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Screen capture image of 50 mph e-bike on Mulholland Drive.
Screen capture image of 50 mph e-bike on Mulholland Drive.

50 MPH E-Bike: Exciting For Sure, But Not an Electric Bicycle!

Just because it looks like bicycle doesn't mean it is one, especially if it can go 50 mph without pedaling.

Okay, let's get one thing straight, the e-bike featured in the video below is definitely NOT an 'electric bicycle.' Sure it looks like a bicycle and even has pedals, but so do a lot of mopeds - gas or electric - but that doesn't make it a 'bicycle' and it certainly doesn't conform to the U.S. gov't definition of an 'electric bicycle.'

By federal definition, an electric-assist bicycle cannot got faster than 20 mph using its electric motor alone. Clearly, this 'e-bike' does not meet that criteria and while the young man who created it is having a lot of fun on Mulholland Drive in California, he will find himself someday running afoul of the law.

The remedy is to create a 'fast e-bike' category that would require the same safety compliance as required motor scooters and motorcycles, as well as some form of registration and liability insurance: after all, hitting a pedestrian or other vehicle at 50 mph can be a lot more serious to both parties than a bicycle at 12-15 mph.

Watch the video and judge for yourself. Where does this 'fast e-bike' belong? In bicycle lanes and cycle paths or out on the street with motorcycles and automobiles?

Posted By: Bill Moore [15-Aug-2013]