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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #831
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    Quote Originally Posted by zsionakides View Post
    legal prohibitions on them, would allow for impoundment to deter misuse on trails.
    This is being tried on the streets of New York City where the NYPD periodically impound ebikes, unsure if they make a distinction with legal Class 1 pedal assist ebikes but the photos I've seen on the NYPD's twitter feed suggest most that are crushed are Chinese imports which are more powerful than Class 3 speed pedelecs, throttle operated, and like all ebikes they don't have VIN numbers because they are not built to NHTSA safety standards, so they definitely fall outside the current New York state ebike definition and cannot be registered as street legal mopeds at the New York DMV. Recently the Mayor declared he would be targeting the restaurants and delivery riders but the businesses selling them don't appear to be being targeted, in the same way Trek can somehow sell Class 3 speed pedelec ebikes in Minnesota and Florida where they're illegal.

    A Brooklyn bike shop owner who sells NY legal Class 1 pedelec ebikes is advocating Albany take a unique approach to legalising Class 1 pedelec ebikes for use on trails rather than simply adopting the 'People for Bikes' ebike industry-written model legislation. He describes he has no problem with the NYPD enforcement actions and supports appropriate targeted enforcement. Quote from pedelec retailer Chris Nolte "We could have passed a bill last year, but the bike industry wasn't willing to support a bill that didn't align with their model legislation. This year we plan to work outside of the traditional channels, it's been too many years of people outside of NY trying to make decisions on what's best for NY."

    I have tried writing to the CPSC but they aren't interested or funded to tackle enforcement on the supply end, and when I followed up by writing to a state AG's office about an importer of an illegal electric moped being marketed as a Class 3 speed pedelec I received a polite letter noting my concern but promising no action. I support WABA's position accepting pedal assist while promoting the local cycling community's concerns and hope they will engage with local ebike retailers and riders so together we can steer and amend legislation and promote responsible ebike cycling and nuanced LE action in DC, MD & VA otherwise outside forces will continue to set the agenda.
    Last edited by Dewey; 11-06-2017 at 10:24 PM.

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  3. #832
    mstone is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    This is being tried on the streets of New York City where the NYPD periodically impound ebikes, unsure if they make a distinction with legal Class 1 pedal assist ebikes but the photos I've seen on the NYPD's twitter feed suggest most that are crushed are Chinese imports which are more powerful than Class 3 speed pedelecs, throttle operated, and like all ebikes they don't have VIN numbers because they are not built to NHTSA safety standards, so they definitely fall outside the current New York state ebike definition and cannot be registered as street legal mopeds at the New York DMV. Recently the Mayor declared he would be targeting the restaurants that buy fleets of these electric motorcycles for their delivery riders, but the businesses selling them don't appear to be being targeted, in the same way Trek can somehow sell Class 3 speed pedelec ebikes in Minnesota where they're illegal.
    Hmm. Some of us said the only real limiting factor on speed was battery technology--which is only going to improve. We were assured that wasn't true because laws, and something about classes. I continue to believe that the ebike class system will have no practical effect on what kind of ebikes show up on trails because it's too jargony and opaque for the real world. (Though I'm sure it doesn't seem like that for people immersed in the ebike community.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I continue to believe that the ebike class system will have no practical effect on what kind of ebikes show up on trails
    I agree a classification system on its own is toothless and open to abuse without an easy way for LE to verify an ebike is appropriately power/speed limited, as looks can be deceiving and police officers aren't ebike technicians it might be something like the class registration decal provided for under the People for Bikes model legislation, however that model as currently worded is flawed because it may be interpreted as restricting ebike class registration to complete ebikes when there also needs to be some way for DIY kit motor owners to obtain such verification, preferably from a local bike shop that sells and services legal ebikes. Making the registration decals secure/chipped and for the registration to be renewable and logged in a DMV database should help in the event of a crackdown/enforcement action.
    Last edited by Dewey; 11-06-2017 at 12:44 PM.

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  6. #834
    mstone is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    I agree a classification system on its own is toothless and open to abuse without an easy way for LE to verify an ebike is appropriately power/speed limited, as looks can be deceiving and police officers aren't ebike technicians it might be something like the class registration decal provided for under the People for Bikes model legislation, however that model as currently worded is flawed because it may be interpreted as restricting ebike class registration to complete ebikes when there also needs to be some way for DIY kit motor owners to obtain such verification, preferably from a local bike shop that sells and services ebikes - the DMV is likely uninterested because legal ebikes are not motor vehicles and they won't have ebike technicians on staff. Making the registration decals secure/chipped and for the registration to be renewable and logged in a DMV database should help in the event of a crackdown/enforcement action.
    Anything that requires an inspection/certification scheme will fall apart if the premise of ebikes is that they are cheap. Hiding the cost of such a program in the expenses of a $20k+ car is a lot easier than hiding the cost in a $1k bike. (And the expectation AIUI is that the cost will be much less than $1k once the novelty wears off.) I'd expect a testing/registration scheme to cost hundreds per year, looking at how much it costs for cars and taking into account the (lack of) economies of scale. If it's just a one-time sticker I don't understand why dodgy chinese ebikes wouldn't come with the sticker already attached.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I'd expect a testing/registration scheme to cost hundreds per year, looking at how much it costs for cars and taking into account the (lack of) economies of scale.
    Not trying to play down your concerns but one of the DC ebike shops lists a service charge of just $25 to check/change motor controller settings. Adding a field to a DMV database and the ability to check it on a police computer requires a little programming. Your last point is why I was interested in what the CPSC and state AG’s had to say about enforcement on the supply end, I feel that must surely be as important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    Not trying to play down your concerns but one of the DC ebike shops lists a service charge of just $25 to check/change motor controller settings.
    So it costs that much, absent any paperwork requirements, licensing costs, certification costs, audit support, mandated facility requirements, etc.? And if something janky comes in, they can just say no and move on? And that's just the technical end, not the enforcement regime? I might have lowballed things.

    Adding a field to a DMV database and the ability to check it on a police computer requires a little programming.
    "a little programming" are three famous last words for large IT projects. After what's guaranteed to be at least millions in computer work, you still have to pay for DMV & police training...maybe as many people to train as there are ebike users.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Hmm. Some of us said the only real limiting factor on speed was battery technology--which is only going to improve. We were assured that wasn't true because laws, and something about classes. I continue to believe that the ebike class system will have no practical effect on what kind of ebikes show up on trails because it's too jargony and opaque for the real world. (Though I'm sure it doesn't seem like that for people immersed in the ebike community.)
    This has always been my take too. All the minutiae around classes, and types, and motor power and maximum assist speed versus throttle, etc... none of it will ever matter or be enforced out in the real world, because even people who pay close attention to it have trouble distinguishing it. Law enforcement can't even stop cars from running people over, and e-bike proponents think they will somehow effectively know what e-bikes are allowed on trails and which ones aren't, and find time to enforce it?

    Practically, I think we are either allowing all of them or none of them (with "none of them" being the current regime of "maybe technically not allowed, but don't ride like a dick and you'll almost certainly never be hassled").

    I'm sympathetic and all, but also really wary of welcoming them with open arms onto infrastructure that has always been (and was designed for) non powered transportation. Because its impossible to look at the future of electric transport and not think these things are going to be cheaper, more ubiquitous and a lot faster in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jabberwocky View Post
    This has always been my take too. All the minutiae around classes, and types, and motor power and maximum assist speed versus throttle, etc... none of it will ever matter or be enforced out in the real world, because even people who pay close attention to it have trouble distinguishing it. Law enforcement can't even stop cars from running people over, and e-bike proponents think they will somehow effectively know what e-bikes are allowed on trails and which ones aren't, and find time to enforce it?

    Practically, I think we are either allowing all of them or none of them (with "none of them" being the current regime of "maybe technically not allowed, but don't ride like a dick and you'll almost certainly never be hassled").

    I'm sympathetic and all, but also really wary of welcoming them with open arms onto infrastructure that has always been (and was designed for) non powered transportation. Because its impossible to look at the future of electric transport and not think these things are going to be cheaper, more ubiquitous and a lot faster in the future.

    I don't get why banning Class 3s (and above), knowing that will be hard to enforce, is somehow worse than banning all ebikes and knowing that will be equally hard to enforce.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I don't get why banning Class 3s (and above), knowing that will be hard to enforce, is somehow worse than banning all ebikes and knowing that will be equally hard to enforce.
    Agreed. It's not like they enforce the ban on motorcycles, or cars, that well. But it has some impact on behavior...

  12. #840
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I don't get why banning Class 3s (and above), knowing that will be hard to enforce, is somehow worse than banning all ebikes and knowing that will be equally hard to enforce.
    Maybe because the former would require a crapton of effort while not working, while the latter would require very little while not working.

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