of many centers of your brain, your inner ear, your spinal cord, all the peripheral nerves, proprioception, and muscle strength. For all that to work sufficiently to ride an ebike (or a bike), you have to be in pretty good shape. In fact, riding an eBike is more demanding than driving a car or a motorcycle. I can not see a situation where someone is fit enough to ride an ebike but not drive a car.

I would be happy to give a letter recommending a gopher electric vehicle though.
 

champignon

New Member
By way of background. My wife and I run a yacht charter business in Alaska, taking small private groups on week long custom cruises. I was the captain and she the chef. I had a major heart attack at the end of August with cardiac arrest. I was on my boat in Alaska, 80 miles from the nearest town, at night, in fog and rain. We have carried an Automatic Electric Defibrillator on board for ten years but never had to use it. In addition, one of our guests on that trip was a cardiologist. That is why I am still alive. I am incredibly lucky.

I was a pipe smoker and weighed 238 lbs. I had two stents put in and later and implanted defibrillator. I stopped smoking and started losing weight via diet. I then started cardiac rehab, a medically supervised EKG monitored exercise program. In late February I bought my first e-bike and have put over 400 miles on it. I am now down to 208 and have not felt this vital and fit in decades. I have never really enjoyed deliberate, dedicated exercise until I got on this bike. Now I look forward to it every day. We have hired a captain and chef to take our places on the boat but still own and are responsible for the business. We are looking forward to our first summer of leisure in 25 years and have plans to do some serious bike touring.

If there is anyone with a legit claim to using the bike as a life saving, health enhancement it is me. However, I would not even think of trying to get a tax deduction for the purchase of my bike and frankly do not think much of someone that would. I use the roads, someone has to pay for them and I have the ability to do so.

I am frankly ashamed of our generation. Our parents and grandparents built the interstate highway system, put a whole generation through college on the GI Bill, funded NASA and all kinds of fundamental research that has led to new technologies and given rise to all kinds of businesses. Oh, and they also fought a world war on two fronts. They paid taxes to make all this happen and provide opportunities for us.

In the eighties it became politically fashionable to cut taxes and cut government. The result is that we have failed to pay forward the kind of tax funded common efforts to make our children's lives better the way our folks did for us. I am proud to have built my own business but I never forget that I got a major head start from those who went before me.

So for me this whole topic hit a real nerve. I don't need a tax deduction and would be ashamed to ask for one. I suspect most people who can afford to buy an ebike don't need a deduction either. I know I am in the minority, but I am proud to pay taxes. It means I have succeeded. It also means that I care about the kind of world that my children and grandchildren get to live in.

My apologies if some find this too political but discussion of tax breaks is just that...political.
I may be around your age or possibly even older. I am sorry that you had a major cardiac event and glad that you have survived it and are changing some of the lifestyle contributors that may have caused it. My parents, 88 and 90, are still living and in relatively good shape. I don't blame them for any of the bad stuff their generation passed on to us, and there was a lot of it. Yes, they did have a work ethic and that's good and it's sorely missing in millenials. Yes, some of them fought in wars that saved the world. But I digress.

The reality is that my/our parents' generation(s) gave us pay-as-you-go Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlements that can't be paid for now. Decades ago, Social Security started to pay out about 2 years before the average recipient croaked; that is no longer true because people are now living longer. The only reason it seemed to work back then was the demographic pyramid present at that time, with lots of young worker bees for every old fart. These same parents of ours procreated like rabbits, but unfortunately later generations including mine/yours did not. The result is that we now have a lot of old farts and not enough young productive people to pay for our senescence.

The current financial situation our society (US; but some others like Japan are even worse) has almost nothing to do with it becoming fashionable to cut taxes and government. That might account for 2% of our present predicament. The other 98% of the cause is that we have an inverted demographic pyramid with too many old people living off too few young people. If there is a reason to be ashamed, it is because people like us just didn't f*ck enough to produce enough young worker bees to support us in our old age.