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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #1291
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    HB543 & SB871 introduce the BPSA/PfB 3-class model ebike legislation for consideration in 2020 by the Virginia general assembly.
    This would change several aspects of operating an ebike in the state of Virginia including:
    - introduce the 3 Class ebike definitions & labeling
    - reduce permitted peak power from 1,000w to 750w
    - increase top speed, where permitted, from 25mph to 28mph (Class 3 only)
    - permit ebikes to ride on bicycle and shared-use paths, while reserving the right for localities and state agencies to restrict or ban ebikes
    - mandatory helmet wearing while riding a Class 3 ebike

    Another bill SB659 would change the contributory negligence legal standard in auto collisions with bicycles, pedestrians, ebikes and other vulnerable road users. If adopted this would provide similar legal protections with regard to making claims against drivers insurers that cyclists in DC won under the 2016 Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act

    And SB437 would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor for a careless or distracted driver to inflict injury on pedestrians and cyclists (including ebikes) legally on the highway
    Last edited by Dewey; 01-17-2020 at 11:29 PM.

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  3. #1292
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    Update: HB543 & SB871 passed both the House and Senate and are being sent to the Governor for his signature, assuming he signs it the 3-class BPSA/PfB model ebike legislation should pass into Virginia law from July 1, 2020.

    SB659 died in the judiciary committee, hopefully the bill's sponsor Senator Surovell will try again next year.

    SB437 passed the senate so presumably will next be sent to the House for approval.

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  5. #1293
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    DCist report on this week's rollout of new company Helbiz ebikeshare bikes. The Helbiz operating area in the app shows DC and Alexandria but not Arlington, this is puzzling because Helbiz is not listed on the City of Alexandria's list of permitted dockless mobility operators. Also part of the signup process requires the phone app scan a drivers license, but the app was unable to do so, Update: I reported the problem and they told me to sit tight until I got an email from Tech Support, anyone else able to complete the ID verification process?
    Last edited by Dewey; 01-31-2020 at 03:35 PM.

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  7. #1294
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    DCist report on this week's rollout of new company Helbiz ebikeshare bikes. The Helbiz operating area in the app shows DC and Alexandria but not Arlington, this is puzzling because Helbiz is not listed on the City of Alexandria's list of permitted dockless mobility operators. Also part of the signup process requires the phone app scan a drivers license, but the app was unable to do so, Update: I reported the problem and they told me to sit tight until I got an email from Tech Support, anyone else able to complete the ID verification process?
    Multiple folks on Twitter indicated that the app says scan the front of your ID, but you actually need to scan the back to sign up.

    Thanks for tracking all things e-bike related and posting here.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  9. #1295
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    Thanks Dewey. I see they are removing the clause that E-Bikes shouldn't be operated anywhere(even with pedaling alone, including downhill on roads) above 25 MPH.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    Multiple folks on Twitter indicated that the app says scan the front of your ID, but you actually need to scan the back to sign up.
    Thanks, it worked! Going to try one of these bikes out later. I got to look at one yesterday and they look identical to the Class 1 pedelecs formerly used by the Ford GoBike ebikeshare fleet in San Francisco, subsequently rebranded as Bay Wheels when they switched to a different model bike. The 1st generation bikes were assembled in Ann Arbor, MI, by GenZe, the ebike division of Indian auto company Tata, and are a modified version of their Genze 200 with the step-through frame and some different component choices eg different front brake Helbiz get a Sturmey Archer drum brake on the front, and throttle deleted to keep it a Class 1 pedelec, otherwise pretty much the same equipment as the Genze 200 with disk brake on the back due to the rear hub motor, 8-speed derailleur with thumb microshifters, 36v Samsung battery pack side-loaded into the down-tube, I heard GenZe use a basic cadence pedal assist sensor. I wonder if Helbiz made a deal with Genze to buy up the SF GoBike's to bring a fleet to the DC market quickly?

    For comparison:

    Ford GoBike+ (1st generation)
    Helbiz Bike

    FWIW if you like the Helbiz bike enough to want to buy one, Genze refurbish and sell used their earlier but similar 100-series ebikes through the Genze website.
    Last edited by Dewey; 02-04-2020 at 02:05 PM.

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  12. #1297
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    So I took a Helbiz for a spin this lunchtime, the bike itself is mostly fine, adjustable seatpost but no adjustable stem, there is no way to change the pedal assist power level so it feels like its on full power when operating but there is a gradual ramp up so it wasn't jerky, the thumb microshifters took a little getting used to but no chain derailments, standing on the pedals in top gear on the flat it felt like I was maxing out at maybe 16-18mph - there's no speedo which is odd as its required to have a speed reading visible to the rider to operate an ebike in Arlington and soon in the state of Virginia. Sorry I forgot to check if it had working lights but I'm guessing it does? I took it up the new bridge outside Kennedy Center and it had no problems climbing the incline. I actually liked it has a cadence sensor because it meant I could rest my feet on the pedals when stopped at a light and the motor didn't try to take off which can happen with pedal torque sensors.

    The rental process started well enough once I had registered with the back of my drivers license, however the AXA frame lock didn't work to let me return the bike when I reached my destination. I contacted Helbiz customer service via IM chat and they took the bike out of service, ended my trip in the app, and sent me an email confirming I was not liable for the unlocked bike while I went back to work.
    Last edited by Dewey; 02-05-2020 at 07:48 AM.

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  14. #1298
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    Another thread on the BikeArlington forum drew attention to this ArlNow article reporting Arlington County DES signage for sidewalks adjacent to PBL's where ebikes and scooters are now not permitted to ride under the County's Micro-Mobility Ordinance. Occasionally when riding my ebike in Arlington PBL's I've had to leave the PBL to ride in the traffic lane or mount the sidewalk to go around: Construction, delivery trucks, moving vans, Uber's, trash trucks, garbage cans left in the PBL by residents, joggers or scooters salmoning in the PBL, or when at an intersection I want to activate the crosswalk signal. I'm not a lawyer but my reading is the ebike sidewalk prohibition should in future apply only when PBL's are not blocked in which case Virginia state law will permit ebikes to ride where you need to remain safe. An unintended consequence of 46.2-1315 having been adopted in 2019, providing for localities to regulate scooter and ebike use, was that the County's micromobility ordinance has been in effect since January 1, 2020, but until HB543/SB871 is signed by the governor and takes effect (I think on July 1, 2020) there is some uncertainty for ebike riders about whether we can legally ride around obstacles in the PBL. Under current Virginia law bicycles (and ebikes except where prohibited by local ordinance) are allowed to ride on sidewalks and the roadway. The wording in the upcoming revision of VA Code 46.2-904.1 is "an electric power-assisted bicycle may be ridden in places where bicycles are allowed" and does not change VA Code 46.2-905.3 which allows bicycles to leave the right curb or edge of the roadway "when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue."

    This is mostly a storm in a teacup but does remind me a little of Casey Neistats bike lanes crash video when NYC put in place a similar restriction for cyclists.
    Last edited by Dewey; 02-11-2020 at 12:45 PM.

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