E-Bikes and Group Rides (part two)
We wish to thank our member bicycle club, Naples Velo, for giving us permission to share their policy on E-Bikes. We complete this two-part article with their proposed policy and rules of etiquette:
Proposed E-Bike Policy: Members of the Naples Velo Bicycle Club may ride bicycles with electric assist motors on all Club sponsored rides, tours and events, under the following conditions:
- As a general statement, all E-Bike riders are expected to observe and follow the NV Club rules and policies governing ride safety and etiquette absent the provision of any other rule specific to E-Bikes.
- E-Bikes eligible to participate in group rides must be pedal-assisted (the bike does not move without pedaling). It may not utilize a throttle, meaning that it must be a Class 1 or Class 3 E-Bike.
- Class 2 E-Bikes are prohibited from participating in group rides due to the potential inability to clearly and consistently differentiate throttle-controlled cycles (for example, electric motorcycles) from E-Bikes. This exclusion extends principally from safety considerations consistent with the intent of protecting all riders.
- Ride leaders are not responsible for determining whether a rider is using an E-Bike or what class of E-Bike a rider may be using. A ride leader’s role remains unchanged with the responsibility of ensuring that all riders be made aware of the ride rules and their responsibility to obey those rules as well as established traffic laws.
- Similar to conventional cyclists that participate in group rides, ride leaders have the authority to speak with any rider of an E-Bike if, in their judgment, they feel that rider is compromising the safety of others on the ride. This includes making them aware of what they are doing incorrectly or to request that the E-Bike rider maintain a position at the back of the group ride to ensure the safety of others.
- All riders of E-Bike’s that participate in group rides are responsible for knowing the ride rules and following those rules, with particular emphasis on ride pace.
- With respect to ride speeds; E-Bikes may participate in any ride of 20mph or less as a conventional bike would. In rides with speeds higher that 20mph E-Bikes must stay at the back of the group at all times.
- Riders of E-Bikes are expected to recognize and respect that there is a direct and critical correlation of ride speed, rider experience, and rider skill that contributes to, or conversely, can undermine the safety of all riders in the group. More directly, most riders that possess the physical stamina to ride at high speeds also have acquired a high level of riding skill through multiple years of training and other experience. These skills are essential to maintaining rider safety at high speeds. Out of respect to that fact, E-Bike riders may only participate in group rides where the established pace is equal to or slower than rides they have demonstrated experience with, preferably experience they have developed previously on a conventional cycle.
- During group rides, participating E-bike riders may not accelerate the pace of the group when they advance to the front of a paceline. They may only maintain the established pace, or safely reduce it in the event a hazard exists that should be prudently observed to protect other riders in the group.
Proposed E-Bike Rules of Etiquette
- It is bad form for any E-Bike rider to aggressively pass regular bike riders when proceeding up grades or in noticeably adverse wind conditions. This is consistent with Policy # 7.
- An E-Bike rider should ride to support and maintain the pace of the other riders. This is consistent with Policy # 7.
- An E-Bike rider is responsible for ensuring they have sufficient battery reserves to enable them to complete the ride they have chosen without assistance from other riders. It is not the Ride Leader’s responsibility to ensure that the E-Bike rider is safely returned to the starting point should they run out of battery. However, while established rider etiquette will likely result in riders staying with them through the remainder of the ride, that should not be an expectation of E-Bike riders.
Thank you, Naples Velo!
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