UK - legality of thumb-throttles in DIY conversions

flecc

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It's also true in the US cycling is viewed as either a sport or a recreational activity, utility cycling is on the increase in some cities that are slowly building the necessary cycling infrastructure, but the Moar Power DIY crowd who build electric motorcycles that cannot be registered or insured, or commuters riding speed pedelecs to keep up with traffic commuting in from outer suburbs on roads without cycling infrastructure, the presence of these high power ebikes, the difficulty telling them apart from Class 1 & 2 <20mph ebikes, and the controversy over using them off road on MTB trails drives resentment from pedal cyclists and outright hostility from the MTB pedal cyclists. This complicates getting states and cities to legalize riding ebikes on the pavement and leads to stupid second class status in cities like Washington DC where in 2015 the law around collisions with vehicles was changed to move from the the contributory negligence to a comparative negligence standard...but only for pedal cyclists so ebike riders who get hit by cars here are **** out of luck.
Very true, and I certainly sympathise with e-bikers in the USA who have to cope with all sorts of legal variations and difficulties we don't have in the UK.

Our pedelec law with no high speed class allowed does seem restrictive to some, but it at least clearly distinguishes our e-bikes from all the various forms of motorbikes.
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awol

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So I've learned that throttles should not activate until the PAS is active which I did not know and have changed my bikes to this now.
I am sure I had a setting where the throttle activated up to full cutoff speed when the pedals are turning but still operates at slow walking speed when pedals are not turning. Is this legal?
 

flecc

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I am sure I had a setting where the throttle activated up to full cutoff speed when the pedals are turning but still operates at slow walking speed when pedals are not turning. Is this legal?
Yes, that is the walk alongside mode which can operate at up to 4 mph in the UK. It's for walking an e-bike up a hill too steep to cycle. On the continent it's 6 kph (3.7 mph).
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GLJoe

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..our cyclists seem to think it obligatory to be head down, helmeted, grim faced and pumping hard to maintain at least 20 mph!

None of that happened in mainland Europe. Their greater war damage meant slower recovery and they never stopped utility cycling, so the sport image bias never occurred and they still amble about, relaxed and bare headed on bikes in the way we once did. Me too!
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I'm really torn on this.
I hear what you are saying, but the trouble is, I'm not sure whether what's happened is altogether a bad thing!
I guess it probably is if it reduced the number of people in total who now cycle (although I imagine there could be a whole bunch of other factors that caused that rather than the sport image bias!), but then, if the sport use didn't exist, there might have been virtually no cycling whatsoever going on!

And thinking of it, here's a controversial viewpoint - I personally think more people SHOULD be 'head down, helmeted, grim faced and pumping hard to maintain at least 20 mph' !!
I am certain that if most cyclists (who are able of course) did this, general health and fitness would go through the roof, and along with it all the benefits of reduced complications with old(er) age etc.
Ok, maybe not aiming for over 20mph everywhere :) but cycling is such a great form of exercise, it almost seems a sin not to push yourself to get fitter when you're on your bike, rather than just 'amble about'!
And yes, I know ... some people can't, and that's fine. However a whole bunch can, but don't, and that's not good!
 
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flecc

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I'm really torn on this.
I hear what you are saying, but the trouble is, I'm not sure whether what's happened is altogether a bad thing!
I guess it probably is if it reduced the number of people in total who now cycle
It definitely is a bad thing, precisely because it puts so many off attempting to cycle. They see the "peleton" belting along, 20 mph or more with big effort going in and many know they couldn't possibly do that. (Also see below)

if the sport use didn't exist, there might have been virtually no cycling whatsoever going on!
No, it's economics that's been the real growth stimulus. The introduction of the London Congestion Charge by Ken Livingstone has resulted in London's cycling commuting tripling and London becoming the UK's chief cycling city. At the present rate of growth bikes will outnumber cars commuting in shortly. Elsewhere the ever rising cost of motoring and fareas have had similar effects. Sport helped cycling to grow on fine weekends, but it's economics that have made daily cycling commonplace.

And thinking of it, here's a controversial viewpoint - I personally think more people SHOULD be 'head down, helmeted, grim faced and pumping hard to maintain at least 20 mph' !!
I am certain that if most cyclists (who are able of course) did this, general health and fitness would go through the roof, and along with it all the benefits of reduced complications with old(er) age etc.
As posted above, this intense cycling image deters too many. In the Netherlands a huge 70% of the Dutch population cycle daily and they are all visibly much fitter and slimmer than people here. The reason they all cycle even into extreme old age is that cycling there is done at much lower speeds anyone can manage and in normal street clothing without helmets. So it looks so normal no-one is put off and all happily do it.

We will never achieve that while so many cyclists here are mimicking Tour de France riding, often in lycra and helmeted. I'm a cyclist, but even I often think some of the MAMILs I see look ludicrous and hardly likely to attract imitation.
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LeighPing

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In the Netherlands a huge 70% of the Dutch population cycle daily and they are all visibly much fitter and slimmer than people here. The reason they all cycle even into extreme old age is that cycling there is done at much lower speeds anyone can manage and in normal street clothing without helmets. So it looks so normal no-one is put off and all happily do it.
You either disregarded, failed to mention, or it never occurred to you that these people are cycling on a pancake in a country where drugs are freely available! :D
 

flecc

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You either disregarded, failed to mention, or it never occurred to you that these people are cycling on a pancake in a country where drugs are freely available! :D
Indeed it's largely flat but in an e-bike context that doesn't matter much. Their adoption of pedelecs is the largest proportionally in the world, a third of a million a year sold into a population only a little over a quarter of ours. There's nothing stopping us doing similar.

Their common cycling long predates the drug usage and in any case the drugs usage is greatly overstated, most of the population don't touch them. Cannabis usage is by 8% of their population, it's 8.4% in Scotland 7.2% in Northern Ireland and 6.6% in England and Wales, so theirs is not out of the ordinary at all.
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2Lazy

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You either disregarded, failed to mention, or it never occurred to you that these people are cycling on a pancake in a country where drugs are freely available! :D
It’s not a pancake, it only looks that after you’ve eaten their mushrooms....... or so I’m told. :D Although come to think of it, a pancake the size of Holland is exactly what I’d want after visiting one of their ‘coffee shops’ :D
 
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GLJoe

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It definitely is a bad thing, precisely because it puts so many off attempting to cycle. They see the "peleton" belting along, 20 mph or more with big effort going in and many know they couldn't possibly do that.
I imagine that might be the case for some.
Although (and lets not expand from talking about cyclists in lycra putting in some effort, into 'The Peleton' as you have done above) wouldn't seeing fit people bombing along the road (possibly even looking 'cool'!) actually inspire some people to want to do that? Doesn't premiere league football inspire new kids to play, and they then eventually often continue to do some weekend matches etc?

No, it's economics that's been the real growth stimulus.
I'm sure financial incentives have been a growth stimulus, but at least some effort into providing (at least perceived) safer car free routes etc would also be playing a big part. As well as there being huge awareness campaigns in the last few years into the need to be more fit and healthy.


As posted above, this intense cycling image deters too many. In the Netherlands a huge 70% of the Dutch population cycle daily and they are all visibly much fitter and slimmer than people here.
I'm not going to contradict that as it may very well be true, however you seem to be applying bad science! i.e. you should not directly link a visibly fitter and slimmer nation to one item without looking at all the other factors in their culture as well.

The reason they all cycle even into extreme old age is that cycling there is done at much lower speeds anyone can manage and in normal street clothing without helmets. So it looks so normal no-one is put off and all happily do it.
Again, is that based on hard facts, or are you guessing? You are presenting it as fact, so one would think there is some data somewhere, but then ...
... and the fact you haven't even mentioned terrain differences ....

We will never achieve that while so many cyclists here are mimicking Tour de France riding, often in lycra and helmeted.
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You seem to be blaming the lack of cycling in the UK on the fact that there are indeed keen cyclists out on the road, pushing themselves and wearing cycle specific clothing. Something tells me that might not really be the reason ..... maybe its stuff like weather, distance from workplace, human laziness when the easy car option is available ... stuff like that!

That's the problem. I see sense in some of what you say, but I get the feeling you are cherry picking to try and support your own arguments and points of view.
But then I'm one of those MAMILs so it seems I'm going to be swayed to a different viewpoint :)
(and I agree I'm not a pretty sight :):)... however I wear cycling gear because ... er ... well because its specifically designed for cycling!?! hence another reason I don't understand this stance against wearing appropriate and optimum clothing that we seem to get so much of on this forum!)
 

anotherkiwi

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No flecc is pretty close to the truth according to my Dutch friends. Weather in the UK and in the Netherlands = colder (enjoy the chilly breeze off the North Sea anyone? :eek: )and more snow and ice in the Netherlands. The joke of the day is my GF out cycling with her friend who upon spotting cyclists with helmets on cries "Oh look! Germans!...

I have always been a jeans and t-shirt cyclist even back in the day when I was riding an ex TdF framed drop bar bike. I always seem to have a pair of trouser clips in my pocket :)
 
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flecc

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Although (and lets not expand from talking about cyclists in lycra putting in some effort, into 'The Peleton' as you have done above)
No, the fast moving commuting groups have often been referred to as the peleton in the media, and in here a few times, so it's valid to say that since it very accurately describes the scene.

wouldn't seeing fit people bombing along the road (possibly even looking 'cool'!) actually inspire some people to want to do that? Doesn't premiere league football inspire new kids to play, and they then eventually often continue to do some weekend matches etc?
We aren't speaking of kids but adult besuited office workers. For every occasion when someone might have the passing thought that it might just be for them, there'll be the bad weather or dense fast traffic putting them off. Not to mention just reading about a cyclist crushed under a truck. Basically your argument is too late to the party, those who could be atrracted to join in already have done, hence the very big increase in cycling. It's the intractable lot we need to convince, that ain't easy and lycra and sweaty brows certainly won't do it. Chelsea embankment evening rush hour:

biking.jpg

I'm sure financial incentives have been a growth stimulus, but at least some effort into providing (at least perceived) safer car free routes etc would also be playing a big part. As well as there being huge awareness campaigns in the last few years into the need to be more fit and healthy.
Absolutely not. The very minor incentives before and for a long time after the congestion charge had no effect, it was the charge that resulted in a huge increase in cycling in London. It's only now that just one really safe route has been provided, until now it's been painted lines on existing roads and we all know how useless they are. Some even killed. As for fitness campaigns, it's the gyms that benefit. I know people who drive miles to a gym every evening and they laugh at my suggestion that if they cycled there they could just cycle straight back and save all the membership fees and a lot of time.

I'm not going to contradict that as it may very well be true, however you seem to be applying bad science! i.e. you should not directly link a visibly fitter and slimmer nation to one item without looking at all the other factors in their culture as well.
The science of the bleedin' obvious is very good science, it's a pity it's not applied more often. What other factors, speaking Dutch? Otherwise they are just like us, except for the waistlines.

Again, is that based on hard facts, or are you guessing? You are presenting it as fact, so one would think there is some data somewhere, but then ...
... and the fact you haven't even mentioned terrain differences ....
Again it's blindingly obvious that the normal appearance will have wider appeal. A besuited city worker stands on the pavement looking at cyclists. A leaning forward, helmeted one in lycra rushes past at speed, grim faced, putting in lots of effort. Then a relaxed and upright normally street dressed cyclist pedals past at moderate speed with little effort. Which method would you think they'd find more readily appealing?

You seem to be blaming the lack of cycling in the UK on the fact that there are indeed keen cyclists out on the road, pushing themselves and wearing cycle specific clothing. Something tells me that might not really be the reason ..... maybe its stuff like weather, distance from workplace, human laziness when the easy car option is available ... stuff like that!
Of course there are all those other reasons and more as well, but we can't influence most of them. But the off-putting effect of the specialised clothing, sporting image of cycling is very real, whether you accept it or not. It's far outside what most of the population will consider.

That's the problem. I see sense in some of what you say, but I get the feeling you are cherry picking to try and support your own arguments and points of view.
Why is advancing arguments that are evidence for what I'm saying cherry picking? The way to oppose them is to show me evidence that what I'm saying isn't true.

I don't understand this stance against wearing appropriate and optimum clothing that we seem to get so much of on this forum!)
Answered above. The way to make cycling really popular is to make it as natural and available as walking, just like some European countries have done. That means just step outside, get on your sensible bike and ride. No need for fancy clothing or cycle clips with a full chainguard, nor a helmet at sensible speeds. That's so available at all times that people do it routinely as automatically as they walk.

Finally a matter that so often escapes consideration that I've raised a few times in here.

When was young and maybe when you were, cycling was a rite of passage from about ten years old on, especially for boys. We all learnt early. But during the 1980s society began to become more protective and fearful of everything, especially for the young. With that in mind and the rapidly increasing volume of traffic, parents increasingly would not allow their children to cycle and in many cities such as where I live, that became the norm, the majority of children never learning.

In London we had an added factor, fares were made free for all under 16s and up to 18 when in full time education, so with our extensive public transport network there was no incentive to try cycling anyway.

That resulting problem is that a huge proportion of the under 45s have never learnt to ride a bike. Most of them are drivers anyway, often with a very jaundiced view of cyclists, so hardly likely to even attempt learning to cycle.

That isn't amenable to a quick cure, it can only change with major changes in road safety perception and a couple of decades for a new population to grow up in the changed environment.
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Benjahmin

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The childhood thing is very true. As a kid born on the southern outskirts of Birmingham, I have great memories of cycling easily into the country side and getting up to all sorts of mischief all day long. Where I lived in my 30's and40's there was a canal at the bottom of the road, this would take me either into the city centre or out towards Catherine De Barnes and Warwick. As my daughter grew we would take her out on trips but cycling was never the utility rite of passage for her that it was for me. She is, however, now a Cardiff utility cyclist, mainly 'cos she's a professional dancer and it helps keep her fit.
I eventually moved to Wales because all the easily accessable places I used to cycle to as a kid were getting built on and the feeling of being shut increased when the M42/M5/M6 ring of motorway was completed.
The parents of both myself and my wife were pre and post war utility cyclists. It was the most affordable transport at the time. My Dad used to cycle from Walsall Wood to Great in Birmingham (around 22 miles) - do a day as a labourer in a brick yard - then cycle home, all on a fixie and a bread and dripping sandwich! You try telling that to the kids of today (oh 'ere we go:p).

Someone put a video up, a few weeks ago, of cycling in Holland. People holding hands, towing surfboards, riding piggy back etc. It all looked so normal, relaxed and attractive. Not a lycra clad racer in sight. There needs to be a huge reduction in fear production here for cycling to become a norm. A mate of mine recently moved from Penzance to Hay on Wye. He sold his mountain bike. When I asked why he said he only ever rode along the sea front coast path in Penzance and he would never go on the roads because they are too dangerous. Yeh, Hay on Wye really is a teeming metropolis. He thinks I'm a suicidal nutter riding the back lanes of Ceredigion. Result - his 21 year old daughter has never been near a bike, despite having bought up in the countryside.
Insurance? Just more fear pedalling, with the, now usual, tag line of, 'We're doing this for your protection/security/anti moneylaundering/anti terrorism'. (Take ya pick).
Headline:
I WAS HIT BY AN UNINSURED CYCLIST Result: all cyclists are homicidal maniacs.

Sorry - Sunday morning rant - I'll go and get the bike out:rolleyes::D
 

flecc

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Someone put a video up, a few weeks ago, of cycling in Holland. People holding hands, towing surfboards, riding piggy back etc. It all looked so normal, relaxed and attractive. Not a lycra clad racer in sight.
That was me, it shows what cycling should be like here in Britain if it's ever to become popular with the majority, rather than something done by only 3% of the population. Here it is again, showing how friendly and adaptable cycling as transport can be if public attitudes change and our police and authorities chill out instead of insisting on rigid conformity to nanny state rules. Please watch both parts one and two for a real eye opener as to what cycling can be:

Cycling in The Netherlands
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GLJoe

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The science of the bleedin' obvious is very good science, it's a pity it's not applied more often. What other factors, speaking Dutch? Otherwise they are just like us, except for the waistlines.
I just spent 2 min doing some reading, and good old wikipedia states:
"Approximately 4.5 million of the 16.8 million people in the Netherlands are registered to one of the 35,000 sports clubs in the country. About two-thirds of the population between 15 and 75 participates in sports weekly"

My god .... two thirds!! I can imagine two thirds of UK people WATCH some sport ... but participate ??

Plus, coincidentally, I ended up watching some cycling youtube vids that led to some Ted talks last night and there was an interesting piece on the Dutch cycling infrastructure and how a big part of that was the huge 'Don't murder our children' campaign in the 70's and the resultant investment by the politicians.
Plus, the last time i was there. They ate pickled fish for breakfast!
They're not 'just like us'! Hence why you have to be careful the 'bleedin obvious' doesn't become 2+2=5

I'll also add that cycling is not only utilitarian over there, but its also .... shock gasp horror ... a SPORT. Where people wear (and I hope you're sitting down ..), LYCRA!! And they're pretty good at it. Why hasn't seeing these lycra clad people out and about had the same detrimental effect on the folks in the Netherlands as you seem to be claiming it has had over here?

....The way to make cycling really popular is to make it as natural and available as walking, just like some European countries have done. That means just step outside, get on your sensible bike and ride. No need for fancy clothing or cycle clips with a full chainguard, nor a helmet at sensible speeds. That's so available at all times that people do it routinely as automatically as they walk.
I don't disagree. But its the Lycra hate that I have a problem with. You don't have to get rid of fast cyclists to allow the above to happen. They are not mutually exclusive!


Finally a matter that so often escapes consideration that I've raised a few times in here.
...
That resulting problem is that a huge proportion of the under 45s have never learnt to ride a bike.
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Again, I agree with you. However my previous point about not dissing' the lycra sports brigade, is that without those keen cyclists, cycling could very well have died out totally! And its high profile sports people like Chris Boardman promoting cycling nowadays that's helping things forward. And something tells me he didn't ride in jeans most of the time ....
 

anotherkiwi

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I do wear special clothes when I go for a longer ride: walking clothes, baggy shorts, technical fibre t-shirt... They cost me how many Wh per km because they flap about in the wind? I don't find clingy clothes very comfortable, my riding jeans are stretch fabric and narrow leg but wearing tights? No thank you very much!

Maybe I'll put in my last testament that I want to be dressed in lycra before being sent of to the incinerator. A last thumb on nose joke for the initiated "Lycra, me? Over my dead body!" :)
 

flecc

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I'm well aware of all the Dutch statistical information you posted and more, I've been following it for years.

My god .... two thirds!! I can imagine two thirds of UK people WATCH some sport ... but participate ??
Can't you see the obvious connection? When 70% cycle they are used to activity and so are much more likely to participate in sport. I'm sure it was the cycling first that led to the high level of sporting engagement.

Plus, the last time i was there. They ate pickled fish for breakfast!
They're not 'just like us'!
Those sort of minor differences do not add up much at all, it's the big differences that do. Like our 3% cycling and their 70% cycling, that's very different.

I'll also add that cycling is not only utilitarian over there, but its also .... shock gasp horror ... a SPORT. Where people wear (and I hope you're sitting down ..), LYCRA!! And they're pretty good at it. Why hasn't seeing these lycra clad people out and about had the same detrimental effect on the folks in the Netherlands as you seem to be claiming it has had over here?
Again I'm well aware of this and the great Dutch race cyclists over the years, but in comparison with their scale of utility cycling it's very small scale indeed.

I don't disagree. But its the Lycra hate that I have a problem with. You don't have to get rid of fast cyclists to allow the above to happen. They are not mutually exclusive!
You're missing the obvious again, the ratio of one to the other. Ours is inverted, the sport style cycling so dominant that our pathetically low level of utility cycling is scarcely seen. That's why so many find the idea of cycling offputting when they are led to believe that is how it has to be to fit in.

Again, I agree with you. However my previous point about not dissing' the lycra sports brigade, is that without those keen cyclists, cycling could very well have died out totally!
Absolutely, it was only roadies who kept British cycling alive from the 1960s to 1980. And that was the trouble, combined with the introduction of mountain biking emphasising the sporting nature. At least three quarters of our population have little idea of what utility cycling is or how it dominated our cycling long ago.

In summary there's one thing that kills all your opposing arguments stone dead.
If I'm wrong and the image of cycling here isn't putting people off, how come only about 3% cycle frequently, one of the lowest rates in the world?

Cycling Rates

Key to EU chart
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LeighPing

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They're very useful for those times when you want to ride sidesaddle, to free up a leg, just for kicks. :D

They're also handy if one of your legs drops off, or your chain breaks, or your pedal drops off and so on. :D

 
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2Lazy

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They're very useful for those times when you want to ride sidesaddle, to free up a leg, just for kicks. :D

They're also handy if one of your legs drops off, or your chain breaks, or your pedal drops off and so on. :D


Yep, several times I’ve had my chain come off on the way to or from work. Instead of spending 20 minutes taking my chain guard off and getting my hands covered in chain grease I can just keep going using the throttle and fix the chain when get home.

There’s lots of talk on this thread about what the law is and why in regard to throttles. Much of which I would not dispute. But we decide what the law is or isn’t, or rather our elected officials do on our behalf. So just because something is or isn’t legal or illegal doesn’t mean that is how it should be, or that it has to remain that way, nor does it mean that the current law is sensible or enforceable.

My bike was manufactured before the recent change to the law, in fact that’s one of the reasons I bought the bike when I did, so I’ll continue to use the throttle as intended. As and when I need to purchase a new bike I’ll probably just ignore the law especially as that is what a lot of ebike manufacturers and retailers seem to be doing.
 
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anotherkiwi

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I think the trike will be getting an illegal throttle at some point because in San Sebastian the cycle paths are limited to 5 km/h in many place in the centre of town where there are shared bits with pedestrians. A 6 km limited throttle (but full power) would be quite handy there because as soon as you touch the pedals you are going too fast. The full power bit is because on the road from here to there are a couple of red lights on significant slopes.
 
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GLJoe

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I'm well aware of all the Dutch statistical information you posted and more, I've been following it for years.
Excellent. It would be good (and presumably easy?) therefore for you to actually back up what you claim with hard evidence?

Look - I'm certainly not putting myself forward as an expert in this particular matter, I really don't have any in depth insider knowledge of what makes the Netherlands tick. However I'm often involved in having to analyse data and proposals etc, and as I mentioned earlier, what you are doing would be regarded as bad and invalid practice, because you are only presenting one version or possibility, when others might exist.

Can't you see the obvious connection? When 70% cycle they are used to activity and so are much more likely to participate in sport. I'm sure it was the cycling first that led to the high level of sporting engagement.
That is indeed one possible connection.
However here's another equally plausible one
"when 2/3 of the population engage in sporting activity every week, they are used to exercise and so are much more likely to participate in cycling"

Just as possible as your argument, no?
If you are sure, then posting some hard evidence to back it up will be the easiest option, and I'll gladly accept valid data. Otherwise, you're just presenting an opinion as fact, and that's bad science!

Those sort of minor differences do not add up much at all, it's the big differences that do. Like our 3% cycling and their 70% cycling, that's very different.
Again, you're using a circular argument. There might very well be other social, political and historical issues that cause these differences and they might be the ones that mean cycling is far more popular over there.

You're missing the obvious again, the ratio of one to the other. Ours is inverted, the sport style cycling so dominant that our pathetically low level of utility cycling is scarcely seen. That's why so many find the idea of cycling offputting when they are led to believe that is how it has to be to fit in.
You might be right, you might not. Again, if you have hard evidence to back this up, I'd be interested to see it.
From my perspective and the area I live, I see more casual cyclists than racers in Lycra. And I've never, ever spoken to anyone who has expressed the opinion that they are put of because of this, its always because the hills are too steep, the weather is not great, and motorised traffic frightens them.


In summary there's one thing that kills all your opposing arguments stone dead.
If I'm wrong and the image of cycling here isn't putting people off, how come only about 3% cycle frequently, one of the lowest rates in the world?

Cycling Rates

Key to EU chart
.
I'm intrigued to find out how you think those figures 'kill my opposing arguments stone dead' and back yours up.
They are just stats as to how many people cycle. There is no information there whatsoever saying WHY the statistics are as they are!

It was fascinating to see Malta as being bottom of the list.
A 1 min google on 'cycling in malta' comes up with a host of proposals as to why cycling in Malta is a bad idea. Let me cut and paste from one site
http://www.howtomalta.com/2012/01/7-reasons-why-cycling-in-malta-is-a-bad-idea.html
1. There are no cycle lanes.
2. Cars go fast.
3. The streets are too narrow.
4. The streets are often full of holes.
5. If it rains deep pools form along the side of the road in seconds.
6. In summer it’s too hot.
7. Many drivers show a scant regard for the letter of the law.

Strangely, I don't see anything there saying "cyclists wearing lycra puts normal people off ...."
??
Although ironically, www.visitmalta.com/en/cycling has two images on the main banner, one showing a racing cyclist in lycra, and the other a mountain bike rider with proper kit on ..... :)
 
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