Petition for law change - Ebike Assist Limit

My concern would be that raising the speed cut off limit would come with restrictions to the use of ebikes - such as no longer being classified the same as 'normal' bikes - hence not using shared cycle paths etc etc.
At the end of the day no-one can tell if my bike has a cut-off of 15 mph or 20 mph so there couldn't really be any legislation saying that I am OK on a cycle path but Fred with his 20mph limit can't use it - hence we would all get banned

personally I think we are lucky to have them classed as normal bikes anyway - given the rabid anti-bike people that inhabit the roads at times - so I don't want anything rocking the boat
 

Low Gear Guy

Senior Member
Location
Surrey
Moving from 15 mph to 20 mph would increase the risks to other road and path users. In order to mitigate the risk there could be additional requirements for the rider e.g. helmet, insurance, registration.

Is this not similar to the existing classification for a 30 mph moped?
 

youngoldbloke

The older I get, the faster I used to be ...
Moving from 15 mph to 20 mph would increase the risks to other road and path users. In order to mitigate the risk there could be additional requirements for the rider e.g. helmet, insurance, registration.

Is this not similar to the existing classification for a 30 mph moped?
How would this mitigate the risk to other road and path users, when one can ride ebikes at over 20mph anyway?
I've no objection to insurance - everyone should have it. I wear a helmet. But I wouldn't welcome moped style 'numberplates' however.
 

DRHysted

Veteran
Location
New Forest
I’ve only read to page 10, and don’t have the will to read further.
What I don’t understand is the need to increase the cut off. It’s currently at a perfectly reasonable speed for shared use facilities, yes you could go faster on a unassisted bike but it would take a lot more effort.
My experience of being overtaken by eBikes is a rider simply twiddling the pedals putting in very little effort, and my opinion is that if speed is obtained easily then it will be used. After all how many of us actually brake when going downhill unless we have to, how many treat it as free speed?
 

classic33

Legendary Member
I’ve only read to page 10, and don’t have the will to read further.
What I don’t understand is the need to increase the cut off. It’s currently at a perfectly reasonable speed for shared use facilities, yes you could go faster on a unassisted bike but it would take a lot more effort.
My experience of being overtaken by eBikes is a rider simply twiddling the pedals putting in very little effort, and my opinion is that if speed is obtained easily then it will be used. After all how many of us actually brake when going downhill unless we have to, how many treat it as free speed?
Free speed, and will often coast as far as possible on it.
 

Gary E

Veteran
Location
Hampshire
Just to throw in another perspective - as others on this thread and elsewhere have said, it's relatively easy to get around (hack? chip? bypass?) the 15.6mph cut off speed and so there are already eBikes out there that can do well in excess of this speed with almost no effort from the rider (I've been scalped more than once at speeds well above 15.6mph by people that look like they're freewheeling).
We're worrying that, should the cut off speed be increased to 20 mph, then irresponsible people would take advantage of this to use the extra speed inappropriately/dangerously. Unfortunately if they're irresponsible enough to do that, they're probably just as likely to 'hack' their bike. Basically eBikes capable of much greater speeds than 15.6 mph are out there now, they're a reality!
So we can either stick with the cut off limit where it is now and try to enforce it (speed cameras, random stop and search, satellite thermal surveillance etc), unlikely given that our law enforcement is stretched to breaking point already. Or we remove the limit altogether but put in place restrictions/requirements to govern the use of eBikes ("MOT" testing, licencing, insurance etc).
Neither option is ideal but at least the second one gives some measure of control and, more importantly, accountability? The 'MOT' need be nothing more than a safety check and could be carried out by your local bike shop (they could certainly do with the new revenue stream). The Licence could be gained after attending (and passing) something akin to the old cycling proficiency scheme (I think this would be beneficial to eBikes and normal bikes alike. Learning a little road-craft can't be a bad thing). And the insurance protects you and anyone you 'come into contact' with.
I should add that I'm not a fan of anything that restricts easy access for everyone to cycling but maybe we've reached a point where it's a necessary evil? Maybe putting measures in place now (and this is certainly not limited to eBikes) will make it safer out there and therefore make riding a more attractive proposition?
I apologise for the length of this post (which grew in the writing) and if it seems a little rambling in nature :smile:
 

youngoldbloke

The older I get, the faster I used to be ...
A number of pertinent points above - just one question - how could a speed camera distinguish between an ebike and an assisted bike, or between an ebike under power over the cut-off, and an ebike being leg powered, or coasting at over 15.5mph - it's not going to happen is it.
 

Venod

Eh up
There seems to be a lot of concern that ebikers will abuse the speed limits on cycle paths, I am not sure on the limits, but I believe 15 mph might be about the norm with a recommendation to use the road if exceeding 18 mph.

I have also heard that the 15.6 mph legal cut off is subject to a 10% allowance so 17 mph is legally allowable, but as mentioned by many some, people tweek there ebikes to cut off assistance higher than this, I can't see the police targeting ebikers or non assisted cyclists who are deemed to be riding dangerously on cycle paths anytime soon.

What is needed is education not legislation, ride to the conditions and recommended speeds on cycle paths, problem solved.

Motor vehicles are capable of far greater speeds than the speed limits imposed by the law and the conditions, yes a lot of people disregard this, but the majority of motorists are responsible and drive sensibly, but we have a few who have no regard for speed limits or other people, but we don't restrict the speed of motor vehicles, we try to educate these people to be considerate.

I realise that motorist have to pay VED and have insurance etc, but these don't give them powers to break the law and disrespect other road users.
 

Gary E

Veteran
Location
Hampshire
A number of pertinent points above - just one question - how could a speed camera distinguish between an ebike and an assisted bike, or between an ebike under power over the cut-off, and an ebike being leg powered, or coasting at over 15.5mph - it's not going to happen is it.
That was kind of my point (hence the cheeky mention of satellite thermal surveillance). You're right, it's not enforceable (or not easily at least).

In an ideal world there'd be no need to legislate or control eBikes (or any kind of bike for that matter) but given the anti-social behaviour of the few, the many often have to shoulder the burden. It wasn't my intention to preach (or indeed to sound like I knew what I was talking about), and I apologise if that's the way it comes over, I just think with the ever increasing traffic on our roads and cycle paths, it would be no bad thing to put some sensible controls and measures in place for everyone's benefit.
 

youngoldbloke

The older I get, the faster I used to be ...
As speed goes up you need exponentially more power. If it to provide assistance at faster speeds it needs to provide a lot more power.
As far as I know the EBM hardware - motor, power and battery setup in the Orbea Gains sold in the US and with a cut off of 20mph are exactly the same as the European ones with a cut-off of 15.5mph.
 

CXRAndy

Guru
Location
Lincs
There are physical battery and motor limitations. If users who who want to power along at 25mph, they will find even their extended battery pack gone in matter of 10-20 miles, then weighed down with a dead battery and motor.

I require a larger battery and a more powerful motor for extended distance and lower the stress on the motor. I want the assistance to be varied and if I and my wife want to travel above 15mph on open road we can.
 
As speed goes up you need exponentially more power. If it to provide assistance at faster speeds it needs to provide a lot more power.
I've ridden a derestricted bike.

It's a rather underwhelming experience, because as you say, much power is needed the faster you go and the otherwise legal 250w motor just doesn't have it.

I reckon riding a derestricted ebike at 20mph requires almost as much effort as riding a lightweight roadie bike at the same speed.

Derestricting the current 250w motors would be something and nothing, although no doubt makers would want to use more powerful motors to take advantage of the raised limit.
 
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