Motor Bicycling Max Speed

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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njander   1 mW

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Motor Bicycling Max Speed

Post by njander » Nov 04 2008 10:05am

Does anyone understand what the legally allowed top speed of an electric bike is in Wisconsin? I have done some reading and this is what I run into. Thing1: An electric bike with a max top speed of 20 mph, max wattage of 750 and weight under 100lbs, and working pedals is considered to be a bicycle and as such can be used on bike paths that have signage indicationg no motor vehicles are allowed.

This doesn't actually address the legal top speed on streets and roadways.

Thing2: Here in Wisconsin we have a legal definition of the moped as follows.

340.01(29m)
(29m) "Moped" means any of the following motor vehicles capable of speeds of not more than 30 miles per hour with a 150-pound rider on a dry, level, hard surface with no wind, excluding a tractor, a power source as an integral part of the vehicle and a seat for the operator:

340.01(29m)(a)
(a) A bicycle-type vehicle with fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power and an engine certified by the manufacturer at not more than 130 cubic centimeters or an equivalent power unit.

340.01(29m)(b)
(b) A Type 1 motorcycle with an automatic transmission and an engine certified by the manufacturer at not more than 50 cubic centimeters or an equivalent power unit.

340.01(30)
(30) "Motor bicycle" means a bicycle to which a power unit not an integral part of the vehicle has been added to permit the vehicle to travel at a speed of not more than 30 miles per hour with a 150-pound rider on a dry, level, hard surface with no wind and having a seat for the operator.

This last part is what interests me. I am of the opinion that I can go 30 mph max on the streets and roadways but not be allowed on the bike paths.

Just throwing this out there for anyone who might be interested!

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dogman dan   100 GW

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Re: Motor Bicycling Max Speed

Post by dogman dan » Nov 04 2008 2:29pm

If you have working peadals and are under 750 watts, you can go 20 mph on the bike paths. Then off the path, you can go up to 30 mph , unless the speed limit for cars is lower, like a school zone or residential street.

BUT..... I would think that if you need a licence plate, or registration for the moped classification, once you do that, you are a moped, and might get kicked off the bike paths. I'd build a 30 mph bike and slap a 750 watt sticker on it. Never mind the licence if you need it to be a moped. Just ride slow and peadle hard around the cops.

cerewa   100 W

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Re: Motor Bicycling Max Speed

Post by cerewa » Nov 04 2008 3:38pm

The 20mph is part of what can get you within the definition of "bicycle" and out of the definition of "motor vehicle".

If you're riding a "motor bicycle" (moped) you may need a vehicle registration and liability insurance. Once you have a registered mo-ped, it's probably not legal on bike paths even if you slap on a 20mph/750watt governor.
If you're riding a "bicycle" within the 750watt /20mph/"must have pedals" limits, you probably don't need registration/insurance/driving license.

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dogman dan   100 GW

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Re: Motor Bicycling Max Speed

Post by dogman dan » Nov 04 2008 7:32pm

Yup, that's why I wouldn't get a tag unless you had to. Surely you can add some more speed by peadling, lotsa lycra riders go faster than 20 all the time. Depends on the local cop attitude of course.

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Zoot Katz   1 MW

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Re: Motor Bicycling Max Speed

Post by Zoot Katz » Nov 04 2008 8:15pm

dogman wrote:Yup, that's why I wouldn't get a tag unless you had to. Surely you can add some more speed by peadling, lotsa lycra riders go faster than 20 all the time. Depends on the local cop attitude of course.
Sunday before last I went for a leisurely ride along a great route often used by roadies for time trialing and training. That it has a wide clear shoulder marked as a bike lane and shallow grades without cross traffic makes it a great place to get it on.
It was after having just turned onto that road, and still lollygagging along enjoying the day at ~22 kmh, that a roadie passed me travelling fast.
. . . . hmmm. 'k, dude.
I let him get about 200 meters ahead. He was travelling ~40 kmh when I closed to within fifty meters and stayed there for the next 7 km. Uphill and downhill I could have passed him but only closed to within ten meters. It was more fun to push him and keep him wondering about grandpa in the pink jacket.

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philf   1 kW

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Re: Motor Bicycling Max Speed

Post by philf » Nov 04 2008 9:58pm

Zoots reminds me of the first time I had an opportunity to compare my performance on an e-bike with the local roadies.

I was just starting to play with the electronics/set-up of my bike, and decided to go for a 20k run to collect some data. I was stopping every few kilometres to make some notes, but was otherwise trying to keep the speed up. At one point in the ride, I found myself at a red light waiting to cross a fairly busy road in the neighbourhood. As I waited, and the SUVs and minivans queued up behind me, a "road warrior" appeared to my right and arrived at the intersection at almost the same time the light went green.

Don't get me wrong - my placement of the term "road warrior" in quotes isn't meant as a slight against the folks who enjoy the road bike experience, train hard, and dress up for it. It has more to do with the disdain I have for the attitude of an annoying group among the cycling population-at-large who invest more money in the sport than their personal fitness will ever uphold. For them, it seems, it's all about show. Rather than invest in a decent bike, donning sweats, and pursuing a reasonable and enjoyable fitness regimen with a smile - they seem to think that spending a ton of cash on a bike, accessories, head gear, a few yards of logo-covered spandex, and hogging a full 1/2 of a busy traffic lane during rush hour (in order to maximize the "audience" they wish to impress, methinks) is somehow a great idea. I think the REAL roadies like them even less than I do.

I digress...

When the aforementioned traffic light went green, my spandex friend was still moving, and zoomed into the road ahead of me as I started to cross the intersection from a standing start. He glanced at me in passing (I politely smiled and nodded), his returned and entirely dismissive "look" clearly coming down his nose. Whether directed at ME, my bike, or both - who knows? I clearly wasn't in the same brand-brandishing class as he was "representin'".

As the traffic that had patiently waited with me pulled ahead, one of the vehicles needed to make a right hand turn in to a driveway just beyond the intersection. I arrived at that point just behind Mr. Spandex just as the indecisive driver wishing to make the turn drew a horn blast from the driver behind them - presumably for slowing down. It's unclear whether the hornblower was POed at we cyclists, the person who was giving us our right of way, or both - but it annoyed Mr. Spandex to the point of setting him off in a full sprint...

That's where the fun bit came. It was a long, flat, straight road. He was giving it his all, and I was pedaling in my best gear with the throttle most of the way down. Just pacing him. I could have passed him, if I really wanted to annoy, but instead tailed him this way for over 2.5km before he decided to stop and "shrug off" the experience. I'm not kidding. He stopped his bike at an intersection, and his body language was precious. He reached for his water bottle, squared his shoulders, and shook his head about as if to free himself of collected parasites.

It was at the point where he was just drawing his first swig of water from the bottle that I rounded the corner in front of him and said, "Hi there". Me. A little over six feet, 220lbs, Hawaiian shirt and shorts, and a Giant comfort bike with panniers loaded with God-Knows-What in them (we all know). I'm not sure if the sound I heard was water coming out of his nose, or what. But it was priceless. :-)

So, what's this great long message got to do with the subject at hand?

During the time I was merely pacing the road bike guy, I was already in excess of the legal speed limit for an e-bike in Ontario. I think there is a gap, here. The additional weight of a hub motor and batteries (relative to the combined weight of bike and rider) isn't substantial enough to warrant a restriction that reduces the maximum speed to less than a rider could do on his own. 40km/h would be a nice legal max :-)

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mvadventure   1 kW

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Re: Motor Bicycling Max Speed

Post by mvadventure » Nov 05 2008 6:10pm

To answer the speed limit question, at least here in Florida, it's 20 MPH for an electrically assisted bicycle. Since FL has more or less adopted the Fed guidelines which a lot of states have then that's likely the speed limit you're faced with.

Mostly I adhere to it. Once in a while I enjoy blowing the socks off a Lycra though but since I'm pretending to pedal when I do that I don't worry too much about getting the local SO's attention. For what it's worth though, with flat ground and minimal wind my bike burns approximately 8 - 10 amps while cruising at 20 MPH. Raise the speed to 22 and the amps start doing some serious increasing, 25 mph and now we're up to 17 - 20 amps and add a little hill and just watch them climb to 40. This much power sucks range and even though with the Lipo4's I don't worry about the Peukert effect it's still power more or less wasted if you have a long way to ride.

Plus, and this is a big plus, most bikes simply weren't designed to go fast. They are bicycles with limited breaking ability, skinny tires and fairly light frames. Most of the time I feel 20 MPH is safe and never do I feel over 30 is. (except for that last mile and a half home)

Good luck,
Mike

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