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Class 3 on bike paths

Old 03-17-21, 06:48 AM
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klevin
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Class 3 on bike paths

How would authorities know if someone takes a class 3 bike on a bike path? For some brands, the class 1 and class 3 look identical. Take the Trek Allant+ 7 vs the 7s. Would someone really stoop down to look at the motor logo, if the rider were keeping the speed down?

I'm shopping, hence the question.

Thanks!
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Old 03-17-21, 07:41 AM
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There's zero possibility there will be any enforcement of E bike restrictions on bike paths and mt. bike trails. You would literally have to stop the criminal, take a whole lot of photo's, then report to whatever JHA. I'm reasonably certain that if I did so locally, the police charged with enforcing laws that pertain to parks (The Long Island State Parks Police Dept.) is going to pay lip service and do nothing.
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Old 03-17-21, 07:57 AM
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It's easy, put the speed gun on you. Bike paths generally have a 15 mph 25Kph speed limit. I generally stick pretty close to this limit. Busting 20mph stateside on the bike path is akin to being in the driving points territory on auto speed. It is pretty nerve wracking to be passed at high speed as a pedestrian on a bike path. Especially if you have kids or are balance challenged. If I want to ride faster the road seems easier. One thing about an e bike though. You can slow way down for walkers, dogs, kids and other bikes and not suffer a big penalty to get back up to speed again. That gets old so I jump on the roads if the paths have much traffic.
I am very careful above 20 mph because auto drivers do not sense your speed. They only sense the bicycle and judge it to be going less than 15mph. That creates way too many close calls in no passing zones. Especially when the auto is fast and leading into the other lane with a lot of space. They can encounter a near head on before they pass you and you are the loser. There has got to be no autos coming up behind me to exceed 20 mph in a limited sight section of road. If they end up behind me and not pass, I will increase my speed to help out. Fortunately, with a fat e bike, the bail off the road is more often doable but much riskier at higher speeds.
If you think you will just run on the roads at 25-28 mph, all the time on an e bike and live where straight roads are at a premium, you are likely to learn otherwise. E bikes are not really robust enough for those speeds, the wind noise is high, you are into killer falls at those speeds and the stress levels are way up. For me anything past 20 mph is getting into territory I am not comfortable with, even a tank like I ride.
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Old 03-17-21, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by KPREN View Post
It's easy, put the speed gun on you. Bike paths generally have a 15 mph 25Kph speed limit. I generally stick pretty close to this limit. Busting 20mph stateside on the bike path is akin to being in the driving points territory on auto speed. It is pretty nerve wracking to be passed at high speed as a pedestrian on a bike path. Especially if you have kids or are balance challenged. If I want to ride faster the road seems easier. One thing about an e bike though. You can slow way down for walkers, dogs, kids and other bikes and not suffer a big penalty to get back up to speed again. That gets old so I jump on the roads if the paths have much traffic.
I am very careful above 20 mph because auto drivers do not sense your speed. They only sense the bicycle and judge it to be going less than 15mph. That creates way too many close calls in no passing zones. Especially when the auto is fast and leading into the other lane with a lot of space. They can encounter a near head on before they pass you and you are the loser. There has got to be no autos coming up behind me to exceed 20 mph in a limited sight section of road. If they end up behind me and not pass, I will increase my speed to help out. Fortunately, with a fat e bike, the bail off the road is more often doable but much riskier at higher speeds.
If you think you will just run on the roads at 25-28 mph, all the time on an e bike and live where straight roads are at a premium, you are likely to learn otherwise. E bikes are not really robust enough for those speeds, the wind noise is high, you are into killer falls at those speeds and the stress levels are way up. For me anything past 20 mph is getting into territory I am not comfortable with, even a tank like I ride.
I would not be going fast on a bike path, especially since my spouse would be riding a conventional bike. Where I live, rail trails are really snow mobile trails, not great for biking, and there are no bike trails, but we might travel to places where they do have these luxuries. What we do have is lots of rural roads, paved and dirt, with little traffic, so we have great riding opportunities.

I'm looking at the Trek Allants. The 8s has some attractive upgrade features beyond the faster motor, like a bigger battery, which might matter for a low energy guy like me in a hilly area. The faster motor may be overkill, since I have no reason to ride that fast, but I don't see a downside. Do you? Some posts elsewhere said the Bosch Performance Speed is the same motor as the CX but with different software. Certainly in this year's model it has the same torque, so it's hard for me to see a disadvantage, other than a larger chainring on the bike.
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Old 03-17-21, 08:25 AM
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When the Class system, employed by about 25 states, was adopted in CA, manufacturers were supposed to identify their bikes in some way (not just a simple, removable sticker) as Class 1, 2 or 3. Hasn't happened AFAICT. The potential liability in our litigious world might be having a collision on a 20 mph bike path when you're riding a 28 mph bike. Fortunately (for me), in socal there are many basically empty bike paths, so I avoid the busy ones. Personally I think there should be speed limits for bikes (like for cars), not power limits to govern them (not going to argue the point though).
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Old 03-17-21, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by klevin View Post
I would not be going fast on a bike path, especially since my spouse would be riding a conventional bike. Where I live, rail trails are really snow mobile trails, not great for biking, and there are no bike trails, but we might travel to places where they do have these luxuries. What we do have is lots of rural roads, paved and dirt, with little traffic, so we have great riding opportunities.

I'm looking at the Trek Allants. The 8s has some attractive upgrade features beyond the faster motor, like a bigger battery, which might matter for a low energy guy like me in a hilly area. The faster motor may be overkill, since I have no reason to ride that fast, but I don't see a downside. Do you? Some posts elsewhere said the Bosch Performance Speed is the same motor as the CX but with different software. Certainly in this year's model it has the same torque, so it's hard for me to see a disadvantage, other than a larger chainring on the bike.
There is no real downside. Bigger batteries are essential for faster speeds. My range drops sharply with speeds above 15 mph. By 25 mph you need 750 watts. I have 52 volts @ 49 amp hours. My power usage per mile has crept up over the last 4 years. My bike has gotten heavier and the distances I travel. longer. I find that for short distances under 30 miles my power usage is not high per mile. When I exceed 30 miles I am asking more and more out of the bike because its not realistically in me. By 80-100 miles the bike is doing most of the work. The amount of power you put in from yourself, has a big affect on your range. Especially in the speed ranges just past what you can do with no power on.
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Old 03-17-21, 08:42 AM
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The spouse on a conventional bike will last about one ride.
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Old 03-17-21, 08:46 AM
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It's really less a matter of catching every e-bike on the path as it is essentially putting any e-bike on the bike path that gets in an accident or causes a problem at fault. On my
local multi-use path, the e-bikes tend to be very well behaved. The real problem is the cyclists on regular road bikes who tend to ride in side to side pairs, don't call out, and go 18-22 mph.
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Old 03-17-21, 09:27 AM
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Where I live no one cares if you ride class 3 on the bike path UNLESS you go too fast. Folks will definitely call the police if you are speeding and making it unsafe for walkers, kids, and slower riders. And, yes, the police do come and ticket.
I personally get a mental "twitch" when I see things that are designed to look like motorcycles instead of bicycles zipping down the bike path, but I smack my knee jerk reaction down unless they are speeding in an unsafe manner. Most of the time
it's older guys on fat tire moto-bicycles but there are a couple of fellas who ride what are clearly motorcycles with pedals instead of pegs and go 30 mph and I know they will eventually get caught. The real problem to me is that it gives the rest of
the courteous e-bike riders a bad reputation. People take one instance and spin it out until suddenly you have a movement to ban e-bikes :-(.
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Old 03-17-21, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
When the Class system, employed by about 25 states, was adopted in CA, manufacturers were supposed to identify their bikes in some way (not just a simple, removable sticker) as Class 1, 2 or 3. Hasn't happened AFAICT. The potential liability in our litigious world might be having a collision on a 20 mph bike path when you're riding a 28 mph bike. Fortunately (for me), in socal there are many basically empty bike paths, so I avoid the busy ones. Personally I think there should be speed limits for bikes (like for cars), not power limits to govern them (not going to argue the point though).
Interesting. I thought there were speed limits in all the classes that govern e-bike applications. 20mph (Class 1&2) and 28mph (Class 3). Are those too high? What do you think would be a reasonable speed limit for bikes?
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Old 03-17-21, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by klevin View Post
How would authorities know if someone takes a class 3 bike on a bike path?
If you happen to plow into someone and injure them, you can be sure the authorities will investigate your bike's class then. If I were you I'd stick with being legal and get a Class 2. That's what I did. 350 watts and 20 mph of motor assist is fine for most people.

In fact I'd like to see Class 3 made illegal, there's no need for it, even on the streets, and can be dangerous especially for new cyclists that haven't learned about 25+ mph bike speed yet. Maybe even require a special license and test for Class 3 road riding? /rant

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Old 03-17-21, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Interesting. I thought there were speed limits in all the classes that govern e-bike applications. 20mph (Class 1&2) and 28mph (Class 3). Are those too high? What do you think would be a reasonable speed limit for bikes?
There are speed limits as you report which is a great start; just some paths should be lower IMO. Maybe some could be higher (remote; not used much, whatever). Mostly it's an easier parameter to measure. From what I've read, places that actually measure the power of e-bikes need some sort of portable dynamometer.
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Old 03-17-21, 10:32 AM
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IMO, 28 mph is fine as defined, which is on a path contiguous with a road (might not be the exact definition). My wife and I, old grandparents, easily exceed that going downhill off road. However, my first e-conversion was a 20 mph front hub. It was a blast (thinking of producing another since my daughter absorbed it). I could live with that.

Last edited by 2old; 03-17-21 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 03-17-21, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
If you happen to plow into someone and injure them, you can be sure the authorities will investigate your bike's class then. If I were you I'd stick with being legal and get a Class 2. That's what I did. 350 watts and 20 mph of motor assist is fine for most people.

In fact I'd like to see Class 3 made illegal, there's no need for it, even on the streets, and can be dangerous especially for new cyclists that haven't learned about 25+ mph bike speed yet. Maybe even require a special license and test for Class 3 road riding? /rant
I've never seen a bike path with pedestrians on it where one could go fast. And in my life of many decades and many miles, I've never had a close call with a pedestrian. I tend to slow down near them since you never know if they'll do something foolish like step in front of you.

You might want to take your alarmist views elsewhere. They're no help,
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Old 03-17-21, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by klevin View Post
I've never seen a bike path with pedestrians on it where one could go fast. And in my life of many decades and many miles, I've never had a close call with a pedestrian. I tend to slow down near them since you never know if they'll do something foolish like step in front of you.

You might want to take your alarmist views elsewhere. They're no help,
Just bury your head in the sand then. And I will definitely not take my alarmist views elsewhere. It sounds like you simply shouldn't bring up subjects in a discussion forum when you don't want to hear opinions that differ from yours.

Accidents never happen the way you want them to, and when it happens to you on your class 3 bike on a bike path, be prepared to get lawyered up.
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Old 03-17-21, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
If you happen to plow into someone and injure them, you can be sure the authorities will investigate your bike's class then. If I were you I'd stick with being legal and get a Class 2. That's what I did. 350 watts and 20 mph of motor assist is fine for most people.

In fact I'd like to see Class 3 made illegal, there's no need for it, even on the streets, and can be dangerous especially for new cyclists that haven't learned about 25+ mph bike speed yet. Maybe even require a special license and test for Class 3 road riding? /rant
Class 3 is not your problem. It's above both yours and my pay grade to know why it exists. But, rest assured, it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this a thread about e-bike use on trails? Do you really think it's significant the difference between C1,2 or 3 or no e-assist at all, if a pedestrian is clobbered by a cyclist? When it actually matters is when the e-motor is rated in kilowatts and those beasts very much exist and this thread is beginning to get tiresome with the grumping about production e-bikes that may, or may not, be able to go 28mph.

Just because a bike is in Class 3 doesn't mean it can go 28mph! What it usually means is that it can go faster than Class 1 or 2 (20mph). There isn't any production Class 3 bike that doesn't require at least 150W of rider input to reach 28mph. That locks out 1/2 the people that might buy a Class 3 bike from ever seeing top speed on level ground. I'm 62 and if I'm motivated enough to want to beat that stale green, I can muster much better than Class 1&2 just with my own two feet for at least 10 seconds. Put me on a trail with peds and I could do plenty of damage with no motor in sight. Y'all are splitting hairs in this thread if you want to know the truth. The real issue isn't Class 3. It's the wisdom of allowing bikes on trails. Period. That is the real question. Do cyclists in the aggregate have the discipline and social competence to operate safely around pedestrians on mixed use trails? I wouldn't know. I personally do not bike on trails. I don't like to, and so I don't. If I'm on a bike, I'm on the street. If I hit anything it's likely to hurt me a lot more than anything I might hit, so I try hard not to hit stuff. I am sure there are bike only trails around.

What I know from seeing the odd bike on a trail I am HIKING on is that they usually CAN'T go very fast. Not even if they had 1000W onboard. The surfaces, the roots, the bends ... my completely unscientific, but informed, appraisal is that typical hiker/cyclist collisions take place at speeds much lower than even Class 1 or 2. To support Class 1 or 2 but be against Class 3 is just about being butthurt at not being able to afford the hardware. My e-bike has a 750W motor and is a mid-drive. It also has an unrestricted controller. I have no idea what it's top speed is. I don't even want to know. It's irrelevant. I will never go that fast. How many people have ever gone as fast as their daily driver is capable of??? It's a fair question. The average production sedan can hit 100mph on level ground, 120 with a slight downhill. Many can go much faster than that. For all the ragging on 'speeding' cagers ... really, how many of them have seen the far side of 100mph?

I have no reason to think my e-bike couldn't hit 40mph if I was that way inclined. Locked up outside of New Seasons with the other Yuba Mundo's and Surly Big Dummy's that also have mid-drive assists and are ridden by Gen-X mom's and Millenial Dad's with a couple of rugrats and a giant bag of dog food as cargo. Yah, about as harmless as it sounds. I'm rambling now. Maybe I've made my point, maybe I haven't but you won't be taking my Open Class e-assist away without a fight. En garde!
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Old 03-17-21, 11:45 AM
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Obviously every area has its idiosyncrasies but, while we have really crowded bike trails in socal (and some that have signs specifically prohibiting e-bikes of any Class), there are many that aren't populated and those are the ones I frequent (and have gone as fast as 33 mph). Many times I shut the motor off when passing pedestrians (once in a while they're encountered), and I give them plenty of warning.
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Old 03-17-21, 01:04 PM
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I've had little kids shake off their mom's hand and run right in front of my human powered bike - I had to lay my bike down once to avoid hitting a little kid, and I was only going 14 mph. Dogs and kids are incredibly unpredictable and just when you think they are controlled, they are not. I cannot imagine how I would have avoided hitting that kid if I had been going more than 20mph. At the very least my slide would have taken me right into the kid given the added speed and weight of an e-bike. I'm not saying the problem is the e-bike or the motor, but the speed increases in unpredictable settings can increase accidents. I always slow down and hover over my brakes now when I pass around kids and animals.
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Old 03-17-21, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
I've had little kids shake off their mom's hand and run right in front of my human powered bike - I had to lay my bike down once to avoid hitting a little kid, and I was only going 14 mph. Dogs and kids are incredibly unpredictable and just when you think they are controlled, they are not. I cannot imagine how I would have avoided hitting that kid if I had been going more than 20mph. At the very least my slide would have taken me right into the kid given the added speed and weight of an e-bike. I'm not saying the problem is the e-bike or the motor, but the speed increases in unpredictable settings can increase accidents. I always slow down and hover over my brakes now when I pass around kids and animals.
Who ever said anything about going fast, much less over 20mph, with kids and dogs around? You're inventing straw men to knock down.

I've found no joy over the years in riding bike paths that have lots of activity on them. That's when I go to the road. I'm more interested in rail trails that don't attract many pedestrians.
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Old 03-17-21, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by klevin View Post
Who ever said anything about going fast, much less over 20mph, with kids and dogs around? You're inventing straw men to knock down.

I've found no joy over the years in riding bike paths that have lots of activity on them. That's when I go to the road. I'm more interested in rail trails that don't attract many pedestrians.
The title is "class 3 on bike paths". So, yeah, duh, for most places that means paths with walkers and kids and dogs. This thread isn't about rail trails or riding your class 3 offroad as that is clearly not an issue.
But I would wager the majority of bike paths, and certainly those in urban areas, are multimodal and sometimes crowded. So riding a class 3 - if above 20 mph - is an problem and not everyone uses common
sense. I have seen folks blasting down the path near me, I've seen the police pull cyclists over and tag them.
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Old 03-17-21, 05:09 PM
  #21  
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People drive cars, mopeds, and quads on our bike paths all the time. Hell someone even hit 60 mph on their ebike

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Old 03-17-21, 05:40 PM
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You cannot legislate stupidity out of stupid people but you can legislate people using common sense out of existence to the point where the lawless is all you have left, I sure the lawless would like to have everything to themselves. Your choice as a voter You can be stupid and vote yourself out of fun or choose to accept some personal risk. .
We have all seen the posts that exaggerate reality into a straw man argument to eliminate common sense people.
It is illegal to operate an e bike in the class three range on a bike path in most jurisdictions. Its illegal to drive on the freeway over the speed limit. Its illegal to operate four wheelers on hiking only trails. I have witnessed all three things taking place. Do you really think more rules is the answer? Be careful what you wish for even in a forum.
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Old 03-18-21, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
If you happen to plow into someone and injure them, you can be sure the authorities will investigate your bike's class then. If I were you I'd stick with being legal and get a Class 2. That's what I did. 350 watts and 20 mph of motor assist is fine for most people.

In fact I'd like to see Class 3 made illegal, there's no need for it, even on the streets, and can be dangerous especially for new cyclists that haven't learned about 25+ mph bike speed yet. Maybe even require a special license and test for Class 3 road riding? /rant
Class 2 is generally the least legal of all of them. Keep your crappy moped thing off the bike paths we don't need throttles and never have and if we do get a dang motorcycle, Napoleon. Class 1 is up to 20mph pedal assist, Class 2 is up to 20mph throttled and Class 3 is up to 28mph pedal assist. Class 3 is rarely an issue unless you are riding like an arse. So far I haven't seen any issues but yeah people seem to think that all these people will get on a bike and just never figure out how to ride at all and just mow people down or crash every two seconds and that is a rare occurrence at least around where I am at. The more dangerous stuff tends to be with throttles. However yes if you aren't capable of handling a bike then you might stick with Class 1 but if you are riding in traffic Class 3 is rather handy.

Also if you are plowing into people you shouldn't be going outside where you can harm people. It has nothing to do with e-bikes at all it is just about paying some f'ing attention.

I don't need nor want a license for a bike, it will turn people off from riding and cause a myriad of other issues that we get with cars and probably increased police misconduct especially towards cyclists of color. I don't know who harmed you or caused you issue but going off the deep end isn't going to help you. It will just make it worse for all the other riders out there.
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Old 03-18-21, 07:08 PM
  #24  
2old
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I'm all for Class 2 for two reasons, that it makes bicycling possible for challenged individuals who might not otherwise be able to ride and if someone is injured riding and can't pedal, they can still get home. Personally, I don't have it on my Haibike or BBS02 bike.
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Old 03-20-21, 07:50 AM
  #25  
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I love riding trails full of people and kids, I love seeing families enjoy the trail. Recumbents are great for this since you sit eye level with the people you meet. One does need to anticipate problems and be ready to stop. If you had to put your bike down to avoid a kid than you were going too fast for conditions. The only time I've hit anything on a MUP was on a human powered bike when a dog literally ran under my rear wheel as I passed.

I get confused with all this talk of classes of bikes and law enforcement. Have to agree with Steve B on this one. The laws are so ambiguously written that even people on this forum aren't getting it right. If one looks at HR 727``

(b) For the purpose of this section, the term `low-speed electric
bicycle' means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable
pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose
maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a
motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20
mph.
Two immediate problems: the speed "limit" is what the bike is capable of with motor only and a certain weight rider. Doesn't mean the motor has to cut off over 20 mph. Doesn't mean the rider isn't allowed to add pedal power to reach regular road bike speeds of even 30+ mph. Also look at the motor power rating. Motors are typically rated on output power, yet every ebike article and forum post I've seen almost without exception talks about input power. I'm guessing because that is what the watt meter on the display reads. And since most motors can be limited by firmware, what does a 1 hp rating even mean? Sustained output? Average power over 30 seconds without burning up? No cop can enforce this, no court will waste their time debating it. You might get a ticket, but go to court and chances are it gets dismissed.

Much ado about nothing as they say.

Last edited by Pop N Wood; 03-20-21 at 07:53 AM.
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