E-Bikes and Group Rides (part one)
We wish to thank our member bicycle club, Naples Velo, for giving us permission to share their policy on E-Bikes. We start this two-part article with an introduction to Naples Velo:
The Naples Velo Bicycle Club’s (NV) stated mission is to promote cycling at all skill levels and improve cycling safety and awareness in southwest Florida.
In support of these objectives, NV promotes cycling activities, develops and conducts educational programs on cycling safety and skills, enhances cycling awareness through advertising and community events, and supports the enactment of cycling safety laws, amateur cycling racing, and other charitable organizations with aligned missions.
Electric bikes or E-Bikes represent a variant to other types of generally recognized recreational cycles, including road, mountain, cruiser and commuter bikes. While similar in size and form, their primary difference is that they incorporate battery-powered motors that provide variable assistance in propelling the cycle. E-Bikes are controlled via pedaling intensity, or by a hand-controlled throttle mechanism.
E-Bikes now represent a material portion of bikes that are available for sale in many bike shops and, as a result, are now being purchased in higher numbers by recreational cyclists in the US, and in Naples, Florida.
NV’s policy is to support cycling at all levels and to improve cycling safety. Many members of NV participate in the Club for those reasons. However, the social benefits of cycling that frequently include organized group rides are also significant components to the Club’s attraction and value proposition that drive its continued growth, advancement, and evolution as a Club.
Given the general alignment that E-Bikes have with other forms of recreational cycling, as well as the Club’s mission in regard to recreational cycling, the Board of Naples Velo believes it should formally recognize E-Bikes and promote NV membership, and the benefits that extend from that membership to riders of E-Bikes.
While NV welcomes E-Bikes on it’s organized rides (with the restrictions stated below) the Board of NV also believes that it is in the best interest of its members to establish specific policies regarding E-Bikes, their operation, and importantly, their participation in group rides where ride rules and protocols are essential to minimizing risks that can affect the safety of participating riders.
It is also important to note that the Club has, at this time, minimal experience with E-Bikes. As such, any policy that we adopt or have today will likely change with the goal of continuous improvement over time as the Club, and its riders become more experienced with E-Bikes, their operation, and their optimal integration in group rides. As always, we welcome suggestions and input from our members regarding this policy.
Stay tuned as next week we will publish the second part of this Naples Velo article which will include their proposed E-Bike policy and rules of etiquette.
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