Friday 1/14/2021 ~ 1:30AM. A man riding an electric bicycle 12th St near the Arizona Canal, Phoenix and was struck after falling in the street. The criminal driver fled eastbound on Wagon Wheel dr, police say the suspect vehicle is a red 2-door (sedan, i guess?)
A rider near Vancouver, British Columbia was ticketed for operating his device without insurance and driver’s license. The rider claimed his device was a “Motor Assisted Cycle”, as defined in their traffic codes, while police said otherwise. A trial judge went with the police’s interpretation; and an appeal to the BC’s supreme court failed.
Each of these has the potential to skew crash reporting statistics. Motorized bicycles have not seen wide use, but ebikes are expected to become much more common
I propose adding a few new “Body Style” definitions: 1) bicycle (well, pedalcycle), 2) motorized bicycle, 3) ebike; this would not require any changes to the Arizona Crash Forms, simply an update to the Crash Form Instruction Manual.
It is expected that ebikes will see large growth in use in the coming years; e.g, the WSJ reported:
E-bikes represent the fastest growing slice of the U.S. bicycle market today. sales totaled $135 million for the 12 months ended in October and are up more than eight full since 2014, according to market research firm NPD group Inc. still, e-bikes account for just 4% of the $3.5 billion dollar overall US market. — WSJ January 7, 2019
it is also feared that this will have a deleterious impact on (e)cyclist safety since it’s possible that ebikes will generally be used at higher speeds potentially by less-experienced users, and also possible growth in older riders who tend to be more vulnerable to injury when a crash occurs. Feared but largely unknown at this time. [for some parallels, see recently reported large increases in older ebike rider fatalities in NL, or this research from 2015 Germany noting similar trends. Ebike penetration is notably higher/faster in Europe compared to US] Continue reading “Motorized bicycles, Ebikes and crash reporting”
[Update — It’s all passed and signed as of 5/16/2018… see below ]
Late in this legislative season (53 2nd regular), an ebike bill has once again surfaced from Rep Worsley; this time as a “striker” in the former dark sky lighting special plates bill HB2266.
[UPDATE: spring 2018 in AZ State legislature, HB2652, has PASSED; how this relates to local laws isn’t completely clear to me]
This is not coincidentally similar to legislation passed in California in 2015, and pushed by People For Bikes along with the e-bike industry, so start there. I say similar because it’s odd it doesn’t follow the class 1/2/3 in the CA (and as of Aug 2018 the AZ law?)
Electric bikes fall under the category of what Arizona calls a Motorized Bicycle at the state level. There are a number of gotchas involved, which have been copiously documented on these pages, e.g. start here. The main gotcha is illustrated below about unwittingly needing a drivers license, insurance and registration.
No municipality can fix these gotchas, they can only be addressed by the state legislature. I can only speculate the idea is for Tempe (or whoever; there is similar effort for MAG to recommend/adopt model regulations) to adopt rules that would in effect only kick in when the state “fixes” the state statutes. Continue reading “Arizona e-bike model municipal law”
News reports describe it as a classic left-cross (northbound driver makes a left at intersection; colliding with southbound cyclist). In bicyclist crash types, this is called a type “212 – Motorist Left Turn—Opposite Direction”. Continue reading “Cyclist killed in Carefree”
The topic of motorized bicycles (henceforth referred to as MBs) always seems to be controversial. Regardless, the current set of definitions and laws seem to have been drafted in such a way that has led to some interpretations with, in my opinion, absurd results.
There are a set of proposals that seek to amend/clarify MBs positions at kcsbikes.com, and while I don’t necessarily support the specific proposals, but i do think some “reform” of the MB law is definitely needed!
Here are some thoughts off the top of my head about possible reforms:
I can’t imagine the cc limit would ever get raised
The mph business should be changed to an *equipment* limitation and not an operating limitation; see other state’s laws on the topic e.g. CA language CVC 406b, something to the effect of the motor “is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than xx miles per hour on level ground”. There should be no prohibition on operating speed (the usual speed laws, that apply to everybody, of course apply to MBs, as they do to bicyclists and no explicit reference is needed or desirable)
somehow cities/localities should try be prevented from trying to (mis)apply local “play vehicle” ordinances to MBs
While we’re at it, a good clarification would be to state explicitly that the definition of moped that the speed mentioned is an equipment definition; some have argued this is an operational restriction, though I would disagree. I.e. 28-101(31) “Moped” means a bicycle that is equipped with a helper motor if the vehicle has a maximum piston displacement of fifty cubic centimeters or less, a brake horsepower of one and one-half or less CAPABLE OF PROPELLING AT a maximum speed of twenty-five miles per hour or less on a flat surface with less than a one per cent grade.
Apparently some places (the prime example i know of is Tucson), the police/city currently consider MBs operated at 20 or above to be mopeds (or possibly motorcycles); and that this leads to a cascade of potential criminal charges and large fines including 1) driving without a drivers license (if applicable), 2) violation of financial responsibility / no insurance, and 3) driving without registration. Continue reading “Motorized Bicycle Law Reforms Proposed”
Story from the Arizona Republic; I copied the whole thing because it was only a few sentences long (my emphasis added):
Woman dies when motorized bike collides with car in Phoenix
by Jack Highberger – Jan. 20, 2011 12:26 PM The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team
A 53-year-old woman died Tuesday night (1/18/2011) when her motorized bicycle collided with a car on Dunlap and 25th avenues. The woman was driving the motorized bicycle on a sidewalk when she entered the crosswalk and collided with the car, said Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department.
She was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision.
She was taken to the hospital where she later died. The driver of the car, who is also a 53-year-old woman, was not charged by Phoenix police. Authorities said it’s illegal to operate a motorized vehicle on a sidewalk.
First, see Moped and Motorized Bicycles in Arizona for general background on Motorized Bicycles. Sort of unfortunately, every individual city or jurisdiction can have their own codes further regulating things.
The trouble Arizona moto-bicyclists generally run into revolves around police misunderstanding (or simply not even knowing) the distinction between a moped (which requires insurance, driver license, registration) and a motorized bicycle (which requires none of that. E.g. here is such a report from Phoenix, and of course that figured prominently in the Scottsdale case.
However, a disturbing wrinkle regarding the use of motorized bicycles in Tempe has arisen. Tempe’s codes are all online; bicycles are Chapter 7, and traffic is Chapter19. It appears that it is the official position of the City of Tempe that motorized bicycles (but only when the motor is operating!?) have severe operating restrictions. The story is one of my correspondents reports being stopped twice by Tempe police (“and almost cuffed” once!) sometime around early 2009(?) for, get this, riding in the street. The temerity! Continue reading “Is your motorized bike a play vehicle?”
Every now and then an unusual story involving bicycles, in this case motorized bicycles, and a point of law comes along. Surely, this is one of those cases. It revolves around a relatively new law enacted last year, that defines a whole new category: motorized bicycles. See HB2796, 2nd Regular legislature (2006). Continue reading “Moped and Motorized Bicycles in Arizona”