back to article UK government says no to turbo e-bike

The government today confirmed that an electrically powered bicycle, may not be sold in this country because its top speed exceeds legal limits. The Turbo e-cycle's US-based creator, Specialized, was all set to peddle its first battery-equipped bike in coming months across the EU. But with a top assisted speed of 28mph, it …

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Re: Sense, not very common these days

Actually a 22cc Golden Eagle has been legalised - including if i remember a tuned pipe on a full suspension ATB frame in blue.

Not only that - but with suitable brakes and competition pads fitted they can actually have better brakes than officially designed mopeds. I know, because I have both out-dragged and out braked manufacturer mopeds on my homebuilt.

Please try not to make comments claiming factual exactitude when they are nothing more than slightly to the left of guesswork.

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I had a speedo on my Raleigh Record when I was a teenager.

I used to get some serious speed up going down Slack Hill (between Chesterfield and Matlock)!

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Anonymous Coward

eBikes and the law

A couple of points regarding electric cycles (aka pedelecs).

By law this type of bike is limited to a 250w motor and a powered maximum speed of 15mph. That is the motor will propel the bike to 15mph, above that you can pedal the bike up to whatever speed your legs can manage. The motor also works as a pedal assist, allowing you to pedal up hills much easier than a normal bike. These bikes are classed as bicycles.

Anything bike above the 250w and 15mph speed are classed as mopeds, and therefore require MOT, crash helmet, drivers licence, number plates and insurance.

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Re: eBikes and the law

And if you arent a copper I'll eat my hat. Why does a copper doing the Anonymous Coward thing still not surprise me?

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Re: eBikes and the law

see

Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994

You are here: 1994 c. 22SCHEDULE 2 Vehicles for disabled people Section 18

A vehicle (including a cycle with an attachment for propulsion by mechanical power) which—

(a) is adapted, and used or kept on a road, for an invalid, and

(b) does not exceed 508 kilograms in weight unladen, is an exempt vehicle.

You were saying...?

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Silver badge

Re: eBikes and the law

Don't be daft, he knows chapter and verse of the law, he is clearly not a copper.

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WTF?

@ Jemma

Not really sure how your quote is relevant - as it covers vehicles which are adapted for use by disabled people.

I wouldn't see it as a good trade-off to actually become disabled in order to ride one of these bikes!

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Re: @ Jemma

Well, that would be the part where I am IB for back problems amongst other problems, which pretty much qualifies me.

More to the point - if they are prepared to allow it for a group of people - probably on the basis that alot of people with disabling conditions (such as late stage MS for example, or many ME sufferers) wouldnt be able to use such a machine - what is stopping them just accepting that its common sense.

The faster a cyclist can go in town traffic the safer the cyclist. The electric and 2 stroke bikes can keep up town speeds permanantly. The less the speed differential the less accidents - the less accidents the better safety. Not to mention the fact that most bikes like mine sound like demented wasps played through an amp... which means most people (bar the wannabe darwinists) have a better chance of hearing them coming than some old girl on a pushbike wobbling down the middle of the path.

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Hmm

In this country we had at end of primary school a full term of cycling school. From roadsigns etc... to practical driving tests. I still have that "cycling license" somewhere. I just don't think anyone gives a c... about it.

Frankly I know how to ride... it's the damn motorists that don't. They have this insane cosmic idea that we're some sort of aliens on their planet of "My Road" and will get it in their heads that we should be removed from civilization. But as I also drive I see daily what stupidities some cyclists do not to mention the pedestrians.

Atleast the cops here have stopped a few cyclists doing stupid things. As for e-bikes the one's here need to be limited to 25km/h since that is the speed limit on bike lanes/paths. And PHYSICALLY SEPARATE bike paths/lanes from traffic and especially pedestrian areas.

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I don't give a continental

But I am curious if e-bikes bought overseas will be able to drive on the *correct* side of the road back here in Blighty?

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Vic
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Re: I don't give a continental

> e-bikes bought overseas

An import, eh? Well, you'll have to replace the whole headlamp assembly...

Vic.

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Doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

If you want to go more than 25 MPH under powered drive alone, then they want you to have a license, etc., since what you have at that point is a motorized vehicle.

You are still allowed to go over 25 MPH on a motor-ASSISTED vehicle... No one is stopping you except for a lard-assed inability to pedal at 10 MPH.

Also, at a quick glance, the proportions on the Specialized bike don't look THAT different from a standard bike with a tire pump attached to the frame diagona. Thus, while it's pretty obvious when some idiot is riding a moped or scooter under power on the sidewalk it would be less so with one of these. (I'm going on the, perhaps unwarranted, assumption that the penalties for riding a bicycle on the sidewalk -- usually a local ordinance, if it's prohibited at all -- are different from driving a motor vehicle there.)

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Re: Doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

25mph isn't 10mph more than 15mph if you are talking about the energy required - drag goes up with the square of speed, so to get from 15 to 25mph you need more enerygy than you would need to go from 0-10mph. Quite a lot more.

I'm not that fit, and I can just about average 19mph on my road bike on the pretty flat Cambs Busway cyclepath (max speed about 26 I reckon). The only dangers are the complete nob-end students from Impington village collage who seem to think that walking or cycling 5 abreast across the whole path is a really good idea, and don't look where they are going. Already been sideswiped by one moron and I was practically on the left hand verge. /rant

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Boffin

Re: Doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

In my experience, one can pedal a generic mountain bike to about 30mph and a road bike to about 50.

Of course it depends entirely on the available gear ratios. Your fitness will mainly affect how long you can sustain top speed for.

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Anonymous Coward

Class it as a motorbike

WHY?

brand new honda vision 50 £1695

helmet £50

cbt = £100ish

insurance = 200 - 600ish

so around half the prices. Why have it classified as a motorbike when it would be restricted to roads same as a motorbike when you can have a bike for cheaper and that is still fairly green (60+mpg and no lithium). not to mention it would need a minimum of horn and suitable power brakes.

its a good decision I've been hit twice (from behind) by idiots riding at stupid speeds through PEDESTRIAN ONLY town centers. first time cost me some scratches. second time cost me a lot of pain but given that after the first time the guy shouted insults and rode off at least this time i made sure to remodel both wheels (amazing what a stomp from a DM does to a bike wheel).

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Pint

Beer is good while you're killing time charging batteries :-)

I used to own an Ebike (till it got nicked) as far as I'm aware this country is using a combination of DOT and European laws, the EU laws allow a 250w motor which the DOT allow even though their guidelines state a 200w motor maximum, but we are also allowed throttle only power which is banned in the EU but allowed by the DOT so we get the best of both worlds (which doesn't happen very often) They are great fun and if you commute about 20 miles each way a day you can cover that on a single charge with no or very little pedaling, no tax or insurance, only problem for me was that covering longer distances required a four hour stop off to charge the battery, but then I guess people might be waiting that long to fill up on petrol in the coming weeks anyway :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Registration and insurance

I love the idea of a regeneratively charged bicycle. Very nice.

I'm also all for the idea of compulsory registration and insurance. There's no reason why a semi-powered cycle should not be subject to ANPR. Perhaps if you had to have an ordinary driving licence to legally ride such a class of bicycle - it would be a very good thing! One would have to have knowledge of the road rules.

It really is time for any passenger-for-hire vehicle, whether powered or not, to also be formally registered (such as the Tuk Tuks in central London) and subject to ordinary road rules including careless and dangerous driving.

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FAIL

The idiots strike back...

I rode two petrol power motorized bikes for 2000 miles+. The first was a Raleigh MTB with a 22cc two stroke motor from Golden Eagle bikes, which was stolen. The second which I still have is based on a Cruiser frame with a 33cc piped two stroke.

Both are capable of 30, the D7 of 38mph but that has a tuned pipe on it. The latter one I upgraded the brakes, lights and various other equipment - all simple things to do and got the brightest lamps I could lay my hands on.

The piglets locally didnt have a clue what to make of it - one tells me its entirely legal - another verbally abuses me, gives me 6 points for driving without insurance (its a SODDING bike) - and his boss flat out lies through his teeth after I threaten to go to the IPCC. Not to mention he plainly had no concept of cycling since his comment at what had been the brightest LED tail-light on the market was 'thats small isn't it' - notwithstanding the fact you cant even look into it without literal pain - your eyes actually hurt!

The only accidents I had on it was dropping it on wet pavement at speed (a lesson learned, and a brake handle destroyed - wet road and front brake, bad idea) and some dozy Asian girl who walked out in front of me glued to her mobile phone completely oblivious (goddess knows how, the thing sounds like a hornet on methaphetamine run through an guitar amp).

I agree with the people who say that speed actually helps cyclists - the faster you go the safer you are, end of. There is a steep hill near were I used to live, cars parked on both sides, and a bus route. The 22 bike wheezed a bit on it, but the D7 flew up it at traffic speeds - which is much safer than toiling up it,swaying all over the place, doing barely walking pace, in a lovely shade of puce... millimeters away from the front of a 65 bus.

But heres the thing. The D7 bike cost me about £1000 all told - would sit at WOT all day without complaining and would do 22+ miles on 600ml of petrol, with some still left.... If you said I could have gotten 25 out of a tank thats 189MPG - full throttle all the way. Average speed of 28mph for the journey. Top roadspeed on the flat, 35mph.

I am now driving a car, doing the same journey. If I am really careful and hypermile the car gets 28mpg or so, even the best diesel manages maybe 65-80mpg - and on a bad trip the average speed is 15mph!

The government have no interest in cutting carbon footprint - if they did they would actively sponsor machines like mine, not treat people who are actually making massive carbon savings, taking a car off the road, and travelling efficiently, like target practice for traffic police with PMS. Thats not to mention there are various people online who have converted their bikes into cargo haulers for businesses. A fully-sus MTB based 22cc GEBE was able to carry over 600lbs of equipment without problem, using just off the shelf components fitted to the bike alone - that wasnt including what it could have towed via trailer. The 33cc 2S GEBE could probably pull half that again. Add that to the fact you can buy a frame extensions off the shelf that will allow you to seat 4 people in tandem & still make 25-30mph, it makes you think...

Government... if you want to save money, save resources, free up money in the wider economy and generally improve peoples lot. and ironically health, then Electric assist and Petrol assist bikes are the way to go. Most people who build their own bikes take alot of care about it, and finish them to a high standard - a simple check would suffice - not the same palaver for a motorized bike as for a Caterham 7.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: The idiots strike back...

> some dozy Asian girl who walked out in front of me glued to her mobile phone

Get yourself a copy of "Motorcycle Roadcraft".

Whilst pedestrians on the phone are frequently suicidal[1], it is incumbent on us cyclists to take account of them.

Vic.

[1] The number of pedestrians that just step off the kerb in front of me has to be seen to be believed. I *hope* they are listening for cars, because they certainly aren't looking. Once electric cars become omre widespread, there will be carnage...

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Re: The idiots strike back...

Yup, you're an idiot. Both your vehicles were illegal for use on a public road. In order to be legal they would have had to be either (a) an awful lot slower or (b) of a standard to comply with construction and use regulations, registered, insured and taxed.

If you had ever dealt with plod who understood the law as regards assisted cycles then not only would you have got a fine and probably points on your licence, but the vehicle could have been confiscated. This is no different to what happens to those idiots who ride unregistered and non compliant dirt bikes on public roads. Like the berk near us last year who dug up an old MT-5 from somewhere, ripped off the road going bits and thought he had himself a motocross bike. He would ride it on the road every evening to get to the local woods and after a week plod intervened. He got a nice fine, points on a licence he didn't even have yet (nice) and the bike was confiscated and apparently crushed because it did not have a frame plate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The idiots strike back...

@Greasemonkey

Phew that's a relief. For a moment there it sounded like the sky could have fallen in.

He got off lightly, should have gone straight to jail and his life ruined. Us tax payers need something in return for our payments.

/sarcasm off.

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Re: The idiots strike back...

And if he'd run over your kid that would have been OK then?

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Anonymous Coward

but why not in i-white?????? :((((((

no glowing logo? :(

no "pad" handlebar mount, complete with immersive, 3-D,crash-proof experience? :(

no exclusive semi-rigid, splash-proof canopy? :(

such an opportunity to monetize this truly breakthrough, revolutionary, unique design - missed! :(((((

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Thumb Up

Pah..

i made my own electric bike with a 750watt hub motor and 3 12v alarm batteries.

Goes at at least 30mph down hill, 20 on flat and 10-15 up most hills without peddling.

Cost about 200 quid...

golden motor co have all the details.

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Re: Pah..

3 12V alarm batteries and a 750W motor?

Okay let's assume you're going for some real porkers of alarm batteries at 10Ah each and you're wiring them in series. That's 36V * 10A = 360Wh.

So basically you get about half an hour of juice and then you're fuckered? Still, at 750W that must be a hell of a half hour.

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At four and a half grand, I think they should permit any fool willing to buy one to earn a Darwin Award.

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28mph is an odd choice

In the US, in many states, the limit is 20. Why Specialized would produce a bike not legal in (much of) the US is a little puzzling to me.

And it is definitely a safety issue. Not too many bikes go faster than 20mph, and those that do, don't go much faster, or for very long.

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Anonymous Coward

"I regularly clock cyclists while on my motorbike and even old and slow women cyclists easily do 30mph. This rule makes no sense.

50kph is the norm - 31mph."

Your speedo needs checking. Easily doing 30mph on a pedal cycle - tour de France maybe?

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Re: Tour de France

This is what I'm thinking.

If you actually set the bike computer/speedo/whatever to the CORRECT WHEEL SIZE, you will find it surprisingly hard to maintain (or even achieve) 30mph on a pushbike, regardless of how light the frame or how well oiled the bearings. As someone who really has done 60+ MPH on bicycles, I can tell you that speeds like that on a bog standard diamond frame are scary. Especially going down an 80 degree incline on the side of a slagheap. Half the reason I did it, really.

And car speedos are always a bit shit. Compare what your dash says to what a GPS speedo says and be prepared to be amazed.

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Go

No

I can definitely achieve 30mph on my general-purpose (freeride) mountain bike.

I'm not as fit as I used to be, so I probably couldn't maintain that for very long on the flat.

I wouldn't like to think there are old ladies that could beat me, they might be rare but some almost certainly exist.

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Thumb Up

I want one!

plus a spare set of wheels with mud tyres fitted.

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Stop with this obsession with road tax

Winston Churchill abolished road tax in 1937. There is Vehicle Excise Duty, which is emissions based. So a bicycle would be liable to pay the zero-rate, which clearly would be a waste of time and money to collect. (For the same reason they abolished the dog license).

Regular cyclists get their own insurance. The car driving cyclist haters should realise that there would be more cars on the road if you got rid of bikes.

In fact fuel duty and VED does not pay the whole cost of the roads. My reckoning, based of figures from the Green Party, is that the roads cost about £35 billion more a year to maintain (it might even be more). Which is why our railways are such a bargain at £4 billion a year (even in Beeching's day roads were much more subsidised, but I understand he was working for his "independent" boss who'd sold his shares in road haulage companies to his wife).

As for banning the bicycle - it's time that electricly assisted vehicles were allowed to travel at the speed limit, however the only reason I can see they aren't is that they have no legal requirement to have a speedometer and therefore being fined for speeding isn't reasonable.

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WTF?

15mph

Won't we all suffocate if we travelled at over 15mph, and lord think of the children, we'd need somebody with a red flag to walk in front of such a vehicle. Surely its much safer to ban such a satanic device and ensure all decent motorists sit safely in queues at petrol stations where as long as tempers don't get frayed nobody will get hurt. Plus the excheqer can make money out of the motorists!

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Anonymous Coward

So

Can this be used as a moped? Properly licensed, insured, with registration and Tax?

I suspect it would need more lights, and I guess the VED would be £0 as its electric, a car licence would be fine, so the problems are insurance and registration... insurance for mopeds is a lot cheaper than this bike, but carrying a number plate would be a problem... maybe a microplate are they legal?

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Re: So

Doesn't even come close to meeting C&U. It's not just a matter of lights you know. Take a look at any road legal electric scooter. Oh and to be classed as a moped these days it needs type approval as such. Without that it would get to a light motorcycle (or whatever they call them these days) for which a car licence is not enough. Not even sure it would even qualify for L plates without TA.

Actually thinking about it if you passed your car test after 2000 you don't get moped entitlement any more.

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Pint

Consideration

There is a growing number of peeps trying to use the roads and pavements, especially in cities, whether it be on foot or in all manner of motorised, or non-motorised, contraptions. I would suggest that this simply requires all those peeps to have greater consideration for each other in those circumstances.

Probably the best cyclists are those that also have, and constantly refer to, experience as car drivers and pedestrians. This works the other way too of course.

We simply need to have greater consideration for those around us. Look ahead and plan your next move whilst considering what those around you might do and the position there are in. I would suggest that the problems we perceive with other road users are, in large part, down to a growing lack of understanding and consideration.

If you use the road, abide by the rules of the road and give other users consideration – simple isn't it.

There are plenty of idiotic, inconsiderate, road / pavement users out there too, but I firmly believe that if we show greater consideration to each other, the lesson will be learnt remembered and passed on down the line as it were.

Probably the worst drivers / cyclists etc. are those that think they are the best and that they can never make mistakes.

Cyclists and motor cyclists are vulnerable on these congested roads, therefore they need to be handled with greater consideration. However, the complete disregard that many cyclists show to other road users or to the highway code is becoming intolerable to many other peeps. This does no good to our general perceptions about “all” cyclists, so let's keep it in perspective and give each other some care and consideration.

I'm not sure I would want to be propelled on a “Turbo” electric bicycle at (relatively) high speed through any of the urban / city-centre traffic that I have encountered recently, therefore I agree with the suggested limits imposed. Compulsory cycle tests, licensing, helmets and insurance cannot be a bad idea given both the levels of congestion and levels of skill now required to negotiate that congestion in a lawful and considerate manner.

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Re: Consideration

If room on the roads is scarce, logic suggests that cars should be discouraged, because they take the greatest amount of space to transport (usually) a single person.

The focus on rules-of-the-road is also a mistake, unless you think that following the rules is more important than minimizing the number of people hurt or killed. Despite the (alleged) care with which they are driven, cars in the US and UK are about (at least) 15 times more deadly to pedestrians than bicycles are. Unless you think that results don't matter, cyclists are the safety experts.

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Re: Consideration

@dr2chase 11:40 gmt

Whilst I kind of agree that cars should be discouraged I don't think my focus was on rules of the road, rather on consideration towards each other. Rules are helpful to keep the system in a reasonably orderly manner. However, you are right to point out that the occupants of cars and lorries often fare better in collision with any softer road users involved.

There are, however, a number of studies which demonstrate that if you remove all the signage, painted lines and whatnot, so that the "road" space becomes shared, peeps will slow right down to avoid each other, take greater care and car / lorry drivers, for whom all that signage is really there to please, become demoted to the same shared level as every one else. That may be the way to go - the Dutch have tried this out in a couple of urban areas and found, so I believe, that RTAs are reduced as a consequence. And that peeps are less stressed to boot :-)

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Megaphone

Great! This will enable kids to speed along the pavement before cutting in front of my car without looking at even greater speed! Just as well these bikes are not at teenager/parent - friendly prices!

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I want one of those bikes!

But I still wouldn't be able to ride centre left in the road without some car driving arse honking his horn at me to pull over so he can overtake.

Why do I have to ride in the gutter? Can anyone tell me?

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Moped

This is hardly the first electrically (or otherwise) assisted bicycle to be capable of more than 15mph, so I don't understand why it's a story - unless Specialized are just using it as PR.

If it can do more than 15mph then it is a moped. Being a moped it would need to comply with the construction and use regulations as they apply to mopeds, which in it's current state it obviously doesn't. Even if it did comply it would need to be registered before you could use it on a public road. And then of course you would need the relevant licence and insurance and of course tax. Oh and a helmet, a proper one not one of those silly bicycle helmets.

If Spesh were to revise the bike so it complies with construction and use regulations then there wouldn't be any problems. Legally. There would be some other problems, such as the fact that complying with the regulations would make it somewhat heavier and less nippy.

Those whining that this is some sort of conspiracy against electrical vehicles need to wise up. There are electrical mopeds out there and the government don't mind them at all. Nobody is buying petrol or diesel for them and it's not like the treasury get much tax from them. The last time I taxed a small motorcycle it cost me the princely sum of £16. Hardly going to swell the government's coffers much it it? And since all two wheeled conveyances are exempt from the congestion charge there's no money to be made there either.

The simple fact is that the law is as it stands and the government should not rewrite it to suit Specialized.

Those who seem to be trying to make this into some sort of slanging match about cyclists should bear in mind that the vast majority of cyclists would never, ever consider and electrically assisted bike. It defeats the whole purpose of their cycling in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

The things that you push with your feet

They are called PEDALS.

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Windows

Beats the living daylights out of me...

1) I reckon my single-speed Jopo* can go faster than that, unaided. It's only got one brake (back-pedal to activate it), but it seems to break an ancient English law, forbidding travel by witchcraft

2) Here, it's ILLEGAL to ride on the road, if there's a footpath. You must use the footpath.

3) Until recently I could ride my moped on the footpath. Unfortunately, that's been curtailed. So have a lot more young moped riders in the last 2 years.

* http://www.finnishdesignshop.com/outdoor-bicycles-jopo-bicycle-white-p-2831.html

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Anonymous Coward

So when can we expect speed limiters on ordinary bikes then?

Oh, we can't.

So it's not about safety then, its just about obeying the rules...

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