Advocating the legalization of small EVs through safety education?

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Last seen: 13 years 3 months ago
Joined: Monday, April 19, 2010 - 16:56
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Advocating the legalization of small EVs through safety education?

Being recently introduced to the entry level world of EVs, I'm finding myself seriously questioning to motives of some laws regarding the use of small electric scooters(<20mph max). Like many places in the US, PA laws classify them as "motor vehicles" that are prohibited on public roads, sidewalks, as well as designated bicycle/pedestrian trails. It also seems that they are perceived by the masses as being "dangerous" in hands of the younger demographic in which they're largely marketed for(Once upon a time, there was a "new" two-wheeled, human-powered transportation device that was known to intimidate pedestrians and occasionally startle horses on public roads...but I digress). The way I see it, a small scooter, like the bicycle, is no more dangerous than the rider that's controlling it. When I was a kid in elementary school, I vividly remember the bicycle safety seminars that were conducted by the local police department. I also remember being taught to virtues of riding responsibly and being made very well aware of the potential consequences of my actions while riding a bike. I believe that in order to gain a broader public acceptance and create a more viable market, some type of safety-oriented curriculum must be implemented. I propose that such a program could possibly be funded by an annual/biannual 'scooter inspection system' conducted by 'licenced technician' at your local bicycle or motorcycle shop. I think the advancement of entry level EV technology is more likely to grow once manufacturers recognize the incentives of an expanding market...which is something we can all benefit from.


robert93's picture
Last seen: 7 years 8 months ago
Joined: Thursday, August 13, 2009 - 12:28
Points: 240
Re: Advocating the legalization of small EVs through safety ...

As a legally blind individual i find the restrictive laws in some states regarding Low Speed Electric Assisted bicycles VERY alarming. There are many people who for various reasons cant drive a car, yet still need to get around. Its also nice to be able to get around without having to suit up in excercise clothes and arrive in non-sweaty condition. Personally, i've taken a recumbent bicycle, with no motor on it, to a speed of 39.4mph, and was totally legal doing it, but that was an exception speed, not the norm. That was pushing my limits to safely control the bike. The idea behind the 20 mph limit is to minimize the amount of damage that an electric cyclist can cause should an accident occur, and improve survivability should one collide with objects.
That being said, I can also remember the 70's and 80's, when mopeds went unregulated, until 8 year old kids were being turned loose with no training or helmets, and were driving into the paths of motorists without regard to the consequences. There were plenty of other riders who were fully trained, and responsible riders, but they had to be 'protected' because of the untrained, unskilled, unfortunate ones. The moped industry all but flourished under this regulation In a few years, all the major manufacturers dropped mopeds from their product lineup. This was unfortunate as they were much better built than most of today's electric 'scooter' bicycles. This may also be why most of the quality manufacturers are slow to take on the e-bike market.
The bicycle training and education programs are very good, and useful programs, and it would be good if e-bikes recieved the same kind of welcome. I dont think its a good idea to just turn a child loose on an e-bike and say "have fun and be careful" though. I think there should be a minimum age and or abilities test, to make sure they can handle the vehicle safely, but not so restrictive as to say "you must be able to handle a car in order to handle a e-bike that cant exceed 20mph", that just seems rediculous!
This is still a relatively new industry, and needs Better product, and BETTER (or less) LAWS!!

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