Electric bikes and safe cycling

Electric bikes have not been popular in the U.S. Apparently the new electric bikes might appeal to cyclists, (they don’t appeal to me personally) but the chief market is car drivers: "Some people buy the bike to commute, other people purchase the bike to use as a replacement for short automobile trips," Paul Vlahos (vice-president of sales for a US company) enthused imaginatively.
The newest electric bikes from Giant, EcoBike, Currie Technologies and Ultra Motor, among others, can deliver around 500 watts of power. The reporter lapped up the praise of these bikes and said as requested ‘you zoom from a standing start, zip up hills or hustle along the street’. It weight 33 kg so this electric bike is two or three times the weight of an average bicycle. The battery capacity is 20 miles but there is a (heavy) option to put another detachable battery on the rear rack, doubling that range. The bike has seven gears for normal pedalling, using a standard Shimano derailleur system.
The price: US$2,699 (NZ$3799),
The reporter compares the price to a high-end racing bike and points out that this is less expensive than a standard motor scooter.
This kind of vehicle is considered a "light electric vehicle," and therefore is a bicycle under US transport regulations. This means it is legal to take this motor vehicle the same places as cyclists are allowed, even if you don’t have a motorbike or drivers licence. It can reach speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour on the flat.
If we are trying to encourage cycling through safer cycle paths- is it safe or sensible to allow these motor vehicles on cycle ways?

For the full promo click here.


  1. Nothing is as cool as the yike bike

  2. Plenty of more "nz" approaches though!

  3. I find it odd that you ask if 30 km/h is safe. I have a 30 km each way cycle commute and always average a higher speed than that without electric assist. Sometimes my average is closer to 40 km/h. Mind you, cycle paths over here are different to those in most of the world.

    In this country, electric bikes are generally bought by retired people or those with a disability who need assistance. The average age of a buyer is apparently slowly dropping.

  4. I was asking do you think it is safe to allow these motor powered vehicles alongside pedal powered vehicles. Good point that experienced fit cyclists often travel at higher than 25 km/h. However around here most people seem to ride at a gentler pace given the high density of population and lack of cycle awareness; the cycle ways here are not always free of obstructions. I guess I wondered about whether bigger heavier traffic is a good addition to cycle ways...