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Electric bikes - allowed, regulated or banned?

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by DITB, May 31, 2014.

  1. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    #1 DITB, May 31, 2014
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
    in Hong Kong, any sort of vehicle with propulsion other than human powered is considered a motor vehicle, and must be registered as a car or motor cycle. In practical terms, this makes any kind of e-bike illegal, even pedal assist bikes. You can use it in your living room or backyard, if you are wealthy enough to have such an area.

    First offenders are invited up to a 3 month jail sentence and a fine, second time offenders 6 month jail.

    The dual faced fight against pollution in Hong Kong is pulling in both directions. On one hand, pollution must be decreased, on the other hand, stiff and police state type of regulation bans any kind of modern light transportation. Trucks and buses spewing out clouds of black smoke can be seen all the time, while taking a (non-assisted) bike is not very practical in the hot and humid Hong Kong summer. An electric bike would make it realistic for many people to commute on bikes, even when it is too hot otherwise to move around.

    The ways to travel in Hong Kong are limited to

    - Train
    - Taxi
    - Bus
    - Car
    - Helicopter
    - Bike
    - Walk (or run, crawl, leap, hump whatever)

    Electric bikes, no-no, skates and skate boards while allowed are usually not welcome, even in parks and other suitable areas.

    Not allowed:

    - Segways
    - Pedal assist bikes
    - Electric bikes
    - Child toys with any sort of motor


    This is on public "roads", which is interpreted quite wide. In a convention, an exhibition centre, in a closed off area, Segways were being rented out - not allowed!

    Transport Department - Transport Department

    (My emphasis in bold in the quote above)

    So Segways do not conform to regulations of motor cycles, as in Hong Kong, a Segway, as well as a pedal assist bike, is a motor cycle. It requires registration as such, and the driver must have a drivers license.

    A pedal assist bike, which automatically stops adding power as the speed approaches 25 km/h (varies by country), will do the same speed as any other bike, except the rider will be sweating less.

    From http://hkcyclingalliance.org/laws-and-regs/miscellaneous


    -

    Wikipedia has a list of countries wrt electric bikes:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws#Hong_Kong

    Singapore isn't mentioned, but even in the state where chewing gum and tobacco is almost entirely forbidden, you can use electric bikes:

    http://www.onemotoring.com.sg/publish/onemotoring/en/lta_information_guidelines/buy_a_new_vehicle/motorised_bicycles.html

    You must wear a helmet, the motor must be limited to 200W AND it cannot assist with power above 25 km/h

    But even that is not allowed in Hong Kong.

    Electric bikes used to be forbidden in the UK - and Hong Kong law is based mainly on UK law - but now even "throttle bikes" or practically electric scooters, are allowed, though regulated, in the UK.


    From a previous post, in the electric bike thread:

    http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201305/08/P201305070364.htm


    Can you say "almost everywhere in the world, apart from Hong Kong and possibly, North Korea" ?

    Electric bikes, limited to 26 km/h - is that high speeds? How about the trucks in Hong Kong, they have no speed limiters like most other civilised states require. It happens all the time that you are passed by a truck, even huge ones, on the highway and more rural roads, they often go more than 120 km/h. So 26 km/h is "seriously endangering the safety" ? Hong Kong is so hypocritical and full of double standards ...

    How about a space shuttle license, just to be on the safe side?

    Mind you, this is the same TD (transport department) which is preventing the rear facing seats of the Tesla model S, as well as the web browser - and possibly on the model X, there won't be side cameras but traditional mirrors. Because that's what the law says, one has to have mirrors, and a mirror is a reflective surface which reflects light back - not a 21st century system of electronic capture of light rays, projected on a liquid crystal display!

    Bring back the horse carriages and the rickshaws!

    Right, so you think it is safer to be hit by a motorcycle, than a bike with pedal assist? Motor cycle weighing 200+ kg, electric bike less than 50 kg. Motorcycle capable of 200 km/h or more, electric bike capable of 26 km/h. Different method of control? Electric bikes are controlled exactly the same way as other bikes - you pedal, you move forward, you steer, bike turns, you brake, bike stops. But with 35 C (95F) and near 100% relative humidity, who would consider using a bike for commuting, if there is no pedal assist?

    Legco politicians with private chauffeurs can care less, but how about the general public Joe and Jane, who cannot afford a car in Hong Kong?

    Here is a snippet of the fight from the public:

    The Battle of Tours: E-bikes for Hong Kong

    While some (a minority) see e-bikes as a threat in Hong Kong, others feel that it is time for Hong Kong to enter the 21st century. With a precise set of regulations allowing pedelec type "pedal assist" bikes that cut out by 25 km/h, people will be encouraged to drive these, rather than high powered, throttled "mini motor cycles".

    My question is then - is there any other state or country in the world, where electric bikes, in any form, are entirely banned, like in Hong Kong?

    I would like to hear more about YOUR local community, how are e-bikes adapted, and what are the requirements to have one?
     
  2. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    electric bikes are illegal in the entire state of New York, especially NYC
     
  3. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Legal in Ontario. Allowed on "recreational pathways" (bike paths) in Ottawa as long as they have pedals. No licensing required.
     
  5. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    So that makes it two states so far, Hong Kong and New York.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I know my post was a bit lengthy but I already posted that link. I failed to see that New York was entirely banned, otherwise it seems that most of all states/countries allow some sort of electric bikes.
     
  6. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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  7. Mookuh

    Mookuh Member

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    #7 Mookuh, Jun 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
    In Germany, Electric-assisted bikes (Pedelecs) need the same permits as regular bikes (aka none), but they have to turn off the assist when you're going faster than 25 kp/h, else it would be considered a Scooter and those require registration and a license (which you can get with 16+). It's also important that the motor *only* helps when pedelling, and doesn't have a throttle or an autonomous "Starting help". As you would expect from a very bureaucratic country, the law distinguishes between many types of electric bikes.

    I think Electric Scooters are great too, though. Scooters are just meant to get you around locally and thus the relatively short range won't be an issue, the convenience of charging at home is a huge plus.
     
  8. PostRationalist

    PostRationalist New Member

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    So is it illegal to use an electric wheelchair in Hong Kong too?

    According to those rules, then it is illegal to use an electric wheelchair as well and that should also be punishable by a 3 month sentence!

    What an absurdity!! :confused:
     
  9. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    That's a very good point, let me look that up.

    Also, some toys like some "sit on train" with a tiny electric motor sold to kids are really illegal too. But who to punish if a 4 year old is using such a toy?

    In some respects Hong Kong is very modern and vibrant, in other ways ... it's like hundreds of years behind the rest of the developed world. Sigh.

    Yes, I know, I know, if you don't like the smell in the bakery shop, then .......
     

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