Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 36

policy making by the public. Without a
three-class system each state would have
to decide how to make its own distinctions among the many types of vehicles
that can fit within the broad CPSC definition of an e-bike.
The National Bike Summit also featured speakers from two bike shops that
sell e-bikes and Paul Basken, who wrote
the article "Let's keep motors off our
bike trails" published by the Washington
Post. These speakers provided personal
context to an otherwise technical policy
debate.
Paul Basken's major contention is that
there are few places in our cities and suburbs that are defined by their lack of motorization. Where shared use paths exist,
they are a welcome and needed respite
from mixing with motor vehicle traffic. By opening up shared use paths to
e-bikes, we may be opening a pandora's
box of the motorization of previously
non-motorized spaces.
While I can't go as far as Mr. Basken's
absolutism, I do think we need to be
conscious of how a major change is coming to our non-motorized infrastructure.
Whether by e-bike or by electric scooter
or skateboard, previously non-motorized
spaces are becoming motorized. The
eventual impacts of this change are likely unknown and will depend upon the
existing infrastructure in communities.
Based on existing data on e-bikes, here
are some potential policy areas for the
future:
» Current bicycle infrastructure does
not have a defined design speed,
but the AASHTO Bicycle Design
Guide suggests that a design speed
of 18 mph is generally sufficient.
While this appears to encompass
the average speeds reached by class
1 and class 2 e-bikes there is little
data on the design speeds of existing shared use paths and other bicycle infrastructure and it is possible
that many shared use paths will be
overwhelmed by the speed and volume of bicycle traffic if e-bikes deliver on their promises. While this
is a first-world problem to have, our
federal, state and local transporta36 BICYCLE FRIENDLY AMERICA

»

»

»

»

tion authorities should consider
how to fund bicycle-only and/or
shared-use infrastructure that can
safely accommodate higher speeds
and volumes.
For advocates, higher average speeds
may lead to increased need for improved pathways that can accommodate higher speeds and volumes.
On roads, higher average speeds
may decrease the interest of e-bike
users for bicycle facilities as they are
more able to operate at motor vehicle speeds. While e-bike users may
be aligned with bicycle advocate on
many issues, it is possible that they
emerge as a distinct interest group if
bicycle advocates do not represent
their interests or if issues where interests diverge emerge.
The three-class system does not address some characteristics that have
been identified by bicyclists in the
past as potentially distinguishing ebikes from standard bicycles, such
as vehicle weight, fairings, and other
atypical designs. Whether regulation on such characteristics would
be appropriate, and what it might
address, could be an important issue in the future if a disruptive vehicle emerges. Cargo bicycles are an
obvious type of bicycle that benefits
from electric assist and would be
likely to be impacted by any regulation of vehicle weight or atypical
design.
The three-class system in the EU
has a lower speed assisted top speed
for its equivalent of class 1 and class
2 e-bikes, and there is not a great
reason for why bicycle industry adopted a higher speed for the US.
In the EU, L1e-A assisted bicycles
can only have an assisted top speed
of 15.5 mph while their next class,
L1e-B, has an assisted top speed of
28 mph, just like the class 3 bikes in
the US.
At both the federal and state level,
governments in the United States
have chosen to offer incentives
for people to buy electric cars. The
Congressional Budget Office esti-

mated that federal tax incentives for
electric vehicles would cost about $1
billion per year. So far, there are no
incentives for people to buy e-bikes
despite the health benefits that they
provide on top of emission reduction. Policymakers should consider
subsidies to people who purchase ebikes - as well as standard bicycles
- to boost their deployment, reduce
emissions, improve health, and promote safer forms of transportation.
The California Bicycle Coalition is
currently pursuing incentives of between $500 and $1000 for the purchase of a bicycle or e-bike.
» While not strictly a public policy
issue, there is a need for greater understanding about how e-bikes are
affecting bicycle clubs and events.
There is an opportunity to get more
people biking more often, but ebikes are likely to impact the sense of
effort, shared suffering, and accomplishment that people derive from
riding together on standard bicycles.
Clubs and events will have to learn
how to embrace new riders, or new
abilities of current riders, while delivering the experiences that current
riders expect and appreciate. Our
insurance policy covers people who
ride bikes defined as e-bikes under
the CPSC definition, which means
that if an e-bike is legal to operate in
your state then it is likely covered by
our insurance policy.
If you haven't seen an e-bike yet, I hope
you do soon. They are a fun and exciting
vehicles. They may help get more people
biking more often and may be an important part of getting people out of cars
and onto bikes. In urban areas, startup ebikeshare providers like LimeBike, Pace,
and JUMP are attracting tremendous
interest and investment. (Uber recently
bought JUMP for $200 million.) While
I am conflicted about losing scarce nonmotorized space by welcoming electric
vehicles to bike lanes and trails, I can't
help but be excited by the opportunities
that they represent.
Ken McLeod is the League's Policy Director.


https://2018nationalbikesummitgrassroots.sched.com/event/C9EJ/state-policies-that-enable-and-regulate-e-bikes https://2018nationalbikesummitgrassroots.sched.com/event/C9EJ/state-policies-that-enable-and-regulate-e-bikes http://www.bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/E_bikes_mini_report.pdf http://www.bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/E_bikes_mini_report.pdf http://www.bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/E_bikes_mini_report.pdf http://www.bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/E_bikes_mini_report.pdf https://www.albany.edu/ihi/files/DraftBikeGuideFeb2010.pdf https://www.albany.edu/ihi/files/DraftBikeGuideFeb2010.pdf https://www.albany.edu/ihi/files/DraftBikeGuideFeb2010.pdf

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Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover1
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Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 1
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Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover3
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http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016_GatewayDemo
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Spring2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com