petition to increase the speed limit

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
829
792
Surrey
I feel some sympathy for new pedelec member jimriley not probably understanding the arena of entrenched views that this semmingly innocent question sets in motion.

Us old hands know how this debate will always be!

To be fair to jimriley and not withstanding the great knowledge of flec on the legalities and impossibility or desirability of a change, a 20mph limit for someone commuting to work and back on a road that can be dangerous between two towns not in a city about 10 miles apart rather than use their car, the higher speed makes lots of sense and is a much safer speed to travel at.

Even if said person where to go through a village on the route with a 30 limit, travelling that bit faster means cars are less frustrated behind said cyclist and less inclined to squeeze past when the should not.

You do not need higher cut off speeds off road, or for leisure cycling or probably nearly anywhere else. But commuting on faster roads 20 is much safer.

These are the journeys where an ebike could replace a car journey and who knows maybe quite a lot of car journeys.

Remember what Bertrand Russell the philosopher used to say "If you’re certain, you’re certainly wrong"
 

Gavin

Pedelecer
May 11, 2020
243
125
Us old hands know how this debate will always be!
I'm going to make a sweeping generalisation here so please forgive me....I wonder if a large percentage of ebike riders are retired....

If this is the case, then I suspect they're mainly used as "fun machines" and so (quite rightly) speed is irrelevant.

As @georgehenry has pointed out however, they have the potential to be so much more, and to be part of a toolkit that drives genuine (positive) changes in transport solutions and wider society.

And a happy side-effect of that is a healthier population, cleaner air etc.

But sadly my utopian dream will never happen in an average 5-year parliamemtary cycle so no government bothers even trying...
 

RossG

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 12, 2019
1,067
940
I remember as teens in the late 70's we used to ride with our drop bars up turned with the brakes inverted.
My mate Sean used to ride his bike like that when he was a young lad. One day he hit something and came to a dead stop, he did a 'header' over the bars and one side caught him in the back and ripped out a kidney :eek:
He never rode a bike again after that, put him off for good.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,943
22,588
You can't make comparisons with the post-war period without recognising the differences between then and now. Fewer road users, much shorter commutes to work and much slower vehicles (with the exception of the odd supercharged Bentley and Vincent Black Shadow). The world was a very different place and (with the exception of poverty/ austerity) probably a much nicer one too.
Of course I can, those things are irrelevant. This is a simple safety issue.

10 mph cyclists rarely lose control, fall off or get hurt at that speed, and can stop easily from that speed. 20mph cyclists do lose control much more often (wet roads, leaves, ice etc), often can't stop in time as members accident videos show and can often go over the bars suffering serious injuries.

Speed doesn't kill, uncontrolled speed does.
That's nothing like inclusive enough, it's inappropriate speed that kills, even when apparently well controlled, since so much depends on what others unexpectedly do.

Pootling around at 10mph is lovely on a sunny Sunday with my Mrs, but I'm not going to do that on my 18-mile (each way) commute to work or I'd be out of the house for 16 hours a day.
No-one is saying you have to, just ride a speed pedelec. I see these arguments from yourself, RoadieRoger and others as disingenuous at least. You just want to scrap a lot of the registration and driving licence laws at the cost of killing and injuring many more people.

The government need to make it easy for me (and millions of people like me) to do my commute by bike in a reasonable timescale, and that means going faster.
Already done. Ride an S-pedelec or use an alternative, why does it have to be a bike? An e-moped restricted or unrestricted is also very green transport, even a small i.c. one is compared to other road vehicles.
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,943
22,588
To be fair to jimriley and not withstanding the great knowledge of flec on the legalities and impossibility or desirability of a change, a 20mph limit for someone commuting to work and back on a road that can be dangerous between two towns not in a city about 10 miles apart rather than use their car, the higher speed makes lots of sense and is a much safer speed to travel at.
It's the inherent dishonesty of the question I don't like, nothing is stopping Jim, RoadieRoger or any of the others with this argument.

They can ride an S-pedelec at 28 mph assisted right now, in Jim's case he already has the motorcycle licence to do that!

They aren't arguing for vehicle laws to change, they just want to scrap some of the driving licence laws that are there for obvious safety reasons.

I'm not arguing against that, the balance of safety restrictions against deaths is one for society, not me. I grew up riding and driving in a country with hardly any driving or riding laws, loved the freedom and would be happy to have it back. But perhaps not so happy to have back the three times as many road deaths and accidents as then.

I'm just illustrating that after over 120 years of ever tightening laws, ever reducing speed limits and ever reducing deaths, no government will ever engage reverse on this issue.

It's beyond us anyway being a supra national issue. The UN, the EU, the UK and all major governments are united in a long term drive to force down the formerly horrific levels of road accidents, deaths and injuries and over the last 40 years they've been spectacularly successful. Success is something governments rarely enjoy so they don't let go when they achieve it.

Within that each country's governments have a view on safety law and the British one biases to being somewhat restrictive but very poorly policed. In stark contrast for example the German one is biased to being liberal but strongly policed with strict obedience expected.

Personally I think we have the better deal, but not as good as in Italy where the public and most of the police ignore all of the more inconvenient road traffic laws!
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Gavin

Pedelecer
May 11, 2020
243
125
As always @flecc you're delivering an interesting viewpoint.

Of course I can, those things are irrelevant. This is a simple safety issue.
There's no such thing as a perfectly safe environment- every decision in life is a balance of risk vs reward. In my opinion, the rewards that society would gain (as I've outlined previously) from allowing faster ebikes outweight the risks that they pose.

10 mph cyclists rarely lose control, fall off or get hurt at that speed, and can stop easily from that speed. 20mph cyclists do lose control much more often (wet roads, leaves, ice etc), often can't stop in time
This is full of flaws.

Firstly, the likelihood of an accident doesn't increase directly with speed. What does increase is the likelihood of injury. It's a standard (very basic) risk assessment- likelihood x severity = risk rating.

Secondly, I don't believe that the 25kph limit was ever conceived as a result of any science or risk assessment. It was simply a "finger in the wind" that was deemed appropriate given the techological capabilities at the time. However technology has moved on, so the limit needs to move with it.

Thirdly, any loss of control (regardless of speed) is down to user error. Riding a bike (just like driving a car, riding a motorcycle etc) is a "craft" that should be honed. Hazard peception and risk mitigation is a basic requirement of controlling any vehicle at any speed.

Lastly, 20mph isn't fast- your average granny goes quicker than that downhill on her shopping bike! Let's keep things in perspective here....

Ride an S-pedelec or use an alterrnative, why does it have to be a bike?
In my case it has to be a bike because I can then combine my commute with my fitness regime, i.e I won't need to go for a morning run if I'm cycling to work. I don't have time to do both.
The s-pedelec route is nonsensical however. Why would I jump through all those legislative hoops to ride a 28mph bike? It's not worth the effort. And to back this point up, have you ever seen an s-pedelec on the road? I certainly haven't.

Ultimately @flecc you are correct- people like me DO want to have our cake and eat it. I want to "do my bit for the environment" (and keep fit in the process) by using an ebike as a practical transport solution, not just as a Sunday afternoon toy. But I (and millions of others like me) will only do that if it's easy. If it's not easy, we'll never change....
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
4,847
1,728
Basildon
Now that we are leaving the EU and their beloved level playing field we need to be bold and derive our own rules on Pedelecs etc. Start by scrapping the Pedelec Classes L1e and L1e B that few understand and just have the normal Pedelec , but allow a maximum speed of 20 mph . This would allow the E scooters to be a class below and limit them to 15 mph . Then allow the 50 cc Mopeds to exceed the silly maximum speed of 28 mph and cap it at 40 mph .
We are about to make new laws and have wholesale changes after December 31st, so start as we mean to go on . I have two Classic machines a 1982 Suzuki Roadie 50cc that is restricted to 30 mph which cannot keep up with modern traffic , even in Towns . My other a 1982 Suzuki X7 caused the Law to be changed, as it was too fast for the 250 cc Class . It is capable of 100 mph but I won`t be doing that on it , in 10 years I have not passed 70 mph . Which brings me to the point that just because something like a Pedelec could be designed to reach 20 mph , it doesn`t mean that all Riders are going to be riding everwhere at that speed as some seem to suggest .
The Covid Pandemic and Brexit gives us a perfect opportunity to sort out the Laws on small powered machines and we ought to do it soon .
I agree in principle with all of that and with what Georgehenry wrote. If the aliens landed and appointed me as dictator of the UK, here's what I'd do.
  • Compulsory insurance on all bicycles, electric or not.
  • Non-electric bicycles subject to local speed limits on the road.
  • No licence or helmet needed for electric bicycles.
  • No power limit on electric bicycles.
  • Speed limit with or without the motor assist on cycle paths, trails, etc., 12 mph, both for electric and non-electric bicycles. Fines for exceeding the speed limit.
  • Speed limit with or without motor assist on the road 20 mph. Non-electric bicycles exluded. Fines for exceeding the speed limit up to 30 mph. Anything over 30mph would be treated as an a unlicensed motorcycle.
  • Motorway speed limit increased to 80 mph except buses and HGVs.
  • Design speed limit for 50cc restricted motorcycles 40 mph.
 

Gavin

Pedelecer
May 11, 2020
243
125
I agree in principle with all of that and with what Georgehenry wrote. If the aliens landed and appointed me as dictator of the UK, here's what I'd do.
  • Compulsory insurance on all bicycles, electric or not.
  • Non-electric bicycles subject to local speed limits on the road.
  • No licence or helmet needed for electric bicycles.
  • No power limit on electric bicycles.
  • Speed limit with or without the motor assist on cycle paths, trails, etc., 12 mph, both for electric and non-electric bicycles. Fines for exceeding the speed limit.
  • Speed limit with or without motor assist on the road 20 mph. Non-electric bicycles exluded. Fines for exceeding the speed limit up to 30 mph. Anything over 30mph would be treated as an a unlicensed motorcycle.
  • Motorway speed limit increased to 80 mph except buses and HGVs.
  • Design speed limit for 50cc restricted motorcycles 40 mph.
Get this person into parliament....!
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,943
22,588
There's no such thing as a perfectly safe environment- every decision in life is a balance of risk vs reward. In my opinion, the rewards that society would gain (as I've outlined previously) from allowing faster ebikes outweight the risks that they pose.

The s-pedelec route is nonsensical however. Why would I jump through all those legislative hoops to ride a 28mph bike?
Your viewpoints but not the UK government's. They see no reason why you should not get a low level driving licence to ride an S-pedelec at nearly 30 mph. That's the only legislative hoop, the S bikes you can buy off the shelf already approved.

the likelihood of an accident doesn't increase directly with speed. What does increase is the likelihood of injury. It's a standard (very basic) risk assessment- likelihood x severity = risk rating.
It is a fact that the rate of accidents, serious injuries and deaths rises with rising speed limits, repeatedly proven by many decades of legislation. Risk ratings are just a way of accepting them as reasonable. When the target is the simple one of death reduction as it is for the UK and most governments, you don't risk raising the limits.

Secondly, I don't believe that the 25kph limit was ever conceived as a result of any science or risk assessment. It was simply a "finger in the wind" that was deemed appropriate given the techological capabilities at the time. However technology has moved on, so the limit needs to move with it.
Not so. The 25 kph limit was conceived in Japan and very scientifically arrived at, and it was not based in any way on technology but on safety. Therefore no need to move on, the safety elements around humans haven't changed, the harm from an impact is the same. We in Europe have substantially liberallised some of that Japanese law in adopting it.

Thirdly, any loss of control (regardless of speed) is down to user error. Riding a bike (just like driving a car, riding a motorcycle etc) is a "craft" that should be honed. Hazard peception and risk mitigation is a basic requirement of controlling any vehicle at any speed.
A statement of the obvious, so what? Meanwhile we carry on killing.

Ultimately @flecc you are correct- people like me DO want to have our cake and eat it. I want to "do my bit for the environment" (and keep fit in the process) by using an ebike as a practical transport solution, not just as a Sunday afternoon toy. But I (and millions of others like me) will only do that if it's easy. If it's not easy, we'll never change....
Strange that in Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Denmark, they don't find these difficulties. They ride lots of the S-bikes with similar bureaucracy, registration, number plate, insurance, compulsory helmet etc.

I face the facts. Most drivers won't ride any sort of bicycle in this country. In Britain we uniquely virtually stopped cycling in the 1960s and '70s, and as in the USA where cycling also virtually disappeared at one point, it just never recovers.

The mainland European nations didn't suffer that and the sole reason 70% of the Dutch cycle is that their government never allowed it to drop below 50% long ago so the habit lived on.

How far we can go to force people onto bikes is a moot point, not very far I suspect. In London we went quite far, bullying drivers with a congestion charge, currently £15 a day if the car has Euro 6 emission level or £27.50 a day if not.

But even that has only produced an extra 150,000 cycling commuters, a worthy increase but peanuts in a 10.2 million population. The rest just pay up to drive, have changed transport or have moved jobs.

In fact Covid-19 has dealt a serious blow to prospects of more drivers switching to cycle commuting since large numbers are now permanently switching to working partly or wholly from home. Great for the environment though.
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RossG

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 12, 2019
1,067
940
Interesting debate as always on here. I have a National Cycle Route near me which I bike along at a steady pace admiring the wildlife as I go. Sooner or later the inevitable will happen and a Lycra lout will pass me cursing as he shoots up the path because I didn't get out of his way quick enough.
Then I wait for it to happen it always does ... a few seconds later another idiot flies past only this one's different because he's no time to waste on swearing at me, no he has to catch the first loon who's just shot past.
You see it on motorways, people have to catch the car in front and pass them ... got em yeeess !
It doesn't really matter how fast you set a speed limit because everyone will speed up together and still try to pass the one in front, the human race is like that always trying to get one over on some one else.
 

GSV3MiaC

Pedelecer
Jun 6, 2020
47
23
I support vfr400s proposals, and would vote for him.. However, to save the planet perhaps we could add a few more. I'd kick off with, 'nobody should commute more than 10 miles each way'. That would solve the 'I need a 60 mph pedele to get to work in reasonable time' problem right there. Covid may have put a large and permanent debt in commuting already.

As to manual bikes, iirc the 'There is no planet B' author pointed out that an ebike is more efficient, assuming a solar panel, than growing food to power a muscle driven version. Not sure he figured in the obesity epidemic cost though.
 
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Gavin

Pedelecer
May 11, 2020
243
125
It is a fact that the rate of accidents, serious injuries and deaths rises with rising speed limits
Not true. Statistically, the greatest number of accidents occur in urban (30mph limit) areas.


Meanwhile we carry on killing.
Quite an inflammatory statement but I'll run with it. 2019 UK road deaths: 1870. UK obesity-related deaths: incalulable but estimated in the "tens of thousands" range. Obesity-related annual cost to the NHS: Estimated at £5bn p/a (that would pay for a lot of cycle lanes).

Now I'll make my own inflammatory statement: We've got a government that (perhaps) protects its population from hurting themselves on the roads, only to let them kill themselves with their unhealthy lifestyles....

The 25 kph limit was conceived in Japan and very scientifically arrived at, and it was not based in any way on technology but on safe
I'm curious- where did you get this from? There's not much coming from a Google search....

How far we can go to force people onto bikes is a moot point, not very far I suspect
The answer to this one is, we don't force, we sell. We simply make higher-speed ebike commuting a genuinely practical alternative for (some) people. When it comes to carrot vs stick, any democratic government will always prefer the carrot....

You are correct on one point though- the government don't agree with me! Risk aversity is the curse of democracy...
 

Gavin

Pedelecer
May 11, 2020
243
125
nobody should commute more than 10 miles each way'. That would solve the 'I need a 60 mph pedele to get to work in reasonable time' problem right there
Interesting idea here @GSV3MiaC. I currently can't afford to buy a house any closer to my work that the one I've bought (18 miles away). I'd love it if the government would make up the difference!
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,943
22,588
Not true. Statistically, the greatest number of accidents occur in urban (30mph limit) areas.
I meant limits within each enviroment of course, one can't compare motorway and cities. The new 20 limits in place of 30 in urban areas do actually reduce the deaths etc.

Quite an inflammatory statement but I'll run with it. 2019 UK road deaths: 1870. UK obesity-related deaths: incalulable but estimated in the "tens of thousands" range. Obesity-related annual cost to the NHS: Estimated at £5bn p/a (that would pay for a lot of cycle lanes).

Now I'll make my own inflammatory statement: We've got a government that (perhaps) protects its population from hurting themselves on the roads, only to let them kill themselves with their unhealthy lifestyles....
Fully agreed, but unrelated to the subject though.

I'm curious- where did you get this from? There's not much coming from a Google search....
Nothing online apart from the technical aspect that interested me most at the time and which I repeated in an article I wrote for my Panasonic support web site. When you read that you'll see why Europe and indeed I disagreed with their views of typical cycling speeds, though also see the depth and thoroughness of the Japanese approach. I'm adding the link to that at the end of this post. I don't remember where the article was, I read so many on the e-bike world, and I didn't copy the safety and fitness aspects at the time, but remember their principles very well since they make perfect sense and I agree with them.

Basically they link a rider's ability, age and fitness with safety, for example the very capable and younger sporting rider having fitness which makes them most likely to have the sharp eyesight, acute hearing and fast reaction times that are all necessary for higher speeds in safety on the road. But of course using power assistance to put that sort of performance in the hands of anyone, however unfit, is a very different matter. Therefore the pedelec permitted assist speed of 25kph was in part related to the abilities of an adult with the lower fitness level at which they seek some assistance, in part related to the upper limit of common utility cycling practice. Yes I know that we in Britain today tend to ride faster, but we are very much the odd ones out, almost all the rest of the world thinking us very odd with our racing around often on drop bars with horizontal posture, helmets and lycra.

The answer to this one is, we don't force, we sell. We simply make higher-speed ebike commuting a genuinely practical alternative for (some) people. When it comes to carrot vs stick, any democratic government will always prefer the carrot....
Clearly our drivers don't like vegetables.

You are correct on one point though- the government don't agree with me! Risk aversity is the curse of democracy...
Fully agreed, especially in Britain.

Suffix:

Below is the link to the technical aspects of the Japanese law, from the seventh paragraph on being the relevant part:

Panasonic System Power Delivery Explanation
.
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
4,847
1,728
Basildon
Not sure he figured in the obesity epidemic cost though.
There is no additional obesity epidemic cost. Everybody will die. Most will become ill and need looking after before that time comes. The cost of treating someone with diabetes is fairly insignificant compared with the cost of keeping someone in a home while they become more and more helpless due to old age., which often means cancer. Obese people statistically die quicker and at a younger age, when they're not much of a burden on society - no years of pension payouts, no years of being looked after in an an OAP home.
 
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ColinJTod

Pedelecer
Jul 21, 2020
30
22
Todmorden
Speed limit with or without motor assist on the road 20 mph. Non-electric bicycles exluded. Fines for exceeding the speed limit up to 30 mph. Anything over 30mph would be treated as an a unlicensed motorcycle.
OOPS - sorry, I read that as non-electric bikes INCLUDED! ;)

I agree with all of your other suggestions but that one would be a complete pain for me! I am not super-fit but was doing 22 mph on a flat road the other night without busting a gut (I had a tailwind) and then 35 mph on a descent alternating freewheeling with braking. To stick to 20 mph I would have to brake on the downhill part of every little undulation in the road and brake hard all the way down some of the local descents.

Being limited to 20 mph down descents like this one (on the A58 to Littleborough) would be very annoying and wear my brakes out quickly...

Hollingworth Lake and Littleborough from Blackstone Edge.jpg
 
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budsy

Pedelecer
May 16, 2020
113
13
Just came across this on EMTB forum, increase the speed limit to 20mph.
The government ive heard through the grapevine are contemplating soon
for putting a fee on to people who are riders of e-bikes
this petition would only increase their thoughts more quicker.

Some people can be too greedy when all is fine as it is re- e-bikes

But if u want many e-bikers to argue for the cause , then you shall have to look
forward to paying out for such .

Actually facts are now that the Government in UK and the Worlds Leaders are all
out to make money all the time this with anything they can , and i have heard
the Government , i speak for the UK are looking into the e-bike rage at the moment , regards charging tax for such , and is only a matter of time
until a charge for all e bikers is brought to fruition regards road tax and insurance.

And do I think its right ? > Nope , but if speed limit went up then Yes, does it bother me > Nope, as what is a small charge even if i do go the e-bike route in time .
 

budsy

Pedelecer
May 16, 2020
113
13
Perhaps we should be lobbying the other way .. cars/motorbikes restricted to 80 MPH, no more than 100Kw,
unless you qualify for a 'supercar' license which requires a serious driving test, full safety harness, and several £k per year road tax. Mind you, HGV drivers (in the UK at least) already have a lot of that, and still flatten other road users on a fairly regular basis.
I defo agree cars / motor bikes , and id go to say all vehicles should be restricted to 60 mph also far to many vehicles u see rush out when at traffic lights this when at amber
and they are moving on very quickly as if in a race .
all should be road taxed and insured and leave us cyclists more so a chance on our
erm roads/pavements, well pavements at times we have no choice

be it either pavement on busy parts or else run down by road ragers
who think bicycles be it the traditional non e-bike , or e- bike that they think
shouldn't be on the road it seems by many , though ive had many good drivers
also, but i tend myself to allow cars/vans , motorbikes move on first
and if not then ill use my arms when at busy parts of a road , to allow them to know what way im going to turn .
 

soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
10,558
4,343
T-90_Bhisma_cropped_01.JPG

if i had to drive a car id get one of those 60mph is fine ;)
 

Bobajob

Pedelecer
Nov 1, 2019
234
113
Cornwall
As a previous pedelec’r has written, a high percentage on here are retired with the mindset (me included) that the ebike is a fun recreational and fineness device.
I cycle around looking at the view that when riding/driving a faster machine i cannot safely experience.
I therefore am very happy to carry on like this but, I feel there is a new government (at the moment) mindset regarding travelling to work etc etc where possible. This could equate to a slight raising of the speed limit bar from 15.5-20mph.
As fflecc has rightfully pointed out the road death/injury has been lowered which the government will not wish to be reversed so a common sense approach is needed.
The problem I can see is that if all this fuel is going to be saved by using bikes/bike to work, rest and play the revenue enjoyed by the government via fuel tax today will be greatly reduced so where will the money come from to get us out of this severe debt we are yet to experience?
I personally wish to leave sleeping dogs lie. We enjoy riding on pavements (police turn a blind eye), in the countryside, off road which all would be evaluated and possibly restricted if the speed limit was increased.
 
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