Trivial brake law question.

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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meic
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Trivial brake law question.

Postby meic » 28 Nov 2014, 1:11pm

I was chatting to a Velomobile rider about the back brakes on an ICE trike that we were looking at.

The Velomobile rider said that his Velomobile didnt have a back brake as it was ineffective with the weight distribution. I queried this as bikes are required to have 2 (I thought independent) brakes, he pointed out it was a trike so it still had two wheels braking, which satisfied me enough for the time.

I have since had an email from him including this un-sourced bit of information.

“ If the highest part of the 'seating area' of a bicycle or tricycle cannot be raised above 635mm from the road surface, the minimum requirement falls to just one efficient braking system.”


I have been corrected a few times on this forum for spreading mis-information about the law of the land, does this quote come from our statute books or elsewhere?

The rider also thinks that this means the Velo would still be legal with just one front wheel being braked!
Yma o Hyd

Brucey
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Brucey » 28 Nov 2014, 1:19pm

this page

http://www.ctc.org.uk/cyclists-library/regulations/construction-use

supports that view and has links to the full regulations.

cheers
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Bicycler
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Bicycler » 28 Nov 2014, 2:17pm

From that article
CJ wrote:If the highest part of the 'seating area' of a bicycle or tricycle cannot be raised above 635mm from the road surface, the minimum requirement falls to just one efficient braking system. This is clearly intended for (very) small children's cycles, but inadvertently lets most recumbents under the bar!

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Tigerbiten » 28 Nov 2014, 3:25pm

It actually takes a very low recumbent to get the top of the seat under that height.
My ICE Sprint is around 640 mm high at the top of the seat, but I've a hardshell seat fixed at it's lowest setting.
Any Sprint with the normal mesh seat will be taller.
I've seen a few velomobiles which are around the height of/ lower than my Sprint but nothing else.

Due to my disability both my front brakes are worked off a single lever, so I do have a back brake.
But it's mainly used as a parking brake, rarely as a drag brake and only a couple of time as a main brake when the front brakes failed/froze.
If you use it as a main brake you need at least five times the stopping distance of the front bakes ......... :D

Brucey
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Brucey » 28 Nov 2014, 3:45pm

I suppose it depends where the 'seating area' ends and the backrest begins, doesn't it?

cheers
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Tigerbiten
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Tigerbiten » 28 Nov 2014, 4:07pm

I would argue that .........
If you can can take the seat off without removing the backrest then you can measure from the top of the seat.
If the backrest come off with the seat then it's one unit and you measure from the top of the backrest.
But without it going to court and getting a legal definition of "the top of a seat on a recumbent", it's a bit 50-50 as to where the top of the seat is ...... :P

Brucey
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Brucey » 28 Nov 2014, 4:46pm

maybe... but then again a car seat comprises a backrest and a seat squab even if the frame is welded up and the covers are on for good.

Also I am in no doubt about where the seat of my pants is, and that it doesn't include the rest of my trousers.

I'd suggest that whilst there is room for debate (which I'm sure is why CJ used the description 'seating area' in his synopsis) I'd also suggest that the 'seating area' is where you site your er, seat, not where you rest your back.

cheers
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Grandad
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Grandad » 28 Nov 2014, 7:06pm

I always had 2 front brakes on my upright trikes as I understood that this arrangement was a legally accepted alternative to having any form of rear wheel braking.

Does this also apply to all recumbent trikes?

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Tigerbiten » 28 Nov 2014, 7:28pm

Tadpoles tend to have each front wheel independently braked, hence not legally needing a back brake as it's a third brake.
If one hand works both front brakes, then the other will work a back brake.

Not sure on delta's as I've only seen one Kettwiesel. Pictures show twin brakes on the back wheels and the odd one with a front brake. But their CoG is a lot further back than on a tadpole so the back wheels are more heavily loaded.

Elizabethsdad
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Elizabethsdad » 28 Nov 2014, 8:16pm

Rear brake on a tadpole not much use except as a parking brake such as I had on my Trice Explorer. On a few occasions when I was braking heavily at speed the rear wheel would lift off the ground so rear braking wouldn't have helped much then. The front brakes were independent which could be useful for cornering at speed - if the inside wheel was still on the ground.

drossall
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby drossall » 28 Nov 2014, 9:51pm

Grandad wrote:I always had 2 front brakes on my upright trikes as I understood that this arrangement was a legally accepted alternative to having any form of rear wheel braking.

Does this also apply to all recumbent trikes?

Two independently-operated brakes are allowed on the same front wheel on standard trikes. It's covered in the article linked above.

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby Tigerbiten » 28 Nov 2014, 10:36pm

I'm not too sure that independent brakes on the front wheels of a tadpole trike are legal ...... :(
And if they are I think you still need a back brake ...... :cry:

From the CTC page on brakes.........
The basic requirement is for two efficient braking systems, by which the front wheel (or wheels) can be braked independently of the rear wheel (or wheels). This means that if there are two wheels at the front and/or the rear, the relevant system must act on the pair.


So it sounds to be legal you need for front wheels braked off a single lever and have a back brake.

Mind you, recumbents aren't legal at night, so you may as well be illegal durring the day as well ........... :lol:

beardy
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby beardy » 28 Nov 2014, 11:00pm

It may be that you need to have a "bobby dodger" brake fitted to work both front wheels simultaneously (possibly doubling as a hand brake) in addition to the useful separate brakes.

My experience of tractors and sidecars makes me think that separate brakes are highly desirable for steering purposes. Tractors did have a link between the two pedals that allowed you to lock them together giving dual wheel braking if needed, however most of the tractors I remember driving had the brakes so poorly balanced that that system was positively dangerous to use.

pete75
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby pete75 » 29 Nov 2014, 6:57am

beardy wrote:Tractors did have a link between the two pedals that allowed you to lock them together giving dual wheel braking if needed, however most of the tractors I remember driving had the brakes so poorly balanced that that system was positively dangerous to use.


What were they - Ford Dexters, Majors and the like? The brakes on modern tractors are a lot more sophisticated.....

drossall
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Re: Trivial brake law question.

Postby drossall » 29 Nov 2014, 8:24am

...but not necessarily on modern trikes, which is, I believe, the reason for the exemption allowing a conventional delta trike to have two (independently operated) brakes, acting on the same (front) wheel. Also, of course, a trike has more weight at the back, and going over the bars is improbable, even on an upwrong.