Letter from the Editor: Tragic Somerville Bicycle Accident Involved An Electric Bicycle

By William Tauro

Before anyone goes out to shoot the messenger here and the bicycle community forms an organized lynch mob in Somerville and begins to take away all parking across the city, there are some parts of this story that the city nor the news stations aren’t telling you. Maybe it doesn’t fit their narrative? Who knows?

First off, my sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the man who died on that tragic bicycle dooring accident. We have to take into consideration that this was no ordinary bicycle, it was an electric bike that could exceed over 30 mph.
Regardless if the city and the new stations purposely or accidentally left that part of the story out, is a concern that it should still be considered on how and why this tragic accident occurred.

So please think before you react and think of what has happened here.

How Fast Do Electric Bikes Go?
While ebikes are capable of traveling as fast as you like, that doesn’t mean they’re required to travel at such speeds. Speed restrictions vary in the US but are generally limited to 20 mph (32 km/h) on Class 1 and 2 ebikes. Class 3 ebikes are limited to 28 mph (45 km/h). At Gazelle, we only make Class 1 and Class 3 ebikes so that you can go faster with the modulation, dependability, and natural ride-feel of premium pedal-assist bikes.

Pedal assist motor
If you are pedaling, your only speed limitation is how fast you are able to pedal. Most ebikes stop providing electric assist while pedaling at 20 mph (Class 1 and Class 2 ebikes) and 28 mph (Class 3 ebikes). Note: given the higher mass of most ebikes compared to non-electric bikes, you can easily exceed 20 and 28 mph on ebikes on a steep decline from inertia alone; you simply do not receive pedal assistance above these class-defined speeds.

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