After a persistent two months of lobbying the Assemblyman Steven Branford’s office, the new appendage of Class 406b EBike laws has been cancelled. I repeat they are not going to at this time criminalize from what Erasmo in their Sacramento offices told me. This would have in the name of making bicycle paths safer and promoting ebikes, 1.) Discouraged ebike sales and 2.) Do nothing to address the real bicycle path safety issues. So what are these issues and what were they going to do with electric bicycles?
Currently in California if you have a 1 kilowatt (that is 1,000 watt) motor and a limitor on the controller for the ebike that limits it to a maximum speed of no more than 20 mph, the bicycle is thus considered a normal pedal bike. In my case and that of thousands more within the state we already met those guidelines. What the good assemblyman’s team decided they were going to do was do ebike riders a favor and fix something that already worked fine. In essence they were going to append the current law, make the largest motor size reduced to 750 watts, added weight restrictions that a bicycle weighing more than 80 pounds was banned from bicycle paths. I wonder what moron dreamed up that reward for investing in green transportation and sports equipment?
Let us take the weight issue first. With over 13,000 miles of bicycle path riding and traditional path riding for years now, rider’s come in all sizes including weights and I shall now show you how the assemblyman’s team got it wrong. Let us say you have a woman who weigh’s in at 120 pounds on an 85 pound ebike. That is a total of 205 pounds, with me so far? Now let us say you have a 6′ 4″ tall muscle guy on a polycarbon 33 speed that can pedal to 50mph, much faster than the girl’s ebike at 20 mph or even 30 mph, and the guy weighs in on a 40 pound bicycle himself at 250 pounds. That is 290 pounds! So weight is irrelevant here. What is a factor though are the following criteria the new law’s appendage does not fix.
2.) Pedestrians on the Bicycle Path
3.) Toddlers riding side-by-side with parent
These following three issues are safety related so let us see how they can be fixed. Speed. The average rider rides between 16 to 28 mph on the bicycle path. The maximum speed set at 28. if the path is clear, if pedestrians are present set at 12mph.
Pedestrians are ticketable offense for using the bicycle path but cops never ticket them. Start ticketing them, say 500 dollars for the first time, 5,000 dollars on the second time. This will get them off the bicycle path. Parent takes children or baby stroller on bicycle path, child endangerment!
Dad gets junior a small bicycle with training wheels, great! You have to start somewhere. Stick the kid in the same land as dad ahead of him, no more than 20 feet. This removes the kid from the opposing bicycle lane where he rides next to dad or mom.
These are the three main things plaguing the bicycle path. Fix these, allow all bicycles whether electric or pedal, regardless of motor size, weight. Cyclist goes past maximum posted speed limit they get a big fat ticket, that’s it. The cops don’t have to guess a motor size, weigh a bike etc. This works plain and simple and it really makes bicycle paths safer while promoting a green piece of equipment.