E-bikes - too restrictive?

Electrically assisted bikes, trikes, etc.

How restrictive should e-bike legislation be?

Not at all - if it has 2 wheels and hasn't got an internal combustion engine, then it's a cycle
A lot more lenient - somewhere between "More lenient" and "Not at all". Maybe allow 500W, or 25mph, for example.
More lenient - legislation should aim for an overall result roughly in line with an unassisted cyclist (in terms of weight/speed/power), but it doesn't matter whether or not the rider is pedaling
It's about right - legislation should aim for electric assist, but keeping the overall result roughly in line with an unassisted cyclist
Stricter - somewhere between "It's about right" and "Strict". Maybe require a higher level of human input, or reduced power limits.
No votes
Strict - if it's got a motor, then it's a moped and should be licensed as such
Total votes: 30

Posts: 413
Joined: 25 Jun 2016, 11:10am

Re: E-bikes - too restrictive?

Postby Ruadh495 » 15 Nov 2017, 1:09pm

rfryer wrote:
Ruadh495 wrote:Just a comment on the poll itself:

The two most popular responses appear to be almost identical. The current legislation is aimed at replicating (roughly) the performance of a reasonably fit cyclist and for many machines does allow power to be applied without pedaling (conversions and bikes first used before 2016).

Could we have an option for including the German/Dutch "S-class"? This would appear to be the extra class some people are asking for, a bit more power and speed but with some extra restrictions. The only reservation I would have is that S-class has compulsory helmets, which could be the thin end of a wedge.

It's probably a bit late for a change in the poll to give a meaningful result. In any case, what you're suggesting (although interesting) is orthogonal; adding another classification of vehicle, rather than exploring the boundaries of what we'll accept as a bike.

The similarity of the two most popular options was deliberate, intended to draw out whether people really cared about whether riders were drivers vs cyclists. And the pattern of responses was interesting; early responses during the day were strongly in favour of a relaxed interpretation, then in the evening the was a strong push for the status quo. I'm curious as to whether the early respondents were predominantly retired, and therefore more likely to be considering health issues that might make reduced restrictions on e-bikes more desirable.

The point I was trying to make there is that the status quo does allow drive without pedaling for many machines, due to the exceptions in the legislation. Though as the owner of a legal "throttle" e-bike, I can report that performance on electric alone is so lack-lustre that you'd only use it if you had to. I've done a mile or so on the motor a couple of times due to failures in the pedal drive train and it's very slow. Not quite bad enough that it's better to get off and push, but nearly.

Posts: 12578
Joined: 4 Jun 2008, 9:29pm
Location: Warrington

Re: E-bikes - too restrictive?

Postby kwackers » 15 Nov 2017, 1:27pm

Ruadh495 wrote:Personally I wouldn't want to see S-class permitted on the UK's dreadful shared use "cycle paths". S-class would be a useful commuting tool on the road, though.

I agree.

My ebike is borderline useful.
I did consider buying a small motorcycle but thought I'd try this first. I actually like it but it's not any faster than just using my bike (albeit I arrive a lot fresher), in fact its actually slower than my average times (but faster in adverse conditions).
If it was just a little faster it'd be a no brainer but at the moment it's an ongoing experiment.

I'll admit to turning off the speed limiter to see what difference it makes and the answer is a lot. Not in terms of absolute speed, but it makes 20mph a comfortable average shaving about 10 minutes off my 20 mile journey and that for me would swing it.
The idea that it suddenly needs SVA, tax, registration and yearly MOT for that is daft. I have no problems if it's not allowed on shared paths since I never use them anyway unless I'm travelling locally and then I'd simply use a different bike.