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Electric bikes to get legal boost in ACT

ACT Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell tries out an electric bicycle in Braddon.

ACT Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell tries out an electric bicycle in Braddon. Photo: Graham Tidy

Higher-powered electric bicycles could be allowed on Canberra’s roads and cycle paths, with an amendment set to be introduced to the Assembly on Thursday.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell is pushing to bring Canberra into line with the European standards, which would increase the power of bicycles from the current 200 watt limit to a maximum continuous power rating of 250 watts.

The change is part of a national agreement across jurisdictions to allow the import, sale and use of European-style electric bikes.

Mr Corbell said the European-style bicycles, pedelecs, allow better performance on hills and extended range on journeys, but also had additional safety and design requirements.

Riders will still be required to adhere to bicycle road rules, including wearing an approved helmet.

Pedelecs have a motor that requires riders to continue pedalling in order for the motor to be activated, with power to the motor cut once the bike reaches 25km/h.

“Canberra has the highest level of cycling in any capital city with many already choosing to get on their bike to travel to and from work or for leisure, however, the ACT Government is working hard on policies and law changes that will make it easier for people to get around our city on a bike,” Mr Corbell said.

“Electric bicycles are an increasingly popular choice for people who travel longer distances, are ageing or suffer from physical injury.

“I am hopeful that this legislation will receive the support of the Assembly, and in turn empower Canberrans to make more sustainable and cost effective transport choices.”

 

15 comments

  • Do not support this? The bikers are paddling too fast on the pedestrian path anyway. I feel that safety of old people hasnt been dealt with. Canberra is no Europe, why do we need to follow them. It works there, doesnt mean it will work here. I found bikers have no manner, they simply rush past you when you walk on foot path!

    Commenter
    Grumpy young man
    Date and time
    April 11, 2013, 8:44AM
    • Why not adopt the Singaporean approach then? have parallel paths for slow walkers and a path for cyclists in high-traffic areas like the east coast park here.

      Commenter
      John121
      Location
      Singapore
      Date and time
      April 11, 2013, 11:47AM
  • This is great news. The geography and climate of Canberra provides a wonderful opportunity for electric bikes. Look outside the window right now and tell me it isn't a great day to go for a ride.

    The increase in power this amendment proposes means that electric bikes become feasible as a means of getting between town centres. Gungahlin to Civic, no sweat!

    Commenter
    Stir the pot
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    April 11, 2013, 9:04AM
    • As long as they meet the Euro standard that requires the person to pedal as well as getting the assist and do something about all the illegal 2 stroke engine versions that zip along the path at 30-40 km/hr

      Commenter
      James
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      April 11, 2013, 9:33AM
      • If they are allowed on the roads they pay, simple. Otherwise, get the hell off and out of my way!

        Commenter
        LuvBerra
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        April 11, 2013, 9:44AM
        • I reckon set up two decent size batteries and go flat bikkie along some cycle paths....should be fun....set up regenerative braking as well to recover some of the power to reduce frequency of recharging too.

          No reason why you couldn't get up to 80 km/h with some decent gearing too. I dont think the cycle paths have a designated speed limit, so hey.. have fun!

          How long before foxtel has "pimp my bike"?

          Commenter
          Zippy
          Date and time
          April 11, 2013, 10:47AM
          • Seriously, 250w? Make it 500, then I will get out of my car.
            And James, mine is a four stroke. It's not illegal, the motor is rated at 200w. I don't ride it, it's too noisy :)

            Commenter
            andyr
            Location
            CBR
            Date and time
            April 11, 2013, 10:53AM
            • The problem is irrelevant to how bicycle speed is generated (why is the author concerned with electric bikes given most cut-out at 20 k/hr ??). The problem is bicycle speed and pedestrians - some of the more serious cyclists peddle around the place at speeds > 40 k/hr - which means they should be peddling on the road away from pedestrians.

              Commenter
              stuart
              Date and time
              April 11, 2013, 10:59AM
              • The bicycle path is for bikes/similar speed and the road is for cars/other types of transport with similar speeds. Anything else is far too dangerous!!

                Commenter
                BB
                Location
                Canberra
                Date and time
                April 11, 2013, 11:00AM
                • I have to say that as an ebike commuter, my heart says "yeah!! more power!!", but my brain says "you're going fast enough already buddy". 200W is the perfect level at which pedalling makes a big difference so people tend not to ride them like motor bikes. Any more power and that's what would happen. There's already a significant speed discrepancy between the primitive bikes of yesteryear and their 21st century counterparts. I don't think it will help relations to increase it.

                  Commenter
                  JTO
                  Date and time
                  April 11, 2013, 11:19AM

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