Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brussels Sprouts -- Electric

Brussels Continues to Obstruct Bigger E-Bike Motors

BRUSSELS Belgium – It’s not finalized yet in new type-approval regulations, but as it stands now 25 km/h electric bicycles with more than 250Watt motors will remain subject to the type-approval for motorcycles. As a result, they will remain classified as mopeds and riders will have to wear a helmet and have insurance and a driver’s licence. If they would be excluded from type-approval, they would be classified as bicycles without all these obligations. The bigger motors would make electric bicycles more suitable for heavy duty usages by postal workers with heavy bags, other types of freight transportation on bicycles and for cycling in hilly and mountainous areas.

The European bicycle industry united in COLIBI/COLIPED associations as well as the one for cyclists, ECF, on the one hand and dealer association ETRA on the other, strongly disagree on new e-bike regulations.

The industry associations as well as the European Cyclist Federation (ECF) want to make sure that the market remains limited to bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and a motor output limit of 250W. Both industry organizations are in favour of maintaining the current specifications as described in the Directive 2002/24/EC.
European TwoWheeler Retailers’ Association (ETRA) is lobbying the European Parliament for 3 main issues:

  1. as for bicycles with a motor that assists up to 25 km/h irrespective of their motor output limit: exclusion from the type-approval for motorcycles and inclusion in the regulatory framework of Machinery Directive + EN 15194
  2. as for bicycles and light electric vehicles with an electric motor that can propel the vehicle itself which do not weigh more than 25 kg: exclusion from the type-approval for motorcycles and inclusion in the regulatory framework of Machinery Directive + EN 15194
  3. as for all other electric bicycles and light electric vehicles that will be included in the type-approval for motorcycles: requirements that are adapted and appropriate to these vehicles.

It looks like that the European Commission will obstruct the use of bigger motors for e-bikes that comply to the current ‘bicycle’ specifications as described in the Directive 2002/24/EC.

The European Commission is willing to allow motors with more than 250 Watt but only when they are included in the type-approval just like motorcycles. This regulation required a compulsory insurance, the wearing of a helmet, a licenses plate a specific technological requirements for brakes and saddles.

Bike Sharing Program -- New York

Bike Sharing Program To Be Launched in New York in 2012

NEW YORK, USA - New York City officials announced the introduction of a comprehensive bike share system in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn in 2012. Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. has been selected to develop and operate the privately funded system which will include approximately 10,000 bicycles and 600 stations. Options for additional stations in other boroughs are also being explored.

New Yorkers and visitors will be able to pick up a bike at any station, 24 hours a day, and ride to a drop-off station near their destination. Smartphone apps will allow users to find out about bike and station availability in real-time. The bike share stations will be solar-powered.

Bike share will offer residents and tourists a new public transportation option for short, one-way trips that is meant to fill gaps with self-service bike stations located every few blocks. Research shows that 40 percent of trips made by residents are less than one mile; 54 percent are less than two miles, and 67 percent are less than three miles.

Alta Bicycle Share says annual membership in the bike share system will cost less than a monthly unlimited-ride MetroCard. Day and weekly memberships will also be available for visitors to the city. Membership entitles the user to an unlimited number of free 30-45 minute trips. For longer trips, users will be charged a small, graduated usage fee. Exact rates will be determined at a later date.

Road safety in News York City has increased tremendously in the past decade. Cycling injury and fatality rates have fallen or remained stable at the same time as the number of cyclists has more than doubled, giving credence to the theory that a critical mass of cyclist on the roads improves awareness and caution for all riders.

The company, which manages similar bike share systems in Boston, Washington D.C. and Melbourne, Australia, anticipates that sponsorship will be a key component of the system financing.