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New Forest could ban e-bikes from cycle trails

14 comments

4 months 3 days ago

My wife's e-bike has a range of 60 miles and a top assisted speed of 15.5mph, though she has a range of around 30 miles and  top speed of 12mph. We regularly cycle together in the New Forest, and her range and speed is improving as a result. On my non e-bike I regularly do way more than 60 miles and over 20mph when out with cycling buddies. The equestrians, when not in on their horses, often drive their 4x4s around the forest roads with scant regard for anyone else. They own the forest, dont you know, get out of my way peasants! I am always pleasant to horse riders when we pass each other, but seldom get even a nod of recognition that I am there let alone any gratitude for being cautious when passing. They don't want any bikes in 'their' forest, let alone e-bikes. 

4 months 3 days ago

Thank goodness Forestry England are pretty sensible and balanced. Usual anti-cycling tosh from the anachronistic verderers. A shame that we seem to be in conflict here with horse riders - we should be uniting against the common enemy.

4 months 5 days ago

Could we go back to the New Forest being a royal hunting ground? Then shepherd a carefully selected royal or two into it and declare the season open?

4 months 5 days ago

I, and many other people of similar age/fitness, use ebikes around the Forest of Dean, with absolutely no problems that I've heard of.  Maybe someone should tell the misinformed/ignorant/DM reading verderers?

kil0ran's picture
4 months 5 days ago

Just to give some context here, the trails they're referring to are long distance trails (by leisure/family cyclist standards). They're also pretty hilly in places so ebikes improve access for the old/unfit/children. They're big wide paths on hard compacted gravel. They're not lairy singletrack. I ride them all year round and they're primarily shared with dog walkers, runners, and hikers. Horse riders go cross-country - yep, doing the stuff they're trying to ban MTBers from doing. 

Sadly the ideal situation as far as the Verderers are concerned is for off-road cyclists to just use Moors Valley (which is outside the National Park boundaries anyway).

It's high time the Verderers were abolished. After all, this is a National Park, which means something highly specific which is enshrined in an Act of Parliament:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.
  • Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of national parks by the public.

In carrying out these purposes, National Park Authorities are also required to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities in the National Park.

Hopefully, if a ban is enforced, it can be overturned using the Equality Act, as it clearly fails to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people wishing to access the National Park

kil0ran's picture
4 months 5 days ago

Ah, but of course it's absolutely fine to send 350kgs of horse hammering across the forest at speeds far in excess of an eBike on Boxing Day, because of "tradition":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZjt0MdGDU

(and also drive the horseboxes onto the open forest, which is a protected SSSI. Yep, the same protected forest they complain that MTBers are destroying by not sticking to the provided trails)

4 months 5 days ago

What a ridiculous statement.

For one thing, its clearly fallacious to suggest that it's "a small step" from e-bikes to other motor vehicles. The law already provides a very clear definition of what constitutes an electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC) - by and large, EAPC are treated as in law as normal bicycles, while pretty much any other motorised vehicle (including, currently, e-scooters) is treated as a motor vehicle. Allowing EAPC does not open the door to other motor vehicles. While it's possible that in the not-too-distant-future e-scooters might be recognised in law (beyond the very limited trials currently approved), any such change to national legislation would be subject to the normal level of scrutnity, and still would not open the gates to any futher motor vehicles. 

Secondly, there is deep irony in the Equestrian  society objecting to forms of transport other than one's own two feet. Indeed, I note that one horsepower is ~746W, while an EPAC is capped at 250W (and indeed a horse can produce far in excess of one horsepower for a short period).

4 months 5 days ago

I go much faster on my road bike than my ebike - logically if you're claiming it's about safety the former should be banned rather than the latter (don't mention that to the cycle-hating Verderers though, you'll probably end up having to show a certificate proving an FTP of below 150 before being allowed into the Forest...).

4 months 5 days ago

I'd be of a similar mind to AlsoSomniloquism, as a rider of a road legal e-bike I know well that if its goi g faster than 25kph I'm either sweating or going downhill. I think there's a misunderstanding of exactly what a legal é-bike is and does.

Its a pity there are so many illegal variants around though,  people who don't know the difference might be forgiven for not wanting to share paths with them.

4 months 5 days ago

Which demographic goes on organised escorted ebike promenades? Unlikely that it's the lary yobbos tearing up up countryside. I think the Verderers have shot the wrong fox.

4 months 5 days ago

A horse offers riders greater power and speed than an e-bike, and does not simply augment the rider's own propulsive efforts. Presumably Ms Scott wants electric wheelchairs banned too?

4 months 5 days ago

There is a basic misconception here about ebikes "going faster" than unassisted bicycles, whereas the assistance is only available up to regular cycling speed. However I'd be surprised if that was not deliberate misinformation  to muddy the waters. Sow the idea that these ebikes are just electric motorbikes and of course people will oppose them, only pausing to reflect once the ban is securely in place.

 

There is another misconception about having to regulate them as a separate entity from ordinary bicycles, thereby opening the door to all sorts of motorised transport. Whereas all they need to do is regulate bicycles, and accept that whilst ebikes are treated in legislation as bicycles they are not opening themselves to any new precedent that could be exploited by proponents of motorised transport.

4 months 5 days ago

FFS, use the same guidance the government does. If it goes faster then 15.5mph and still gets assistance, ban it. If the motor stays engaged even when no pedalling is done, ban it. If it is legally classed as a bike on the roads as it complies with the rules, allow it. 

Not rocket science. 

4 months 5 days ago

The New Forest really is gammons all the way down isn't it?