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Moped vs. eBike

Aylmer

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I ride an ebike with a throttle as my main daily driver. The throttle is actually very useful for starting from stop in traffic. I guess you could technically use the throttle for an entire trip, but it's not really worth it; It maxes out at 32km/h on flat terrain (and only after a while, especially if you're not also pedalling) and pedalling is already so easy with the boost that it's easier to just do that.

I think the main distinguishing factor is speed. A bicycle in an urban environment is basically a fast pedestrian and moves at human-like speeds. 30 km/h is pretty much the limit there (being as fast as a peak sprint). Above that, and you're closer to a car. The 60 km/h ebike is a total strawman outlier and just isn't in the same functional universe as an ebike.
 

Admiral Beez

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If this guy's average ride sees a top speed of 60 km/h, then it doesn't meet the legal definition of an E-Bike (max 32km/h) and really stretches the practical definition of a bicycle altogether. There's a pretty sharp threshold around 25-35 km/h where we're much less able as a species to be spatially aware, react, or survive falls. The dangers he lists are valid, but not very translatable to someone riding a legal electric bicycle.
Most ebikes I see are running faster than 32 kph. Often As I drive along Dundas East at 40-50 kph I am passed by ebikes. I suspect they’re either sold without speed limiters or given a nudge-wink mod after sale. His last point about otherwise slower young and old people running at 30 kph is still valid.
 

afransen

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Most ebikes I see are running faster than 32 kph. Often As I drive along Dundas East at 40-50 kph I am passed by ebikes. I suspect they’re either sold without speed limiters or given a nudge-wink mod after sale. His last point about otherwise slower young and old people running at 30 kph is still valid.
It is a pretty serious infraction if caught by police.
 

Aylmer

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Most ebikes I see are running faster than 32 kph. Often As I drive along Dundas East at 40-50 kph I am passed by ebikes. I suspect they’re either sold without speed limiters or given a nudge-wink mod after sale. His last point about otherwise slower young and old people running at 30 kph is still valid.

I'm not doubting your observations, but keep the observation bias in mind; You'll notice an illegally souped-up bike going 60, but you'll miss a dozen unremarkable ebikes going an unremarkable speed. It's increasingly hard to tell at a glance whether a bike has assist or not even when you're looking for them.
 

Admiral Beez

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If this guy's average ride sees a top speed of 60 km/h, then it doesn't meet the legal definition of an E-Bike (max 32km/h)
Isn‘t that 32 kph rule only for motor-only operation? I can cycle under my own power to 50 kph, so with pedal assist 60 kph should be possible. Perhaps the chap above was doing 60 kph downhill.
It is a pretty serious infraction if caught by police.
I almost never see TPS outside of their cars unless they‘re on paid duty. And besides, I can cycle under my own power to at least 40 kph with bursts over 50 kph, - are the police really going to question if that's me or the electric motor doing the work?

The ebike speeders are safe from police enforcement. At 6:04 this Torontonian for example tops out at 48 kph without any concern for the cops.

 
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Admiral Beez

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Ebikes that masquerade as vespas and motorbikes are taking a hit in BC.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/e-bikes-motorcycles-b-c-court-decision-1.5928169

“Two of the three Appeal Court justices assigned to the case agreed with the B.C. Supreme Court judge's decision from May 2020 that found although the Motorino XMr is outfitted with pedals, limited power and a maximum speed of 32 km/h, it doesn't qualify as a motor-assisted cycle because it's not designed to be operated primarily by human power.”

In my book, unlicensed and uninsured ebikes should be fully pedal assist; if you‘re not pedalling, it doesn’t run. And if you’re running an unassisted ebike you should be prohibited from using bicycle paths and designated lanes, same as I would be on my motorcycle even if I kept below 30 kph. I can’t ride my Suzuki down the Martin Goodman Trail, and neither should a purely motorized battery powered bike. The motor’s power source shouldn’t matter.
 
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afransen

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Ebikes that masquerade as vespas and motorbikes are taking a hit in BC.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/e-bikes-motorcycles-b-c-court-decision-1.5928169

“Two of the three Appeal Court justices assigned to the case agreed with the B.C. Supreme Court judge's decision from May 2020 that found although the Motorino XMr is outfitted with pedals, limited power and a maximum speed of 32 km/h, it doesn't qualify as a motor-assisted cycle because it's not designed to be operated primarily by human power.”

In my book, unlicensed and uninsured ebikes should be fully pedal assist; if you‘re not pedalling, it doesn’t run. And if you’re running an unassisted ebike you should be prohibited from using bicycle paths and designated lanes, same as I would be on my motorcycle even if I kept below 30 kph. I can’t ride my Suzuki down the Martin Goodman Trail, and neither should a purely motorized battery powered bike. The motor’s power source shouldn’t matter.
Agreed.
 

Admiral Beez

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Another thing that riders zipping along at about 40 kph may forget is that automobile insurance can be your financial saviour. If you hit someone because you lost control of your speeding ebike you’re liable and will be sued. If you were on a licensed and insured low speed two wheeler, like a moped insurance would pay out. There’s no help on an ebike.
 

robmausser

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Ebikes that masquerade as vespas and motorbikes are taking a hit in BC.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/e-bikes-motorcycles-b-c-court-decision-1.5928169

“Two of the three Appeal Court justices assigned to the case agreed with the B.C. Supreme Court judge's decision from May 2020 that found although the Motorino XMr is outfitted with pedals, limited power and a maximum speed of 32 km/h, it doesn't qualify as a motor-assisted cycle because it's not designed to be operated primarily by human power.”

In my book, unlicensed and uninsured ebikes should be fully pedal assist; if you‘re not pedalling, it doesn’t run. And if you’re running an unassisted ebike you should be prohibited from using bicycle paths and designated lanes, same as I would be on my motorcycle even if I kept below 30 kph. I can’t ride my Suzuki down the Martin Goodman Trail, and neither should a purely motorized battery powered bike. The motor’s power source shouldn’t matter.

I disagree. As long as the device is governed to 32kmh I dont see why there should need to be a distinction whether someone pedals or not. Are you saying that electric scooters should be banned from bike paths and trails too? What about electric skateboards? What about mobility scooters for the disabled who cant pedal?

These forms of mobility are here to stay and are only going to get more prevalent. And GOOD! The more people we get out of cars, the better. And they will be incentivized to do so by being able to use infrastructure that bypasses car lanes.

I think as long as its got a limit to 32kmh its fine. Its not about how you kept your motorcycle below 30kmh, its that it has the potential to go much faster thats dangerous, and the fact that its not electric.

Besides, I have a pedelec bike and I can set it so that I am barely even touching the pedals for it to go forward. Im basically using the pedals as buttons to tell the bike to move forward, so at that point the difference between a throttle and the fact that im actually "pedaling" its pretty moot.
 

afransen

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That’s the very point the BC courts are making.
I imagine we'll move towards absolute speed caps (like 25 kph) for vehicles such as mobility scooters or maximum pedal assist factors (how much supplemental power can be applied as a proportion of manual power) beyond a certain speed. So you can use a pedal assist bike as a low speed moped, but above a certain speed you need to be pedalling pretty hard to maintain the pedal assist. It should cut out entirely at no more than 35kph, maybe less.

Bike lanes should be designed for average people to use them safely without pedal assist--that means around 15-20 kph. Speed demons need to learn to travel at a safe relative speed to these users or mix with cars. I see people doing stupid stuff in our new protected bike lanes because they are obsessed with racing from red light to red light and impatiently pass less hardcore cyclists going at a moderate pace. The ideal solution we can hope for is bike lanes wide enough for passing (3.5m or 4m bidirectional), but that is not going to happen overnight.
 

Admiral Beez

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Yes, and I do agree with the weight consideration and safety. But the solution to that should be a weight limit to ebikes. Limit the weight, size, speed and wattage. Whether its self propelled to me is irrelevant.
So I can ride a lightweight 2-stroke moped down the Martin Goodman Trail?
 

robmausser

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So I can ride a lightweight 2-stroke moped down the Martin Goodman Trail?
No, as I stated before the other factor is noise pollution and actual pollution, especially in the tails. The rules should also dictate that there are certain dB limits of the device as well as it directly give off no emissions.

A moped fails on both those counts.

Whether a device is human power assisted or not is a rediculous consideration, especially when you factor in our aging population.
 

afransen

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No, as I stated before the other factor is noise pollution and actual pollution, especially in the tails. The rules should also dictate that there are certain dB limits of the device as well as it directly give off no emissions.

A moped fails on both those counts.

Whether a device is human power assisted or not is a rediculous consideration, especially when you factor in our aging population.

To make it inclusive and to improve experience for people with disabilities, I don't think a blanket prohibition on fully self-powered mobility devices in bike lanes is necessary. We want to cut down on heavy, fast and noisy vehicles.

Fully-powered without pedal assist in bike lanes is fine for this:



and not for this



In the Netherlands, these vehicles are allowed to use cycle paths if you have a disability:




 

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