Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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alpharalpha   100 W

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Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by alpharalpha » Jul 17 2018 2:15pm

I know sometimes on trails they are but just for in town/on road use. Strictly power assist with functioning pedals, under 20mph etc. This is for USA, FL. Thanks.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by wturber » Jul 17 2018 2:25pm

alpharalpha wrote:
Jul 17 2018 2:15pm
I know sometimes on trails they are but just for in town/on road use. Strictly power assist with functioning pedals, under 20mph etc. This is for USA, FL. Thanks.
"Defined" in what sense? By legal authorities for road use? For road use the question is usually not whether it is a recreational vehicle, but whether it is legally a "motor vehicle", moped, bicycle, or something else.
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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by amberwolf » Jul 18 2018 2:11am

You'd have to check with your state, county/etc, and local city/etc laws to see what RVs are defined as, and what ebikes are defined as. Many governments have all of their legal code on the web in searchable format, kept up to date. Should be easy for you to find and look up.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by alpharalpha » Jul 18 2018 2:18pm

Looking at the rules where I live there's a mention about recreational vehicles and some examples were mini-bikes, scooters etc. Under Federal and FL law it isn't considered a recreational vehicle, just wondered if there was anything I was missing.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by wturber » Jul 18 2018 3:29pm

alpharalpha wrote:
Jul 18 2018 2:18pm
Looking at the rules where I live there's a mention about recreational vehicles and some examples were mini-bikes, scooters etc. Under Federal and FL law it isn't considered a recreational vehicle, just wondered if there was anything I was missing.
Even if they classified it as a Recreational Vehicle, you'd then have to find out how they treat a recreational vehicle in Florida. So your question seems to put the cart before the horse to me. You might be better served to just look up Florida ebike law. From what I can see, an ebike is not a Recreational Vehicle (which in Florida seems to imply it having living/sleeping facilities) or anything close to it. And for it to remain a "bicycle" without need for registration and insurance, it must not be able to exceed 20 mph on level ground using motor power and it must be also human powered. They have some kind of seat height requirement that didn't make much sense to me.
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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by alpharalpha » Jul 18 2018 4:36pm

Yeah, I looked up the law, not recreational vehicle. The height requirement of 25" is, I think, to keep people from motorizing things akin to go-carts. Must confess until I saw that the idea of a motorized recumbent trike seemed pretty cool, though once I thought it out I realized the visibility by other vehicles would make it very unsafe.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by markz » Jul 18 2018 7:07pm

And people just dont expect that, whether its pathways or roadways. I've never ridden one but seen a few that do. I dont know how they would weave in and out of cars and be able to look over cars and such.
alpharalpha wrote:
Jul 18 2018 4:36pm
Yeah, I looked up the law, not recreational vehicle. The height requirement of 25" is, I think, to keep people from motorizing things akin to go-carts. Must confess until I saw that the idea of a motorized recumbent trike seemed pretty cool, though once I thought it out I realized the visibility by other vehicles would make it very unsafe.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by wturber » Jul 18 2018 9:02pm

markz wrote:
Jul 18 2018 7:07pm
And people just dont expect that, whether its pathways or roadways. I've never ridden one but seen a few that do. I dont know how they would weave in and out of cars and be able to look over cars and such.
alpharalpha wrote:
Jul 18 2018 4:36pm
Yeah, I looked up the law, not recreational vehicle. The height requirement of 25" is, I think, to keep people from motorizing things akin to go-carts. Must confess until I saw that the idea of a motorized recumbent trike seemed pretty cool, though once I thought it out I realized the visibility by other vehicles would make it very unsafe.
I think the eye level of most recumbents is about the same as for the typical car. So they probably aren't as hard to see compared to regular bikes as might be first thought.

But yes, they do give up the advantaged view possible with a "regular" bike. That said, I don't weave in and out between cars. So that view is a bonus, not a necessity for me.

I'd guess that recumbents are the better long distance solution and conventional upright bikes probably have the edge for most city commuting.
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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by markz » Jul 18 2018 11:03pm

wturber wrote:
Jul 18 2018 9:02pm
I'd guess that recumbents are the better long distance solution and conventional upright bikes probably have the edge for most city commuting.
Obviously aerodynamics but it must be more comfortable as well the a regular bicycle.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by onemorejoltwarden » Sep 19 2018 10:02am

The seat height issue may also be related to the mini electric scooters that look like micro motorcycles that were popular not long ago.
My cumby is low , but I always ride with big flag on a pole
and I mean big
Cumby guys say they increase wind resistance, but I think the crunch resistance issue is more important.
We need better regs
I want my insurance guy to not choke.
Homeowners insurance nixed me when I asked about coverage for theft and liability.
Personal injury guys are gearing up for the escooter suits with big ads and this may spill over
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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by LockH » Sep 19 2018 11:04am

Maybe see also URV... Urban Recreational Vehicle... aka Entertainment Vehicle ("EV")... :wink: Oh. You mean legalities? Varies from place to place... EVs sorta a generic term...
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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by onemorejoltwarden » Nov 05 2018 7:05am

Thanks ,mark
Florida great example of badly written laws
Again, more bikes more scrutiny. Bigger numerator in the risk calculation.
My insurance guy's redline and risk if being sued in collision are my threats .
They are using the law as support. Police so underfunded and ill informed as to have almost no enforcement role.
Having an insurance claim challenged is a greater threat than any citation.
'Cumbies and training wheels are not bikes in Florida?! wow
Technically, in Dallas they lumped personal mobility vehicles in with scooters for exclusion from parks and trails.
Crikey, such bad legislation.
Last edited by onemorejoltwarden on Nov 05 2018 3:42pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by Alan B » Nov 05 2018 9:43am

Recreational Vehicles are generally required to have living quarters.

Lots of info on the web here, not shure why anyone would want to have their ebike tangled up with RV rules.

Looks like Florida has a new ATV on street law that may be triggering this interest.

They mention that class I and III ebikes are allowed wherever traditional pedal bikes are allowed. I didn't find the Florida definitions, but the definitions in California (which most states have adapted) call for pedaling to engage the motor on class I and III ebikes. They do not prohibit throttles, but pedaling is required. Class II does not require pedaling. So a simple circuit that senses pedal motion and zeroes out the throttle when the pedals are not moving would allow a throttle system to meet the class I and III definition and be ridden anywhere a regular bicycle can be.

I also saw an interesting mention that ebikes on sidewalks must be only pedal powered, the motor cannot be used on the sidewalk.

Florida has a lot of rainfall, and a lot of aging drivers that tend to not see bicycles of any kind and the rates of injured and killed cyclists are high. A used electric vehicle might be the safest ebike replacement there.

Florida Ebike Laws:

https://peopleforbikes.org/wp-content/u ... ressed.pdf

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/questions-ans ... ycle-laws/

https://www.valuepenguin.com/florida-mo ... rance-laws

Other References:

https://www.meldonlaw.com/library/offro ... rovs-ohms/

https://definitions.uslegal.com/r/recre ... -vehicles/

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by donn » Nov 05 2018 10:51am

markz wrote:
Jul 18 2018 11:03pm
Obviously aerodynamics but it must be more comfortable as well the a regular bicycle.
Oh yes! A few months ago here (when the weather was more enticing) we had several people who wanted to talk about setups for touring, and a common refrain among the veterans was like "you'll want to be able to go fast enough to get there within 5 hours, because that's about as much bicycling as anyone can bear!" At first I was thinking WTH, 5 hours? But then I remembered, oh sure, I remember what it was like. The pain in the neck, hands, butt, numbness ...

As +jolt observes, the aerodynamics are overrated. And the visibility problem, but there are higher and lower recumbents. The worst thing is that it's hard to look back, without a mirror.

Anyway, Recreational Vehicle is an ambiguous term, basically because there are so many forms of recreation. I mean, a van with a mattress ... oops, maybe that's procreation. My guess is that the little recreational vehicles in this case (not "RV") would in most jurisdictions be allowed off road only. I don't pretend to know what's up with the height lower limit, but there was reportedly a plague of pint-sized motorcycles in New York city some years back, operated by petty criminals who would use them to escape the police through the dense traffic.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by Chalo » Nov 05 2018 1:32pm

donn wrote:
Nov 05 2018 10:51am
we had several people who wanted to talk about setups for touring, and a common refrain among the veterans was like "you'll want to be able to go fast enough to get there within 5 hours, because that's about as much bicycling as anyone can bear!" At first I was thinking WTH, 5 hours? But then I remembered, oh sure, I remember what it was like. The pain in the neck, hands, butt, numbness ...
Yes, that stuff sets in after hours in the saddle. Recumbents, on the other hand, start out anxious and tiring in the first mile because they handle so poorly. Either kind can be lived with, but I prefer the one that doesn't self-destruct from having my heavy butt plopped helplessly in it as it rolls over surface defects I don't have a good view of. Folks ride regular bikes deep into their 80s and 90s when most of them wouldn't be able to get in and out of a 'bent without assistance, so it can't be that bad. It helps not to be a wimp, I suppose.

E-recumbents do make more sense than pedal recumbents, because having your pedaling impaired is less of a handicap when there's a motor to provide power.
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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by donn » Nov 05 2018 2:57pm

Chalo wrote:
Nov 05 2018 1:32pm
E-recumbents do make more sense than pedal recumbents, because having your pedaling impaired is less of a handicap when there's a motor to provide power.
It seems to me I pedal fine on my recumbents, but in fact they do make particularly nice e-bikes. I commonly describe my recumbent as a lawn chair on wheels - the down hill experience, or substantially motorized. After a month with a motor in my old recumbent, though, I started looking for one with rear wheel suspension. It makes a huge difference at high average speed.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by Alan B » Nov 05 2018 7:29pm

Is it the case that all recumbents handle poorly? Or just the ones Chalo has tested.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by donn » Nov 05 2018 7:55pm

Or maybe it's a matter of taste. I have an old car that is a workout to parallel park, but it's pleasant on the freeway - does it handle well, or poorly? When I was 8 or so it took me a while to get the hang of riding a bicycle, so ... bicycles handle poorly, but I got over that. If you want to be in the middle of a pack of racers doing track stands as they wait for the starting gun, that wouldn't be a good place for any recumbent I've ridden. But I've ridden only two, both relatively long wheelbase. There are a variety of designs, with their virtues and defects. Of mine, the one that's taller and has a shorter wheelbase, seems to be the easiest.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by StuRat » Nov 05 2018 10:27pm

Recreational Vehicle is an unfortunate term.

Recreation is something we do for fun, that's not 'work'.
Vehicle is something used to transport people or goods.

So a recreational vehicle, in its literal meaning, includes ebikes, pushbikes, mx bikes, jetskis, race cars, unicycles, powerboats, hang gliders, etc.

The shortened version, RV, has come to be accepted as a motorhome with cooking, sleeping area.

Neither the long nor short versions should appear in any legal policy.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by StuRat » Nov 05 2018 10:39pm

An ebike could just as easily be called an SUV, and literally more correctly so than the gross over usage of the term by wankers with big cars.

Sport is an activity involving physical exertion.
Utility is something useful
Vehicle, we just covered.

Ebikes are literally SUV's

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by donn » Nov 07 2018 7:47pm

Chalo wrote:
Nov 05 2018 1:32pm
Recumbents, on the other hand, start out anxious and tiring in the first mile because they handle so poorly.
For another perspective - Man falls asleep on recumbent bicycle, wakes up in Bulgaria

Image

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by dogman dan » Nov 08 2018 10:26am

Amusing thread guys. One thing to remember is the enforcement of the laws depends a great deal on if you ride like a dick or not. I've been cruising posted no motors of any kind trails, and mup's for ten years now. Only one major problem, was with guys that thought all bikes were not allowed. Cops have been known to just smile and wave at me, not pedaling, at 20 mph.

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Re: Is an e-bike defined as a recreational vehicle?

Post by Chalo » Nov 08 2018 3:29pm

donn wrote:
Nov 07 2018 7:47pm
Chalo wrote:
Nov 05 2018 1:32pm
Recumbents, on the other hand, start out anxious and tiring in the first mile because they handle so poorly.
For another perspective - Man falls asleep on recumbent bicycle, wakes up in Bulgaria

Image
I guess it takes parody news to make 'bents stable and manageable. I'll keep that in mind the next time I try one.
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