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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    That is fair.

    I guess I wonder at the % of crashes that happen from careless passing. The only crashes I know of personally have been cars pulling out into lanes (without realizing a cyclist was coming) and head on turning in front of cyclists; these seem hat they would only be more likely (and more deadly) with higher speeds. But I agree that if the majority of accidents are caused by unsafe passing from behind and that riding 28mph would lower the chances of that happening around here then it is worth at least trying to determine if that made people net safer.

    The point above about encouraging cyclists to ride vehicularly is a good one, though. We do want to encourage that behavior. Lowering speed limits sounds like it is both achievable and the best way​ to make everyone safer.
    And to reiterate, I don't have anything against people riding class 3 ebikes on the streets. In fact, given what car drivers tend to do, I would not get upset if they ride at 28MPH in 25MPH zones (but watch for peds, pretty please!) What I have an issue with is the notion that it is SO important for beginner riders (!!!!) to ride faster than 20MPH on 25MPH roads, that we need to allow them on MUTs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    And to reiterate, I don't have anything against people riding class 3 ebikes on the streets. In fact, given what car drivers tend to do, I would not get upset if they ride at 28MPH in 25MPH zones (but watch for peds, pretty please!) What I have an issue with is the notion that it is SO important for beginner riders (!!!!) to ride faster than 20MPH on 25MPH roads, that we need to allow them on MUTs.
    That is also fair!

    I don't have a issue with it either, just as I don't have an issue with people riding motorcycles on the streets. I do think that we need to be careful about suggesting that this is making those bikes safer, though. We all agree motorcycles are hundreds of times more fatal than bicycles, after all.

    But, yes, the point is they (class-3 e-bikes) don't need to be allowed on the MUPs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    If you are on a class 3 ebike, you are doing 28MPH (well 25MPH if you are a PAL, since I guess these are all 25MPH streets) even uphills. How much time are you actually losing on a typical commute, versus say going 18MPH on the Custis? I acknowledge that banning class 3 ebikes will involve SOME inconvenience for a few people. But is it enough inconvience for enough people to warrant a general legalization of class 3 ebikes on trails?
    There's a lot of factual information missing in this thread, with a lot of misrepresentations about e-bikes in general, that is now morphing into specifying class 3 e-bikes. Nothing personal against you and I'm certainly not just trying to call you out in particular, but your post here was pretty pointed so I wanted to use it as an example.

    Class 3 e-bikes (if we follow CA's law and rules) CANNOT have a throttle. Period. Class 1 and 2 can. And that throttle (for class 2) can only assist up to 20mph and then it cuts out. For class 3, the motor can provide a pedal assist up to 28mph sure, but then it cuts out. I'll tell you right now, that road bikes are faster than class 3 e-bikes generally, not just because of weight, geometry, etc. but trying to pedal beyond that is like pedaling through sand. Furthermore, a 28mph max speed as advertised by manufacturers, is truly a MAX speed. I fell victim to thinking that I would be able to ride that fast when I bought mine, sure. The reality is that even now with 6 months of daily commuting, averaging 130-200 miles a week there's still no way I can average 28mph. If I'm going all out in the highest level of assistance (which I had to do maybe a month ago as my wife was in a fender bender and I had to get the kids from daycare unexpectedly that day), I was able to average 19-20mph. For comparison, on a non-assist bike, I can average ~13mph on that same route. I work on maintaining around 17mph for my average speed for my daily commute. I've been able to turn down the assistance level from 4 when I started to level 2 now and lost ~60 lbs since July.

    So this idea that everyone riding a class 3 e-bike is zooming around at 28mph all day long is just false. Maybe years from now when I'm a stronger rider and able to average 19-20mph unassisted I could average that speed on my e-bike, but then that'd be ok because I "earned that speed" right?

    And this is in no way meant to be an endorsement of unsafe riding on the trails. It doesn't matter if you're on an e-bike or a regular bike, unsafe riding is unsafe riding. I get passed by regular riders all the time. And I pass other riders all the time. Everybody rides their own race. However I do notice that I'm held to a different and much higher standard than regular bike riders. And I've had to learn to be ok with that. For some, if I pass you, I'm riding irresponsibly. In reality I think it has more to do with your ego than anything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NovaEbike View Post
    Class 3 e-bikes (if we follow CA's law and rules) CANNOT have a throttle. Period. Class 1 and 2 can. And that throttle (for class 2) can only assist up to 20mph and then it cuts out. For class 3, the motor can provide a pedal assist up to 28mph sure, but then it cuts out. I'll tell you right now, that road bikes are faster than class 3 e-bikes generally, not just because of weight, geometry, etc. but trying to pedal beyond that is like pedaling through sand.
    Minor correction: I believe class 1 cannot have a throttle, right?

    But the second point taht road bikes are faster than class-3 e-bikes generally seems wrong to me. If you are saying that a professional racer is faster than a class-3 e-bike, then perhaps. But being able to hold 28mph for miles on end without the benefit of drafting is not something that road cyclists can do. Or, at least, it's not something I can do. The fact that the KOM on W&OD between Hunter Mill and Vienna is held by an e-bike (and should be flagged, yes) is telling.


    Quote Originally Posted by NovaEbike View Post
    If I'm going all out in the highest level of assistance [...], I was able to average 19-20mph.
    Yeah, *averaging* 19-20mph on a commute of any distance, with stops etc. is not something that non-e-bikes can do. (Or at least would be an extremely select group.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by NovaEbike View Post
    In reality I think it has more to do with your ego than anything else.
    Dude. Glad you aren't calling me out. I am a 57YO, with a (minor) breathing issue, who rides around on a hybrid, and has only been riding regularly the last few years. I don't think I have broken 15MPH average speed on the segment of the MVT between 4MRT and the 14th street bridge, and that's not necessarily because I am slowed by pedestrians, or trying to keep to a speed limit (but one day I am going to get a really good tailwind, on a day I have dumped the heavy backpack, and I am gonna slay it !). I am passed regularly. I am passed a lot. I am totally cool with that.

    I am also a bike advocate. I am interested in the policy issues. I was only asking (in the text you quoted) about ebike speeds in the context of determining how much of an inconvenience it is to ask a a class 3 ebike rider to take a more circuitous street route is vs a trail (where the direct street route is very bike unfriendly) I have not ridden an ebike (other than about 30 seconds in a parking lot, several years ago - and look forward to riding a Jump bike to get a better idea of how these things work.) If you have a better idea of the time delay for someone living in North Arlington and taking a back street instead of the Custis, go for it!
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 11-15-2017 at 03:34 PM.

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    For the sake of my own personal pride, I hope the lady on the cargo bike that passed me this morning was rockin' the e-assist! And that's about all I have to say about e-bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Minor correction: I believe class 1 cannot have a throttle, right?
    Correct, under the California classification system Class 1 ebikes are true pedelecs, no throttle. Class 2 have a throttle and may or may not have pedal assist. Both Class 1 and 2 are max speed limited to 20mph. Class 3 are also pedelecs, no throttle, but max speed is limited to 28mph. However as @NovaEbike pointed out, the real world performance of an ebike is determined by how much energy the battery-controller-motor system is designed to transfer to the bicycle's drivetrain, and this varies considerably depending on battery voltage, quality of controller transistors, motor copper windings, location of motor in the wheel hub or in the bottom bracket, bicycle wheel size, etc.

    Any ebike that can generate peak power exceeding a state's defined motorized/power-assisted bicycle max power rating, that is not speed limited by the motor controller, that is capable of operating at speeds >30mph, regardless of whether or not it has a throttle or pedals, under most states motor vehicle codes is a motor vehicle the same as a moped or motorcycle subject to registration, insurance, and prohibited from riding on sidewalks, public trails, or bicycle infrastructure.

    The word ebike is currently used by riders of both legally restricted electric motorized bicycles and unrestricted electric motorized bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles. My understanding is this distinction was made so bicycle manufacturers could avoid needing to comply with NHTSA motorcycle safety standards - this rules out the legal use of most unrestricted electric motorized bicycles on street or public trails. High power ebikes may ride on private land with the owners permission and some hunters and off-road riders like to use them in place of ATV's, snowmobiles, beach buggies, or pit bikes. Some electric moped and motorcycle manufacturers like Zero comply with NHTSA rules so they can put a VIN number on the frame and the rider may register and insure their ebike for street legal use on the road.
    Last edited by Dewey; 11-16-2017 at 10:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Minor correction: I believe class 1 cannot have a throttle, right?

    But the second point taht road bikes are faster than class-3 e-bikes generally seems wrong to me. If you are saying that a professional racer is faster than a class-3 e-bike, then perhaps. But being able to hold 28mph for miles on end without the benefit of drafting is not something that road cyclists can do. Or, at least, it's not something I can do. The fact that the KOM on W&OD between Hunter Mill and Vienna is held by an e-bike (and should be flagged, yes) is telling.

    Yeah, *averaging* 19-20mph on a commute of any distance, with stops etc. is not something that non-e-bikes can do. (Or at least would be an extremely select group.)
    My point above is that beginner, casual, average, and even most above average riders can't maintain 28mph for miles on end either on an e-bike (as would be legal under CA's class system) and so it's disingenuous to claim that as fact and as a reason for advocating a policy against them. In fact, from what I've seen, it seems that there are really just 3 e-bike riders that people generally have a problem with: the solar e-bike guy, gear crusher, and full face moto helmet guy. And it seems that blanket positions are being taken on e-bikes based on those 3. I'll say that I've personally encountered more than 3 unassisted bike riders on my regular commute that regularly ride irresponsibly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    (Or at least would be an extremely select group.)
    I can't stand those guys!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NovaEbike View Post
    In fact, from what I've seen, it seems that there are really just 3 e-bike riders that people generally have a problem with: the solar e-bike guy, gear crusher, and full face moto helmet guy. And it seems that blanket positions are being taken on e-bikes based on those 3.
    Right, but eBikes are becoming more and more common and are looking to be the next big thing, so saying there are only three poor examples right now is only relevant to now, not to the future. That's why people are discussing what approaches to take toward policies for future trail use. For some of us, current regulations, in addition to being all over the place, appear to be trailing the technology and its likely proliferation.

    I have yet to see one good argument for allowing the more powerful eBikes on the trails (Class 3 or whatever they will be called.) One person's argument seems to boil down to "regular bikes can go fast, so why not allow everything on the trails, and more of them because more fast bikes on the trails makes everyone safer," which is frankly nonsense, and another argument seems to be that faster eBikes (however they're classified) really aren't all that fast, which seems to ignore the evidence to the contrary.

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