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REGULATING E-BIKES IN ABQ & GREATER NEW MEXICO


UPDATED: March 19, 2024 

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ABQ City Council considers:
REVERSING BAN ON THE THROTTLE!
updated March 19, 2024

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS ORDINANCE!
If passed, Ordinance 24-14 would
Permit ALL Classified eBikes
while regulating ALL bikes & micro-mobility with 20mph speed limit

 on ABQ's bike & shared-use paths/trails

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Please Support this Ordinance

Email Your City Councilor TODAY!

and/or ATTEND

Council Committee Mtg - March 27 5pm!

Council Committee: Land Use, Planning & Zoning (LUPZ)

9th Floor, Suite 9081 - CABQ Government Center Building

One Civic Plaza NW. 

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March 19, 2024

Last July, many of you have made the fabulous point with the Greater ABQ Active Transportation Committee (GAATC) and to your City Councilors that
e-bikes and all bikes should be regulated by speed rather than the
bike's components or capabilities. 

 

With our new city council in place,

Councilor Louie Sanchez is sponsoring City  Ordinance 24-14! 

 

AMENDING PORTIONS OF THE TRAFFIC CODE (CHAPTER 8) AND OPEN SPACE LANDS AND REGIONAL PRESERVES (CHAPTER 5) OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES

TO DEFINE AND REGULATE ELECTRIC-ASSISTED BICYCLES, ALSO KNOWN AS E-BIKES, AND OTHER PERSONAL MOTORIZED MODES OF TRANSPORTATION.

FACT SHEET

ALL ALLOWED ON PAVED OR DIRT PATHS/ROADWAYS EXCLUSIVELY BIKES or SHARED WITH PEDESTRIANS, HORSEBACK, ETC.

  1. Class 1 - 20mph Max. powered only by pedaling

  2. Class 2 - 20mph Max. powered by pedaling or other mechanism (ie. throttle)

  3. Class 3 - 28mph Max. powered only by pedaling

  4. Powered Micro-mobility vehicles - 30mph Max. small wheeled, electric motor, less than 400lbs (e-scooters, e-skateboard, e-skates, balance board, mobility scooters)

EXCEPTIONS: 

  1. Where posted as specifically prohibited by Mayor (or designated rep) where signs have been erected specifically prohibit use or any specific vehicle type. 
    Nonetheless, car/truck drivers are NOT relieved of responsibility of using due care to protect vulnerable road users.

  2. In Open Space Trails & Regional Preserves that are governed differently.

SPEED LIMITS for Bikes, e-Bikes & Micro-Mobility

  • 20mph speed limit on all designated bike and/or shared-used paths/trails as will be posted with signs. 

CURRENT RESEARCH:
eBike Throttles, Speed & Changing Perceptions & Planning

EBIKES & THROTTLE  SAFETY:

  1. In both North American survey, 60% of e-bike owners said they felt safer riding their e-bike. Another 42% said their e-bike helped them avoid crashes. Stated reasons are: enough quick acceleration to clear an intersection, keeping pace with traffic, and improving self-balance at higher speeds.
     

  2. Other studies in both the United States and Asia found that e-bike owners generally felt safer and tended to obey traffic rules (stopping at stop signs, hand signaling, alerting presence) compared to traditional riders. Participants noted that e-bikes boosted their confidence on portions of the route that interacted with traffic. 
     

  3. In the same studies, riders said the throttle made it easier to stop at stop signs because they did not have to worry about making drivers impatient. Other participants felt very comfortable riding an e-bike simply because of its flexibility to operate as a conventional bike.

COMPARATIVE SPEEDS: 

  1. A study that compared speeds of ebike (class-1 and class-2) and bicycle found e-bikes are slightly faster on roads, but are slower on shared-use paths. 
     

  2. Counter-intuitively, an observation study in Colorado found the average e-bike speed was less (13.8 mph) than the average conventional bike speed (14.5 mph). This may reflect the demographics of e-bike riders (based on research, e-bike riders are older, and thus perhaps more cautious and aware of their speeds given that most e-bikes have a speedometer). 

CHANGING PERCEPTIONS & PLANNING:

  1. A Common adverse reaction to e-bikes is their potentially increased speed makes other trails or street users feel unsafe. Yet evidence suggests that e-bikes change riders’ attention and perception of safety compared to traditional bikes. 
     

  2. The American Planning Association declared 2023 as “The Year of the Ebike.”  At the core of the infrastructure planning is the notion of “Safety in Numbers”. When there’s an increase of pedestrians, cyclists, ebike riders, scooters and other micro-mobility, motorists take greater precautions driving more prudently. This reduces conflict points and improves safety for all users/travelers, thereby instituting a culture that promotes multi-modal transportation.

Don't Ban the Throttle!

Banning Class-2 eBikes would:
 

  • DISCRIMINATE AGAINST LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS
    -- who cannot afford Class-1 ebikes with high-performance mid-drives.

  • DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ELDERLY RESIDENTS
      -- who need a little help to just get started pedaling the heavier ebikes. 

  • FORCE E-BIKES RIDERS ONTO MORE DANGEROUS STREETS
    -- if not allowed to ride on protected bike paths.

 

Class-2 ebikes are:

  • MORE AFFORDABLE by $1000 or more.
    -- Most Class-1 eBikes have high-performance Bosch mid-drive motor.
    -- Most Class-3 eBikes have higher Motor Watts and/or Battery AmpHrs.

  • MOST ABUNDANT in sales & manufacturing in the U.S.
    -- Most Class-1 eBikes have high-performance motor and/or design.
    -- Most Class-3 eBikes are considered too beefy or too fast at 28mph.

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