New Law on Electric Bikes Proposed

Current state law treats them the same as motor bikes.

By - Feb 3rd, 2018 01:29 pm

By Michi2873 (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Michi2873 (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Electric bicycles are coming on strong and Wisconsin law needs to catch up with them.

While still only a small percentage of bicycle sales in America, e-bikes have taken off in Europe and they are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. market. The European Union countries reported 98,000 e-bike sales in 2006 and a whopping 1.6 million in 2016. Sales in the U.S. were 200,000 in 2016, but growing fast.

There are a number of reasons for that, but two that stand out are demographics and technology. With 77 million baby boomers in the U.S. there is a built-in market for folks who want to remain fit as they age. Which leads into the technology. The new generation of electric assist bikes is just that: they assist the rider but the motor doesn’t operate at all unless the rider is pedaling. The result of the demographics and the technology could be a big part of the reason for the recent growth and the bullishness about the future.

Which brings us to the Wisconsin law. Our current law lumps electric bikes in with combustion engine motor bikes. So, for example, operators of some types of motor bicycles must have operator’s licenses, and motor bicycles may not be used on bike paths unless they are powered solely by their pedals. Our laws need to catch up with modern technology.

So, the Bike Fed is working with the industry group People for Bikes and with Trek Bicycle to develop new legislation. The bill would establish three categories of e-bikes. Class 1 e-bikes are e-assist bikes with a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 2 bikes would also have a 20 mph maximum speed but they can be operated without pedaling. And Class 3 bikes would be e-assist with a maximum speed of 28 mph.

Class 1 and 2 bikes could be operated on bike paths with the electric motor engaged. Class 3 bikes could not be operated in the same manner unless that was allowed by the governmental unit with jurisdiction over the path. So, basically the bill legalizes the use of electric bikes everywhere as long as the motor does not operate after a maximum speed of 20 mph has been reached.

The bill has a few other provisions. Class 3 bikes could not be operated by children under the age of 16 and they must come with a speedometer. Manufacturers need to clearly label each e-bike with its maximum speed.

This is model legislation that has already passed in a handful of states, including California and Colorado. These bills have been bi-partisan.

In Wisconsin identical bills have now been introduced in each house of the legislature. They are Assembly Bill 886 and Senate Bill 741 and each bill has sponsors from both parties. The bills have been assigned to the corresponding transportation committees in each house. We’ll keep you up to speed on the bills’ progress.

Dave Cieslewicz is the director emeritus of the Wisconsin Bike Fed and former mayor of the city of Madison.

Categories: Biking

25 thoughts on “Biking: New Law on Electric Bikes Proposed”

  1. Troll says:

    How much is registration of motorbikes? $75 ..$100 a year? If you share the roads you should financially contribute. Snow doesn’t plow itself and we all have to pay for the transit free loaders.

  2. John Casper says:

    Troll, glad you’ve come around on “individual responsibility.”

    Like busses, two-wheeled vehicles use less space. Vehicles, especially those in urban areas with only one passenger are the free loaders.

  3. EricS says:

    As John Casper mentioned, bikes use much less space than cars. And, because they weigh far less than motor vehicles, bikes cause vastly less damage to streets through general wear and tear. So we’d need to develop a formula that takes into account how much space a vehicle uses and how much damage that vehicle causes to streets. Or we could acknowledge that a nontrivial portion of street maintenance costs come from general taxation, and that cyclists, like pedestrians, motorists, transit passengers, and others, contribute to street maintenance through those general taxes.

  4. Troll says:

    Bike licensing needs to change. Mandatory permits be obtained for engine bikes. A safety course makes sense.

  5. max power says:

    I don’t like the thought of having to watch out for speedsters on the Oak Leaf Trail doing 20mph. People enjoying a walk on a path like the OLT or HAST with kids or pets shouldn’t have to compete with power-assisted vehicles. At least cyclists clad in their kits who can actually ride at that speed typically stick to the roads (and have the handling skills for that speed).

  6. Terry says:

    @EricS, Exactly. Weight based registration fees are the way to go. That way cyclists who don’t wear out roads ir take up space aren’t subsidizing all the freeloading car and truck drivers. Semis get a pass. They wear out the roads by far the most but we need goods hauled. It’s the fatties in trucks and suvs (aka minivans) that are feeloading now the most and should pay their fair share.

  7. Mike Barrett says:

    ***Wisconsin Bicycle Federation sells bicyclists and pedestrians down the path***

    Motorbikes on the bike path? A disaster for human-powered transportation. Bicycle advocates have toiled for decades to build modest ribbons of oasis for pedestrians and bicyclists. Now, the corporate-controlled Wisconsin Bicycle Federation militates against peaceable transport.

    Aging boomers? BooHoo. Maybe time for the old hippies to get back into shape? …before it’s too late?

    I would have no problem with ebikes for truly disabled individuals prominently displaying a doctor-ordered handicap tag. (And restricted to a Sunday-rider speed of 12 mph.) But anyone else enjoys bike path access the old fashioned way: they pedal it.

    Ebikes belong where all motorized vehicles belong: on the street.

    We deserve peaceable biking & walking environs, not speedways. And yes, 20mph is a very fast, open-road speed that technically-skilled club riders attain in a strong peloton. It is completely inappropriate for our very narrow bike paths. And if the boomers are so enfeebled that they need motor assist, then they most certainly won’t be ‘able’ enough to control a bike at those speeds.

    Furthermore, Beware the Batterypocalypse: Already we know that the cobalt mining–Cobalt being the key element in these high tech batteries–is denuding tropical rainforests, killing children, poisoning communities and inciting wars:

    As the WaPo article points out, it will only get worse:
    “Worldwide, cobalt demand from the battery sector has tripled in the past five years and is projected to at least double again by 2020, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
    “This increase has mostly been driven by electric vehicles.”

    Then, get ready for the piles of eWaste. Toxic Superfund sites of the 70s–still plaguing us to this day–will pale in comparison to this problem.

    Let’s have some truth in naming; let’s change WBF to WMF: Wisconsin Motorbike Federation.

    Mayor Pave strikes again: Cieslewicz earned his moniker because of his pro-car budgets while mayor of Madison. Year after year he boosted pavement spending at ELEVEN TIMES the rate of inflation + population growth combined. Everything else was flatlined (except police spending, of course). Bikes got crumbs. He likes motor vehicles. Quite a volte-face by the erstwhile smart growth guru. He lost the support of the Madison bike advocates who originally brought him to power, therefore, he lost. During his time as WBF ED, mode share for bikes sputtered and slipped (at least in Madison, and probably in the rest of the state, thus this desperate act). Human power is no longer on the growth trajectory it was on before the operatives took over bike advocacy. That’s what happens when the paid & professional go for the cash, not the general good.  They don’t care where the cash comes from; even if it’s from the killing fields of the Congo.

    And the organization’s own members and the general walking & biking public be damned.

  8. Old Man Yells at Cloud says:

    Yeah troll, don’t forget fees to register kids power wheels, electric wheel chairs, and maybe even running shoes.

  9. E-bike Mama says:

    Troll and max power: most e-bike users prefer using bike trails, for which they must buy a daily or year pass, so they are hardly ‘freeloaders”. In addition most bikes are also licensed, since it’s the only hope for recovery/return of a stolen bike. Next, these aren’t ‘engine’ bikes, but battery-operated, with a fairly short biking range, so you really need to charge your battery before you leave home, which is electricity the user is already paying for in their electric bill. All bicyclists should know and follow biking rules and protocol, and that information typically is available at every park, trail, bike shop and is also included with an e-bike user’s purchase agreement. I know of NO e -bike users who bought their bike for speed, since the bikes are heavier than a fat-tire bike AND the battery itself is very heavy. You are all getting your undies in a bundle over primarily grey-haired Baby Boomers, who love the outdoors and outdoor activity, but have 65 or older knees, or asthma, or other medical conditions that make flying along on a standard bike a thing of the past. Get over it. You have too much time on your hands!

  10. John Casper says:

    E-bike Mama,

    Thank you for a terrific, informative comment.

  11. John Casper says:

    Mike Barrett:

    “Boo Hoo,” read your link.

    You want to ban “…smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles…,” because they use a lot more cobalt.

    You don’t know anything about batteries. There are tons of new technologies trying to replace lithium ion. “This Battery Ingredient Is More Often Used In A Pie Than As A Power Source.”

    Wisconsin farmers would love to grow more rhubarb.

    Where’s evidence of your claim that battery manufacturers underwrite “Wisconsin Bicycle Federation?”

    Isn’t the net of your comment to support fossil fuels which are a lot more lethal?

    “They don’t care where the cash comes from;…” even if it’s Western occupations of Middle Eastern oil and natural gas.

  12. Dave Cieslewicz says:

    If I might just offer a word in my own defense to Mike Barrett’s spirited comments. While I was Mayor of Madison (2003-2011) we became one of a handful of “Gold” rated cities by the League of American Bicyclists. Not satisfied with that, I created a Platinum Biking Committee and we started down the path of executing the 100 recommendations in its report. The result was that in 2015 Madison became one of only five “Platinum” cities in American and the only one west of the Mississippi.

    I did spend a lot more on fixing up city streets — where cyclists do most of their riding. We also built the first bike boulevards in the state and we created an annual $10 million capital program for bike and ped projects. Mike’s criticism would be on point if we were talking about freeway expansions that induced more car travel. But what we did in Madison is simply put more resources into repairing existing streets.

    Finally, e-bikes are not likely to replace conventional bike trips, but rather they’ll replace car trips. The net result is likely to be more cycling, less driving and an over all savings on the use of fossil fuels.

  13. Dave Cieslewicz says:

    I wrote that Madison was the only Platinum city west of the Mississippi. To my knowledge Madison remains east of the Mississippi, regardless of what I might write.

  14. Ron Friedel says:

    I’d like to make a comment on trail users. All users, e-bikers, walkers, wanna be racers, dog walkers, etc.

    Remember, when you are on a trail, it is a shared resource. Just like a street or road is a shared resource. So try to do your part to share that resource.

    Bicyclists: Stay right except to pass. If you are riding side by side and come upon someone riding or walking towards you, one of you should drop back and single up. When you are passing someone walking or riding, get to the left side of the trail and say “passing” or “passing on your left.” (The confused walker will see you if you are already positioned on the left and move accordingly.) Walkers will thank you for announcing yourself.

    E-Bikers: Keep your speed down. Be a good trail user and follow the rules above. (Unfortunately some e-bikes are being sold that can go faster than 20 mph on battery power alone. These faster e-bikes should stay on the road if they “need” to go faster.)

    Walkers: Don’t spread yourselves across the trail. 2 by 2 is fine but 4 across is not good. Stay to the right, and leave some space on the left so cyclists can more easily pass.

    Wanna be racers: Announce yourselves!! I hear you passing because I can hear your wheels. But many trail users are listening to music or the radio and will not hear you. Accidents happen, you’ll get hurt too. If you need to go 20+ mph, stay on the road. (Some trails down south have 10-15 mph speed limits, even 5 mph speed limits in congested areas.)

    Dog walkers: Keep the dog on a short leash, usually a maximum of 6 feet. Never, ever, use one of those retractable 25 foot leashes on a trail. These are very dangerous for the rookie bicyclist, especially for the first ride in the Spring. By law, your dog should be on a leash. With all the cell phone cameras, maybe other trail users should take pictures of violators.

  15. Ron Friedel says:

    Now I’d like to comment on the Wisconsin Bike Federation itself.

    First of all, about myself. I’ve been an adult bicyclist since August of 1974. I immediately started bike commuting from home to UW-Milwaukee, where I worked, a distance of about 19 miles per day. I gradually continued riding deeper and deeper into the winter till I was bike commuting year around. (Except for that awful winter of 1978, or 79, when I used the bus for a month.) I was a bike commuter in Milwaukee for 26 years, till I retired in 2000. I have a minimum of 257,000 miles as an adult cyclist.

    9We were involved with SAAGBRAW in the 1980s with the Milwaukee Sentinel and with SAGBRAW in the 1990s with Wheel & Sprocket as planners and coordinators. Plus I rode them too.

    I’ve continued to ride since retiring, a couple of European trips, a couple of cross-country trips, a couple of self contained camping trips and commercial tours, of course. I participated in the National Bike Challenge since it started, but did not participate last year. (I don’t like Strava and refused to use it just to be in the Challenge.)

    We bought a motor home in 2008 and started to spend 4 months down south every winter except for the winter of 2012-2013. We found camping places near bike trails so I was able to bike almost every day, even in the winter. We sold the motor home in September so we are now in cold Wisconsin.

    Because of medical problems, and being old, I’m now riding a trike with an electric motor. I’ve had some version of this since October of 2014. This trike has a Bionx system which encourages pedaling, giving an assist to your effort. It also has a push button throttle which I rarely use, other than to skoot across busy roads.

    Now to the Bike Fed:

    In January of 2016 we were staying in an RV site at a fish camp near Floral City, Florida. The campsite was just across the road from the Withlacoochee Trail, a 46 mile, paved state park trail.

    One day I was riding on the trail and a trail ranger came up from behind in a truck, rolled her window down when she was aside me, and asked if I had an electric motor on my trike. I honestly answered yes and she said they were not allowed on the trail because signs stated “No Motor Vehicles Allowed on the Trail.” I was upset about this because the bike shop in Floral City was selling e-trikes so there were many electric bikes and trikes on the trail.

    So I contacted the Wisconsin Bike Fed for help and advice. We have been members for years. I sent an email to them and didn’t get any help other than “we don’t have the resources to resolve your problem.”

    So I did what any computer savvy person would do. I asked Google for help. I finally came up with a research paper from Portland State University, titled, “Regulations of E-Bikes in North America” from November of 2014 which resolved my problem.

    In Florida an electric bike is a bicycle, needing no license, or special regulations, riders need to be 16 years old or older, 20mph maximum speed, needs pedals, no helmet, can be used on paths and sidewalks, by law.

    After I found this information I made an issue of the ranger’s warning to me on various Facebook pages in Florida with the Florida law listed. Shortly thereafter the head ranger went public and said electric bikes and trikes could generally be used on state trails with local exceptions due to congestion when posted. Last year, January of 2017, the bike shop in Floral City was handing out business sized cards with the Florida State Law to show any person who might stop you and say electric bikes are illegal on STATE trails, that no, they are legal.

    For much further information on e-bikes in general see “Regulations of E-Bikes in North America” Somewhat dated.

    What are the Wisconsin laws?
    E-Bikes are defined to be a motor bicycle, no license or special regulations to use them and users can be any age, with a maximum motor size of 750 watts. They are limited to 20 mph, need pedals, must meet federal laws, no helmet, can be used on paths and sidewalks with local restrictions. (Generally it is illegal for an adult to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk in larger cities in Wisconsin especially in the shopping or high congestion areas.

    So, no help from the Bike Fed.

  16. Mike Barrett says:

    Oh yeah, you paved, Dave. A lot. You turned every cowpath out to the country into a multi-lane expressway. Overpasses. Underpasses. Jughandles. Cloverleafs on local business streets. Whatever it took to make life faster for the motorist & more profitable for big box retailers, you did it. Your crowning achievement, your dreamscape, a beltline around the Beltline:

    Your dreamscape, a bicycling hellscape. A narrow stripe of paint does nothing to mitigate eight lanes of raging traffic. Bike lanes, bike ramps, whatever. The environment is threatening to humans; thus, repellent to human-powered transportation.

    Yes, you & your highwaymen did this sort of thing all around the city. So when you trot out the humblebrag, “But what we did in Madison is simply put more resources into repairing existing streets” it is, well, disingenuousness in the extreme. E. Washington could have been a boulevard that engaged community. Indeed, you were first elected in a large part on the power of neighborhoods opposing its expansion. Instead, it is bigger and faster than ever, with pedestrians routinely getting run down and maimed for life (just ask our beat cops). You went prostrate when WisDOT came in with their plans to expand the Beltline, cutting off low-income neighborhoods from the rest of the city.

    These are but a few of the many, many examples of how bicyclists and pedestrians got walled in & walled out by your highway expansions.

    The magic of Madison was that quick jump from city to open-road countryside. Neighborhoods knit together with local, interconnected streets. You killed that with your highway sprawl and the huge traffic gashes through our neighborhoods.

    No matter what the League of Sellout Cyclists says, a narrow stripe of paint is no consolation for six or eight lanes of raging traffic. Traffic that your highway expansion policies only made worse. (“Induced traffic” as the alt-transportation know-it-alls like to say.)

    And what you did to the city’s fisc was unconscionable:
    -17% of every paving budget was dedicated to *road expansion* for more cars while population grew at a mere 0.8%/yr.
    -Total pavement spending grew at 11 X (population growth + inflation)
    -The city’s ratio of debt service of general fund expenditures ballooned by some 50% thanks to your paving spree.
    -Because of spiraling paving costs, the debt service ratio was on a trajectory to double.

    Quite a feat for the “smart” growth guy.

    Ahhhhh yes, the Platinum Committee. Yeah, ok, so the sign shop chunked out a few bike boulevard signs. A couple of stop signs were removed. In reality, all this lazy policy did was create new, speedy throughways for car commuters. These were previously bike-friendly neighborhood streets that every cyclist in town already knew about, signs not required. Now they are speedways. But the signs are still up. And the Potemkin totems got Madison its Platinum.

    More on the the paved mess Dave left Madison:

    And finally, motorbikes on biking & walking trails definitely fits the pattern established during the Regime of The Pave.

  17. John Casper says:

    Ron, many thanks.

    Based on way too many occasions of not hearing riders coming up, I really appreciated, “Walkers will thank you for announcing yourself.”

  18. John Casper says:


    Have you heard of solar roadways?

    Can you link to an Urban Milwaukee comment you’ve made opposed to Gov. Walker’s road paving?

  19. Ray Purdy says:

    I would be very interested to get the experiences of California and Colorado and Europe in designing this bill.
    1) Does eurozone allow these bikes on all the bike paths, rural and city?
    2) What is the experience with injury stats in allowing motor assisted bikes on previously human powered pathways?
    3) What happens to the average speed of users of the bike paths? It is human nature to push the limits. Hard for me to imagine that the average speed would not increase by 60-80%
    4) One of the points raised by “Mayor Dave” is that this could cut down on use of cars. COULD is the operative word. Is there any data to support this?
    5) What is the quality of experience of people using the formerly pedal power only bike paths? I am a cyclist, walker, hiker, backpacker. I know that when hiking, I tend to stay away from mtn bike trails because of the speed and change in “atmosphere”. When I am a walker on a bike path, I’m comfortable with the typical bike commuter/pleasure rider at 12-13mph with the occasional person pushing hard. What will be my experience if the average speed pushes to 17-20mph?
    6) Yes, the state does need to deal with this new growing technology, the same way it has to deal with drones, texting while driving, use of electronic devices on airplanes. That does NOT necessarily mean that e-assisted bikes need to be allowed on current bike/pedestrian paths, particularly inside the city limits…

  20. Ron Friedel says:

    This is long, but it shows that other states are doing better than Wisconsin, even Mississippi.

    We’ve been going south the last few winters, looking for bike trails that we can ride on and get away from the cold Wisconsin winters. Some of our favorite trails are the West Orange and South Lake, the Withlacoochee, the Nature Coast, the St. Marks and the Timpoochee, all in Florida, the Tammany Trace in Louisiana, and finally, the best of all, and the Longleaf Trace and the Tanglefoot Trail in Mississippi. There are other trails we would like to ride but we can park our RV on or within riding distance of these specific trails.

    The Longleaf Trace is a 10 to 14 foot-wide paved rail-trail that runs between Hattiesburg and Prentiss, just over 40 miles. There is no charge to ride on this trail. The eastern gateway is on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, with a western gateway at Prentiss. There are 16 rest stops, some with roofs for rain shelter, all with benches, and 8 trail heads with running water and bathrooms. No need to stand on the side of the trail and pee like in Wisconsin.

    This trail was built on the right-of-way of the Mississippi Central RR, a logging railroad, built in about 1904. There are hills and curves on this trail, which make for interesting biking. The railroad stopped running in the 1980s, the route was abandoned in the 1990s, and the trail opened in 2000. This rail-trail is consistently rated in the top ten trails in the U.S. since it was built.

    Another feature of the Longleaf is that there is an equestrian route alongside for much of the central portion. The horse trail is wide enough for wagons and buggies with turning areas. These “turns” are like interstate interchanges, with a horse trail on each side of the paved trail so that the horse drawn wagons can make easy U-turns without having to back up.

    A few years ago a number of 5K and 10K walking/running routes were established on the trail. These are marked with start/finish lines and turn around locations. Some of these are sponsored and have wooden posts marking the start and even more elaborate signs at the turn around place. These running routes are between Hattiesburg and Sumrall, where there are more people using the trail.

    One feature I really appreciate is a tree identification project, where trees, bushes, and shrubs, even vines, are identified with metal signs on 4×4 wooden posts. I was able to see what a Longleaf pine looked like and now can pretty easily pick them out in the forest. (The Longleaf is a tall, straight, yellow pine, very valuable for timber and turpentine, which has very long needles, 10 to 12 inches, in pom-pom shaped bunches with big pine cones. It also has a fairly distinctive rough bark pattern.)

    There are mile markers along the trail. These are wooden posts set in concrete, many with sponsorship signs.
    They even have an official, substantial sign, on the trail, at Melba, a ghost town, pointing to a nearby convenience store, having food, refreshments and restrooms.

    The trail manager aggressively looks for sponsors, for signs, on mile posts, horse trail markers, rest stops, and other places of interest. The official restrooms on the trail are named after a local person. Perhaps they also gave donations to the trail.

    They are more realistic about crossing traffic on this trails. Cars on driveways to homes have stop signs to stop for the trail, because there is more traffic on the trail. The trail users get warning signs only. There are even signs for the county lines, Forrest, Lamar, and Jeff Davis on the trail.

    There are two primitive campsites on the trail, one at the Beaver Pond, between mile posts 12 & 13, the other at Carson, near mile post 37. There is an improved campground at Lake Jeff Davis, on a side trail, going off the main trail at about mile post 41. There are serious hills on this side trail, which is not on a regular RR right-of-way.

    I’ve seen three Longleaf Trace pick-up trucks on the trail, one belonging to the trail manager, another clearing brush and tree limbs, and a third pulling a trailer with blowers to clean off the trail, especially on Friday, before the busy weekends. Apparently local farmers are hired to cut the grass on the side of the trail. Mississippi has a “Share the Road” license plate. In addition, golf carts are allowed on the trail. Their owners purchase and display a yearly license sticker on the cart.

    The Hattiesburg Gateway sells stuff like tee shirts, tire patch kits, tire irons, and car bumper stickers, all promoting the trail. They also sold a superb guidebook, now out of print, which detailed a mile by mile description of the trail with a lot of history which I especially appreciate. The guidebook even has grade profiles showing that, yes, there are hills on this trail. You can also rent bikes at the Hattiesburg gateway.

    There is a pet memorial, “Buddy’s Place,” and Rainbow Bridge at the Hattiesburg gateway.

    There are signs on the Longleaf Trace thanking the Mississippi DOT and the taxpayers of the state for their 20% of the share of the cost of the trail.

    Here, in Wisconsin, we have an old trail, the Elroy-Sparta, which should have a lot of community support, but it is still gravel, and paid trail passes are necessary to use it. Yes, tunnels are nice, but pavement would be even better.

    Some people complaining about the politics in Wisconsin are saying Wisconsin is becoming more like Mississippi all the time. Mississippi is doing way better than Wisconsin with this trail. Yes, Wisconsin has more trails. But the Wisconsin state trails are seriously lacking compared to the Longleaf Trace. (Mississippi now has another trail, the Tanglefoot Trail, between New Albany on the north end to Houston on the south, which is a copy of the Longleaf, with all of the same kind of features. We have spent a week on that trail each of the last two years.)

    In fact, we prefer to use the free and paved trails in Minnesota, especially the Root River Trail. And spend money in Lanesboro. (We were there last year. I was on a nearby bike tour and my wife Sandy stayed in our motor home in a campground. She went to a couple of performances of plays by the local Lanesboro Summer Stock players, spending money locally.)

    Can Wisconsin do better?

  21. John Casper says:


    I’m sorry you didn’t read Ron Friedel’s comment at 11:43, before commenting. Among the issues you missed, e-bikes frequently have a “human powered” capacity.

  22. Ray Purdy says:


    Ron’s comments were well appreciated. I have little experience with ebikes, but in googling, note that ebikes often average 40 lbs, or 15 lbs heavier than most mtn bikes. This has to be a disincentive to using pure pedal power for the average biker in my estimation. It may be perfectly fine for ebikes and pure pedal power to co-exist. i do not know, and was raising questions. Also, the 14′ wide paved paths as described in M-ssippi are a far cry from the narrower paths in my ‘hood in madison. It is a reasonable question to ask about average speeds and the possible change in avg speed with electric assist.



  23. Ron Friedel says:


    The E-bikes are heavier. A 40 pound one is light. My trike is close to 60 pounds. I have an 82 year old friend who has a Rad-Power bike that weighs close to 60 pounds. It doesn’t help that his tires are 4-5 inches wide. He needs a ramp to get his bike into his van. But he still wants to ride with his friends on bike club rides so the electric bike works for him.

    As I said before I’m old, 78, and have medical issues. On the trails I average about 10 mph. If I’m in a hurry I’ll do 12 mph. These days I’m a pedal and then coast kind of guy. I used to be a 20 mph guy in my younger days, solo.

    My dermatologist, who lives in Port Washington and is about 60 years old (guessing), is an inline skater and says he does 18 mph on the Ozaukee Trail, passing bikes. Those guys take up the whole trail but I’ve always gotten along with them by just talking with them, telling the slower ones that I’m trying to pass.

    The 14 foot paved trail in Mississippi is in Hattiesburg, a university city like Madison with lots of traffic.

  24. John Casper says:


    Appreciate your 12:32.

    My 10:28 was sharper than I intended. I had concerns–apparently groundless–that you were supporting Mike Barrett. Please accept my apology.



  25. Ray Purdy says:


    Barrett and I have great knockdown dragout fights over coffee. So I respect where he comes from even if i disagree. To me, ebikes seem to be something that IS going to occur whether some like it or not. the question is…..where is their rightful place on the road/path. Horse and buggies were upset by the infernal combustion engines, skiers upset by snowboarders hikers upset by mtn bikers. I now prefer classic trails only x-c skiing if possible to avoid the whizzing skate skiers, and i skate skied for 25 years. If ebikes get more people on bikes and out of cars because now they are not daunted by that hill that kept them from getting on the bike in the 1st place, great! If this just becomes another toy that uses up resources, then…….not so great. Barrett does have a point that undoubtedly, the ebike manufacturers are pushing this legislation because it will increase sales, and increase their bottom line. If this comes at the expense of purist silent sports types, I think there is a valid conversation to be had. The toxic superfund sites and Congo, I’m not as concerned as Barrett b/o what I’m reading says NiCad and NiMMH batteries are pretty much on their way out, being replaced by LiPo, and Li Po may even be shifting toward Mn as opposed to cobalt. I still do have concernes over a one size fits all reg (I know, there are 3 levels) when all bike paths are not created equal. If the avg mph increased by 5 mph on the bike paths here in Madison, I would not like that. If that happened on the Cannonball trail leading out of town to the rural areas, that might be fine……. I’m more concerned that the lobbyists/legislators have done their homework and looked into the experience of other areas that have dealt with this, and learn from that experience.



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