California Call To Arms For A Fastbike Law.

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by slickdude, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Okay so pertaining to EBikes I have been in dialog with my local state assemblywoman. At first she tried to thrust me back to a state senator for national laws. But the federal laws are essentially guidelines policed by the CPSC and states can append that. Example: Nationally electric bikes are maxed at 750 watts, however in California it is 1000 watts. I had posted links to that in another topic.

    Here is what I need. She said to author a legislative proposal for electric bikes and submit it by the end of the year, so for those who know how to author such a thing, I need your help in crafting it.

    Simply stated here is what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it.

    "Green Fastbike Proposal"

    Would remove the maximum electric motor size and electric bike can go and would remove the top speed limit on such vehicle. This permits the usage of an electric bicycle at speeds higher than 20 mph or the posted street limit. In essence if there is a 45mph speed limit and you have say a 5000 watt 96 volt bicycle that can travel that fast, then you are not criminalized for it.

    The reasoning for this proposal is that a national and state call exists for the usage of green energy products especially in the transportation sections. Electric bicycles produce zero emissions, take less width and weight upon the roads, relieve traffic and by using battery power over pedaling power also reduce the carbon footprint as well. All positives. What prevents this current technology from being used as serious transportation short-range are the motor size limits and the highest legal speed of 20mph. These two factors relegate electric bikes to a hobby status.

    In addition the proposal also recognizes that a polycarbon or lightweight frame pedal cyclist 33 speed bicycle can achieve 40 plus mph easily and even approach 50 mph, thus at zero emissions the electric bicycle has the advantage of being better for the environment. A bit crude, but it does have a fact there that pulls green support.

    Bicycle paths: Unless a bicycle path is adjacent to a road it is illegal to have any motorized bicycles on a bicycle path. This also needs to be changed as the real issue here is speed, not how you get to it. A cyclist pedaling at 20 mph does the same damage to a pedestrian, animal or other cyclist during a collision as a twist or thumb throttle. So speed on bike paths is really what needs to be appended. A cyclist regardless of how the bicycle is powered whether by human, thumb throttle or twist throttle should be regulated by a posted sign speed limit, not by the type of power.

    This is what I propose. It changes things to decriminalize ebike usage and promote it as more than a hobby. If anyone can help in this and the format of a California legislative proposal I can get to this state assemblywoman before the year is up, it could be brought to the state floor. Thanks for taking your time to read this.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
    Trunker likes this.

  2. BigBlue

    BigBlue Active Member

    Electrics don't need registration (gas-powered do). Electrics don't need to wear a DOT approved helmet (gas-powered do). Electrics don't need a license (gas-powered do). Electrics have the minimal requirements of any motorized vehicle in California. I am sure the previous statements are why the speed of electrics are limited to 20 mph. In addition, it may be a Federal law that limits electric powered motorized bicycles to 20 mph.

    Bike paths have just more than bicycles. They also have pedestrians, skaters, joggers and sometimes horses. They were designed and funded for specific non-motorized traffic. Federal, state or private funding may restrict the type of traffic on a bike path. In addition, would it be practical and safe to add more traffic to sometimes crowded bicycle paths?

    Many bicycle paths already have speed restrictions. Most cyclist can't sustain speeds of 30 (maybe a Pro), 40 or 50 mph like an electric motorized bicycle.

    Once you get the politicians involved, your going to pay more in registration and taxes. I am sure the Insurance lobby would love to have some more business. Just be aware that if you change the law, electrics may be required to have the same registration, helmet and licensing requirements as gas-powered motorized bicycles.

    You have to consider that motorized bicyclist don't have a lobby in the California legislature. The cycling community have powerful national and state-wide lobbying.

    I suggest you get a full understanding of the designing and funding of bicycle paths. In addition, do your research on why there is a speed limit of 20 mph for electrics. Is it a federal or state law? And what was the reasoning behind the law when it was written by the California legislature.

    Just be aware that California has some of the most lenient motorized bicycle laws in the US. Most riders can tell you that enforcement is minimal as long as your wearing a helmet. Do the cops care if your doing 20 or 30 mphs? Maybe if your wearing a bicycle helmet. A DOT approved? Do the cops care or know if you have a 4500 watt motor?

    You want to ride a bicycle at 45 mph on a street? Take a spill at 20 mph with a bicycle helmet and tell me how you feel.

    Just don't screw-up a good thing!

    AKA: BigBlue
  3. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Well, what I am talking about here is not gas powered bicycles nor the current crop of ebikes, but rather "faster than 20mph ebikes" in essence as the title employs, a "Fastbike" law for faster green bikes. For example an Australian Stealth Bomber Bike can easily hit fifty mph. Why not allow this as transportation legally, so this is mainly my target.

    As for national law, as mentioned they are a laid out guideline policed by the CPSC that is the "Consumer Safety Product Commission"... States can append that and California actually did, adjusting the maximum ebike motor size from 750 watts to 1000 watts but left the maximum ebike speed at 20 mph. This aims to get the state to further append that.

    As for in L.A. California the bike paths, they are legally for cyclists only. If a bike path touches a road then ebikes are permitted. This actually is a huge technicality but it does hold muster. In the case of Sepulveda basin bike paths. The road and bike path do touch in many instances, thus ebikes are on this loophole technicality permitted. Of course a judge copuld have a final say but it is arguable and if we go by the actual text, it is a technicality that permits in favor of the riders. Again, I'm not a legal expert and others here are more apropos to weigh in on it. But it appears as such. Pedestrian traffic on the bike paths in L.A. is a ticket-able offense but rarely if ever enforced as you pointed out Chris. The point I illustrated here is that bike paths should be open to all flavors of cyclists and should be based on posted speed limits. Current L.A. bicycle paths have no posted speed limits.

    Again what my aim is good sir, is to decriminalize faster ebikes. Would I pay for a government sticker to legally ride at 50 mph on a 50 mph road, absolutely. If the bikes and technology are heere and most of it is already, why not use it, and why not make it legally safe to use? That is my point. Yes you bring up many valid points and I fully understand what you said. But on a technicality they could confiscate a fast bike and use other civil criminality. Why not change that and help guide things for faster usage and more usage? Why maintain an ebike as a hobby-toy mode only when it could represent far more? I use my etrike to go shopping all over now, never have had any issues. My two-wheeled fast bike for riding and pleasure, again relatively few issues and safely I might add for both. Faster than 20mph yes, safe and fun, yes and so that is what this does. Blows open the doors to legitimize faster bikes that what is currently only a hobby and little else. And no, not trying to be rude here Chris, just sticking up for what really needs be done for faster ebikes. As for slower ones leave em be, faster ones, let's make em legal and safe :)
  4. grinningremlin

    grinningremlin Active Member

    Slickdude, gotta take issue with your "electric bike produce zero emissions".That's a myth/corporate lie, unless you charge your batts with your own solar cells they are less efficient and pollute the same as gas, not as efficient as diesel, and no where near natural gas.
    According to a comprehensive engineering study published in the February 2013 Journal of Industrial Ecology, greenhouse gas emissions for an EV’s full life cycle — from production through road use — are not much greener than a comparable gas-powered auto, and no more planet-friendly than a diesel car. Indeed, when you factor in the toxicity of materials used in battery production, it’s hard to make the case that EVs are a very green alternative.

    “Almost half of an EV’s life cycle global-warming potential is associated with its production,” concluded a study group from the Department of Energy and Process Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “We estimate the GWP from EV production (to be) roughly twice (that) with gas-engine production.”
    Fabian and Dankoozy like this.
  5. Pablo

    Pablo Motored Bikes Sponsor

    I agree with the Gremlin on the greenness or lack for e power. Don't get me wrong, I love what you are trying to do and I love electrics.

    Also be careful with this:

    No, the mass of a bike carrying a motor/batteries/etc will potentially do more damage than an ultralight pedal bike. F=m*a
    Fabian likes this.
  6. keatonx

    keatonx Member

    I read somewhere that the average EV car will only start to pay off over a gas car in terms of environmental impact after 150000kms

    But honestly there's so much mixed info on the subject, you never know what's true
  7. grinningremlin

    grinningremlin Active Member

    I'm not exactly what you'd call a "green" person, don't really care.I do care about the myth of zero emissions, gives our little gassers a bad rap.When electric can do the 80mi round trips I take for the same pennies/weight as my little smokeless tanaka I'll be an instant convert, till then I'm mixing gas.
    Sorry for the off-topic monkeywrench, but I'm a gremlin, it's kinda my thing.Good luck in your litigious endeavor.
  8. bigoilbob

    bigoilbob Member

    Sorry all, I'm with the California status quo here. Not because of emissions (or lack of same), but safety. Much over 20, the whole package, from the frame to the wheels to the brakes to the tires to the helmet to the rider qualifications needs to bulk up. These vehicles are functionally mopeds/scooters, even if they have fake kw or cc decals on their prime movers.

    Like the idea of letting e bikers use bike trails not connected to roads though. If they obey speed limits and are SUPER courteous (to give us good citizenship reps), then there should be no problem. I fully understand my BikeE2 tandem recumbent with Honda GX35 power being denied such access.
  9. professor

    professor Active Member

    Slickdude, I live in a nanny state. Be glad you don't.
    Just remember- you may not like what you get when it gets to you.
    Politicians screw up most things they touch.
    40 to 50 mph on a bicycle? A case of Insanity wanting to be legal.
  10. grinningremlin

    grinningremlin Active Member

    Though I can't maintain it, I can get to 40mph on my Fuji Opus III pedal power on a flat, I've gone over 60 on a downhill.If gas shouldn't be on a bike path, then neither should electric, bike paths are for cruising, and people walk on them.An electric wouldn't be heard as easily as a gas, would probably be heavier/more mass, so a gas at 20 is as safe as an electric at 20.No?
    Going 50+ on a regular bike is asking for a failure wreck, bearings would overheat eventually, and we don't balance these like car tires.30 to 40 mph is fast enough.
  11. bigoilbob

    bigoilbob Member

    @grinninggremlin Walkers/runners have the ROW over all wheeled vehicles anyhow, so they shouldn't be expected to hear U and get over. That's what bike bells are for. Courteous e bike riders would be just as safe as normal bike riders, unless they don't have good brakes or are speeding. Gas bikes like mine make noise, smell, and therefore ruin the trail experience.

    The total "no power" bans make sense for law enforcement convenience, as the crime fighters don't need to cull the air head e bikers from the rest. But in God's own world the e bikers would not be a problem.
  12. grinningremlin

    grinningremlin Active Member

    Good point, my bikes are a big stinky.
  13. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Uh no, if you hit someone, whether you are pedaling at 35 mph or twisting a throttle on an electric, lets say the guy on the pedal bike is 225 and muscular and the ebike rider is at 180 and thin, the damage to the pedestrian or even the rider is similar, you or they get hurt. Damage is damage, broken this or broken that, scrapes if lucky so I disagree.

    Bike path riding should be allowed by EBikes and there should be a posted speedlimit to bike paths. In addition "No Pedestrian" signs should be posted and that "Ticketable Offense" revenue applied to the woman with 3 toddlers, one holding the leash of two pitbulls strewn across the bike path while she pushes a baby stroller with two infants in it for a total of 5 kids child endangerment. Yup pedestrians on the bike path no, EBikes yes, posted maximum riding bike speed too. Fixes it all.
  14. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Zero emissions when ridden unless you pedal and spew out carbon.
  15. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Well another issue too that in the main laws and California laws the ebike is generally "to be" treated as a regular bicycle except where a sign is posted "No Motorized Bicycles" otherwise does that still apply, and that contradicts the law where an ebike is considered on par with a pedal bicycle.

    Furthermore, the law on bicycle paths dealing with motorized bicycles claims that you may ride a motorized bicycle on a bike path that is immediately adjoined to a highway. But it does not state whether that is in whole or in part. Again this is where the California law becomes quite murky. If you have a part of the bike path that at points adjoins the road, since it does not state that immediate part only, and a bike path connects with other bike paths, technically making one huge bicycle path, without stating in whole or in part, we are left with "an immediate part of the bike path touches the road for ten feet" and so the bike path as a whole at points does touch and adjoin a road thus we may ride it. The reason I point out this fact is that the California laws are murky at best and leave open a very large grey area of interpretation.

    What I propose is actually quite simple. If they want to make EBike and promote that industry to real transportation as well as public safety in regards to these. The following.

    To make an EBike real transportation.

    a.) Remove the maximum motor wattage size.
    b.) Allow EBikes on streets to travel to the maximum posted "street - not freeway/highway" speed limit.
    c.) Implement a gold sticker program for the EBike.
    d.) Post a maximum speed limit on bicycle lanes and paths
    e.) Allow all forms of motorized and pedal bicycles on those paths with speed limits.
    f.) Ticket pedestrian and promote the usage of bicycle paths for cycles only, pedal ebike or gas powered bicycles. Not Mopeds, No motorcycles and no Minibikes.
    g.) Quad Bicycles aka. Surrey allow for motorized surreys without car classification.
    h.) Use gold sticker funds to widen where possible existing single bicycle width lanes.

    All of what I have posted here are very valid points and would simplify and fix many issues. Will the California legislature do it? Not any time soon, but perhaps down the road yes.

    Right now, Electric Bicycles are relegated to a hobby status only. If they really want to practice what they preach, here is a road map, no matters who argues with the point or not and no matters what radars have to be flown under. What I posted in this post fixes the issues at hand once and for all so nobody has to look over their shoulders and so that California's laws are no longer murky at best.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  16. Pablo

    Pablo Motored Bikes Sponsor

    Not sure where we disagree(?) Or are you arguing with F=m*a(?) You wrote that something heavier hits you at the same speed as something lighter, the heavier object potentially will do more damage (it WILL have more force to dissipate). Not understanding your point.
  17. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Perhaps this is true, but the result is the same, someone gets hurt. Thus what a bicycle path needs are two things. One get pedestrians off of bicycle paths, Two set a maximum posted speed limit for cyclists.

    Let me illustrate another point here as well. Lets say I could hit 35 mph, were you aware that many of those guys on their pedal road cycles with poly carbon or aluminum frames and 20 plus speeds can reach faster speeds than that, in fact a poly carbon 33 speed bicycle can hit 50 plus. So whether a person pedals, twists a throttle or pushes a thumb throttle doesn't matter. My point is that speed is the only factor here. Combine speed with pedestrians and you have indeed a very grave situation for safety's sake. Thus a maximum speed limit is necessary for California bicycle paths. Bike lanes touching a road are a completely different issue, let them go the maximum road speed if they can and widen the bicycle lanes to a two width to allow faster cyclists to get past slower cyclists without cutting in front of cars and trucks etc. Whether someone on an ebike versus a regular bicycle weighs more or less combined is irrelevant. The result is a world of pain for those who get hit or are doing the hitting. That is my point.
  18. Stoltzee

    Stoltzee Member

    Sometimes we would like to change things to fit our personal individuality, needs and wants. Unfortunately practicality and safety needs to be balanced. There are a variety of vehicles today, which will fit a persons specific needs. If a person wants to go 50 mph/80.6 km find one that's approved for that speed.
    Here's one that goes 120 miles on a charge.
  19. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Thanks, but I like my ebike thank you. It works fine and I think there is room for fast ebikes too. Motorcycles can hit a hundred and more, ebikes that are fast r usually in the 45 range so there is a difference.
  20. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    :iagree: 100%

    electric bike "zero emissions" mantra is complete :icon_bs: