micart671 wrote: Ok Joe, Someone who likes a good debate.
You seem like an intelligent person, how can you help make this change.
You're asking the wrong question. You've given me no reason why
I should help you. You have to ask yourself "What reason(s) can I give Joe to come round to my way of thinking and support me?" Simply asking is not enough. At the very least, you'd have to show how your proposal would benefit ME
As it stands I don't see any
reason to change the legislation.
500 watts is a very ambiguous cutoff point. It's too powerful to use on the existing cycling infrastructure, and not powerful enough to be used safely on the road with other motorised vehicles. I've no objection to a 1.5kW electric motorcycle which is registered, insured and requires a licensed rider.
I don't know about your own state, but in WA my "rego" for a 650cc BMW motorcycle for 12 months totals $195.45, which breaks down as follows:
Licence fee $29.60
GST on insurance $12.63
Stamp duty on insurance $13.85
Recording fee $13.05
Assuming the "recording fee" is split 50:50 between "registration" and "insurance" $158 of the total $195 applies to insurance, which obviously relates to likelihood of the vehicle causing damage in the event of a crash and the severity of that damage. The severity of the damage can be considered to be a combination of speed and mass of the vehicle. A bigger vehicle traveling faster has a greater likelihood of causing severe damage ergo the necessity for insurance. (These figures are derived from statistical tables, not just plucked out of the air. Insurance companies are in the game to make money so they do whatever it takes to be accurate.)
If a 500 watt e-bicycle is ridden at top speed on a cycle path with, as I say, un-electric bikes and pedestrians, it is much more likely to cause damage than a less powerful machine. (In WA it's illegal to operate power assistance on a dual use path anyway.) If the 500 watt machine is not ridden at top speed then there ceases to be any valid use for it. Riding a 500 watt machine on a roadway in the same manner as one would ride an ordinary motorcycle is asking for trouble. Whilst I ride mine on the road, (a) the roads here seem to be much more cycle friendly than in other places (b) the tricycle has a much bigger visual imprint on the scenery/driver's field of vision than a standard bicycle and (c) I've worked out alternative, less frantic routes for my major rides. (My 85 km ride I mentioned has probably got about 10-15 km on the "road", and of that probably about 5-10 km is on two lane each way, with a cycle path painted on the road.)
As far as riding an "illegal" bike goes, I wouldn't be concerned too much about getting fined by the courts, I'd be much more concerned about riding a machine which SHOULD be registered and insured, and having a crash, then being sued in a civil court. Unlike in a criminal court where the standard of proof is "beyond reasonable doubt", the civil standard is "on the balance of probabilities". In other words, even if you are found not guilty in the criminal system, you face a much more difficult task if you are involved in a civil suit. If you lose that case, you can possibly kiss goodbye to your house, your life savings, your car, your superannuation. Further, if you are not insured, then you face the possibility of having to represent yourself in court, or hire legal representation which might otherwise have been supplied by your insurer. Even if you win your case, you could still be stuck with legal fees, which costs are not always granted by the court.
I should mention here that in 1990 I was trained as a court reporter and until I moved into semi-retirement about 3 years ago, I spent almost every working day in court transcribing every word that was said, so I'm pretty familiar with what goes on in a court room.
So looked at from that perspective your task is to convince the legislators that your preferred power option is unlikely to cause more damage or injury than say a 250 watt machine. Obviously the legislators already believe that 250 watts is statistically unlikely to cause a significant level of damage. You have to supply sufficient information to them to get them to change their mind(s).