Craig B – a long-time contributor to the PWF discussion on upgrading the wattage for power-assisted bikes – has written a good, clear picture of the situation. We welcome your comments.
Back again, I thought that I would let you know about the study by Monash Uni, found on the Cycling Promotion web site. They actually spoke to government departments, politicians, did trials and looked up hard international data. You can find it here: Power Assisted Bicycles Final Report Monash Uni.pdf.
The report expected the National Road Transport Commission to resolve these sorts of issues on a regular 12-18month basis. That was back in 2003.
I don’t have the same dark view of the government as stolennomenclature, but agree that the government doesn’t have enough political will to make changes. This is partly because of the difficulty. They have to make it safe, they have to make it useful and they have to write the legislation so that everybody is clear about its meaning. Finally, they have to make it enforceable and given that police don’t carry around portable dynamometers, enforcing power limits is problematic.
The report mentioned above says that the government/politicians are concerned about tampering with any sort of power/speed limiting devices. The report also claims that progress will be slow, because since 1999, and the national uniform road rules, all of the states have to agree to the changes.
I am on record above as saying that 200w is sufficient power assist. This is because it is supposed to be “assist” and even 200w is enough to propel a fit rider (on a well designed e-bike – hey AllanD) along at insane speeds.
I have changed my opinion (as if anybody cares). Power is too blunt an instrument to use to regulate power assisted bicycles. Just increasing its limit to overcome a hill problem will cause more problems with kids riding up and down the street at 60kph instead of 40kph. Furthermore the police do not carry the equipment to measure it. There is not much point limiting power, I now think that there should not be any limit on power.
Speed is a much better thing to limit than power. But it is not without its problems. The higher the limit, the more people will take up e-biking instead of driving (and this is a good thing). At the same time, you don’t want to put young kids in charge of vehicles capable of serious speed. You also do not want ratbags ripping down the footpath at speed just because it is now easy. I think that there are lots of options, it just needs some sensible decisions.
(I repeat my previous comments, that whether a rider pedals or not, should not be important. This requirement just excludes people.)”
Some good points here…