NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Positive discussion on ebikes and pedal assist bicycles

Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby Joeblake » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:18 am

moozoo wrote:I just feel that power assistance is most needed going up inclines and 250W is not enough.
I was hoping for a solution to that problem.




I'm nearly 61, got arthritis in my feet, weigh 100 kg, and I find 250 watts more than adequate for climbing fairly steep hills. With a combination of pedal and electric (manually controlled - I like to pedal WITHOUT assistance sometimes) I can go up Welshpool Road in the Hills East of Perth at about 16 km/h, a distance of over 5 km, as happened today. 250 watts wouldn't get me up WITHOUT pedal assist, but then I've got a (petrol) motorcycle if I'm in a hurry. And I've done this climb after riding over 50 km to Perth and back beforehand.

And going downhill at the start of the ride I hit 78 km/h, without using the motor. :wink:

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by BNA » Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:05 pm

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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby John Lewis » Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:05 pm

I'm with Joe. It is electric assist not electric motorbike. The power is there to assist when needed when human power is not enough. Not just so you can be faster.

I have dabbled and made my own electric bike setup. Lots of fun and I really didn't need any more power than the supposed but likely less than 200 W after losses.

To my mind this would be a good way to go. Note John is no chicken and this setup is only 50W.

http://www.recumbents.com/wisil/tetz/e-assistmetric/

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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby moozoo » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:05 am

So when is it likely that the 250W bikes will be legal? A years time?
I assume there is a process being followed.
When does the next stage of this process occur (committee meeting?) and are committee minutes public?

From what I understand the assistance cutting out at 25km was in consideration of use on shared paths.
Does the current process include allowing the use of electric assistance on shared paths?
In particular the Perth PSP (Principle Shared Paths) which are for the most part cycle ways.

A number of shared paths in parks have a 10km/h limit (kings park, Perth, outer paths).
I assume such a low speed is in consideration of intersections with low visibility and because these paths are not suppose to be thoroughfares.
I'd image a lot of people on ebikes would not bother to turn off the assistance and just pedal slower.
Will power assist be legal for these paths even if the 10km/h limit is observed.
Perhaps a 10km assistance cut out option is needed for these cases. (i.e. switchable cutout of 25km and 10km)

Does anyone sell ebike that conform to the current standard but can be upgraded with minimal effort to the proposed standard once it becomes law.
i.e. comes with a 200W, 25km assistance cutout and pedelec drive but a matching 250W motor can be swapped in later.
I assume a switch that switches between 200W and 250W would be illegal, since the motor would still be 250W...
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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby John Lewis » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:42 pm

I think current WA rules require that the motor not be used on a bicycle path or shared path. That was the case last I looked.
So on paths pedals only.

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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby moozoo » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:57 pm

John Lewis wrote:I think current WA rules require that the motor not be used on a bicycle path or shared path. That was the case last I looked.
So on paths pedals only.
John


I know, which currently rules out an electric bike for me.

From http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/cycling/19725.asp#13
Department of Transport wrote:Attempts are being made to amend the WA Traffic Code to allow power assisted bicycles (up to a certain power ratio) to be operated on shared paths.
Watch our web site for an announcement on this or ...


I assume this is an indirect reference to the NSW RTA suggestions. I doubt it would be handled separately.
Hence my questions in regard to its progress.
Given the slowness of the process I don't think I will be regularly watching their web site for announcements.
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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby stolennomenclature » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:34 pm

I fail to understand the need to be so restrictive with e-bike power. Here is an opportunity to turn a device used mainly for occasional recreational activity into a useful means of green transportation. Why cripple it? I fail to understand the emphasis placed on safety. A bicycle going 40kmh will undoubtedly do more damage to a pedestrian in an accident than one traveling at 20kmh, but surely still much less than a 400 kilo motorbike going at 80kmh, yet the former is bad but the latter apparently is fine? Is it simply a matter of it being acceptable to cripple and maim providing you've paid your road tax?
The only completely safe vehicle is one that is stationary. Obviously faster bicycles are more dangerous bicycles, but then we accept very heavy vehicles such as trucks, cars and motorbikes travelling at 60-70kmh in our cities, so why frown on lightweight bicycles going at 30Kmh? Its absurd. Obviously the men in Government do not want to lose too much of their license/road tax revenue, so therefor cannot allow bicycles to become too attractive, as they would be if they were allowed to have 500 watt motors, rather than the current pathetic 200 watts, and the slightly less pathetic 25owatts.
:(
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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby Joeblake » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:08 pm

stolennomenclature wrote:I fail to understand the need to be so restrictive with e-bike power. Here is an opportunity to turn a device used mainly for occasional recreational activity into a useful means of green transportation. Why cripple it? I fail to understand the emphasis placed on safety. A bicycle going 40kmh will undoubtedly do more damage to a pedestrian in an accident than one traveling at 20kmh, but surely still much less than a 400 kilo motorbike going at 80kmh, yet the former is bad but the latter apparently is fine? Is it simply a matter of it being acceptable to cripple and maim providing you've paid your road tax?
The only completely safe vehicle is one that is stationary. Obviously faster bicycles are more dangerous bicycles, but then we accept very heavy vehicles such as trucks, cars and motorbikes travelling at 60-70kmh in our cities, so why frown on lightweight bicycles going at 30Kmh? Its absurd. Obviously the men in Government do not want to lose too much of their license/road tax revenue, so therefor cannot allow bicycles to become too attractive, as they would be if they were allowed to have 500 watt motors, rather than the current pathetic 200 watts, and the slightly less pathetic 25owatts.
:(


I don't know about in your state, but in WA the majority of "licence/road tax" revenue is actually insurance, simply because a heavier motor vehicle does more damage, both in driving on the road and when it crashes into something else. For my 650 cc motorcycle, the "registration" for 12 months totals $194.15, of which $28.30 is "licence fee", recording fee is $13.05 and the rest is insurance or GST/ stamp duty on insurance. The licence fee is just a tad over $0.50 a week.

A 400 kilo motorcycle??? Wow. The Triumph Rocket III only weighs about 320 kilos, and that's got something like a 2200 cc engine. My BMW is just under 170 kg.

I use a 200 watt motor to assist me in getting to Perth and back (with a pretty steep climb at the beginning) and it even enables me to tow a fairly heavily laden trailer. 250 watts is more than adequate.

If I need to travel more quickly, I ride my motorcycle. It's simple.

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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby stolennomenclature » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:36 pm

Joeblake

As regards the 400 kilo bike, I was referring to a bike on the road, which would have a rider, perhaps of about 80 kilos?

As to you electing to use your motorbike if you need to travel more quickly, you might like to consdier that not everyone has a motorbike. Some people don't want one, or perhaps can't afford one, or don't have a license, or want to ride without creating as much polution.

I also fail to see the point of the pedelec control? Is the bicycle safer when the pedals are spinning? Are bicycle riders incapable of understanding how a twist throttle works? I am sorry, but I fail to understand why the sky falls in when an ebike rider stops pedaling but keeps going. If the rider is pedaling and using the motor, then the bike has increased performance over the bike with the motor alone. Since these regulators are apparently keen to have the electric bike go as slow as possible, then I would have thought they would have preferred the rider to not be pedaling.

What about people who are unfit, or have injuries that limit how much pedaling they can do? These are the people who would most benefit from an ebike - but with pedelec many may be effectively prevented from using one. How is that fair? Society caters for invalids and people in wheelchairs in other areas of society. Why stop overweight and unfit people from using an electric bike?

Bicycles are the least dangerous vehicles on the road. Even a 500 watt motor does not turn a bicycle into a 750cc 4 cylinder 300 kilo motorbike. Lets get things in perspective. Pay these regulators to regulate something important, like motorcycles and cars, instead of harmless bicycles. Do motorbikes and cars really need to have engines powerful enough to propel them at speeds much faster then the speed limit? Does a motorbike capable of carrying two people really need a highly tuned 1 litre engine? Do people reallt need to drive a 4WD (truck) down to their local supermarket to do the weekly shopping? It would be more constructive if the authorities sought to regulate these ultra fast heavy vehicles rather than throwing all their idiotic weight against the most innocent and frail of the wheeled vehicles.
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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby Joeblake » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:14 pm

stolennomenclature wrote:Joeblake

As regards the 400 kilo bike, I was referring to a bike on the road, which would have a rider, perhaps of about 80 kilos?



I weigh 100 kg, which brings the combined weight of BMW and myself to about 270 kg.

As to you electing to use your motorbike if you need to travel more quickly, you might like to consdier that not everyone has a motorbike. Some people don't want one, or perhaps can't afford one, or don't have a license, or want to ride without creating as much polution.


What's to consider? I'm not suggesting other people ride motorcycles, and never have. I was simply saying I ride an electrike unless I am in a hurry, then I ride a motorcycle. Even two up, it gets about 26 km/l, which is as good or better than most small cars or even many hybrids. For me pollution is not a concern, since I travel less than 9,500 km a year. However, once the right machine comes on the market, I'll buy an electric motorcycle, and quite happily pay registration and insurance.

I also fail to see the point of the pedelec control?


So do I.

Since these regulators are apparently keen to have the electric bike go as slow as possible, then I would have thought they would have preferred the rider to not be pedaling.


You seem to be very well informed as to what other people are thinking.

What about people who are unfit, or have injuries that limit how much pedaling they can do?


I have such damage to my feet and knees that I require two walking sticks to walk more than 100 metres or so. I understand very well about such injuries, thank you. Your concern is noted and appreciated. However I still don't see my injuries as any justification for having more than 250 watts.

The topic is electric-assisted pedal machinery, not pedal-assisted electric machinery.

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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby Comedian » Sun May 01, 2011 7:19 am

stolennomenclature wrote:The only completely safe vehicle is one that is stationary.

I disagree. Ever heard of clipstacks? :shock: :mrgreen:
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby stolennomenclature » Sun May 01, 2011 1:01 pm

Joeblake wrote:
stolennomenclature wrote:Joeblake

As to you electing to use your motorbike if you need to travel more quickly, you might like to consdier that not everyone has a motorbike. Some people don't want one, or perhaps can't afford one, or don't have a license, or want to ride without creating as much polution.


What's to consider? I'm not suggesting other people ride motorcycles, and never have. I was simply saying I ride an electrike unless I am in a hurry, then I ride a motorcycle. ....


I was not trying to suggest that you were advocating everyone using a motorcycle. My point is what are people who don't have motorcycles supposed to do when they are in a hurry? If ebikes had more powerful motors and could travel at higher speed, people could perhaps also use them when they are in a hurry, without needing to use a motorcycle or something similar as a backup. My basic point is why put such low limits on the power of ebikes and severely restrict their usefulness, necessitating use of more powerful vehicles for certain types of trips. The more powerful an ebike is, the more useful and versatile it is. Logically ebikes should be allowed to use the largest possible motors giving the best possible performance, comensurate with the capabilities of the machine.

It is abundantly clear that very fit cyclists can easily exceed the somewhat arbitrary proposed limit of 25 kph set by the RTA for electric bicycles. If its considered safe for a human propelled bicycle to go at, say for example, 40 kph, then why should an electric bike not be allowed to do so also? If it is unsafe for an electric bike to travel at 40kph, then surely by definition it is also unsafe for a human powered bike to go at that same speed? I actually think a good argument could be made for the fact that it is actually safer to travel at that speed on motor propulsion alone than by pedaling, since the human powered bike is likely to be a drop bar racer, with the riders head bowed low for low wind resistance, while the ebike rider is more likely to be upright using flat bars, and with all their concentration on the road ahead. The ebike is also more likely to be heavier and with fatter tires, perhaps also with disc brakes, all the kinds of features that ordinary cyclist who want to travel fast try to avoid in order to keep their bikes light and sporty.

It seems clear to me that the reason why conventional un-motored bicycles are allowed to be unregistered and the riders not licensed is that the low weight and low performance of these vehicle is considered to render them such a low risk to other road users and pedestrians that they do not need to be heavily regulated. Providing a motor powered bicycle keeps within the limits of a normal human powered bicycle envelope, I see no reason why it needs to be considered differently to a human powered bicycle. I fail to see what difference the control mechanism (throttle, pedelec, etc) makes to the performance of an ebike such that it would force it to be considered as a different type of vehicle. And it also seems to me that a bicycle with a 500 watt motor would still perform within the parameters of a normal human powered vehicles, as it is clear that fit human beings can exceed 500 watts of power when pedaling for a short period of time. In this case the shortness of the time period that a human can maintain 500watts of power is irrelevant, since it would still make the bicycle unsafe during that time. The RTA to my knowledge has never suggested that bicycle riders must not pedal their bikes too vigorously or else they would break the law.

I am not advocating 3 kilowatt motors nor would I want to see people hurtling down the road at 80 kph on a flimsy bicycle. But surely 500 watts is still well within the realms of common sense. This would not turn the average bike into a drag racer, but it would help it go up steep hills at a reasonable speed, and overcome strong headwinds. I note that many people in Governments around the world seem to agree. Canada has a 500 watt limit, and the US a 750 watt one. I think the limit should be at the very least 350 watts, but preferably 500 watts.
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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby Joeblake » Sun May 01, 2011 3:40 pm

stolennomenclature wrote:I was not trying to suggest that you were advocating everyone using a motorcycle.


You weren't? Then why are you asking me to consider what other people do?

My point is what are people who don't have motorcycles supposed to do when they are in a hurry?


They could do exactly what they do now, and drive a car.


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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby trailgumby » Sun May 01, 2011 4:45 pm

stolennomenclature wrote:I was not trying to suggest that you were advocating everyone using a motorcycle. My point is what are people who don't have motorcycles supposed to do when they are in a hurry?

Plan better.

The reason for the limits is that the various state RTAs recognise that more power starts to put riders in the space of being defacto electric motorcycles. The reason they want the existing regulatory regime to apply (registration, insurance, licensing et cetera) once that threshhold has been reached is to ensure that other road users (that would be pedestrians and pedal cyclists) are adequately protected from the risks of incompetent operation. And this they do by requiring users to meet minimim competence standards (licensing) and insurance cover (rego and third party).

You can go faster with more power if you want, but you need to be licensed and insured.

HTFU princess.
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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby Comedian » Sun May 01, 2011 7:18 pm

Also, the more power you have the more of everything you need. IE, you whack a 500w motor on there, and then you're going to need probably nearly twice as much in the way of batteries which will weight twice as much. The power cables will need to be thicker, motor heavier, speed controller bigger.. all heavier. Most likely the frame will need to be stronger to handle the weight. Wheels will need more spokes and tyres will require more load carrying ability. Given that most commercial ebikes are in the 25-30kg range now I could easily see that stretching upwards of 35kg if the power limit was raised.

I would suggest the number of riders out there that could pedal a 35kg+ ebike (and associated weight carrying tyres) at even 30kph would be pretty limited (yes I know people do it while touring). So, they clearly carry the potential for more harm if the speed limit on them was increased.

I see that an electric scooter that's capable of 50kph weights 100kg...
http://www.nope.com.au/products/electric-scooters/nope-1500-l/
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby sogood » Sun May 01, 2011 7:20 pm

When and where can I get my 250W boost on my roadie? I want to ride like Cancellara! ASAP. :mrgreen:
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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby fishwop » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:07 am

stolennomenclature wrote:Joeblake

As regards the 400 kilo bike, I was referring to a bike on the road, which would have a rider, perhaps of about 80 kilos?



Of course motorcycles can carry 2 people. So a Fat Boy with 2 fat boys on board could quite easily weigh well over 500kg.
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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby Joeblake » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:13 am

The relevance of this?

How often do you see two adults on the one e-bike?

:mrgreen:

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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby fishwop » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:22 pm

Joeblake wrote:The relevance of this?

How often do you see two adults on the one e-bike?

:mrgreen:

Joe


Not really relevant at all, except that you suggested quite incorrectly a few posts back there was no such thing as a 400kg motorcycle, apparently on the basis that you have one that is considerably lighter.
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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby Joeblake » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:58 pm

fishwop wrote:
Not really relevant at all, except that you suggested quite incorrectly a few posts back there was no such thing as a 400kg motorcycle, apparently on the basis that you have one that is considerably lighter.


Two points. Firstly, I did not suggest "there was no such thing as a 400 kg motorcycle",

I said
A 400 kilo motorcycle??? Wow. The Triumph Rocket III only weighs about 320 kilos, and that's got something like a 2200 cc engine. My BMW is just under 170 kg.


Secondly, my suggestion was on the basis of (a) nearly 40 years motorcycling experience, and (b) I searched the internet to determine the weight of one of the heaviest machines I knew of, and that was the Triumph Rocket III. There probably are heavier motorcycles, maybe even 400 kg without passengers, but they would be very rare, which was the reason I said "Wow".

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Re: NSW RTA set to change electric bike laws

Postby fishwop » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:31 pm

The ElectraGlide Ultra is approx 403kg in roadgoing form. The Honda GoldWing about 360kg.

With most motorcycles having undergone some fairly serious weight reduction in recent times, there wouldn't be too many over 400kg kerb weight, it is true.
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