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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cop's talk...

E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Whistler » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:12 am
What are the opinions on here regarding electric scooters and the law?

They are becoming VERY popular around here... From what I understand, if they have pedals located somewhere on the scooter, they are considered bikes by the law, even if the driver never actually uses the pedals to power the vehicle or the pedals aren't even actually attached.

However, they travel much faster than the average bicycle and are much larger and more cumbersome.

Some problems which I have seen with this:

1. Even though they are driving similar speeds as a gas scooter and in the same traffic, the driver needs no license or schooling to operate it. Also like a bike the riders do not have to legally wear helmets over a certain age, even though an E-bike is much faster.

2. Some e-bike drivers use the road, others use bike lanes, and they are much larger and faster than regular bikes leading to safety issues.

3. They can legally drive on recreational paths around the city, again causing safety hazards because they are larger, faster, and more cumbersome than bikes. Also many recreational paths are intended to be shared between (real) bikes and pedestrians leading to safety issues as a E-scooter going 30-40kph can really hurt someone who is walking on the same path.

4. A lot of e-bike riders, like cyclists, seem to only follow HTA/Bylaws when it is convinient for them. A regular bike riding on a sidewalk is illegal, but is not generally a HUGE safety issue as they go pretty slow and most of the time can avoid a pedestrian easily. An E-bike on the same sidewalk takes up pretty much the whole sidewalk and can go MUCH faster than a bike. I have also seen E-bikes do the whole "drive on roadway, then cross on a crosswalk when the light is red" thing that cyclists do from time to time.

5. Not as much of a big deal but a lot of these things decide to take parking on the street without paying or park illegally, and they can't get tickets because they don't have plates or VINs.

I'm curious on the opinions of city cops on these things, how you guys enforce them, and if the laws are up to task in dealing with them.

I really think they are kind of existing in a bit of a loophole right now since they are more like motor-scooters than bikes, and IMO should fall under the motor-scooter laws. I really don't think they should be allowed to drive anywhere that a motor-scooter isn't allowed to ride (bike lanes, recreational trails, sidewalks, crosswalks, etc).

These are the vehicles I am talking about:






Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby argyll » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:28 am
sounds like some of your bylaws need to be re-written - these things should not be treated as bicycles for things such as bike paths, etc and while me may not enforce a bicycle using a pedestrian crosswalk to make a quick move, I should as hell would for one of these.

What's next - the Tesla isn't considered a car because it is an e-car.....at 3.5 seconds for 0-60 I sure as shit hope not !!!
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Jframer7 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:49 am
I have been meaning to check these things out.

I pulled one over a few weeks ago. What I saw was what I believed was a motorized scooter with no licence plate. The problem was he was also driving down a 60kph road doing 30 kph. Traffic backing up and swerving around him. I pulled him over and first thing he says is he doesn't need a plate as it's a bike. He directs me to the pedals.

I confirm he doesn't even have driver licence. In fact I ask him why and he says his eye sight is too bad to get a licence!

I am thinking WTF! Here is somebody who is driving a motorized vehicle which could cause an accident just like any other vehicle and it's not insured and the guy driving on the roadway cannot even qualify to drive any other vehicle on the roadway by way of obtaining a licence. Something is really wrong with that.

Now I am not versed on the Applicable section of bylaw/TSA to deal with it. Some hot calls came in and I let him go giving him a route through a quiet industrial area rather then on a busy road.

So yeah I have been meaning to educate myself on them. That's the only one I have come across but they are priced cheap ($500-$1000) so I expect to see more and more.
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Snowman » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:30 am
E-bikes are just part of the problem in these parts. What about non physically disabled individuals using electric wheel chairs as transportation ? Nice to all but run over one of these clowns at night when they do not even have so much as a reflector on the chair, but happen to be in the middle of the road. Have to criss cross the road to grab all the aluminum or empty liqour bottles out of the recylcing containers. :dubious:
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby TwE@k » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:37 am
I have the ability to charge under a section of our bylaw that covers the parks/bike path issue. The definition in our bylaw was amended to include e-bikes as a motorized vehicle for the purpose of the bylaw. This only really applies to parks/bike trails ect... which alleviates some of the problem but until they change the bylaw to include streets I am SOL on that front. I have an issue with those pocket bikes aswell, can't do much of anything when they are on the street.......for now :smirk:
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Alberta Blue » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:41 am
Jframer7 wrote:I have been meaning to check these things out.

I pulled one over a few weeks ago. What I saw was what I believed was a motorized scooter with no licence plate. The problem was he was also driving down a 60kph road doing 30 kph. Traffic backing up and swerving around him. I pulled him over and first thing he says is he doesn't need a plate as it's a bike. He directs me to the pedals.

I confirm he doesn't even have driver licence. In fact I ask him why and he says his eye sight is too bad to get a licence!

I am thinking WTF! Here is somebody who is driving a motorized vehicle which could cause an accident just like any other vehicle and it's not insured and the guy driving on the roadway cannot even qualify to drive any other vehicle on the roadway by way of obtaining a licence. Something is really wrong with that.

Now I am not versed on the Applicable section of bylaw/TSA to deal with it. Some hot calls came in and I let him go giving him a route through a quiet industrial area rather then on a busy road.

So yeah I have been meaning to educate myself on them. That's the only one I have come across but they are priced cheap ($500-$1000) so I expect to see more and more.


In Alberta, they are a considered a special type of vehicle under the TSA called a "Power Bicycle".

You do not need a DL at all to ride one, and they are not required to be insured or registered. However, the operator must wear a motorcycle approved helmet. Also, they can be utilized on a highway provided the driver follows all applicable rules (signalling, riding on the right hand side of the road unless making a left-hand turn, etc.)

Since sidewalks are considered part of the highway, they are permitted on the sidewalk. Most municipalities deal with this by way of a bylaw.

I have a handy cheat sheet made up that I can send you, PM me if you are interested.
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Dave Brown » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:16 am
Most provinces have enacted legislation to govern their use. Google "electric bicycle traffic laws" and the name of your province and it usually shows up.

Every province is different.

They must also meet federal legislation, including federal motor vehicle safety standards. This means that homemade bikes, and bikes fashioned by buying cheap parts made in China over the internet and attaching to a standard bicycle do NOT meet FMVSS. Regardless of provincial legislation, they will not meet federal safety standards.

Personally, I would love to see these moving roadblocks legislated out of existence. Because the gas engine versions don't need to meet modern motor vehicle emission standards, while some self-absorbed hairy armpit buys it for the tremendous gas mileage, they pollute about 1000 to 10,000 times more in a trip than a modern motor vehicle, and they are literally killing our children.

As for the homemade jobbies cobbled together from internet parts, these unsafe pieces of junk should be shipped back to China with all the rest of the spammers we have to deal with every day on this forum.




But aside from that ... I think they are great ideas.

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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby argyll » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:30 am
that's the thing - they have 0 mpg but what do they cost for a hydro charge ?
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Leeworthy » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:50 am
I really like these e-bikes. They allow people to get around a lot quicker and they are envorinmentally friendly. What I don't agree with is the helmet law on them. All you need is a bicycle helmet on them. The riders should be made to wear a full motorcycle DOT approved helmet while riding, as well, I think that you should have to obtain a LSM license to be allowed to ride one. They drive them on the road like any other vehicle and they are all equipped with lights, horn, signals and such, they should be treated as a vehicle. Thats just my opinion though.
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby CourtOfficer » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:24 pm
I have no problem with them. Haven't seen them cause any problems in these parts and there are a lot around. I think they'd actually be fun to ride as long as your buddies don't catch you. (Cue fat girl joke).

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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby argyll » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:42 pm
CourtOfficer wrote:I have no problem with them. Haven't seen them cause any problems in these parts and there are a lot around. I think they'd actually be fun to ride as long as your buddies don't catch you. (Cue fat girl joke).

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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby devilwoman » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:43 pm
We have quite a few on campus and they ride along pedestrian/bike paths all the time......which I do have an issue with as they can get more speed than the average cyclist. Add to that, many of their owners ride like mooks and speed through, causing an issue at class change. Many of these riders also don't have the ability to move around people as fast as cyclists and that also presents a hazard. I'm waiting for some pedestrian to get nailed by one, which is definitely going to leave a mark, IMHO.

I tell them to stick to the roads and, in a few cases when their riders seemed to not want to take a hint, gave them a $75 chunk (university ticket - goes to collections and such if you don't pay it) for unauthorized use of pedestrian zone. :D
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Podhalan » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:17 pm
Motor powered vehicles - electric bikes.
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby fenceline » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:09 am
Snowman wrote:E-bikes are just part of the problem in these parts. What about non physically disabled individuals using electric wheel chairs as transportation ? Nice to all but run over one of these clowns at night when they do not even have so much as a reflector on the chair, but happen to be in the middle of the road. Have to criss cross the road to grab all the aluminum or empty liqour bottles out of the recylcing containers. :dubious:


If you are in Alberta, then the people on "mobility aids" such as wheelchairs or those electic seat thingies are considered pedestrians in the TSA. They are noted specifically as such.
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Re: E-Bike Legality and Enforcement...

Postby Snowman » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:40 am
fenceline wrote:
Snowman wrote:E-bikes are just part of the problem in these parts. What about non physically disabled individuals using electric wheel chairs as transportation ? Nice to all but run over one of these clowns at night when they do not even have so much as a reflector on the chair, but happen to be in the middle of the road. Have to criss cross the road to grab all the aluminum or empty liqour bottles out of the recylcing containers. :dubious:


If you are in Alberta, then the people on "mobility aids" such as wheelchairs or those electic seat thingies are considered pedestrians in the TSA. They are noted specifically as such.


Had to look that one up, same in Ontario. Most I've seen have reflectors/tape/flags on them, except for the one I mentioned.
Personal Mobility Devices (Motorized Wheelchairs and Medical Scooters)
Do not require registration, licence plates, driver's licence or vehicle insurance.
Persons operating motorized wheelchairs are treated in the same way as pedestrians.

The expected behaviour of people who use wheelchairs to improve their mobility, is generally established by municipal by-laws. Operators should check with their local municipality to ensure by-laws permit their use on sidewalks.

A sidewalk should be the first choice for someone using a wheelchair or medical scooter. When there is no wheelchair accessible curb, the person should return to the sidewalk at the first available opportunity.

If there is no sidewalk available, people using wheelchairs or personal mobility devices should travel, like pedestrians, along the left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic.
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