Tag Archive for e-bikes

Guest post: Support your local ebike dealer or local bike shop on Small Business Saturday

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These days, a lot of people are considering ebikes, for obvious reasons. They’re a great way for beginners to get into bicycling, to ride without fear of hills or going too far, or commute to work without breaking a sweat.

Not to mention they’re a lot of fun.

But where you buy your bike matters, as Linda Coburn of Pedego 101 in Westlake Village explains.

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At least once a week we receive a call from someone asking if we can help fix the e-bike they bought online. “It was a really good deal,” they say. “Their website has excellent reviews,” they continue. “But they don’t respond to phone calls or emails now that I have the bike.”

This is exactly why you buy a technologically-advanced machine from a local bike shop, preferably one that specializes in e-bikes. You certainly can’t test-ride a bike online. Many times a customer comes in after doing a lot of Internet research thinking they know exactly what they want but after trying a variety of styles, sizes and power options they often fall in love with something very different.

The staff of your local e-bike shop have likely ridden in the neighborhood. They know how each bike will perform on that monster hill and in the riding conditions that you will encounter. Most local bike shops host group rides and will be happy to give you directions to great ride locations. You may even end up making some new friends!

And of course, when you buy local you meet the actual people who will be there for you in case a problem should arise. Most local shops handle warranty repairs and will get your e-bike set-up just right. They will make sure the accessories you choose will fit and even install them for you.

So support your small and local business owner on Saturday, and every day. It’s good for you and it’s great for the community.

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I’m a firm believer in supporting your local bike shop, because they’re the ones who will take the time to ensure you buy the right bike or gear for the way you ride, and be there to support you long after they take your credit card.

I’m told some shops even accept cash.

So take a few minutes out of your frenzied Black Friday, or tomorrow’s Small Business Saturday, to stop by your favorite LBS and buy something. Anything.

They’ll appreciate the business.

And if you’re new there, take the time to introduce yourself and get to know them, so you won’t be a stranger the next time you come in.

 

Low Speed E-Bikes Given Bicycle Privileges

Bikes Have Rights™
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

 

On Oct. 7, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1096 that gives two of the three classes of electric bikes the right to access bike paths and bike lanes. This is the first of its kind of legislation in the country, and it is a sign that e-bikes are coming of age.

AB 1096, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016, divides electric bikes into three classes:

  • Type 1: Pedal-assisted machines with a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph
  • Type 2: Throttle-assisted machines with a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph;
  • Type 3: Pedal-assisted bikes with a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph.

As of 2017, electric bike manufacturers must label e-bikes as a Type 1, 2, or 3. The infographic below by People for Bikes and the California Bicycle Coalition explains the policy more completely.

e-bike-graphic-trimmed

E-bikes are gaining in popularity, and not just with seniors, people with injuries or disabilities, families, and those who have particularly long or uphill commutes. These bikes are quickly going mainstream because they’re fun to ride and adaptable to various conditions.

Though AB 1096 permits various classes of e-bikes to ride in or on various bike paths and lanes (as indicated on the chart above), be aware of where e-bikes still may not be permitted to ride, unless specifically indicated in these areas:

  • Bike paths and roads that are not under federal or state vehicle codes (an example would be a bike path in a county park).
  • Natural surface paths in parks, like mountain bike trails, and open space areas.

Most importantly, counties, cities and other government entities still have the right to regulate e-bikes, just as they have the right to regulate bicycle usage with their domains.

Since we’re discussing e-bikes’ rights and responsibilities under the law, let’s go a little further. In 2001, the United States Congress passed Public Law 107-319. It stated that electric bicycles and tricycles that meet the definition of low-speed electric bicycles are regulated by the federal Consumer Product Safety Act versus mopeds and motorcycles that have the ability to exceed the speed of an electric bicycle. The latter are regulated by the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

States then passed their own laws regulating e-bikes. In California, low-speed (up to 20 mph) e-bikes have all the rights and responsibilities of a motor vehicle, just as a bicycle does. E-bike riders do not need a driver’s license, license plate or insurance. You must be at least 16 years old to ride an e-bike, and if you are age 17 or younger, you must wear a bicycle helmet.

Now with AB 1096, you can ride an e-bike almost anywhere you can ride a bicycle. But remember, all the traffic laws – from stop signs to traffic signals and to phone and text use and from riding with traffic and having working brakes, handlebars, and lights on your bike – all apply to you on your e-bike.

There are a couple of potential legal issues that I see facing e-bike riders. The most important one in my mind is the issue of insurance. As I said, no insurance is required for an e-bike in California.

I have read online that dealers believe that if your e-bike is stolen, it is likely that your homeowner’s or rental insurance policy would cover the theft. They do suggest that you contact your insurance agent to confirm that.

My apprehension is whether your uninsured motorist insurance would cover you if you are in a collision and the driver of the motor vehicle is either uninsured or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover you if the collision results in serious injuries or a wrongful death. A cyclist riding a bicycle who has a collision is covered by his/her uninsured motorist insurance. Is a cyclist on an e-bike similarly covered?

This is a very important point, and it’s why we always recommend that a cyclist increase his/her uninsured motorist insurance as high as their insurance company will permit. It’s pennies on the dollar and if you’re in a collision, it could mean that you have a much easier time of restarting your life.

Your uninsured motorist insurance kicks in if the driver does not have insurance, if the driver does not have enough insurance to cover the damage he/she caused, or in the event of a hit and run when the driver is not found.

Does your uninsured motorist insurance cover you on an e-bike? I urge you to contact your insurance agency and ask. If they say “yes,” get it in writing!

It is also worth noting that regardless of what type of bike you are riding, it is illegal to ride under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Besides the obvious, I see a potential legal issue here also.

In 1985, California passed Vehicle Code 21200.5, which made cycling (or bicycling) under the influence a CUI rather than a DUI. A CUI is a misdemeanor and it will show up on your record as a conviction. It also carries a $250 fine but no jail time. If the individual is under 21, a CUI conviction can result in the suspension of the person’s driver’s license.

In my mind it is unclear whether riding a Type 1 or a Type 2 e-bike under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol would be categorized as a CUI or a DUI if you were stopped by law enforcement.

Cal. Veh. Code § 231, specifically defines a bicycle as a device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears, and having one of more wheels. It says that persons riding bicycles are subject to the provisions of this code (CUI) specified in Sections 21200 and 21200.5.

A moped rider who is under the influence is subject to the drunk driving laws (DUIs). This was decided in 1977 by the California Court of Appeal in People v. Jordan, 75 Cal. App.3d Supp.1. The court specifically stated that because it had a motor it did not fall under the CUI law.

There doesn’t seem to be any law on the books at this time that would remove Type 1 or Type 2 e-bikes from DUI law. My best advice would be to not test the law and to not ride under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (illegal OR prescription drugs).

So the next time you see an e-bike in a bike lane, remember, it, too, has the right to be there.

 

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

For more than 25 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers of America and to Southern California Super Lawyers for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at [email protected].

 

 

E-bike rider killed in North Hollywood dooring; 10th LA bicycling fatality

Dooring is one of the most common kinds of bicycling collisions, but it is rarely fatal.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, as the Daily News reports that an e-bike rider died yesterday as a result of being doored in North Hollywood.

According to the paper, the cyclist, identified only as an man apparently in his 50s, crashed into a car door on westbound Vanowen approaching Longridge Ave around 10 am Tuesday. A passenger in the parked car opened a driver’s side door into the path of the rider, who fell after crashing into it; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The passenger remained at the scene and tried to help the victim.

It’s important to note that CVC 22517 requires any person opening a car door to wait until it is safe to do so without inferring with moving traffic. As a result, the person opening the door is almost always at fault in a dooring, whether it’s the driver of a passenger.

This is the 76th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, which compares with the same number this time last year. It’s also the 29th cycling death in LA County since the first of the year, and the 10th in the City of Los Angeles.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

Riding random thoughts on a semi-rainy day

This is me climbing the walls.

Between today’s semi-threatening weather and an unrelenting workload — not that I’m complaining about having work in this economy, mind you — I find myself riding a wave of seemingly random thoughts rather than the bike I’d like to be on.

Partly because the bike I’d like to be on is finally ready to ride.

For some reason, I’ve never had the love for the 6-year old LeMond at the top of this page that I had for my now 30-year old Trek.

Maybe because it feels every little bump, and never felt nailed to the road like my old bike did. Or maybe because I’ve had my old bike longer than I’ve had my wife, and haven’t built the memories on the new one that I made on the old one — my bike, that is, not my wife.

Before

Although I’m sure the infamous beachfront bee encounter would certainly stand out, if only I could remember what happened.

Then again, that was before a broken wheel kept me off my bike for the last three weeks. Although I was happy to have the loan of a surprisingly lithe, plush and easy to ride red Urbana bike in the meantime.

After

But over the weekend, the kind folks at Trek and Beverly Hills Bike Shop — which isn’t actually in Beverly Hills, even though the sidewalk in front of it is — replaced my wheel under warranty, for which I thank both. So now I find myself jonesing to get out for a long ride on my own bike, and realizing just how much I’d missed it.

Especially since I got a report today that the virtually unridable sidewalk bike path along Sepulveda Blvd that we discussed yesterday may have finally seen a little improvement, along with the badly cracked Class 1 path through the Marina.

And unfortunately, that time off my bike is starting to show in the snugness of my waistband. And evidently, there’s a reason for that.

According to a formula in a recent issue of Bicycling, I burn about 1,000 calories an hour. (Weight divided by 2.2, multiplied by 12 if you ride between 16 –19 mph; my normal cruising speed is 18 – 20. Or multiply by 16 if you ride 20 mph or higher, by 10 if you ride 14 – 16, 8 for 12 – 14, 6 for 10 – 12, or by 4 if you ride less than 10 mph.)

So that’s somewhere around 10,000 –12,000 calories a week I haven’t been burning. And 3,500 calories plus or minus equals 1 pound of weight gained or lost.

The fun, not-so-little Urbana I borrowed — love those big, bouncy glow-in-the-dark tires

It also explains, in least in part, why a recent study suggested that biking on a regular basis could add up 14 months to your life. Although as far as I’m concerned, extending the quality of life is every bit as important as extending the length of it.

Which is why I plan to keep riding as long as my body will let me. That and the fact that there’s almost nothing I’d rather do.

And that could help explain yesterday’s article in the Times, which said that sales are down for electric bikes. While an e-bike may provide efficient, sweat-free transportation, it can’t provide the same health benefits or the sheer satisfaction and physical joy of pedaling a bike.

E-bikes can also cost every bit as much as, and sometimes more than, a Vespa-style scooter — even an electric one — while being more difficult for a beginner to ride. And you can’t always ride them everywhere bikes are allowed.

So I think I’ll stick with my bike, thank you. The one with the new wheel, tire and cycling computer.

And I plan to pedal its skinny GatorSkins Downtown for Tour de Fat this Saturday — and burn a few thousand calories in the process, which should just about make up for the calories I expect to consume there.*

* Biking under the influence is illegal in California, so limit your alcohol consumption just like you would if you were driving.

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Word broke Monday that a SoCal golfer died after being struck in the head with a golf ball; there’s no truth to the rumor that Mayor Villaraigosa may propose a mandatory helmet law for everyone on the links. Contrast the massive media coverage his death received with the minimal coverage given most biking fatalities; then again, golfing deaths a pretty rare, while a death on the streets just isn’t that usual. Thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

And in a story that defies rational explanation — or rather, in which the explanation doesn’t seem rational — Witch on a Bicycle points out that authorities in a Massachusetts town blame a bicycle rider for plowing down two parking meters before crashing into a car. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cyclist who could knock over a solid steel parking meter post. Let alone two.

.………

Next year’s Tour de France looks like one of the more challenging routes in years, with six high mountain stages and four summit finishes. As expected, a Spanish cyclist ends the year ranked #1 in the world — but it’s Rodriguez, not TdF winner and tainted meat eater Contador; Tyler Farrar is the top American at #9. And Lance is well on his way to fathering his own team as he becomes a dad for the fifth time.

.………

Streetsblog asks where the next CicLAvia should be. The Claremont Cyclist discusses the 2nd Annual Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride; this year’s ride will benefit Andreas Knickman, the son of former pro racer Roy Knickman, in his fight against cancer. Bikeside’s Mihai Peteu reports on last Friday’s memorial ride for Daniel Marin. A Long Beach cyclist is threatened with tickets in retaliation for questioning an officer. Gary continues to shine a light on the Santa Monica City Council race, as two more candidates respond to his questionnaire on biking and land use issues. Will questions just how much a bike is really worth. Bicycle Fixation takes an in-depth look at bike parking, comparing a well-designed rack with a modern relic from the best-forgotten past. San Francisco aims for a 20% bike share by 2020, and a bold path forward for Bay Area cyclists. The Sonoma County GranFondo hit-and-run is now being investigated as an intentional assault. Advice on what to do if you’re stopped for riding in the lane, in response to a sheriff’s deputy who just didn’t get it. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske is interviewed by a Cleveland radio station. A reminder to check your auto insurance, because the uninsured motorist coverage can protect you on a bike. A Kansas City cyclist known locally as the Bike Man is gunned down and left to die in the street. New York Critical Mass riders win a nearly $1 million settlement; half will go for legal fees. An NYC cyclist shoots a cop when they try to stop him for riding illegally on the sidewalk; seems like a bit of an overreaction to me. NFL quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen ride bikes sans helmets. Why drivers should love Toronto’s new bike boxes. Eight months in jail for running down a cyclist and leaving the scene while driving with impaired vision. A 6-year old cyclist is clotheslined when he rides into an over-extended dog leash.

Finally, biking can do more than just get you from here to there, it can also lead you home to a family you’ve never known. Or it can provide the path to true love — or not, as the case may be — in one of the cutest short films I’ve seen in ages.

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