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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #1181
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    Quote Originally Posted by n18 View Post
    Here is what I suggest for E-Bikes: All E-Bikes should have two modes:

    1 - Road mode: No speed limit.
    2 - Trail mode: Full power(Up to 10 MPH, for hills), 200 Watts limit between 10 and 15 MPH, perhaps gradually reducing power, then cut off after that, but the rider can still peddle.

    The numbers above are just suggestions, I don't ride an E-Bike, so I don't know if these are reasonable.

    How counties can enforce them:

    1 - Require E-Bike manufacturers to include GPS, and county rules are uploaded to it and applied automatically.
    2 - No GPS, but counties put RFID chips at trail heads, and E-Bikes read the rules and apply them automatically.

    Finally, it doesn't make sense to me to outlaw E-Bikes altogether, 10 MPH is fine, or even 7 to 8 MPH in some cases.
    I've been commuting 16 mi/day on an e-bike for 8 months now, and so have some opinions. It seems reasonable to me that mandating a power cut off at 20mph and max 1000W (1 hp) for e-bikes on trails/MUPs (i.e., only "Class 3" e-bikes allowed) would solve the issue nicely.

    In practice, a 20mph cut-off for power assist does not mean that you can ride the throttle to cruise all over the place at 20 mph. A consumer e-bike is heavier than a normal bicycle to account for greater wear and tear, so even a powerful 1000W motor just doesn't let you scoot around at max speed. Average speed is more like 17-18mph - you pass cyclists up hills but they commonly pass you on the downhill and flats.

    Slap a 20mph speed limit on the trails and you've got a feasible regulatory scheme.

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  3. #1182
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    Quote Originally Posted by buschwacker View Post
    I've been commuting 16 mi/day on an e-bike for 8 months now, and so have some opinions. It seems reasonable to me that mandating a power cut off at 20mph and max 1000W (1 hp) for e-bikes on trails/MUPs (i.e., only "Class 3" e-bikes allowed) would solve the issue nicely.
    Small point, but I think you mean "Class 1 & 2 e-bikes allowed". As I understand it, (CA) Class 3 can go up to 28mph assisted.

    It seems obvious -- or at least I'm hopeful -- that this is where we'll end up -- i.e. with regulations that match the direction the other states of the USA are taking. I think it'd be just great. It might suck a little for the people that bought class-3 e-bikes with intent to use them on the MUPs, but that's a pretty high-class problem. I'm fairly confident that those riders don't care what the regulations say anyway; likely as not they're already disregarding "no-ebikes" regulations if they're riding into the city.

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  5. #1183
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    Quote Originally Posted by n18 View Post
    Here is what I suggest for E-Bikes: All E-Bikes should have two modes:

    1 - Road mode: No speed limit.
    2 - Trail mode: Full power(Up to 10 MPH, for hills), 200 Watts limit between 10 and 15 MPH, perhaps gradually reducing power, then cut off after that, but the rider can still peddle.

    The numbers above are just suggestions, I don't ride an E-Bike, so I don't know if these are reasonable.

    How counties can enforce them:

    1 - Require E-Bike manufacturers to include GPS, and county rules are uploaded to it and applied automatically.
    2 - No GPS, but counties put RFID chips at trail heads, and E-Bikes read the rules and apply them automatically.

    Finally, it doesn't make sense to me to outlaw E-Bikes altogether, 10 MPH is fine, or even 7 to 8 MPH in some cases.
    Just to pile on: I've never seen GPS be precise enough to distinguish between, e.g. the Custis Trail in Rosslyn and Lee Hwy. Having the motor suddenly cap at 10pm while on Lee Hwy beside the Custis Trail would be a bad thing. It would have the effect of encouraging ebike users to use the Trail instead of the street, which is the opposite of what we want (if riders are willing to use the street, they should, so the trail has more capacity).

    Also, 200W is ridiculously low. Personally, I'd leave everything on the speed limit, and allow the fact that it's expensive and eats battery to have more power. But, if you're hauling a lot of weight, you need that power just to get up the hills. If we want families with kids to bike more, we need ebikes with more power. If we want a future where more deliveries are made by bike, we need ebikes with more power.

    Also, have you ever biked 7-8 mph. That's the speed we go on Kidical Mass rides (rides with kids on their own bikes). It's difficult for many adults to ride that slowly and stay upright -- ask those here who have ridden with us. Any speed limit under 15mph is laughable imo.

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  7. #1184
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post

    Also, have you ever biked 7-8 mph. That's the speed we go on Kidical Mass rides (rides with kids on their own bikes). It's difficult for many adults to ride that slowly and stay upright -- ask those here who have ridden with us. Any speed limit under 15mph is laughable imo.
    I marshaled with a Kidical Mass ride recently and confirm that it is very difficult to ride at kidical speeds.

    I also ride dockless scooters occasionally and at 215 pounds they slow down to walking speed on slight hills. If I had a cargo bike with some kiddos in it or a couple of bags of cat litter Id want more than 200 watts to assist.

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  9. #1185
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    Well I've finally found a bike skill I am elite at - I can ride at, I guess, 3MPH (maybe its 4MPH?) without falling down - I know this from times where I have used a sidewalk to get a around a bikeability gap, and have found myself behind a ped with no room to pass politely (yes, I know it usually makes more sense to dismount at that point, but not always) This is on a hybrid, not a CaBi. I guess I can do that on a CaBi as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    I am not a big fan of trying to regulate these to death. One outcome is that jurisdictions then relieve the pressure to create transportation systems that move us away from being so auto-centric. The more people using scooters and e-bikes and electric unicycles the better, IMO. The more restrictions we place, then the fewer people will use them.
    Agreed that many of our MUPs and other bike infrastructure are not made for these, and there's not enough of it. But instead of trying to <metaphor fail> squeeze the genie to fit inside the existing bottle, we should make more bottles...or make it bigger...or make a barrel </metaphor fail>.
    Unfortunately, without restrictions, we get jerks who would abuse the trails, and then more calls to restrict them. In other states, they came up with no E-Bikes signs, and trust me, they are not pretty to look at. It disadvantage people with health issues and seniors. See this Google mages link.

    My goal for Trail mode is to mimic average cyclist speed(not the fastest cyclist), including slowing to around 10 MPH when going uphill. I prefer the terms Road/Trail modes over California number classification because a potential buyer would ask "What is road mode?", or "Why there are road and trail modes?", which leads to educating the buyer about safer E-Bike practices.

    We could further divide Road/Trail modes to something like Road Mode 1, 2, etc, and the same for Trail Mode. Trail mode could be divided into full mode(No pedaling, for those who wear work clothes and want to arrive without breaking a sweat, but still mimic average cyclist speed), and Fitness mode(Like in the way back home, when they don't care if they sweat a little).

    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Just to pile on: I've never seen GPS be precise enough to distinguish between, e.g. the Custis Trail in Rosslyn and Lee Hwy. Having the motor suddenly cap at 10pm while on Lee Hwy beside the Custis Trail would be a bad thing. It would have the effect of encouraging ebike users to use the Trail instead of the street, which is the opposite of what we want (if riders are willing to use the street, they should, so the trail has more capacity).

    Also, 200W is ridiculously low. Personally, I'd leave everything on the speed limit, and allow the fact that it's expensive and eats battery to have more power. But, if you're hauling a lot of weight, you need that power just to get up the hills. If we want families with kids to bike more, we need ebikes with more power. If we want a future where more deliveries are made by bike, we need ebikes with more power.

    Also, have you ever biked 7-8 mph. That's the speed we go on Kidical Mass rides (rides with kids on their own bikes). It's difficult for many adults to ride that slowly and stay upright -- ask those here who have ridden with us. Any speed limit under 15mph is laughable imo.
    The number of Watts is just a suggestion, and also there should be no sudden speed limits. Maybe after a 30 seconds delay the new limit takes effect. As you have noted, GPS is not precise enough when a road is next to a trail. I suppose that instead of GPS/RFID that E-Bikes could have two buttons(Road/Trail), so the user presses one depending on the situation, but there is nothing stopping jerks from using Road mode always.

  12. #1187
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Well I've finally found a bike skill I am elite at - I can ride at, I guess, 3MPH (maybe its 4MPH?) without falling down - I know this from times where I have used a sidewalk to get a around a bikeability gap, and have found myself behind a ped with no room to pass politely (yes, I know it usually makes more sense to dismount at that point, but not always) This is on a hybrid, not a CaBi. I guess I can do that on a CaBi as well.
    Elite bike skill needs the Elite button.

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  14. #1188
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Well I've finally found a bike skill I am elite at - I can ride at, I guess, 3MPH (maybe its 4MPH?) without falling down
    Sounds like the beginnings of a Pointless Prize - longest ride under 4 MPH. Sure, vicegrip and dismal can put in double centuries, but can they do that at Kidical speeds?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    "how would you like me to commute from DC to Virginia on my e-bike and NOT violate the law?" I can either a)take the lane on Key Bridge, then take the lane out on Lee Hwy and add like 7 miles to my commute, or b)ride out Canal Road and take the lane on Chain Bridge. Yeah, sorry no.
    I agree, it’s inequitous, but now the local governments provide ebikeshare as a transportation utility (the fleet of CaBi+ Class 1 Pedelecs) it should support arguments for changing the various anti ebike laws and municipal regulations.
    Last edited by Dewey; 12-03-2018 at 07:43 AM.

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  18. #1190
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Well I've finally found a bike skill I am elite at - I can ride at, I guess, 3MPH (maybe its 4MPH?) without falling down
    You and me both. My Garmin watch buzzes me with autopause whenever I get down to 2 mph, which makes me laugh out loud when I'm toiling up 41st street and actually too out of breath to laugh out loud.

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