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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #391
    americancyclo's Avatar
    americancyclo is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    Mopeds have pedals and are motor-assisted (motorized). If it has pedals and can go faster than 20mph without pedaling, regardless of motor type (electric or internal combustion), it's a moped.* If it can't go over 20 without pedaling, it's a "low-speed e-bike."* If it doesn't have pedals, it's a scooter or motorcycle.

    For all intents and purposes, e-bikes are not considered to have "motors" in the legal sense, as far as I can tell.

    My understanding:

    motorcycle = motorized
    scooter = motorized
    moped = motorized
    e-bike = not motorized


    *at least this is how I read the regs
    Here's the VA Code for those playing along at home:

    "Electric power-assisted bicycle" means a vehicle that travels on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground and is equipped with
    (i) pedals that allow propulsion by human power and
    (ii) an electric motor with an input of no more than 1,000 watts that reduces the pedal effort required of the rider.


    For the purposes of Chapter 8 ( 46.2-800 et seq.), an electric power-assisted bicycle shall be a vehicle when operated on a highway.


    "Moped" means every vehicle that travels on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground that
    (i) has a seat that is no less than 24 inches in height, measured from the middle of the seat perpendicular to the ground;
    (ii) has a gasoline, electric, or hybrid motor that
    (a) displaces 50 cubic centimeters or less or
    (b) has an input of 1500 watts or less;
    (iii) is power-driven, with or without pedals that allow propulsion by human power; and
    (iv) is not operated at speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour.


    For purposes of this title, a moped shall be a motorcycle when operated at speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour.
    For purposes of Chapter 8 ( 46.2-800 et seq.), a moped shall be a vehicle while operated on a highway

  2. #392
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    A word to the wise though. If I ride the WOD at 9:30 and hit a pedestrian (I ride particularly slowly and carefully at those hours) the ped is also unlawfully on the trail. I assume thats a wash in a civil suit. If I ride an ebike on the MVT and hit a ped, well .....
    Regarding protection from civil suits, when I was investigating insurance for 3rd party liability I spoke with my auto insurer and two independent Virginia insurance agents: no household, rental, umbrella, or motorcycle insurer would agree to cover an ebike, the only insurer I could find that would issue a liability policy in Virginia is Markel/Velosurance who cover ebikes that meet the CPSC & California Class 1 & 2 definition (<750w, <20mph). I'm not a lawyer so have only a hazy understanding of concepts such as contributory negligence and rebuttable presumption of guilt but it would be helpful if regulations on those trails where ebikes are in a grey area but implicitly permitted to ride (your post #343) were changed to explicitly permit ebikes that meet the Virginia definition of an electric power assisted bicycle.

    Thank you for accepting the need for a safe, legal, Potomac crossing for ebikes, I am dismayed DC DDOT/NPS continue to resist reasonable requests to improve bridge bicycle/ebike infrastructure, this is important for Virginia cyclists commuting into DC.
    Last edited by Dewey; 08-09-2017 at 02:36 PM.

  3. #393
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    Quote Originally Posted by americancyclo View Post
    Here's the VA Code for those playing along at home:

    "Electric power-assisted bicycle" means a vehicle that travels on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground and is equipped with
    (i) pedals that allow propulsion by human power and
    (ii) an electric motor with an input of no more than 1,000 watts that reduces the pedal effort required of the rider.


    For the purposes of Chapter 8 ( 46.2-800 et seq.), an electric power-assisted bicycle shall be a vehicle when operated on a highway.


    "Moped" means every vehicle that travels on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground that
    (i) has a seat that is no less than 24 inches in height, measured from the middle of the seat perpendicular to the ground;
    (ii) has a gasoline, electric, or hybrid motor that
    (a) displaces 50 cubic centimeters or less or
    (b) has an input of 1500 watts or less;
    (iii) is power-driven, with or without pedals that allow propulsion by human power; and
    (iv) is not operated at speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour.


    For purposes of this title, a moped shall be a motorcycle when operated at speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour.
    For purposes of Chapter 8 ( 46.2-800 et seq.), a moped shall be a vehicle while operated on a highway
    And here's a link to the handy chart DC put together regarding its laws:

    https://dmv.dc.gov/sites/default/fil...le%20chart.pdf

  4. #394
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    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    And here's a link to the handy chart DC put together regarding its laws:

    https://dmv.dc.gov/sites/default/fil...le%20chart.pdf
    Except this fact-sheet mis-interprets 18 DCMR 1201.18 by claiming motorized bicycles are not permitted in DC "bike lanes" when that rule applies to "off-street" sidewalk, bikepath, or bicycle routes. Rule 18 DCMR 1201.19 states "a motorized bicycle may be operated on any part of a roadway designated for the use of bicycles" therefore ebikes that meet the CPSC & California Class 1 & 2 ebike definition (<20mph) are allowed in DC on-street bike lanes and PBL's as they are in Virginia and Maryland.
    Last edited by Dewey; 08-09-2017 at 02:25 PM.

  5. #395
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    Except this fact-sheet mis-interprets 18 DCMR 1201.18 by claiming motorized bicycles are not permitted in DC "bike lanes" when that rule applies to "off-street" sidewalk, bikepath, or bicycle routes. Rule 18 DCMR 1201.19 states "a motorized bicycle may be operated on any part of a roadway designated for the use of bicycles" therefore ebikes that meet the CPSC & California Class 1 & 2 ebike definition (<20mph) are allowed in DC on-street bike lanes and PBL's as they are in Virginia and Maryland.
    I don't know if it's accurate to call it a misinterpretation or just a different interpretation, given how clearly some things are (or aren't) defined. The fact sheet I linked to was created by DDOT shortly after the Motorized Bicycle Amendment Act of 2012 took effect, so regardless of any discrepancies (and I don't profess to be an expert), I do think it's useful to know how an official government body is interpreting the rules.

    Digging into the rules a bit more: Per 18.-9900 (the definitions section for Rule 18), a roadway is defined as "that portion of a highway which is improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel." So while one could consider a bike lane part of the roadway designated for the use of bicycles (so falls under the "restricted lane" definition in the same section) and therefore motorized bicycles are allowed, let me suggest an alternative line of thought.

    Elsewhere in the definitions, a bicycle is defined as a "device" whereas anything with a motor (even if not in use) makes it a "vehicle." In other words, under this interpretation, a "bicycle" lane, since it's meant for bicycles which are not "vehicles" but "devices", is not part of the roadway since it's not designed for vehicular travel, and therefore the allowance given to motorized bicycles under 1201.19 does not apply. This train of thought could be seen as consistent with the WABA pocket guide interpretation regarding the legality (not the intelligence) of using a cell phone while cycling where, because bicycles are not vehicles, the DC law banning the use of a cell phone when operating a vehicle doesn't apply. Not saying that's correct (and other aspects of the DC rules and the master plan suggest otherwise), but it could be.

    (All that being said, I'm not sure what the point of all of this was other than to avoid work or the dishes. But it was a fun thought exercise.)
    Last edited by LhasaCM; 08-09-2017 at 10:19 PM. Reason: added one parenthetical before the "but it could be"

  6. #396
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    Thank you for accepting the need for a safe, legal, Potomac crossing for ebikes, I am dismayed DC DDOT/NPS continue to resist reasonable requests to improve bridge bicycle/ebike infrastructure, this is important for Virginia cyclists commuting into DC.
    I think it's equally important for DC cyclists traveling into Virginia. FWIW, the DC Bicycle Master Plan (Rule 10-A409) does pay lip service to improving bridge access to bicyclists.

  7. #397
    Steve O's Avatar
    Steve O is offline 5000+ Posts? The first step to beating addiction is admitting you have one.
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    We are getting tantalizingly close to 400 comments on this thread.

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    I saw an ad for the Faraday e-bike on the Washington Post website this morning and, because of this thread, thought that I'd check it out. Two things jumped out to me in the marketing of what appears to be a regular e-bike (emphasis added):

    "Everybody knows electric bikes can climb hills with ease. The lesser known secret? On flat ground – they FLY. So while an electric bike can save you money, the biggest thing it can save is your most precious resource … your time."

    "Your Faraday keeps you safer with an upright riding posture that gives you a clear view of the road, fast acceleration, and a 20 mph cruising speed that lets you stay with the flow of traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    "Everybody knows electric bikes can climb hills with ease. The lesser known secret? On flat ground they FLY. So while an electric bike can save you money, the biggest thing it can save is your most precious resource your time."
    We might all come at this issue with different opinions and agendas. However, I am confident that we can unite in agreement that using pedal assist on flat ground on the trail is laaaaame af.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subby View Post
    We might all come at this issue with different opinions and agendas. However, I am confident that we can unite in agreement that using pedal assist on flat ground on the trail is laaaaame af.
    I don't think that you'd get agreement on that from the e-bike community based on what I've read here and seen on the trails.

    P.S. Post #400 FTW!

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