The history of motor-powered transport is for steady gains in miles-per-hour and torque. For instance, if cars had been restricted to 20mph when they were first developed in the 1890s they may not have taken over the world by the 1920s. Speed, as any fool knows, sells. (Although torque is not cheap.)
Thanks to EU rules, modern e-bikes are restricted to power of 250 watts and the motor cuts out when the rider pedals the bike at 15.5mph or over. (There are separate rules for “speed pedelecs”; rules that include use of helmets, insurance requirements and sporting of number plates.)
But 15.5mph is too slow, says Scott Snaith of e-bike retailer 50 Cycles. He is calling on the EU to increase the speed at which the motors on pedal-assisted e-bikes cut out, and would also like wattage to be doubled, too. This will “make them safer on the roads,” claims Snaith.
“A speed of 15.5mph is just a tad too slow when it comes to being safe going through traffic. If you’re negotiating busy roundabouts or junctions – and particularly if you’re slightly wary – an extra boost of power might just accelerate you out of harm’s way.”
He thinks that increasing the speed to 20mph “will fit in well, without endangering people.”
Snaith also believes the EU – or a post-Brexit UK – could easily change the existing, hard fought-over rules.
“The law could be changed in a matter of weeks,” he claims.