Why not speed limits?

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
MD what are the different regulations in the different Provinces? I'm aware of BC, but not the others.

Lots of good debate here. I don't think anyone has addressed the throttle issue the OP talked about. Does it matter how fast you can go with the throttle or by just pedaling? My Juiced CCS is a class 3 and the speed limit with the throttle is 32 km/hr (I never bother with the throttle though) and I can go well above 32 km/hr. if pedaling.

I'm not sure it matters, but wondering what others think.

I want my bicycle to ride like well a bicycle so that's why I'm not a fan of throttles.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
While speed limits are a valid form of regulation, enforcement is almost non existent. Most trails I ride already have posted speed limits which apply to all users both electric and conventional. The fact is, these laws already exist and are, for all practical purposes, ineffective. Most ebikes aren't ridden any faster than a fit person on a conventional bike so why does the speed of an ebike matter at all?

The 3 class system in it's present form, makes little sense. Laws are inconsistent and vary widely by location. The differentiation between a class 2 and 3 bike is very minor and virtually impossible to enforce without the existence of a class sticker. Many ebikes out there, including those with conversion kits, have no stickers. This is further complicated by the fact that there are companies which manufacture bikes and kits which blatantly violate these class regulations. The sad reason for this is, a significant percentage of riders WANT this type of "illegal" equipment and no law is going to prevent them from using it.

A more effective approach to ebike regulation will have to involve a combination of consistency, speed, equipment and yes, the riders themselves.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
One group of riding buddies who don't ride electric and are hard core roadies say that many newbies on ebikes don't have a ton of riding experience. They say allowing these newbies to go fast without having thousands of km's under their belts and not having learned how to handle a bike at speed can be dangerous. I kind of see where they're coming from.

They don't seem to have an issue with me traveling fast on an ebike because they know I've ridden tens of thousands of km's with them and feel comfortable that I know how to control the bike at speed.

As for ebikes traveling the same speed as an unpowered bike. Well typically those unpowered bikes weigh less than 20 lbs. and many ebikes weigh over 60 lbs. so that can be a big difference in force if it hits something. That combined with a perceived lesser degree of control concerns some.

Of course you can find inconsistencies in the argument though. A DH MTB can be traveling pretty fast but then again there's unlikely to be pedestrians there.

No easy answers. A complex situation with lots of variables.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
The bicycle class system makes as much sense as allowing cars on different roads depending on how many cylinders their engines have. This road is for four cylinder cars and this one is for cars with V8s. Now what do you do with a four banger with dual overhead cam and a turbo that puts out the same horsepower as a naturally aspirated V8? And how can one tell what is under the hood while the car is in motion?

Speed is measurable regardless. Just set the safe speed for the road and all its users and enforce that. If I am walking on a mixed use path and get hit by someone on a bike, I really don't care what kind of bike it is, electric or acoustic, class one or class three. It is the most enforceable solution as evidenced by its universal adoption on roads around the globe.

The bicycle class system is useless and silly.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
The bicycle class system makes as much sense as allowing cars on different roads depending on how many cylinders their engines have. This road is for four cylinder cars and this one is for cars with V8s. Now what do you do with a four banger with dual overhead cam and a turbo that puts out the same horsepower as a naturally aspirated V8? And how can one tell what is under the hood while the car is in motion?

Speed is measurable regardless. Just set the safe speed for the road and all its users and enforce that. If I am walking on a mixed use path and get hit by someone on a bike, I really don't care what kind of bike it is, electric or acoustic, class one or class three. It is the most enforceable solution as evidenced by its universal adoption on roads around the globe.

The bicycle class system is useless and silly.
I have thought this also. This is a case of over- functioning ,over-reaching legislators. My car goes faster than I am allowed to drive it, but my bike does not? Imagine the backlash if they tried to make a law placing governers on peoples cars. Here is a thought. Yesterday we were passed by several fit young road cyclists even though we have de-limited our bikes and were riding about 35kmh. They were speeding without motors and governers. Perhaps the legislators should draft laws to restrict their leg muscles? As absurd as that seems ,it would be an equivalent measure.
 
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6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
My car goes faster than I am allowed to drive it, but my bike does not? Imagine the backlash if they tried to make a law placing governers on peoples cars.
This is very true but ebikers don't have this "safety in numbers" protection. Right now we are easy targets for uninformed legislators. Hopefully, our numbers will grow substantially to become a significant block of voters before these regulations crush the sport.
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
[...] However harsh the regulations are, these make sense. Only the EU 25 km/h limit for Class 1 seems to be too severe. At a few locations here where bigger number of citizens own e-bikes, they de-restrict their e-bikes en masse. They would swallow the 32 km/h limit.
I think a big advantage of selling 45 km/h bikes is that it gives a legal speed bike option, and I think that reduces the number of people who would choose to derestrict, as you say. And I've read other comments from people who are happy moving their bike from 25 to 32 km/h. Agreed that 25 km/h is just crawling along. Fine for touring maybe, but not for other forms of recreational riding, and definitely unappealing for commuting (IMO). I prefer setting it to 38 km/h for commuting. I wish all bikes could be set to whatever speed you wish, and for each PAS level independently, so long as you don't exceed the maximum speed.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
The reason for not giving speed limits more teeth is all about money. NOBODY wants to be responsible for, OR pay for the enforcement necessary to make the limits work/worth anything.....
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I prefer setting it to 38 km/h for commuting.
Reasonable. That's the speed you can achieve and maintain on a Class 3 e-bike. Now, a 250 W nominal Class 3 e-bike has a big trouble to go beyond 38 km/h. The 45 km/h limit is only to be achieved and maintained with a powerful motor. Not sure about Class 3 but the EU L1e-B allows up to 4 kW. I haven't seen such a bike on sale in Europe. Some Yamaha driven e-bike had 500 W.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
If all ebikes were restricted to 38 to 40 km/hr. I'd be fine with that. I wouldn't buy a bike restricted to 25 km/hr, I can live with 32 km/hr, but would lean toward derestricting, but maybe not with the Creo. Don't think I need to.

If a bike came with a 40 km/hr. speed limit I wouldn't bother trying to derestrict, no point in my mind.

MD thanks for the link.
 

retire01022004

New Member
I introduced this topic and am amazed at the many thoughtful comments. I believe that safety for the rider and general public are the ultimate objective.
Speed is a major factor to safe operation - just like for autos. So classes, watts and throttles are irrelevant. Setting and enforcing maximum speed limits is key. But limits only partially addresses safe operation. For example, safely passing walkers may require a far lower speed than the posted limit. So how to legislate, regulate and enforce 'safe operation'?
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
So many people ride with GPS these days. Maybe they could require that all electric bikes have built in GPS and the data gets transmitted and that would tell if someone was speeding. You could even have different speed limits for different roads/paths. Of course the problem with that is why limit it to electric bikes, why not all bikes? Why not cars? The technology is there to make it possible but lots of practical problems.

I'm not saying it would work, just an idea since you threw out the question.

Given the points raised it sounds like enforcing speed limits would be the way to go, and probably not practical to have police roaming around trying to catch speeding cyclists. Hence my suggestion, but I know it is fraught with problems as well. If there was a simple and easy solution, it probably would have been implemented by now.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I introduced this topic and am amazed at the many thoughtful comments. I believe that safety for the rider and general public are the ultimate objective.
Speed is a major factor to safe operation - just like for autos. So classes, watts and throttles are irrelevant. Setting and enforcing maximum speed limits is key. But limits only partially addresses safe operation. For example, safely passing walkers may require a far lower speed than the posted limit. So how to legislate, regulate and enforce 'safe operation'?
There's just one answer. Figure out where the money to do that would come from.
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
GPS tracking = “Big Brother watching” , you can’t even coast down a hill then without worry. I won’t say I even have a suggestion but currently I ride where I want but have to keep “looking over my shoulder“ for the one time I may get stopped for being class 3 or being an ebike at all. Where I am, not much chance but annoying to even think about . i am not a bad rider although not perfect.

Stickers on a bike I would think easy to defeat in this time of technology so this would be hard to enforce.

speed limits enforced as autos work for me but I don’t think practical for enforcement

why some manufactures will only make compliant bikes and others don’t doesn’t seem correct either to me.

it also doesn’t seem correct to create legislation for all when likely a few who need it...I don’t have the answer
 

Handlebars

Active Member
I've set the highest level to a max of 60 km/h for use on highways. So I change assist modes depending on where I am, to meet legal obligations and to have sensible maximums.

But I remain convinced that if e-bikes were regulated less, that cyclists would be regulated more (licence, registration, insurance). So I'm content with the status quo.
Where in Canada can you have a 60km/hr highway ride legally? 500W motor, 32 km/hr. Some provinces require the rider be licensed, or example if it can go with motor only no pedalling.
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
Where in Canada can you have a 60km/hr highway ride legally? 500W motor, 32 km/hr. Some provinces require the rider be licensed, or example if it can go with motor only no pedalling.
In BC, the rule (as stated by ICBC) is that you can't be power assisted above 32 km/h *without pedalling*. But if you don't have a throttle, you *are* pedalling. So it's a grey area where it's appears to be neither explicitly allowed nor strictly forbidden.

In practical terms, multiple police officers in southern Vancouver Island have told me that if it looks like a bicycle, it has pedals, you're wearing a helmet, and you're going at a speed that makes sense for the surface that you're riding on and not making a nuisance of yourself, that they're fine with it.
 

Handlebars

Active Member
What does Transport Canada consider a power assisted-bicycle?
We consider a power assisted bicycle to be an electric bicycle propelled by either a combination of muscular power and a motor, or by the motor alone. Section 2(1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR) describes a power assisted bicycle as follows:


  1. (a) has steering handlebars and is equipped with pedals,
  2. (b) is designed to travel on not more than three wheels touching with the ground,
  3. (c) is capable of being propelled by muscular power,
  4. (d) has one or more electric motors which have, singly or in combination, the following characteristics:
    1. (i) it has a total continuous power output rating, measured at the shaft of each motor, of 500 W or less,
    2. (ii) if it is engaged by the use of muscular power, power assistance immediately ceases when the muscular power ceases,
    3. (iii) if it is engaged by the use of an accelerator controller, power assistance immediately ceases when the brakes are applied, and
    4. (iv) it is incapable of providing further assistance when the bicycle attains a speed of 32 km/h on level ground,
  5. (e) bears a label that is permanently affixed by the manufacturer and appears in a conspicuous location stating, in both official languages, that the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle as defined in this section, and
  6. (f) has one of the following safety features:
    1. (i) an enabling mechanism to turn the electric motor on and off that is separate from the accelerator controller and fitted in such a manner that it is operable by the driver, or
    2. (ii) a mechanism that prevents the motor from being engaged before the bicycle attains a speed of 3 km/h.
it is incapable of providing further assistance when the bicycle attains a speed of 32 km/h on level ground
 

Handlebars

Active Member
Now they say the speed limit on many main roads in Toronto is going to be reduced from 50 to 40km/hr. Kind of levels the playing field a bit.
 

Slowpoke

Member
Prior to 1/1/2018 ebikes in Michigan were regulated under the same rules/laws of mopeds,and motorcycles.So it took another new law to get us out of that set of rules.We now have the the Class 1,2,3 system.I don't like all the regulations but we are a little better than what it was.Hopefully there won't be any additional laws.For 2019 I rode 2300 miles with 90% on bike trails and did not see any trail police,and did not see any ebikers flying down the trails at high speeds.I think most of us are pretty responsible when we are out on the trails.I always slow to a crawl when passing walkers,kids,pets.