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"Cyclists think they can do whatever they want": Viral video shows moment driver uses bike lane to queue-jump gridlocked traffic; Wout van Aert's "calculated risk" for classics; DJ Dom Whiting announces first cycling event of 2024 + more on the live blog

Join Dan Alexander for all the news, reaction and more on the road.cc live blog this (leap year special) Thursday, your one-stop shop for everything that's happening in the world of cycling today...

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29 February 2024, 09:00
"Cyclists think they can do whatever they want": Viral video shows moment driver uses bike lane to queue-jump gridlocked traffic

This video posted on social media by Andy Boenau, the man behind Urbanism Speakeasy, a podcast and website championing the benefits of well-designed infrastructure, offering inspiration for if you want to "create a bicycle-friendly place that draws out the most smiles per square mile" (or other non-cycling projects)...

It's got almost one million views since Wednesday, other people commenting and sharing the video getting thousands of views themselves too. While the rest of the scene's drivers sit at standstill on the gridlocked road, one queue-jumping motorist takes a shortcut along the bike lane, perhaps inadvertently giving us all a real-world demonstration of the efficiency of cycle lanes. An efficiency ultimately ruined by... a vehicle's user that shouldn't be there causing a blockage when trying to rejoin the gridlocked road network...

The video is ripe for the usual 'nobody's using that empty bike lane' comments, but as some pointed out in the comments, the cycling infrastructure only looks empty because the people using it have almost certainly moved on to their destination by now and don't have to sit in a half-hour queue.

"Getting to the intersection and seeing there’s already a driver blocking the box was just👌  ," one person replied.

"How else is the car driver supposed to get past all that darn tRaFfiC? Don't you know he's IMPORTANT?" another said.

Cue the sequel...

29 February 2024, 17:29
Cycling campaigner raises concerns about cycle routes to newly built school for 1,500 pupils
Richfield Avenue (Google Maps)

A member of Kidical Mass Reading, Hilary Smart, has expressed concerns about cycling links to a newly built school in Caversham. The Henley Standard reports the academy will open in September and will have 1,500 pupils attending it, however Ms Smart has raised worries about cycling routes to the new facility on Richfield Avenue.

"The council is building a new school by Rivermead and putting in cycling infrastructure along Richfield Avenue but it does not intend to do any work to connect this new bike lane to the cycling route over Caversham Bridge," she said.

"Therefore, if the kids have any sense, they won't be going along Richfield Avenue using the new paths built with the funding, they'll cut straight down to the river. This means that the children who do cycle will have to navigate either a blind corner on Caversham Bridge and narrow unfenced paths by the river or the awful roundabout by the Crowne Plaza.

"We believe that if they joined up the bike lanes many more children would want to cycle to school. This would help them build independence and healthy habits and reduce car traffic over the bridge at drop-offs. Many secondary school children are mature enough to cycle to school independently. We are failing if the lack of safe infrastructure is the thing that stands in the way of them developing environmentally friendly and healthy habits."

29 February 2024, 15:00
Spectator who threw cup of drink at Marianne Vos at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to be questioned by police
29 February 2024, 15:01
It's just the one cyclist, actually...
29 February 2024, 14:38
London walking and cycling commissioner calls suggestion e-bike power could be doubled "madness" + road.cc reader reaction

Plenty of discussion about this today...

Engwe Engine X Riding 6.JPG

> Government considering doubling e-bike motor power but retaining 15mph limit

We've already included Cycling UK's statement on the live blog this afternoon, the charity saying the idea to double the maximum power of e-bikes to 500 watts would pose a "huge safety risk to pedestrians and others who cycle".

London's walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman called the idea "madness".

"Doubling the power of e-bikes? Making e-bikes full-throttle like motorbikes? This is madness! Why is government doing this? It'll increase risk of collisions and battery fires. They really should focus on legislation to sort out dockless e-bike parking," he said.

The Guardian's deputy political editor Peter Walker pointed out one of the arguments for the change, suggesting that the Department for Transport "could have been lobbied by big logistics firms wanting to move into bike freight". Safe cycling campaigner Ruth Mayorcas said if this is the case then legislation and enforcement around cycle lanes would be required also.

Here are some of your thoughts...

squired: "Personally, I'd increase the cut-off limit to 20mph to align better with the widespread implementation of 20mph roads before considering a 500w motor. If the motor power was increased and the cut-off remained as-is it would just encourage more extensive de-restricting of bikes. If the assist was increased to 20mph I think that would be more than sufficient for the vast majority of people and any increase in power would just be saved for hills."

ride2smile: "I've skim read the consultation document. Looking at it from the perspective of who would benefit most I'd say delivery type organisations. That has the capacity to greatly increase the use of cycle lanes for commercial use and also increase the size / weight of cycles using cycle lanes. I can see pros and cons. Online shopping has driven an increase in delivery drivers, more traffic on the roads and an increase in vans parking anywhere. Higher-powered pedalecs utilised for deliveries could do the same. Flip side is that if commercial organisations see a benefit they may lobby for more cycling infrastructure."

essexian: "Madness if this goes ahead and one more step towards the need for a cycling licence for all riders. 250w is sufficient. If you want more power, get a motorbike."

29 February 2024, 14:59
Tory MP claims pedicabs have turned parts of London into the "Wild West"
29 February 2024, 14:23
Cycling UK: Changing e-cycle regulations to double maximum power to 500 watts a "huge safety risk to pedestrians and others who cycle"

In reaction to a consultation launched today by the Department for Transport on changing e-cycle regulations to double their maximum power from 250 watts to 500 watts and remove the pedal requirement, Cycling UK's director of external affairs, Sarah McMonagle said in a statement provided to road.cc:

These proposals present a huge safety risk to pedestrians and others who cycle. The dramatically increased power would mean faster acceleration and much heavier bikes, which we're really concerned about.

E-cycles with no pedal requirement would also reduce the health benefits of e-cycling – in essence, they would blur the line between e-bikes and electric motorbikes.

The government has stated that the proposed changes would make e-cycles more attractive, yet the most commonly cited reason for people not cycling is that they don't feel safe. E-cycles are also prohibitively expensive for many people. We fully agree with the government's goal to get more people to enjoy the benefits of e-cycles, but believe the way to do that effectively is to invest in high quality infrastructure and provide financial assistance for those who need it.

29 February 2024, 12:14
Government considering doubling e-bike motor power but retaining 15mph limit

Our sister site e-bike tips has the full story on the news this morning that the government is to consult on doubling the legal wattage of electric bike motors to 500W. Check out Alex's story on it, plus the rest of the website for all things e-bike related...

Engwe Engine X Riding 6.JPG

> Government considering doubling e-bike motor power but retaining 15mph limit 

29 February 2024, 11:21
Five weeks until Roubaix!

Just a couple of Israel-Premier Tech lads going for a swim during their recon of the cobbles.

29 February 2024, 10:24
Wout van Aert plots route to classics glory — swaps Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo for "calculated risk" of three weeks at altitude
Wout van Aert, 2023 world road race championships, Glasgow (Thomas Maheux/SWpix.com)

[Thomas Maheux/SWpix.com]

For a rider of Wout van Aert's calibre, a versatile master of all cycling disciplines from sprinting, punchy finishes, cyclocross and time trials, through to truly world class displays on Tour de France mountain stages, to walk away from the sport at the end of an otherwise extraordinarily successful career without a Tour of Flanders title or Paris-Roubaix cobblestone would be unthinkable.

As the leading Belgian classics hope of a generation, that unthinkable hole in his palmares would be even more pronounced, after all he's won just about everything else.

And yet, at 29 years old, and with 10 (so far) unsuccessful attempts at landing either race, the next five weeks, backed by one of the most dominant and best classics support teams we've seen in recent times, while not quite make or break, suddenly seems a crucial chapter in the Van Aert story.

Wout van Aert at 2023 E3 Saxo Classic - Harelbeke (by Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

[Zac Williams/SWpix.com]

And so, in a bid to topple eternal rival Mathieu van der Poel — who has won two Flanders crowns and a Roubaix at his expense — Van Aert has outlined his plans for the rest of the classics campaign, taking the bold approach of ditching races he has, in previous years competed at, and won, in favour of taking three weeks at altitude camp in Tenerife to peak in a controlled environment for the big ones — Flanders and Roubaix.

The Visma–Lease a Bike star will now not race again until March 22, having won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday and playing a major part in teammate Jan Tratnik's victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad a day earlier. His next race will be the E3 Saxo Classic, meaning Van Aert will forgo Strade Bianche, a choice of Tirreno-Adriatico or Paris-Nice, and an opening Monument appearance of the season at Milan-San Remo.

Mathieu van der Poel Wout van Aert (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

"Always staying in the comfort zone is the easiest thing, but the reality is that I haven't won the Ronde and Roubaix yet," he told HLN last weekend. "That may not always have had to do with myself, but I did have the feeling that I could be even better during those two weekends than was the case in previous years."

Tratnik and Tiesj Benoot will join their leader at the altitude camp, Benoot calling the approach a "small calculated risk [...] thinking a bit out of the box".

"If you go on an altitude training camp in February, you will return very well for the opening weekend and Strade Bianche, but the Tour of Flanders will follow more than a month later," he said.

"By then, the effect of that altitude stimulus in February will still be minimal. I firmly believe in this approach, but you have to sacrifice other races for something you are not actually sure about because it is a step into the unknown, no matter how logical it sounds."

Time will tell if Van Aert's "calculated risk" lands him a big one...

QuizWiz

29 February 2024, 09:59
DJ Dom Whiting announces first cycling event of 2024

People of Southampton (and surrounding areas), the DJ behind Drum & Bass On The Bike, Dom Whiting, is coming back to your city this weekend.

Dom Whiting 01 (copyright Simon MacMichael)

> Drum & Bass On The Bike creator is still trying to make sense of it all

Setting off from Guildhall Square at 2pm on Sunday, the event marks a return to Southampton two years on from his last bicycle rave in the city. We sent road.cc Simon along to the London ride last summer to find out what it's all about and, in his words, "Should ​the DJ Dom Whiting ever visit a city near you for one of his Drum & Bass on the Bike rides, my advice is that you shouldn't pass up the chance to pop along..."

Dom Whiting 02 (copyright Simon MacMichael)

This was the scene in Bristol [below], when Whiting returned last April...

Drum and Bass on the Bike (Image credit: Hamish Belding/Twitter)

"Mind-blowing"... "massive"... "crazy"... "immense"... just a few of the reviews of Dom Whiting's Drum & Bass on the Bike rides, attracting a crowd of hundreds, estimated to be as many as a thousand by some.

Let's hope for more of the same come Sunday...

29 February 2024, 09:32
Irish cycling great Stephen Roche expected to repay €380,000 as appeal partially upheld over cycle tourism business insolvency

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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92 comments

Avatar
Steve K replied to essexian | 2 months ago
6 likes

essexian wrote:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2024/feb/29/ministers-to-consult-on-dou...

Madness if this goes ahead and one more step towards the need for a cycling licence for all riders.

250w is suffient. If you want more power, get a motorbike. 

I'm more concerned about the possible legalisation of throttle control - that really would make them motorbikes.  (I would support throttle control for, say, up to 4kmph to help get started, though.)

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Rendel Harris replied to Steve K | 2 months ago
9 likes

Steve K wrote:

(I would support throttle control for, say, up to 4kmph to help get started, though.)

It's already legal to have throttle assist up to 6 km/h.

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Steve K replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
4 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

Steve K wrote:

(I would support throttle control for, say, up to 4kmph to help get started, though.)

It's already legal to have throttle assist up to 6 km/h.

Thanks - I wasn't sure.  My Tern GSD has walk assist, but you can't use that to get going when you've got a kid on the back, it's a hill, and you're in the wrong gear.

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Rendel Harris replied to Steve K | 2 months ago
2 likes

Steve K wrote:

Thanks - I wasn't sure.  My Tern GSD has walk assist, but you can't use that to get going when you've got a kid on the back, it's a hill, and you're in the wrong gear.

I do think there could be a case for allowing a little more power for heavier cargo bikes in order to meet the sort of situation you describe, just to make sure that they retain what for me is one of the greatest advantages of an ebike, namely being able to pull away quickly from the lights and avoid becoming entangled in traffic across junctions.

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IanMK replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

Rendel Harris wrote:

Steve K wrote:

(I would support throttle control for, say, up to 4kmph to help get started, though.)

It's already legal to have throttle assist up to 6 km/h.

I know this was explained to me previously but I obviously wasn't paying enough attention. I thought we agreed that Twist and Goes were legal without a license up to 15.5mph if they were "EU Type Approved". 

The throttle assitance up to 6kmh I think is designed to get a Pedal Assisted e-bike started.

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Rendel Harris replied to IanMK | 2 months ago
3 likes

IanMK wrote:

I know this was explained to me previously but I obviously wasn't paying enough attention. I thought we agreed that Twist and Goes were legal without a license up to 15.5mph if they were "EU Type Approved".

I believe that is the case, however as I understand it virtually no ebike manufacturers have gone for type approval because this requires the same EU regulation as for motorcycles and cars and is extremely expensive, being designed for large factories producing high-value vehicles rather than bicycle manufacturers.

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eburtthebike replied to Steve K | 2 months ago
4 likes

Steve K wrote:

I would support throttle control for, say, up to 4kmph to help get started, though.

I think 4,000mph is probably a little too high.

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pockstone replied to essexian | 2 months ago
10 likes

I put this on the forum this morning. Seems very odd that this is the government's priority re.cycling and active travel. Tend to agree that this will be a backward step for all cyclists, e- or otherwise and may open the door for licensing of all ebikes. Why not just enforce against illegal electric motorbikes?

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wtjs replied to pockstone | 2 months ago
8 likes

 Why not just enforce against illegal electric motorbikes?

Because they can't be bothered to do the work and they have a permanent get-out dodge: insufficient resources, squire! They are prepared to do a lot more work sitting at a desk complaining about how they're too busy to do the work, than they would if they were actually working at doing their jobs. Why don't they actually prosecute these, instead of ignoring them because everybody does it?https://upride.cc/incident/pj23vmc_honda125_redlightcross/

https://upride.cc/incident/g16dht_hgvtrainer_redlightcross/

https://upride.cc/incident/k7ddy_audia4_redlightpass/

Why don't they deal with this vehicle, parked outside the pub (the Eagle and Child) 100 yards from Garstang Police Station several nights a week, which has had no MOT or VED for 6 1/2 years, failed MOT for serious defects and which now has a broken right rear light cluster? Because they can't be bothered, or they have a private arrangement with the driver. I informed the police 7 months ago and the PCC over 3 months ago

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Rendel Harris replied to essexian | 2 months ago
13 likes

As someone who uses an ebike for commuting and heavy loads I would absolutely be against this move, 250 W/15.5 mph is plenty. Any increase would simply make it more likely for demands for licensing and insurance for ebikes to be listened to, and once they had got that in place what's to stop them coming after unpowered bikes (which I also use and love)? The evidence of what happens when people, especially young men, get their hands on ebikes, or rather on illegal electric motorcycles, faster and more powerful than the current limits can be seen on the streets of London every day, and it's not pretty.

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HarrogateSpa replied to essexian | 2 months ago
10 likes

It is probably designed to say 'look what we can do now we're not in the EU'.

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Patrick9-32 replied to HarrogateSpa | 2 months ago
3 likes

HarrogateSpa wrote:

It is probably designed to say 'look what we can do now we're not in the EU'.

Everything is more expensive and travel is more difficult and business are moving their headquarters abroad and we have higher levels of immigration with lower levels of skilled immigrants and....

But look! We made the roads even less safe for cyclists and pedestrians!!

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to HarrogateSpa | 2 months ago
0 likes

Certain rules on transport power are even stricter, especially as there is crossover between e-bikes and e-scooters and motor powered mobility aids in the way the old law is written. The development and uptake of pedal assist and hybrid with throttle power ebikes have murkied the waters and the categories are not as clear cut any more.

The law is outdated and needs bringing in line with modern varieties of personal transport, but it's not easy defining fixed categories, especially with hybrid assist/throttle e-bikes. and defining when and where they are legal to use.

I watch a curious old channel on Youtube called Lawrie's Mechanical Marvels. He mostly looks at vintage industrial railway equipment, road and farm vehicles etc. However in a bid to get fitter, he (albeit sponsored) got a new e-bike that has both throttle and pedal assist. Whilst reviewing the bike, whilst on the road, only used the pedal assist, however when on private land he used the throttle in those areas. He has fully acted within the law on this, and on that front, if everyone who owned one acted similarly, there wouldn't be a problem. Along the same train of thought, you could easily have a controllable restrictor fitted to a more powerful assist only ebike, that is on whilst on public roads it is on, but on private land can be turned off to unrestricted mode.

The problem lies wherein that such products are subject to human input and therefore human error - People can legally buy this equipment but either don't know or ignore the laws they could be breaking every single time they use them.

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Rendel Harris replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 2 months ago
3 likes

Matthew Acton-Varian wrote:

Whilst reviewing the bike, whilst on the road, only used the pedal assist, however when on private land he used the throttle in those areas. He has fully acted within the law on this, and on that front, if everyone who owned one acted similarly, there wouldn't be a problem.

I don't believe that is actually the case, it is not legal to have a bike on the road that can be powered solely by a throttle (apart from the type exemptions mentioned elsewhere on this thread), even if you're not using it. Willing to stand corrected of course but I'm pretty sure that in the (highly unlikely) event of a police officer stopping a rider and checking their bike "I never touch it when I'm on the road" would not be accepted as justification for having an illegal throttle, one could still be charged with taking an illegal ebike on the road without any necessity to prove that you were actually using the throttle. This pretty much makes sense as far as I can see, trying to claim that you never touch the throttle so shouldn't be sanctioned would be a bit like being caught with illegally tinted side windows and trying to claim that you only ever drove with the windows wound down, it would get pretty short shrift I'm sure.

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

But the bikes are legal to purchase in the UK, the same can be said for e-scooters. They come with warnings over following local/national laws etc, but it is user discrepancy as to whether they choose to follow the law. The act of tinting front windows is not; you will not find reputable tinting businesses willing to tint front windows to an illegal level and most instances its the act of the car owner using a home kit. It's not a fair comparison.

Also have you seen a city centre on a Friday/Saturday evening recently? The amount of bicycle couriers using these bikes are astonishingly large, and all of them regularly use the throttle if not exclusively use it. The rules are unenforceable as they currently stand, otherwise these services would be getting shut down.

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Rendel Harris replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 2 months ago
6 likes

I wasn't commenting on whether or not the law is sensible or fit for purpose, I was simply pointing out that the gentleman you mentioned who thinks he is completely within the law to ride an ebike that is capable of achieving its top speed solely under control of a throttle on the public highway provided he doesn't touch the throttle is mistaken; as the law currently stands an ebike is not legal for road use if it has such a throttle, whether or not the throttle is actually being used.

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stonojnr replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 2 months ago
5 likes

Whether the rules are enforceable or not, requires the police to actually first choose to try.

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Oldfatgit replied to HarrogateSpa | 2 months ago
1 like

Great flex ...
I can't get a range extender battery for my Italian bike because we're not in the EU.

Fanfeckingtastic.

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to essexian | 2 months ago
11 likes

With great power comes great responsibility.

Will this extra power be used wisely ?

I remember a quote from a wood working forum, "it's quite hard to cut your fingers off with a hand saw".

As power increases, the skills required to control it become more important, untrained and careless use of this could be a problem especially if they are mixing it with pedestrians on shared use space etc.

I don't own an e-bike but can see the appeal - I think if I was a teenager again, I'd be hankering after an electric scooter or e-bike and thinking of ways to get rid of the 15mph limit and the need to pedal.  Fortunately I'm not a teenager and I'm pretty sure my dad wouldn't have let me have one anyway yes

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mattw replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 2 months ago
2 likes

My local most high profile EAPC user says "get one whilst you are still fit-ish", so you are ready for when you need it.

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chrisonabike replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 2 months ago
1 like

Yeah - hope we're not just seizing on this idea because e.g. that's how they do it in the US.

As Cudgel of this parish (IIRC?) noted - also in the context of woodworking - in the US the ability to "do it your way" / "get more power" is apparently much more valued than "kit that helps you do things safely".  With the expected litany of "accidents" from those with a more "frontier" perspective...

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visionset replied to essexian | 2 months ago
4 likes

It is being considered because we live in an era of rampant capitalism fueled by successive conservative governments, if that needed saying.  Any proposal that might generate more sales to the masses is given serious consideration, pretty much above all else it seems. Money is at the root of pretty much every decision.  It cetainly isn't society.

 

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Miller replied to essexian | 2 months ago
3 likes

Many a good point being made here. Me, I can't think why they're considering this. 500w, throttle controlled but still 28kmh? Good luck enforcing that. Unrestricted 500w would be nuts, those bikes would be laughing at 40mph limits let alone 30mph.

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Born_peddling replied to essexian | 2 months ago
0 likes

If you live somewhere challenging ie, edge of the lake or peak district you'll quickly find uk rated and made 250w motors aren't quite up to it especially if you're carrying your weekly shop could find your amp rating isn't enough. I have a grey build from the laws changing 350w torque motor (400rpm max) I wasn't able to electronically restrict or install a pedal assist, instead I made my own gear set to compensate and lower motor out put.

Some stats I'm a short rider 10.5 st my ride weighs 40-45kg (included weight: battery, motor, controller & frame)

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Hirsute replied to Born_peddling | 2 months ago
1 like

Paging wtjs !!!

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wtjs replied to Born_peddling | 2 months ago
4 likes

If you live somewhere challenging ie, edge of the lake or peak district you'll quickly find uk rated and made 250w motors aren't quite up to it especially if you're carrying your weekly shop could find your amp rating isn't enough

Motor OK? Check. Amps OK? Check

 

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SurreyHiller replied to essexian | 2 months ago
5 likes

You're all thinking of it from a road perspective (I know, the website title!).

500w off road with even heavier bikes is going to ruin the trails completely.  

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stonojnr replied to essexian | 2 months ago
2 likes

It seems really dumb idea, can't see what value the govt see in it, not even sure I buy the cargo bike reasoning, remember 90% of the UK outside the Westminster bubble don't have cycle lanes they could use, they'd be on pavements or mixing in with traffic like the rest of us on the road.

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OnYerBike replied to essexian | 2 months ago
3 likes

My two cents:

I am reluctant to simply extend the current EAPC regulations to higher powered vehicles. I think the current regulations work for vehicles that are relatively slow and light - like a normal bicycle but with a bit of assistance. 

However, I do think there is merit in encouraging uptake of vehicles that are smaller, lighter and less polluting than typical cars/vans for last-mile deliveries and personal mobility. To some extent we already have this for motorpeds - low powered mopeds can be riden unsupervised from age 16, with a provisional licence and CBT. 

I think this is something that other countries do - I think the Netherlands has "S-pedelecs" (top assissted speed 45km/h), whilst the French have "voiturettes". 

That said, there is certainly a balancing act - whilst overall those types of vehicles are better than typical cars/vans, they must remain lower in the travel hierarchy to public transport and active travel. 

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mikewood replied to OnYerBike | 2 months ago
3 likes

It should really by straightforward.

E-assist up to 25kph is good for a normal pedal cycle solo and treat it like a non-motorised vehicle as we do now so you can use dedicated cycling infrastructure 

If you need more power to pull a heavier load such as a big cargo bike or you want to travel faster then that's really a motorbike (or moped as they were basically the same, restricted speed, pedals, number plate, helmet, lights) and you need a licence, etc as you would with a moped. This would mean that you can't use infrastructure for non-motorised vehicles so no cycle paths, shared paths etc but you could use a bus lane if motorcycles were allowed.

Also, if your employment relies on you using the public highway, you should have proof that you have at least a basic understanding of how to use the highway safely, just like you would in ANY other workplace with risks involved. This would be either a provisional licence and CBT or Bikeability (Cycling Proficiency as was years ago) if you complied with e-assist above. 

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