Rise Of The Machine

Rise Of the Machines – Electric Power

12th March 2010

The European Commission (EC) on Road Safety has recommended a solution for “Dangerous Motorcycles”, which is that (Electric) power assisted pedal bikes and tilting three wheelers could become acceptable alternatives in the near future for some existing groups of PTW users (that’s motorcyclists in normal speak).

However the European Twowheel Retailers’ Association (ETRA) reported in December 2009 that just 21 days previously, a new Machinery Directive was intended to enter into force and a working group had discussed whether this Directive would also apply to electric pedal assisted bicycles.

ETRA Secretary General Annick Roetynck explained, “The possible applicability of the Machinery Directive had come as a surprise. She also expressed worries about new administrative burdens that may result in higher costs.” and “ETRA owes it to its members, the European two wheel retailers, to lobby for legislation that stimulates the electric bicycle market rather than obstructing it.”

So on the one hand the recommendation from the European Commission on Road Safety is for some existing groups of PTW users to switch to electric pedal cycles, implying this is a safer alternative, but ignoring or simply not aware of other implications of the needs of users for personal motorised transportation and on the other hand wants to heavily regulate an easy means of urban transport.

At Right To Ride we assume that when the European Commission says, “that (Electric) power assisted pedal bikes and tilting three wheelers could become acceptable alternatives in the near future for some existing groups of PTW users”, it is referring to users in cities to travel short journeys.

However because this would limit users of a power assisted pedal bike to short trips (a bit like a bicycle or mofa which has a small engine and does not exceed a speed of 25 kph), the user would still need another form of personal motorised transport for longer trips, where public transport is not viable. In other words this is the real world and not a simulated transportation model dreamed up by some scientist with a personal vendetta against motorcycles.

Electric pedal assisted bicycles have a part to play in certain places such as the Netherlands, so how big a place depends on their viability and on those who want to use them.

Would you want to “whirr” along, feet on pedals ready to assist your progress on an electric bicycle? For us motorcyclists who are married to our internal/infernal combustion engines, can we just sit back and wait for the throttle to be taken from our, “cold – dead – hands!”

How long will it be before the EC decides that it is a good idea to regulate the use of these electric pedal machines by introducing a category of driving licence or road tax and road worthiness test (MOT) and would this be a good thing?

However it is not all about pedals, there is a bigger “whirr” in the air from electric motorcycle racing series to full blown road going electric motorcycles, with innovative companies, designers and engineers pushing the boundaries with concept hybrid and electric bikes.

Organisations have taken on board the green issue with the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) forming an Alternative Energy Working Group (AEWG), their mission is to make motorcycle racing greener by integrating the latest technological developments in the field of alternative energy in FIM’s competitions and to prepare the future of motorcycling.

Robert Rasor, FIM Vice-President and AEWG Chairman says: “The science and technology of alternative energy sources is changing and advancing at an ever increasing rate. Increasingly policy makers and the public will be looking to motorsport, and motorcycling specifically, as a testing ground for this technology.”

There is now a plethora of electric race series across the globe from the FIM e-Power International Championship – TT Zero clean emissions race – TTXGP championships, we hope this will not reduce the rise of the machines as they handbag for and claim to have the best technology.

The rise of the (electric) machines is upon us. How painful will prising our grip from the throttle of our internal combustion engine be?

Electric Bikes Are Coming

FIM Alternative Energy Working Group (AEWG) – Click Here

TT Zero clean emissions race Click Here

TTXGP – www.egrandprix.com

Zero Motorcycles – www.zeromotorcycles.com

MotoCzysz – www.motoczysz.com

European Twowheel Retailers’ Association (ETRA) www.etra-eu.com

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