As the government outlined plans to get more people out of cars and using alternatives like e-bikes in their Gear Change document launched this week, a new petition is calling for a review of current e-bike laws that caps motor power at 250 watts and limits assisted speeds to 15.5mph (25kph). The petition suggests raising the speed to 20mph (32.18kph) in line with US e-bike leglislation, because "the current limit reduces the likelihood that people will swap their car for an electric bike".
As we found out ourselves when trying to register a speed pedelec, riding a more powerful e-bike than the current legislation allows is complicated and costly if you want to do it legally; and the petition's creator claims that the law can actually create an adverse affect, because some e-bike owners resort to derestricting their bikes to bypass the 25kph assisted speed limit. Derestricted e-bikes can often reach speeds far in excess of even the US limit, which could mean even faster illegal e-bikes on roads and paths if more people are tempted to break the law as the popularity of e-bikes increases, the petition's creator claims. It says:
"It's commonly accepted in the cycling community that the current limit reduces the likelihood that people will swap their car for an electric bike and that the speed difference being so much lower than a car increases the danger presented to cyclists when sharing the road.
"Additionally, there are a large number of bikes in the UK that have bypassed or do not conform to the current legislation. Increasing it would prevent much faster bicycles from making their way onto the roads and paths."
The petition on the petition.parliament.uk website had 478 signatures when this article was published, and needs 10,000 to garner a response from the government. If it receives 100,000 signatures, the petition will be debated in parliament.
Do you think assisted e-bike speeds should be increased in the UK, and will this encourage more people to buy e-bikes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...