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note that we still have laws in some states that privilege motor vehicles - notably in Va its illegal to follow a MOTOR vehicle too closely (the bill to strike the word motor having failed) If I ride an Ebike is it illegal to follow me too closely in Va? I have no idea?

Recalling that momentum equals MV2..

Momentum is mv. Kinetic energy is 1/2 mv^2. But you had the right idea.

Typically, I would say it's no big deal and they just passed it because someone proposed it. But that's an odd group of sponsors.

On the flip side, it has a really late hearing in JPR. If it's troublesome enough, raise the ire on it to Frosh because he's unlikely to want to shake the apple cart that much this session.

@Contrarian. Thanks. I fixed it

@It would be a better bill if they took the time to vet it more. I suspect the needed improvements would not bother the industry that much anyway.

@cyclistintheburbs: I don't opine much on Virginia law, but if you had a law like that in Maryland it would not protect any type of moped because they are currently excluded from the definition of motor vehicle and have a parallel set of restrictions requiring license, insurance, and exclusion from trails.

So you would first look to see what the status of mopeds is in Virginia, and then see if there is a new law reclassifying ebikes from moped to either its own class or to bicycle.

What about bicycles that have been fitted with tiny gasoline engines? I've been seeing more and more of those.

I think the MD language would exclude mopeds. The language defines an electric bicycle as "designed to be operated by HUMAN POWER with the assistance of an electric motor." From what I understand, there are very few mopeds nowadays that have pedals, but the ones that do are the reverse of the above language. They are designed to be operated by A MOTOR with the assistance of human power (i.e., the pedals on a moped--as far as I know--are only used to help get it started from a stop or to assist a bit on hills).

Also, I believe most mopeds go up to 30 mph. I doubt if one that was limited to the 20 mph specified in the MD language would be able to compete in the marketplace.

@Joe D:
DC's law is pretty clear,if it has more than 1.5hp,it's a motorcycle.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/101938115/Nontraditional-Motor-Vehicle-Chart

Can't say for VA and MD.

As one with an electric assist bike and who (until switching to home office) did a 31 mile roundtrip commute, the access to trails was critical.

The electric assist enabled me to leap the hump of occasional riding to the nearby grocery stores to being able to commute downtown.

Trail access was, as well, pretty critical for me to be able to have (relatively) safe paths downtown -- covering about half the commute distance.

My bike cuts off electric assist at 15 mph (like European) and, honestly, I don't think that the electric assist ever created risks for others beyond what the risk due to cycling. (More serious is dumb/aggressive rider -- which could be with or without electric assist.)

There is one exception, which you don't raise: electric assist bikes are, by definition due to batteries/etc, heavier than non-electric. Thus, in case of collision, the electric bike has more weight involved than non-electric assist.

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