Call to Arms all Australians Concerning MB Regulation

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Irish John, May 5, 2009.

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  1. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    The following article appeared in todays Sydney Morning Herald and I think it is of great concern that regulatory reform is being drafted by bodies that have no real knowledge or understanding about motored bicycles or the issues involved. I've contacted Hybriped (now called HybriDude) and he thinks we need to act NOW to save us from being regulated off the roads by mandarins in far away cities who wouldn't know what a motored bike looks like if it ran over them.
    Warren from ZBox tells me he hasn't been contacted by any of the bodies mentioned in the report despite being the largest seller of motorised bike kits anywhere. At present the law does not discriminate between engine power and power through the driven wheel axle (two very different things you wil agree). A 25 km\hr max speed would make it faster to ride a normal cycle.
    I'd be interested to know what others, particularly Australians, think about this drafting of regulations.
    RTA review to clarify controls on pedal-assisted bikes
    Brian Robins
    May 5, 2009 - 12:00AM

    THE popularity of pedal-assisted bikes is likely to surge if a Roads and Traffic Authority proposal to ease controls on the vehicles is adopted.

    In Europe the new generation of pedal-assisted bikes has a battery-powered motor to ease the strain of going up hills. They are quiet to operate and low-cost to run, thanks to their rechargeable batteries.

    To end confusion over whether they needed to be registered and the rider licensed, the State Government wants to bring controls into line with those in Europe and Japan, while imposing an upper speed limit of 25 kmh.

    In the past few years riders of some of these bikes, which appeared to comply with RTA requirements, were later subject to successful legal action by police, who claimed the bikes had to be licensed. This brought sales to a skidding halt.

    The RTA is now finalising a discussion paper outlining the proposed changes to clarify what type of bicycle needs to be registered.

    "We would welcome any changes, given their rising popularity," Alex Unwin, the chief executive of Bicycle NSW, said.

    Under the proposals, pedal-assisted bikes will have an upper speed limit of 25 kmh - there is no limit now - with up to 250 watts of output, up from 200 watts. This will bring NSW into line with European and Japanese rules.

    A core requirement will be that the bike cannot be a motorised bike with pedals.

    The motor will operate only when the vehicle is being pedalled. Some of the legal problems riders faced were that the pedals on many of these bikes were secondary to the motor as the primary source of power, triggering requirements for registration and licensing.

    Bicycle sellers said the idea of pedal-assisted bikes was attractive but the battery was still too heavy to take them seriously.

    "The weight is still too much. The idea is to get the weight as light as possible," an employee at one city bike shop said.

    "But I don't disagree that more people will be interested in them."

    This story was found at:

  2. heathyoung

    heathyoung Member

    Huh. We all knew it would happen sooner rather than later, basically trying to legislate out of existence.

    How the heck can you impose an upper speed limit of 25K when you can go faster than this on pedals alone???

    NSW and VIC are the most draconian states in Aus, every other state you can ride a 50cc bike with only a car license legally. Its about raising revenue, not public safety.

    Our current government is paying lipservice to environmental issues and is at the same time forcing people to use vehicles (that most of the time are overkill) because they raise revenue in the form of motor vehicle taxes, registration, fuel excise.

    Why do we need to be in line with Europe and Japan when we have VASTLY different traffic conditions, climate, distances and terrain???

    Hooray for revenue raising! Lets kill the environment even faster to make a quick buck!
  3. HybriDude

    HybriDude Motored Bikes Sponsor

    G'day heath

    To win this one, we need to engage the bicycle enthusiasts and understand their issues. One of those problems is fast noisy bikes on bicycle paths. MBs should be on the road with scooters.
  4. heathyoung

    heathyoung Member

    I think you are right about the 25Kph limit being due to people using bike paths - I have to ride down a bike path/park on the way to work and always kill the engine and put in the clutch.

    I should have been more clear with the 49cc thing - this is not a motorised bike, but a small engined moped/motorcycle/scooter that has passed ADR's and is limited to 50kph - legal to ride on a car licence in every state but NSW and VIC (where you need a motorcycle license, so you may as well ride a 250 - hence the lack of popularity of 49cc's here) You still pay a small rego and insurance fee - so the RTA gets their cut.

    The problem is the bicycle lobby and Harold Scruby (pedestrian council) who seems to think everyone should walk everywhere :jester:

    Is there a possibity of debate with these amendments to legislation, or does the RTA give the general populace the one-fingered-salute and do what they want?
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  5. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    The RTA in NSW is a much despised Govt agency that has a very bad reputation for public consultation and has very few in-house skills, using external consultants for straightforward stuff they could once do themselves. They are a shadow of their former DMR days when they really were a skilled organisation with a reputation that was the envy of many road engineers around the world but they still weild immense power. They are even more despised than DOCS. I do not trust them to undertake anything in a competent manner and I certainly don't expect them to engage in any meaningful consultation with stakeholders.
  6. heathyoung

    heathyoung Member

    Nor do I - I would be very, very suprised if there is any consultation with stakeholders. Sad but true.
  7. HybriDude

    HybriDude Motored Bikes Sponsor

    Yep, they have NOT consulted with MB stakeholders.

    The discussion paper is with NSW Gov't. I suspect that the Sydney Morning Herald story probably emanated from one of the 'stakeholders'.

    I sent a letter to the SMH yesterday. They might publish it. Let me know if you see it.
  8. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Some Points For Discussion

    I accept that the cycling lobby are not powerful which is evident from driver attitudes to cyclists and the lack of TV adverts to tell drivers about cyclists true rights on the road. The traffic authority that has produced these draft guidelies in Australia is the NSW Roads & Traffic Authority and they consulted the peak bicycle bodies 'Bicycles NSW' and 'Cycling Australia' neither of which would have any experience with MBs but the big brand names (Schwinn, Avanti etc) offer electric bikes and I suspect they carry clout with these peak cycling bodies. MBs have no clout whatsoever and no peak body to put their case forward. This Forum is as close as it gets to a body of MB users and postings on this thread would have most traffic regulators in Govt departments reaching for their legislative gun when they read some of the stuff written here that just reeks of selfishness and an outlaw attitude.
    I don't know how the responsible users in Australia can come together to put forward a submission pointing out the pros of Mbs but I would like to try before it is too late. Hybriped seems to be willing to try as well and I'm not sure about the large contingent of MBers in Adelaide. I'm not sure if we could even get agreement on a submission but I reckon the following points need to be made clear:

    1. The push for regulation is not being driven by unpleasant road statistics. The RTA hasn't come clean on what is driving this push - we need to establish what the need for this rushed regulatory reform actually is;
    2. A speed limit if any should be 30mph or 48 km\hr because 25km\hr or 15 mph is quite clearly silly and not feasible;
    3. Being allowed or not allowed on cycleways is not important at this juncture because there are no meaningful dedicated cycleways in Australia yet but MBs would need to use dedicated cycle lanes on major roads and not be forced into the lanes trafficked by other motor vehicles;
    4. If there has to be a power restriction lets get them to accept that power through the driven wheel is what counts and not raw engine power;
    5. The law should remain with the 50cc engine size limit and not be reduced;
    6. The potential of MBs to improve our environmental footprint needs to be stated very clearly and the current misunderstanding about electric bikes = great env footprint & MBs = dirty footprint needs to be smashed into their consciousness;
    7. The call for Australian Design Rules should be resisted heavily because that will really make compliance impossible;
    8. In many rural areas (especially my own) there is no public transport or not a viable bus network that can get you there and back in the same day. Hence the need for motorised bicycles that have long range and reasonable cruising speed ability.

    Last month my local newspaper (The Byron Echo - a multiple national award-winning newspaper) ran an article on my sustainable bikes and I made the same points that Happy valley has made above (see attached article). Despite this article a local councillor told my partner that I was flogging a dead horse because electric bikes are the future. He was elected to the Council as a member of the Australian Green Party and he really thought my bikes were not sustainable when they are really clean Honda 4-strokes that can take you very comfortably on a 100 km round trip in 3 hours using just under a litre of fuel and blowing no smoke. That is what we are up against - widely held misunderstandings about motored bikes. It's similar to the belief that LED lights are the future for motored bikes when they actually just can't perform well enough as a front light and are nowhere near as good as the halogen or HID lights for use up front. LED might get there one day but certainly not yet. These misunderstanding exist right accross the board and I am concerned that they will be enshrined into legislation before we know it and we'll all be left wheeling our bikes to some private proprety on Sundays where we might be allowed to ride them under the supervision of our local police force if we pay a fee every time for the priviledge.
    I've just shelled out $400 to advertise in an 'Environmantal Sustanability Supplement' being issued in Northern NSW by the Byron Echo and the Tweed Echo and I'm in the section on sustainable transport along with the Chinese electric scooters and other electric bikes. The electic bike guys will keep perpetuating the lie that motored bikes are very dirty and their electric bikes are as pure as the driven snow but people are very slowly becoming enlighted as to problems with Lithium Ion batteries inability to be recycled, the incredible weight of lead acid batteries although they can be recycled, the inability to get any spare parts for Chinese made electric motors, the amount of coal fired electricity needed to recharge the batteries, the limited range of the batteries and the generally poor standard of electric components made in China (Yes, the electric motor guys have their own equivalent of our HT engines).
    I want to see all these points on the table before the RTA rushes their legislation through because the really serious environmental issues that face us merit a properly coordinated response to the problems of sustainable transport. At present a 4-stroke MB is a really serious alternative to using a car even for fairly lengthy trips.

    Attached Files:

  9. HybriDude

    HybriDude Motored Bikes Sponsor

    Several months ago, I established an email account It's a bit long-winded but our advocacy should be broad-enough to accomodate such vehicles as motor-assisted HPVs. There is guy down here who is very interested in them.

    We need to establish a committee to drive a response. Also, we do need to come up with a position that the general public can accept. It really is worth your while to talk to cyclists and find out what their beef is with MBs, if any. Also, ask them what is the practical range for a bicycle for everyday use and find out what the general strategy is when they can't cycle everywhere.

    My perception is that very few cyclists actually ride for utility reasons, except in city traffic jams, where cycling is quicker.
  10. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    The Draft RTA Regs That Would Ban all MBs

    The draft regulations are out. See attached PDF. I think we need a new thread for these but the response deadline is only one month away.
    These regs are as bad as they could be and will put every MB off the road in Australia. They will also give a monopoly to the electric bikes and will create a flood of Chinese electric bikes that people will buy but only use once because, believe me, in the UK those bikes never get used because it's quicker to use an ordinary pushie. Goodbye to any chance of an effective sustainable alternative to the car and God help those who live in the bush without buses.
  11. toddjlyons

    toddjlyons Member

    Just like your firearms laws. Good luck, but your countrymen have no history of preserving their rights. TJ
  12. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Maybe that's true Toddy but maybe we don't have to defend our rights quite so much. You can walk through most of Australia without meeting panhandlers or beggars at every corner and if you are really sick or needy you will be cared for.
  13. heathyoung

    heathyoung Member

    Well thats it for all of the kits sold in Australia then - there are no pedalec kits readily available, it looks like they are also trying to ban any internal combustion engines, and you have to be pedalling to get assistance as well (so there goes the cyclone style kits, Sachs rotary kits, 98% of hub motors - the retailers are going to be P1553D.)

    It couldn't be any worse. So what happens to the thousands of (now non-compliant) kits sold? Are they sent to landfill as well? The environmental cost of this legislation is staggering.

    May as well get a motorcycle - buying a compliant (with PABC compliance plate - with the details recorded - ostensibly for theft reduction - but allowing registration to occur - making the RTA MORE INCOME). A Sachs 150cc motorcycle is about $2500 onroad, with rego costs of 150-200 per year - a compliant ebike, heavily restricted and decently made (LiFePo4 batteries, decent groupset, good frame etc + added compliance plate costs (look at the compliance issues with LV jap imports for an example of added costs) - would be $1500-2000 or so...

    Why the heck would you bother? RTA killed off the Moped, they will now do so to a usable PAB. Environmental lipservice as usual.
  14. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    One of the points I'll be listing for inclusion in something we can hopefully all submit will be conflicts between these regs and their stated policy on environmental issues. These regs are not environmentally friendly because they disallow internal combustion motors and therefor encourage greater reliance upon cars. This is a strong argument in these times and growing stronger every day. Should have some numbered point form listings by late Monday as a starting point for addition, deletion, rewriting or debating.
    Anyone with experience in Govt policy formulation can be of great assistance. My experience in policy has only been on landscape and urban design issues but CityScape - an Urban planning e-zine from Sydney - are interested in sustainable transport and could help us if we can get our act together quick smart. Another issue in this Draft Regs is the info on accident stats is not very honestly presented because the amount of SERIOUS inhjuries recorded are very low for MBs and they are downright dishonest in playing down the importance in speed differentials between bikes and cars as being a major cause of death and injury in cases of bikes hit from behind. We all know that going at a reasonble speed in traffic helps us avoid being hit from the rear.
    When you make any points for inclusion\discussion please word them as precisely as you can and write them on a separate line or paragraph.
  15. will_start

    will_start Member

    lifes too short, live fast in a nice pair of shorts...
  16. Stink Bike

    Stink Bike Member

    Does anyone know who the New South Wales Government Minister is that is in charge of the RTA?

    The Liberal Party members might also be useful.They just about always go against anything the Labour Party is proposing.This Labour Party is unlikely to be in power after the next election.

    The Chinese manufacture's might be able to lean on the Government.
  17. Stink Bike

    Stink Bike Member

    You have no knowledge of Australian history.
    The only time we have really needed guns is when Australia has been at War.
    Like WW1,WW2,Korea,Vietnam,Iraq and Afghanistan Etc.

    After the Wars we generally put the guns away as Australian's don't fear other Australian's.
  18. BoltsMissing

    BoltsMissing Active Member

  19. Stink Bike

    Stink Bike Member

  20. Irish John

    Irish John Guest