RTA changes could be boost for electric bikes  

Posted by Big Gav in

The SMH reports that electric bikes might get greater encouragement from the local regulators - RTA changes could be boost for electric bikes

ELECTRIC bikes could be the answer to traffic congestion, the obesity crisis and our carbon footprint. But over-regulation and a cycling culture that looks down on battery-assisted bikes as "cheating" have slowed their take-up in Australia, enthusiasts say.

However, changes proposed by the RTA could allow more powerful models on our roads.

The bikes do not need to be registered as long as their maximum power is 200 watts or less. But some models can have throttle control and resemble mopeds, with users being booked for riding them without registration.

''The beauty of this is people who are way past riding a bike can suddenly ride again. It integrates casual exercise into people's daily lives,'' says Mike Rubbo, 71, a filmmaker and e-bike enthusiast who runs the blog situp-cycle.com. ''It's the ideal urban transport vehicle.''

Overseas, e-bikes with up to 1000-watt motors are permitted in some jurisdictions. European e-bikes are typically 250 watts. In response to a growing push to allow e-bikes without registration to be used in Australia, the RTA has submitted a report to the federal government proposing changes to regulations.

"Times have changed and bikes have changed so they need to bring the law into line with Europe, which is what they're proposing," said Paul van Bellen, co-owner of Gazelle Bicycles Australia, a "bikes for transport" shop in Matraville.

The SMH also has a report on haggling over a Sydney light rail plan (probably a fantasy, like most state government transport initiatives) - Bureaucrats want light rail stops every 700m - passengers or not.
The Sydney Metro Authority folded last month after the Premier, Kristina Keneally, abandoned the controversial $5.3 billion, seven-kilometre underground line between Central and Rozelle and announced instead an extension of the light rail to Dulwich Hill and a line between Central and Barangaroo.

Under a proposal the Herald understands the department is considering, there would be no light rail stops at Lewisham train station and New Canterbury Road, which several popular bus services - including 428 between Canterbury and the city and the 444 and 445 between Campsie and Balmain - use.

''This makes no sense,'' the deputy mayor of Leichhardt, Michele McKenzie, said. ''The light rail stops should be at the quickest interchange point with other modes of transport. In our case, stops need to be at the main western [train] line and Canterbury Road.''

Cr McKenzie and public transport experts fear the proposal will prevent the light rail reaching capacity.

The minister's spokesman said work was under way on a pre-construction study for the light rail extension, which would take three months. ''No decision has been made on the exact locations of stops for the light rail,'' he said.

Garry Glazebrook, an urban planning expert at the University of Technology, Sydney, who was invited to sit on the government's transport planning taskforce, said light rail was a flexible form of transport that could fit around existing land use and encourage new, more dense land use and improve street life. ''The stops can be 200 metres apart or a kilometre apart,'' he said.

''Your aim, when designing a system, is to pick up the major catchments of people.''


what got left out of the SMH article is that we need a completely new bike culture.

At the moment cycling is dominated by sport/leisure usage. There are more bikes than cars sold but almost none leave the carport as transport.

That's because they are not suitable for carrying stuff,they require or encourage special clothes, and they are too fragile

For getting about, utility cycling, we need to switch massively to the sit-up bike, such as is ridden all over Europe, the bike that allows you to see better and be seen, that keeps your regular clothes clean with it's chain and skirt guards, which carries things for you on its rack, in its saddlebags and or basket.

Above all the bike with its wide seat which keeps you so comfortable that you never hesitate to use it.

Marry this bike, which certainly is a bit heavier and offers more wind resistance, with an electric motor and you have the beginnings of the cycling revolution we have to have.

The drama of the carport, the moment of choice, which transport mode to choose, the car or the bike, resolves in favor of the bike as it does all over Europe, and we are away into a new personal transportation future.

Now that PM Rudd has dumped his moral challenge, the ETS, we must switch to this two wheel challenge, which instead of being over our heads, as was the ETS, mobilizes us all in a war on warming. Mike Rubbo

gary   says 9:49 AM

The bike you are describing is the bike I just bought. Made by Pedego Electric bikes. I just bought one a few weeks ago and have been using that instead of my car for trips in the 10-15 mile range.

The great thing about this bike is that it is a cruiser, it has a large comfortable seat and front basket along with two side baskets for me to bring anything i need with me. Laptop, groceries, etc. I live in Southern California so it's nice that we have bike lanes everywhere. I do see alot of cycling enthusiast that often wonder how this upright bicycle is passing them on the streets. LOL

Ever since I got this bike, I use my cars alot less. I have supercharged range rover and a BMW M3. Both are gas guzzlers. Since many of the places I used drive fall in the 10-20 mile range. It has saved me alot of gas money so far. To be honest, it's just alot of fun to ride this bike! I never thought it would be until tried it out. www.pedegoelectricbikes.com

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