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    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeene-bike at that speed is treated as a motorbike so needs license/insurance
    E-bikes are only subject to the normal speed limits, in the same way as other bikes. The 15.5 mph limit is only on the motor providing power so, no, an e-bike being pedalled hard or going down hill at 30 mph would no more need license/insurance than any other bike.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: Ed Davies
    Posted By: WillInAberdeene-bike at that speed is treated as a motorbike so needs license/insurance
    E-bikes are only subject to the normal speed limits, in the same way as other bikes. The 15.5 mph limit is only on the motor providing power so, no, an e-bike being pedalled hard or going down hill at 30 mph would no more need license/insurance than any other bike.

    What I don't understand in that Dalston case is why he wasn't successfully prosecuted for driving without insurance, helmet etc? I can see why the careless driving charge failed and I can also see why a prosecution for breaking the 20 mph speed limit failed, due to lack of evidence, but given it seems to have been accepted that the 'ebike' was in fact a motorbike, why not prosecute that?
    • CommentAuthorSimonD
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: Ed DaviesThe 15.5 mph limit is only on the motor providing power so, no, an e-bike being pedalled hard or going down hill at 30 mph would no more need license/insurance than any other bike.


    Only if it has a 250w motor limited to that speed. If it's a Pedelec, with 500w motor or capable of greater speed then technically it does have to be registered and insured as probably a moped. This is also technically the case if it has independent throttle from the pedals.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    The actual law: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1983/1168/regulation/4/made amended by https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/24/regulation/2/made (changed to align with and reference the EU rules on the subject just in time for the Brexit referendum :sad: )

    As you'll see, this says nothing about an independent throttle. AIUI, that has nothing to do with it being a bicycle from the point of view of using cycle paths, not requiring tax, insurance or a helmet, etc, but is to do with exemption from type approval under the construction and use regulations. I think a type-approved bike can have a separate throttle and not need to be pedalled, but I haven't looked into the legal details for that.
    • CommentAuthorSimonD
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    So the essence is 250w motor providing assistance up to maximum 15.5mph. Anything above that is outside of those regulations and needs to be registered as a moped, with the rider needing a license. The twist throttle ones which typically do have more power are classed in EU as L1e-A up to 1000w or L1e-B up to 4000w. How this has been/will be translated into UK law is still unclear.
  1.  
    Posted By: SimonDSo the essence is 250w motor providing assistance up to maximum 15.5mph. Anything above that is outside of those regulations and needs to be registered as a moped, with the rider needing a license.

    It goes further than just a licence, you will need a regs conforming crash hat for the rider and the bike will need insurance, registration, number plate, road tax and an MOT - that lot just might affect the market for anything over 250w and 15.5 mph. - and probably increase the number of nonconforming ebikes 'cos the alternative is just too much trouble.
    Oh and with reference to Ed's comment above possibly type approval as well
  2.  
    Posted By: SimonDSo the essence is 250w motor providing assistance up to maximum 15.5mph. Anything above that is outside of those regulations and needs to be registered as a moped, with the rider needing a license. The twist throttle ones which typically do have more power are classed in EU as L1e-A up to 1000w or L1e-B up to 4000w. How this has been/will be translated into UK law is still unclear.


    That's pretty much it -
    - limited to 250w
    - must be pedal assist only (not throttle)
    - 15.5mph assistance limit

    Beyond that it's a "motorbike" (as are all the electric 'scooters' you see). That would need as per Peter - licence, insurance, registration (ie number plate) and type approval. You can buy electric mopeds (ie Vespa style) which are have complied with all the above but you cant' get it in the uk for electric bikes at present.

    The Police are doing dedicated actions to pull people on illegal vehicles (at least in London) and people are definitely being prosecuted for riding modified bikes (and e-scooters) and they're being treated as driving an illegal vehicle/driving without insurance and getting points on licence and fines. Not in large numbers but you pick it up from Police twitter feeds.



    Posted By: Ed Davies
    Posted By: WillInAberdeene-bike at that speed is treated as a motorbike so needs license/insurance
    E-bikes are only subject to the normal speed limits, in the same way as other bikes.

    Though of course speed limits don't actually apply, and aren't enforceable, to pedal cycles - there's no requirement for a speedometer so you can't be expected to know your speed apart from anything else. I think you can be charged with reckless cycling if your'e really stupid.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: Simon Still- must be pedal assist only (not throttle)
    Unless type approved in which case they have to have pedals which are capable of propelling the bike but just using the throttle to move is then OK. About a year ago I saw a woman in the local village get on a e-bike and ride away without pedalling and thought it was illegal so went and checked so presumably such type-approved bikes are available.

    Though of course speed limits don't actually apply, and aren't enforceable, to pedal cycles
    I've learned something today, ta.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: Simon StillI think you can be charged with reckless cycling

    I think the term is 'furious' cycling?
    • CommentAuthorGareth J
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    All above is correct. However the "maximum continuous rated power" of 250W is hard to define. It doesn't mean the motor/controller/battery combo can't temporarily output more than 250W. Which means that in practice, most manufacturers use motors that are plated as 250W and may indeed have been tested and rated as such. However, in practice, they will often exceed this amount of power for extended periods while still complying with the regulations.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: Gareth Jthey will often exceed this amount of power for extended periods

    It's difficult to think of occasions where that could occur, since the bike will reach 15.5 mph fairly quickly and the speed limiter will cut the power.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: Ed DaviesUnless type approved in which case they have to have pedals which are capable of propelling the bike but just using the throttle to move is then OK.


    According to gov website the type approval is vehicle type approval and it seems you have a choice of moped or motorcycle. So if an ebike doesnt meet the EPAC rules or can be propelled without pedalling, by throttle for example, it needs vehicle type approval with all the attendant vehicle requirements, license, insurance, helmet, tax, registration etc.
    • CommentAuthorGareth J
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2021
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: djh</cite><blockquote><cite>Posted By: Gareth J</cite>they will often exceed this amount of power for extended periods</blockquote>
    It's difficult to think of occasions where that could occur, since the bike will reach 15.5 mph fairly quickly and the speed limiter will cut the power.</blockquote>

    You must live somewhere with small hills!
  3.  
    Of course the ebikes if they are to be mopeds have more of a problem in the UK because in mainland Europe mopeds are free from registration MOTs and road tax and have been so for a long time. Insurance is still required and idetification for this purpose is done by frame number
    • CommentAuthordereke
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2021
     
    A bike being assisted to go faster than 15.5mph is such a non issue.

    In my mind it is just a distraction from the millions of drivers who are somehow legally allowed to drive cars without a power limit while carrying 2+tonnes of lethal steel and drive at 40mph in 20 zones with near impunity and injuring and killing thousands of people per year and in the odd case when they are hauled in front of a judge for killing or injuring someone they get to keep their license because it would cause "hardship" to loose it.

    Bikes being assisted to go faster than 15.5mph are not a threat to safety any more than the current fleet of death machines sorry I mean cars.
  4.  
    Posted By: derekeA bike being assisted to go faster than 15.5mph is such a non issue.

    In my mind it is just a distraction from the millions of drivers who are somehow legally allowed to drive cars without a power limit while carrying 2+tonnes of lethal steel and drive at 40mph in 20 zones with near impunity and injuring and killing thousands of people per year and in the odd case when they are hauled in front of a judge for killing or injuring someone they get to keep their license because it would cause "hardship" to loose it.

    Bikes being assisted to go faster than 15.5mph are not a threat to safety any more than the current fleet of death machines sorry I mean cars.


    I respectfully disagree. If you're looking at a bike as a motor vehicle, then yes, the restriction is ridiculous. But if you want a moped, get a moped.

    Yes, mixing bikes and fast heavy general traffic is a problem. Yes, enforcement of speed limits, safe driving etc is woeful. but the answer to that isn't unrestricted ebikes.

    The issue is unrestricted e-bikes or scooters mixing with regular bikes once you do have decent, safe, protected cycle infra. The European wide regulation was intended to keep e-bikes travelling at the same sort of speeds as the other cyclists. On crowded London cycle infrastructure having some idiot on a unrestricted bike, or a scooter, whipping past you at >20mph is not pleasant. Nor is it really necessary - I used to have a daily commute across London of about 9miles and I've done it on a fast road bike wearing lycra flat out and at a relaxed social pace on a folding bike. Journey time barely altered as it's limited far more by junctions and traffic signals than it is peak speed. You see the same with people in their cars - I frequently see the same driver along my entire trips - despite them accelerating fast and exceeding the speed limit, we all regroup at the next junction.
    • CommentAuthordereke
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2021
     
    I respectfully agree and disagree with some of your points @Simon :bigsmile:

    Posted By: Simon StillYes, mixing bikes and fast heavy general traffic is a problem. Yes, enforcement of speed limits, safe driving etc is woeful. but the answer to that isn't unrestricted ebikes.


    I'm not saying unrestricted ebikes is the solution to this problem. I'm saying, and I probably didn't make this clear, that policing unrestricted ebikes is a mistake as there are far greater problems with transportation safety than a handful of unrestricted ebikes.

    The speed differential issue between bikes and pedestrians is absolutely an issue I completely agree, but it also exists with regular bikes. There are often complaints about people on regular bikes on the canal path around where I live. A speed limit on ebikes wouldn't solve this just like it wouldn't solve the speed differential on regular bikes using a shared path down a hill or a roadie on a flat shared path.

    There has to be some common sense applied and some people do probably need a rap across the knuckles for being stupid. Road bikers tend not to use bike lanes (and get stick for it from drivers!) because they are faster and it doesn't work for them. If ebike riders (or anyone) are going to ride their bike faster than 15mph then just let them do it on the road and if they want to use a bike/shared path we can just trust them to play nicely like we trust people in cars.

    Posted By: Simon Stillwhipping past you at >20mph is not pleasant.

    If only public policy was based on what was pleasant :bigsmile:

    Posted By: Simon StillJourney time barely altered as it's limited far more by junctions and traffic signals than it is peak speed.


    Yeah I agree with that and now I'm going to contradict what I said above about unrestricted ebikes not being a solution. The reason I would want a higher peak speed on an ebike is not to get around quicker it would be to prevent cars drivers trying to overtake me in dangerous places.

    Ultimately we don't have joined up safe transport infrastructure so everything is a compromise. I don't think unrestricted ebikes would cause much or any more of a problem than the existing problems that exist. If anything they may get more people out of cars which is only ever going to be a good thing.

    I can't find the stats right now but I think something like between 0 and 1 person per year are killed by bikes and injuries are similarly low. If there was some kind of link between people dying and unrestricted ebikes then I'd definitely support a crackdown on them!
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2021
     
    Posted By: dereke If ebike riders (or anyone) are going to ride their bike faster than 15mph then just let them do it on the road and if they want to use a bike/shared path we can just trust them to play nicely like we trust people in cars.

    We dont trust people in cars thats why we have traffic police and speed cameras.

    In February my wife and I were walking on our local greenway. Without any warning a big lad(read fat t**t) on an ebike flew past us about a foot away from my elbow. He was doing well over 15mph and pedalling intermittently. No bell, no shout, just flew past. I was a stumble/step away from potentially being the victim in the Dalston case above.

    By all means let non EAPC riders take their chances on the road but mixing them with walkers, kids, dogs, prams, disabled people, horses, slow cyclists etc isnt clever
    • CommentAuthordereke
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2021
     
    Posted By: philedgeWe dont trust people in cars thats why we have traffic police and speed cameras.


    Monitoring drivers offences against cyclists has largely being privatised now days - you have to buy a camera and then edit and submit the footage to the police.

    Posted By: philedgeWithout any warning a big lad(read fat t**t) on an ebike flew past us about a foot away from my elbow. He was doing well over 15mph and pedalling intermittently.


    He sounds like a proper idiot no doubt it was a very scary incident. Cyclists and walkers shouldn't mix - in fact it is in the guidelines that they should be separated. Same thing can happen with or without an electric motor though.

    I used to be a very confident cyclist but around 4 months ago I gave it up because of the amount of dangerous passes people were trying out on me while cycling up the hill to get home. Every day multiple times per day people overtaking when there was barely enough room or on blind corners sometimes with oncoming traffic. I posted about it on my local social network and was basically told to get off the road (cycle on the footpath they said!). I'm also a fairly confident walker but I've never given it up because of cyclists close passing me multiple timer per day, day after day.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2021
     
    I think we have lost sight of real world situations. The reason people are allowed to drive cars legally is because they have passed a test, applied for and received a licence which they have retained through driving sufficiently well. They also have valid insurance and have to show the vehicle meets the required standards. Cyclists are not required to do any of this.

    There are also countries on mainland Europe where mopeds have to be registered and pass a roadworthy test on a yearly basis. There are also places that manage to mix cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and even cars in the same area with no problems. An idiot doesn't care if they are not allowed to ride in a particular area,

    Finally, if someone riding a bicycle causes grievous injury to a third party through inattention or reckless behaviour then surely they should be held to account.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2021
     
    Posted By: dereke Same thing can happen with or without an electric motor though.

    I dont think that is the case.

    Ive seen unrestricted ebikes advertised as being capable of doing 50mph. Anyone can buy these, jump straight on them with next to no cycling experience and ride amongst others with very little chance of getting caught.

    For someone on an unpowered bike they will likely have had years of riding experience to get to the point where they can match the performance of a legal EAPC. If theres any riders capable of keeping up with an unrestricted ebike, its likely to be a handful of elite riders. The years of experience will likely have involved near misses from which most people will have learned to deal with safely, but crucially at much lower speeds
    • CommentAuthorGareth J
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2021
     
    It's absolutely possible for normal bike riders to cause serious injury. A peer of mine at college killed someone when they stepped out in front without looking. Just like the ebike rider in the article above. He did not flee the scene though. Was aweful for him.

    It's quite possible that ebikes have increased the incidence of this sort of thing (though I have no stats to support that) but unpicking whether such a potential increase was down to more miles covered by bike/ebike, with the rate remaining the same or an increase related to the potentially increased momentum of cyclists, or an increase in new cyclists, or these and or lots of others is complex.

    Anything that can be driven as a motorcycle or moped (at 30or 50mph without peddling) should clearly be registered as such. But expecting cyclists who want to have assistance, even if still at ~250W, at some interim speed, to, say, 20mph, a speed any cyclist can achieve downhill anyway, to register their bike as a moped, is bonkers. Of course there needs to be a cut off but it's too abrupt. A middle ground is needed and this has been recognised.

    Could be a simple as saying, yes, assistance to 20mph and 350W (which most ebikes legally exceed anyway if you check out their battery voltage and controller power) is fine but you need insurance and must wear a cycle helmet. Plenty of fast road cyclists take these sensible precautions anyway. Who knows what will actually be implemented, if anything.
  5.  
    Interesting discussion. I think it's helpful to think about where the unrestricted e-bike riders are coming from.

    A: If people are switching from normal road bikes onto unrestricted ebikes, then speeds will increase on average, so likely to be more serious accidents causing more injuries to others, which should be regulated/discouraged.

    B: If people are switching out of their cars and onto fast ebikes, then there will probably be fewer serious accidents overall, and less air pollution and CO2, so overall the risk of harming other people will be less.

    Not seen any stats, but just my observation that most of the e-bike riders that I see, look like B rather than A.
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