State legislator pushes ‘Trenton’s Law’ to address safety of young e-bike riders

Rep. Emerson Levy at a legislative hearing Wednesday, November 8th.

A state lawmaker who represents Bend says her proposed electric bike legislation will be called “Trenton’s Law” to memorialize the tragic death of 15-year-old Trenton Burger. Burger was killed in a collision with a van after its driver made a right turn as Burger biked on a sidewalk along Highway 20 back in June.

Representative Emerson Levy presented her ideas at a meeting of the Senate Interim Committee on Judiciary in Salem last week. Since we reported on Levy’s efforts back in August, she has dropped the provision that would have made helmets mandatory for all e-bike riders (regardless of age).

As presented on Wednesday (11/8) Levy’s proposal would:

  • update Oregon to the three-class definition system that was recently adopted by the Biden Administration as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Oregon is one of 13 states that don’t use the Class 1 (20 mph with no throttle), Class 2 (20 mph with throttle), and Class 3 (28 mph max without throttle) system to regulate e-bikes;
  • make e-bikes with throttles illegal for ages 15 and under;
  • include grant money for bike safety education programs.

During her presentation to members of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Levy implored them to not dismiss this as a niche issue that only impacts affluent people. “It’s an incredible safety problem,” she said. And right now it impacts four cities in particular — Hood River, Bend, West Linn, and Lake Oswego — but Levy believes they could be canaries in a coal mine as the market for the bikes matures elsewhere.

And if safety issues don’t persuade lawmakers to prioritize the issue in this short, interim legislative session (Oregon only has full sessions on odd years), the political saliency should. “I get more emails about e-bikes than homelessness, measure 110, housing — there’s no comparison,” Levy said. “And they’re all organic emails, several pages long. This is an issue.”

To make her case, Levy painted a picture that e-bikes with throttles are very easy to modify and can be made to go 45 mph just by connecting a few wires. She was also careful to not vilify this popular new mode of transportation:

“The fundamental value is that I do think kids should be out riding bikes, they should have the freedom. These are incredible tools, they’re incredible anti-poverty tools. But the line for me, and I think for the community, and all the testimony we receive is that we don’t need 13-year-olds on things that are functionally de-facto motorcycles. And so this is the compromise.”

Levy hopes her legislation will allow educators to go into schools to teach e-bike safety. That can’t happen now because it’s technically illegal for most students to even ride e-bikes — but that doesn’t stop them from being very popular.

Levy’s focus on making throttle use illegal is different than several other states that have opted instead to prohibit young riders from riding Class 3 e-bikes that can go up to 28 mph. This approach runs the risk of singling out throttles as being inherently problematic. Oregon Senator and Judiciary Committee Chair Floyd Prozanski responded to Levy’s presentation with a comment that’s indicative of this perspective: “I personally think full throttle bikes should not be in the bike lane,” he shared. “I think that they are basically modified little motorcycles and they should be in the lane that is equipped for that.”

Prozanski and several other Judiciary Committee members seemed grateful and very supportive of Levy’s work thus far.

Oregon’s E-Bikes for All Working Group met the day after Levy made her pitch in Salem. There was relief among some members that the mandatory helmet provision was dropped and one person noted that the possibility of requiring licenses and registration was a political non-starter inside the Capitol. There was also some concern expressed that Levy might add provisions to limit the potential of e-bikes in the future. She mentioned in her presentation she felt the 1,000 watt maximum power mentioned in the current law was “outdated.” That spurred one member of the group who represents a company that uses electric trikes to deliver cargo, to say 1,000-watt motors are essential to their business and their entire fleet would be illegal if a 750-watt max was enforced.

E-bike advocates in the working group also expressed an ongoing concern that lawmakers might be too influenced by anecdotal evidence and hard data needs to be a larger part of the conversation. And several members of the group expressed that the real safety hazards on our roads come from cars and trucks, and e-bike deaths and injuries are “just kind of a rounding error” by comparison.


If you’re in the Bend area, there’s a panel discussion planned for November 16th on the future of e-bikes in Bend that will be moderated by a reporter from the Bend Bulletin.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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cc_rider
cc_rider
5 months ago

I have mixed feelings on this bill, but can you imagine how much safer our streets would be if our legislators showed this level of action and resolve in response to every single road death.

In 2021, 38 children 19 and under were killed in automobile collisions. Where are the bills to strengenth punishment for motorists caused deaths? Where are the bills to obligate motorists to pay lifetime medical costs for their victims? Where are the bills to increase the driving age and to add more in classroom instruction?

https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Data/Documents/Crash_Summary_2021.pdf

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

+1 Enough with the victim blaming regulations

ED
ED
5 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Comment of the week!

Stephen Keller
Stephen Keller
5 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

That “Where are the bills…” set of questions should be sent to every legislator responsible for thinking about this new bill and to every media outlet where we have contacts or influence. Let’s spur some outrage for the rampant loss of life directly due to motorist negligence and arrogance.

EEE
EEE
5 months ago

Pedal assist should be considered a throttle — the human’s power contribution is mostly trivial and performative, especially at higher speeds. That can be different for torque-sensing systems but they are not the norm. What we really need is consonance with the EU regs, i.e., 15.5 mph speed limit, 250 W max. Then class (and actually enforce) everything else appropriately and thoughtfully with various restrictions, e.g., no kids, no bike lanes, helmets required, speed limiters, licensing, etc. So many will whine about their freedoms being taken away but the reality is bigger heavier faster is dangerous and we are too dumb as humans to appreciate the risks, especially the exponent relation between energy and speed.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

250W regulation is a joke. It’s just software limited and almost anyone can just change the settings. It’s not even well defined what the 250W limit means or how to measure it.

If you have to share the road going the speed of traffic is a lot safer than going slower. Ebikes make this more possible. I consider them safer. If we want to make bicycling safer we should slow the cars down to match the bikes. Slowing the bikes down is just going to be more dangerous. My kid, 6, rides an ebike that can hit 40+ no problem.

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

If the motor controller plus motor is capable of more than 250W in any mode, it would be illegal for children. It would be hard to enforce, for sure.

Nick
Nick
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Recently bought a 1000w kit and it came with a 250w sticker to apply to to motor

EEE
EEE
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

No, it’s perfectly normal for a controller to be hard limited to 250W, requiring a physical modification to its shunt (e.g., by adding some solder to it to decrease its resistance) to actually allow more current and therefore watts.

pierre_delecto
pierre_delecto
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

Even for the rare cases where the controller is hard limited and cannot be easily hacked a cheap dongle circumvents this limit. I myself own one of these dirt-cheap dongles for the mahle x35 system.

EEE
EEE
5 months ago
Reply to  pierre_delecto

I think you are confusing speed limiting and power limiting. The former is typically constrained by software (and is typically easy to defeat or change) but then is ultimately constrained by the pack voltage and wheel diameter, the latter is constrained by the current supplied by the controller. This current is often not artificially limited by the controller software — a 500 W controller puts out about 500W, a 1000 W puts out about 1000 W, etc. — instead it’s determined by the internal resistance of the controller’s shunt which is only easy to change if you know how to plug in a soldering iron. Probably more difficult on a proprietary bike too.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

I’m not confusing the two. The power limit is typically based on cadence and/or speed sensors. Most of the cheap dongles simply modify the input to allow for power to be provided at higher speeds/cadences. There are also, of course, dongles and hacks that modify firmware in the controller but some manufacturers have cracked down on this by requiring encrypted key-based authentication for modifications/updates.

EEE
EEE
5 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

The reason you are understanding “the power limit” to be based on a speed sensor is because what you are describing is a conventional speed limiter. It cuts off power at a certain speed. Unlocking that doesn’t increase your power, it just allows you to continue to use available power to continue to increase your speed, typically up to the motor’s natural back-EMF limit.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

Unlocking that doesn’t increase your power

I did not write that hacking the speed or cadence limiter increases power — this is entirely your strawman.
.
Have a nice day.

EEE
EEE
5 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

My day is great, but that is a weird mic drop and curt response so I suppose I doubt your sincerity. I’m not trying to do some slam dunk or something if that’s what triggered it. When I said that a controller can be hard limited to 250W and require a physical modification to its shunt to allow more current and therefore watts you replied by saying that a cheap dongle circumvents such a hard power limit. Did I overstep my paraphrasing there? I’m glad you own such a dongle for your Mahle x35 and can use it to circumvent the speed limit of its controller. Unfortunately, no amount of dongles and hacks that modify firmware of your Mahle controller, even with encrypted key-based authentication for modifications/updates, will ever circumvent the hard power limit of the controller. If it’s your understanding that it can, I just would like to clear that up.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

I just don’t think that’s true though – if you design the hardware shunt to take 250W continuous then it can certainly take more in bursts. Not to mention it’s really only sensitive to amps not volts so you have that work around. Add to that weather & heat variables and all 250W controllers I’ve seen can put out a lot more.

pierre_delecto
pierre_delecto
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

It’s not true at all, given that some motors are rated for — say — 250 W continuous but allow peak Ws of 350 or more. Due to sloppily designed controllers there are examples of hacks where both the battery and firmware is changed* to allow the peak 350 W output to be continuous (albeit at the risk that you would burn out the motor much sooner).

*new battery or more cells for any strawmanning pedants

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

A quote from my post prior to your straw person building:

Most of the cheap dongles simply modify the [sensor] input to allow for power to be provided at higher speeds/cadences.

Have a nice day, again!

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

What kind of crazy basic motor controller are you talking about? All the one’s I’ve worked with have a ceiling high above 250W and can even do more with added cooling. The power output is the all controlled via software. Two of my off-the-shelf ebikes have controllers like this.

I’d love to see a link to a motor controller like your talking about. Thanks!

EEE
EEE
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

You are free to search the internet for “250W” and “controller” and find lots of options. I am not unfamiliar with configurable DIY high-current controllers as I also enjoy pushing multiple kilowatts through the motors on my DIY ebikes. The point isn’t that many available controllers provide more power or can be made to provide more power with modifications, it’s that you can easily make a cheap controller that provides a limited amount of amps which to defeat would require invasive and unreliable modifications, and so together with battery voltage constraints, the power output can be regulated. Implementation may be a pipe dream but perhaps that was said about seat-belts at some point.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

Like this one? https://www.amazon.com/VGEBY-Electric-Bicycle-Brushless-Controller/dp/B07CSRGSHX

I have that one but you can pretty easily get 500W out of it – double that it’s rated for without invasive or unreliable modifications.

Are there any that actually fail when you go over 250W ??

EEE
EEE
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

There’s a start. I’m not opposed to a 350W or even 500W limit necessarily, if it were actually maintained. But whatever it is it should be neutered enough to fall into an easy over-the-counter anyone-can-use category. 250W seems convenient because it also provides consistency with the EU which might yield some market benefits. I assume that controller you linked is a generic 6 fet controller — perhaps optimistic but it doesn’t seem like it would be difficult to rip out 3 of its 6 mosfets to have a device that will fail-break or reach thermal roll-back if it were pushed past 8 amps or whatever.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

EU doesn’t regulate the motor controllers though so it wouldn’t be consistent anyway. They specify 250W motors… whatever the heck that means. (Seems to effectively mean the motors get a sticker that says 250w on them)

alex
alex
5 months ago
Reply to  EEE

Honestly, it still seems like an automobile issue and not an e-bike issue. E-bikes are really only about 10-30 lbs heavier than a normal bike. I think the real risk here is still cars.

bjorn
bjorn
5 months ago

Is there any actual data behind any of this? Like a study that shows that children are more likely to be injured riding a bicycle with a throttle than one that has pedal assist? It seems like a lot of pro-motorist shoot from the hip backlash to me. The problem this legislator seems to be solving is making sure that the kids are indoors where drivers don’t have to slow down or worry about them.

SD
SD
5 months ago
Reply to  bjorn

Who needs data when you have emails; more emails than homelessness, measure 110, or housing;organic emails, several pages long?”

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  bjorn

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/01/style/team-molly-rad-power-bikes-lawsuit.html

This is a good case in point. I don’t think this would have happened on a non e-assist.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Why do you say that? it was a really steep hill if you look at it, hard to believe they even used any assist power.

bjorn
bjorn
5 months ago

Also the truth is that many children will continue to use these devices because they desire mobility and our state’s transit system does not meet their needs, all this law will do is to let drivers who are at fault off the hook because the victim was “doing something illegal”.

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  bjorn

Or, just bear with me here, the parents who are buying these motorcycles for their children will be informed by the bike shop (or research on their own) that the device is illegal, and choose something else. Not going to happen in every case, but it will affect purchasing decisions overall.

pierre_delecto
pierre_delecto
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

the parents who are buying these motorcycles for their children

It’s often fairly easy to convert many conventional 20 mph pedalec e-bikes to a throttled e-bike capable of 28+ mph. Many of the pedalec e-bikes with a start assist button are especially easy to convert to throttled e-bikes.

John V
John V
5 months ago
Reply to  pierre_delecto

That’s not a built-in physical reality. Motors that are easy to convert to output more power could be banned. The output capability of a motor is a physical constraint. What you’re describing is manufacturers selling 1000 watt motors and software limiting them to 750 (or whatever), with documentation that says “please don’t follow this link to override the software and make your bike really cool and fun unless you want to!”.

I agree, it’s hard to prevent circumventing the pedal assist requirement though. The hand wringing about throttles seems silly anyway.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Or hear me out… We should trust parents to actually parent their children. Lot of these ebike crashes like I think this one the kids aren’t even wearing helmets which is often already illegal anyway.

This is going to sound harsh but it feels like making candy illegal for kids just because some couldn’t use it responsibly and developed health issues. I mean we still let kids play football or box etc. despite dangers.

SD
SD
5 months ago

Have there been new details released about this crash that indicate the ebike was the primary contributing factor to the death? Otherwise, should the law be named after the van driver that killed someone, and should it eliminate this type of dangerous road design?

Max S (Wren)
Max S (Wren)
5 months ago
Reply to  SD

I’ve had a hard time finding news reports about the incident. Which kinda surprises me, I would expect to find some local news reports.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
5 months ago
Reply to  SD

I’d like to see this article updated with more info about the crash. Specifically, what is the connection between a driver turning right and killing a rider on the sidewalk, and the fact that the victim was on an E-bike (with a throttle?) Was the speed of the cyclist determined to be a factor in his death? And is it also assumed that if the victim had been on an analog bike, or an E-bike without a throttle, that the driver wouldn’t have hit him, or that he would have survived the collision? That’s the assumption being made in naming the proposed law “Trenton’s Law,” isn’t it?

Also, I’d really like to see the content of the “several pages long” emails Senator Levy is receiving about ebikes; I’m wondering how many are from drivers who are uncomfortable with them on the road, or are they parents, or…

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
5 months ago

Thanks – that helps a lot.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
5 months ago

I’ve said this before, but I ride in this bike lane all the time. It is wide, well swept, and about as safe as you can get on a 35+mph State highway running through a VERY busy business district.

Fred
Fred
5 months ago
Reply to  SD

Naming a law after a dead child ensures other legislators will vote for it, unfortunately.

Watts
Watts
5 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Op-Ed: If a law has a first name, that’s a bad sign
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-frank-named-laws-20160919-snap-story.html

Max S (Wren)
Max S (Wren)
5 months ago

I didn’t see anything in the proposal about accessibility-related exceptions. It’s not implausible there could be a kid with some disability that makes pedal-assist bikes impractical but not throttle-based bikes. This law would eliminate an otherwise good transit option for them even if the bike isn’t actually faster.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago

Stop this BS nanny government overreach!!

Parents should be able to teach their kids to ride motorcycles or ebikes if they want! I just had a really awesome weekend riding with my 6 year old son on his electric-throttled bike. He even hit 40 mph.

In the summer he loved riding his electric throttle bike at the city park every thursday.

This is total BS. I learned to ride a motorcycle when I was 8 we should not back-slide into this kind of nanny state that erodes parents rights to have a fun time with their kids.

Aren’t firearms the #1 killer for kids under ~16 anyway?

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

I can’t tell if this is sarcastic or not, haha.

Matt
Matt
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

I wondered if this was satirical. If not, it begs several questions, with just one of many being, “Were these Thursday rides at a Portland city park?”

But, again, this may be an elaborate, Swiftian sendup of parental outrage at a modest proposal.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Haha sorry it’s not.

One of the park is by the expo center, there are organized events there on thursdays in the summer, not going on now though.

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

…Portland International Raceway?

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Bingo.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Sorry it was not meant as sarcasm. Thanks for checking though 🙂

John V
John V
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

I passed a guy and who I assume was his son on a firelane in Forest Park a few weeks ago. They were riding what looked exactly like off road motorcycles but were e-bikes. I don’t know if they even had functioning pedals. He even warned me his son was still coming around the corner, as if to say “he’s barely in control of that thing and it goes fast”. I have to say, I am pretty inclusive of what I consider bikes, but I don’t think that’s ok. If you want to ride your dirt bike on dirt bike trails, do it on private property or designated areas. Don’t take that shit into a park.

I always have to ask myself, am I just being curmudgeonly? Is there a good reason for this opinion? I think so. We already don’t allow regular gas powered motorcycles in Forest Park, and I don’t think the reason is ONLY the engine noise.

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  John V

We can’t allow e-motorcycles to zoom around Forest Park because they might hit one of the off leash dogs.

Aaron
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

I’m glad you are having fun riding bikes with your kid but a 6 year old should not be riding a vehicle capable of going 40mph, and it’s extremely irresponsible to put your kid on that thing in a public park with people around who could be hurt if he loses control of it. I am not in favor of the victim blaming happening with this regulation proposal but if your comment is serious then you are exactly the type of irresponsible parent that is causing people to advocate for these regulations.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

This regulation is literally named a kid, Trenton who wasn’t even wearing a helmet and who’s crash has nothing to do with ebike speeds.

I’ll be the judge of how responsible my 6 year old is and he’s certainly responsible enough to wear a helmet and not assume cars will stop for him. You make a lot of assumptions just to attack me. I never said he hit 40 mph in a park, he did it on a drag stip that wasn’t in use at the time.

I think he’s only doing 30 tops at the park, and mostly 20. Still I’d rather him riding at 40 mph in a park (assuming there is tons of room and visibility, with enough space including people) than riding his bike on many of our streets, responsibility only gets you so far after all.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

I grew up with folks like yourself. The dirt bike gang as I used to call them. They’d have their parents buy them fancy dirt bikes and go out and terrorize the local farm animals and wildlife that lived in our neck of the woods. You obviously don’t care about others or how your actions, in this case you and your child’s, affected others as long as you 2 are having fun. Because it’s all about your fun, not the safety of others in close proximity to you.
Do us all a favor, buy a farm, or many acres out in the country where you and your child can have all the fun in the world that you want and at the speeds you want to enjoy.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

Ahh another “let me make tons of assumptions about you to be upset about”.
Why do you think there are others in proximity to us that we don’t care about? Why do you think I don’t have a farm with several acres?

Problem is lots of kid’s parents don’t have farms and many acres and would like to ride. We should provide them safe places and trails as much as we can, just like we do for football, skate parks etc.

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

If you are riding on private land, this law wouldn’t apply to you.

Jarl
Jarl
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

If Trenton’s law doesn’t pass the next one’s gonna be named after this guy’s kid.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

You do realize, don’t you, that you are probably a better bike-rider trainer than 99.9% of American parents?

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago

Correlation does not imply causation. Is there actually any good evidence that ebikes are more dangerous? You’d need to account for the increased number of miles they are usually ridden and the less experienced some of the riders can be.

Seems as silly as looking at bikes with gears and saying 90% of bicycles involved in accidents have gears therefore we should ban gears.

Watts
Watts
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

I think the default proposition has to be that higher speeds are more dangerous, as they are in every other context. In even the simplest case of hitting a fixed object, it’s better to be going 10 MPH than 20 MPH.

Any contrary conclusion would be, frankly, astonishing.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Watts

That’s again correlation. Gears also allow bikes to go faster than if they were geared with a single speed (assuming reasonable gearing). Not to mention there have been a lot of studies that going slower than traffic is actually more dangerous than going the speed of traffic so context matters.

Watts
Watts
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

Gears help, but you have to work to get to “interesting” speeds, so you don’t do that all the time.

There’s a reason you don’t see many people (kids or grown adults) pedaling around at the 30mph these motor(ized) (bi)cycles can easily achieve on a sidewalk.

And more speed increases the risk of injury even on a bicycle with gears.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago

I still have yet to hear how the watt limits are actually enforced. Contrary to what people may think electric motors do not have inherent watt limits. You could take an RC motor and feed it 1,000 watts as long as you could keep it cool it could work – and even weather or cooling fins change how many watts a motor can continuously take. The motors just receive the watts. The motor controllers are what control how many watts the motors receive but it’s just a setting anyone can easily change with a cellphone or a laptop.

All the ebikes I’ve bought even have buttons to quickly change between modes that change how many watts are delivered so you can designate one for 250W and one for 2000 watts and change with the push of a button, or worse case with your phone over bluetooth.

Basically I don’t see how the watt regulation can be enforceable what-so-ever. Would love to hear anyone explain how it could work.

John V
John V
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

Hmm, that’s a good point. And the limits of the motor would even be affected by ambient temperature. Possibly, the motor controller shouldn’t be so easily tampered with. Maybe they shouldn’t have a go fast button on them at all, and not allow connections via usb or whatever to override them. Could be a soldered in fuse with a power limit. Easy to check if the fuse was removed/circumvented.

I mean, not “easy”. Who is really going to be investigating this stuff? I don’t think anyone, really. And as has been suggested, this seems like it’s just looking in the wrong place to solve a problem that maybe doesn’t exist. I’m just saying, I don’t think it’s technically unsolvable.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  John V

I think it’s nearly unsolvable in reality. Formula 1 racing for example faces similar issues the solution is generally to mandate a specific electronic & software package be used with logging etc. and even then they have to check the top cars right after.

Motor controllers hardware wise need to be able to output more watts than a state regulation for reliability and global market reasons. Software needs to be easy to setup and modify so that ebike makers can properly set them up for these different markets.

Two of mine just came with multiple settings including an ‘offroad’ only setting as well as adjustable speed cutouts so in California you can set them to 28 but other places you could set them to 20 mph for example.

John V
John V
5 months ago
Reply to  Iconyms

Well, I think some sort of mandatory power regulator between the controller and motor could still work. This has existed for decades as a safety in all sorts of electronics. It could be part of the motor itself, not easy to access, etc, and easy to test for its presence. I think it’s actually a lot easier to do than F1 racing because all the power has to go through a single wire at some point. It’s just a much simpler device.

The different markets argument I think is a non-issue, there are all sorts of US or even state specific regulations that force manufacturers to do things differently. They’ll do it for a big enough market, and the United States or even a state or two are a big enough market.

That said, I think it’s moot because nobody would enforce this. None of them are impossible to circumvent, it would be a matter of checking if something was circumvented later, and nobody’s going to do that.

But that leaves the question, what can be done? What is to stop 10 KW e-motorcycles from flying around on the East bank Esplanade? Rhetorically I mean, because nobody’s stopping cars from doing the same thing now, and there aren’t enough e-motorcycles on the trails to cause major problems yet. But I mean in principle. Speed limits? Not the hardware kinds, but the enforced by cops or cameras kind. I guess that’s it probably. Same way we deal with it on the road.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  John V

Yep bingo – speed limit enforcement I think is the only way.

I honestly wish there was at least a defined way of regulating the watts though because I have a couple of what are effectively electric dirtbikes that I can adjust down to 750watts or 1000watts etc. and by my reading that will then mean they are legal as electric scooters (similar to the rental ones)

However they certainly won’t look legal and obviously if you change the mode they wouldn’t be but how hard or easy can that be? can it just be a button like it is on many ebikes you can buy?

SD
SD
5 months ago

This is textbook over-regulation of a minority group that doesn’t have the power to fight back to please a reactionary constituency. It is irresponsible legislation.

Where is this lawmaker when it comes to the ODOT budget for safe infrastructure that could actually help prevent fatalities and serious injuries.

Is she calling out Susan McLain and Richard Vial for being worthless stewards of state fiscal resources, promoting climate arson transportation policy and writing ODOT blank checks to maintain road deaths as one of the leading causes of childhood mortality?

Michael
Michael
5 months ago

Jonathan et al, I hope you keep us updated on this effort, especially if the Legislative Assembly tries to put it into their agenda for the upcoming short session. I have some choice words about them missing the forest for the trees I’d like to put into the testimonial record.

Michael Schuller
Michael Schuller
5 months ago

The danger comes from being hit by a car, not from the electric bike. If legislators would focus on regulating the cars then safety issues might actually be addressed. It does not matter if you have a throttle or not when a car runs you over.

pierre_delecto
pierre_delecto
5 months ago

The danger comes from being hit by a car, not from the electric bike.

The idea that a 500+ watt e-bike with throttle (legal or hacked) does not increase risk versus a pedal-powered bike/e-bike is absurd.

Ryan
Ryan
5 months ago
Reply to  pierre_delecto

Their comment isn’t saying anything about an e-bike not increasing risk, but that the most significant danger comes from being hit by a car, regardless of what kind of bike you’re riding. They’re simply pointing out the obvious: legislators picking low-hanging fruit to appease some vocal constituents rather than tackling the real problem which happens to involve more political risk.

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  Ryan

The danger comes from being hit by a car, not from the electric bike.

That’s the direct quote. I would argue that the car is the greater danger, but the E-bike is also creating danger, especially when given to inexperienced riders.

Here is a perfect example. A child was killed riding with a friend, and no cars were involved:
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/01/style/team-molly-rad-power-bikes-lawsuit.html

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Am I missing something because again, like the Tenton case, I don’t see how this relates to the bike being an ebike. They crashed going down a pretty steep downhill while trying to slow down, from looking at the road it seems really unlikely that ebike speed was a factor.

Inkyfingerz
Inkyfingerz
5 months ago

The article mentions a Bend city club presentation/discussion and gives a link to register. However there is no info on where in Bend, nor whether it will be webcast in some fashion. Nor is there any contact info for the presenters.

Any info anyone has would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Ken

Inkyfingerz
Inkyfingerz
5 months ago

I do not see any possible webcast info, so I assume, I guess, that there won’t be any. When I try to click on the contact info person, I get nothing, i.e. it’s not a hyperlink. When I click on the “register” link it cost money.

I live in Corvallis and “shared use paths” are a hot topic these days, so I’d love to here what is happening in other municipalities. Also, the state is woefully behind on micro-mobility as well as shared use paths.

Ken

Ryan
Ryan
5 months ago

I’d be down with having a fourth class of e-bike (or a modified class-2), where the throttle is cut off at like 10-12mph, but pedal-assist allows up to 20mph. I have a class-2, and I only use the throttle for getting going from a stop (since the delay of the cadence sensor makes it difficult and less stable to just pedal unless you’re on a downhill) or for a quick burst going up a steep hill. I typically only use the middle level of assist and it’s easier to use the throttle for a few seconds up a hill rather than boosting the assist level and then moving it back.

This may present extra tech challenges and there’s always going to be workarounds for those motivated enough to find them, but this feels like a sweet-spot. I realize my experience may not be indicative of the majority but a throttle can be helpful when you’re dealing with the extra weight of an e-bike but limiting the speed at which you can use the throttle could make them less controversial.

J1mb0
J1mb0
5 months ago
Reply to  Ryan

I ride an Urban Arrow bakfiets, and a throttle as you described would actually be amazing. Especially at intersections with tight timing and inclines.

Phil
Phil
5 months ago
Reply to  Ryan

I use my throttle the same way you describe. It’s just quicker and easier than downshifting and then upshifting back into the correct gear. I can’t bring myself to ride throttle only; it just feels wrong.

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Ryan

+1 I use my throttle like that as well, especially useful when I have my daughter on my bike and the added weight and slight interference with peddling make it tad harder to accelerate quickly via peddles alone.

I feel like it’s got to be worth a bit of extra safety being able to get across a road quicker… but nanny state doesn’t seem to want to trust kids to have that safer option.

SD
SD
5 months ago

If Rep Levy really cares about children and others dying from unregulated, dangerous roads and traffic, here are some very obvious places to start.

Spoiler, Oregon legislators are silent on preventing childrens’ deaths unless there is some perceived political benefit. It’s gross.

No turn on red:
https://apnews.com/article/red-light-turn-pedestrian-bicyclist-deaths-7f5bdee9c7b3f4cbf005f1844f486123

Vehicle height restrictions:
https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/vehicles-with-higher-more-vertical-front-ends-pose-greater-risk-to-pedestrians

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/nov/05/monsters-of-the-road-what-should-the-uk-do-about-suvs?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Lower speed limits- duh
Laws against watching videos while driving?!

https://www.vice.com/en/article/epvkd7/more-people-are-watching-videos-on-their-phones-while-driving-often-its-perfectly-legal

Working with BOTs and DOTs to limit road width:

https://www.npr.org/2023/11/13/1212589284/skinny-roads-save-lives-according-to-a-study-on-the-width-of-traffic-lanes

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  SD

Awesome links thank you!

I think more enforcement and teeth with that enforcement would be good as well.

Right now the more money you have the more meaningless traffic tickets are. The wealthy literally don’t have to care as much about killing others. We should have tickets based on a wealth & income formula.

Trenton the kid who was killed and the law is named after was not wearing a helmet which was already a violation this should be more enforced.

John V
John V
5 months ago

The comment about the motor power limit as well as the fixation on throttles is all just frustrating to me.

What is it about a vehicle that makes it appropriate for it to share a lane with… I guess acoustic bikes? What is common in this class of vehicles (bicycles, e and a) that separates them from a motorcycle?

The commonality I can see is their light weight and relatively low speed. Anything that is below some weight threshold and some maximum (maintainable) speed should be allowed in the bike lane and treated like a bike.

To me, that means huge e-trikes that need 1000 watt motors and carry heavy loads… maybe those should not be in the bike lane. If it’s dangerous for a motorcycle to be there, why is a trike carrying 400 pounds (the weight of a motorcycle) ok? What is the difference here?

This also makes the discussion about throttles moot. Why does it matter if someone pedals or not? Does that make them any more or less safe? I don’t think so. For that matter, what does “assist” even mean? Is that defined? It may be, but I have never seen it, so what is to stop someone from making an e-bike where you only provide 1 watt of pedaling and the motor does the rest? Seems like that is essentially a throttle.

I agree with the last paragraph. I think we’re relying way too heavily on anecdotes and maybe we need some actual data, considering people are allowed to drive two ton metal boxes with hardly any training or oversight.

Phil
Phil
5 months ago
Reply to  John V

what is to stop someone from making an e-bike where you only provide 1 watt of pedaling and the motor does the rest? Seems like that is essentially a throttle.

This is how cadence sensor e-bikes work. I can set my Rad Power Bike to level five assist and as long as the pedals are moving I get 750 watts of assistance.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
5 months ago
Reply to  Phil

Rad bikes are very easy to hack and there are kits available that max out the speed limit to 99 mph* and greatly increase allowed torque.

* the bike probably can’t exceed to 40ish on a flat but this effectively delimits the assist

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  John V

I think a lot of studies will show matching speed is the most important for safety not weight. Weight doesn’t end up affecting that much since available friction (stopping & turning) force goes up with weight.

That said a lot of motorcycles are more like 200 lbs anyway.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
5 months ago

A driver kills a kid on an e-bike, but instead of regulating cars more, they regulate what the victim was riding. Makes sense to me! /s

Iconyms
Iconyms
5 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

Yea and.. ugh I don’t mean to make this sound like victim blaming but I don’t know how else to say it. The kid was 15 and wasn’t wearing a helmet – which was already a violation so if the parents and kid were already ok breaking the law why would another one change that?

EP
EP
5 months ago

But when will the Bend lawmaker come up with Paxxleigh’s/Brantley’s/Coltyn’s Law, named for the poor kid backed over in their driveway by his parents’ huge lifted pickup/adventure van they were driving 1/4 mile to the fancy market? Oh, right, regulating/limiting/banning huge vehicles is politically unpopular.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
5 months ago
Reply to  EP

I really got it when I (6′ tall guy) standing astride my bike at an intersection, waiting for the light to change, realized that I could not see the driver of the F-350 next to me, which meant he could not see me either.

EP
EP
5 months ago

It’s terrifying. Especially when you realize they could be/should be using a small car for 99-100% of their needs. I have two neighbors that used to have two small cars. Now they have matching F350 Tremors that barely fit in the driveway. I’ll see one leave and then come back five minutes later after the guy drove down to the corner store to get a slushy. ‍♂️

Normalizing huge vehicles comes at a huge environmental and societal cost, and we are just beginning to get a truly good look at the data on that. It really sucks for our future biking world that all these huge hazard vehicles have been introduced to our roadways.

Scott
Scott
5 months ago

One key issue that the proposal does not include is addressing the current trend for property managers and management companies for both multifamily housing and HOAs banning the storage of e-bikes on the property grounds. These management companies control over 50% of the housing in the US, and the percentage keeps growing as many cities now require that all new housing developments have an HOA.
 
Banning the storage of an e-bike anywhere near your residence makes its use practically impossible for most people and is equivalent to just banning them outright. The property management companies are extremely unregulated and can make these rules overnight that apply to thousands of properties without taking any resident input. I think this is really the biggest threat to the e-bike industry.
 
Many cities are now almost exclusively HOA and multifamily housing, so city residents could have no practical option of owning an e-bike at all. Then all other discussions about wattage, throttles, etc. become irrelevant.
 
The proposal should include a measure to block property managers, management companies, and HOAs from putting in blanket rules that ban e-bikes on the property.

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  Scott

I’m assuming those rules are in place because of cheaply made e-bikes catching on fire?

rick
rick
5 months ago
Reply to  Scott

What HOAs ban ebikes?

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
5 months ago

I will repeat my decade’s long refrain about these discussions. They are totally meaningless for one reason: the laws will never be enforced. In Bend, the youth helmet law is not enforced…never, ever, as far as I can tell and I have actually witnessed the cops at a bike accident scene allow the 12-years olds to get back on their bikes, after being checked out by an EMT and ride away helmetless. So, folks, just admit that it is, and will continue to be, the Wild West, and move along to some topic that will actually get results.