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California USA Legislation Legalizing EUc where Bikes Are Allowed


GQS
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We have a new law in effect for 1/1/2016 for California.  It is geared towards the electric skateboard crowd but is written in such a way that it applies to many PEV's including our electric unicycles.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB604

It basically says the "electrically motorized board" is "313.5. An “electrically motorized board” is any wheeled device that has a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding that is not greater than 60 inches deep and 18 inches wide, is designed to transport only one person, and has an electric propulsion system averaging less than 1,000 watts, the maximum speed of which, when powered solely by a propulsion system on a paved level surface, is no more than 20 miles per hour. The device may be designed to also be powered by human propulsion."

 

This is good to know. Especially since I plan to be riding an 18" wheel soon...

I imagine a police stop going something like this:

Cop: "So how fast does that thing go?"

Me: (on Gotway Msuper) "I've heard 19mph but I've never dared taking that high. Too scary"

Cop: "And the motor size?"

Me: "Oh about 999 watts" 

;)

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This is good to know. Especially since I plan to be riding an 18" wheel soon...

I imagine a police stop going something like this:

Cop: "So how fast does that thing go?"

Me: (on Gotway Msuper) "I've heard 19mph but I've never dared taking that high. Too scary"

Cop: "And the motor size?"

Me: "Oh about 999 watts" 

;)

:P

It's funny that the limitations still revolve around motor powers (It's going to be the same here, 1kW upper limit, but at least they didn't keep it at the 250W max like with current e-bikes)... The speed limit sounds reasonable.

As for the real power usage, with vee's MCM2s, I used something like around 280W on AVERAGE while riding in the woods, yet looking at the graph, it was very spiky all the time, and the spikes were somewhere between -2 ... +2.5kW ;)  With the 350W generic, I've gone up the hill that MCM2s showed needed continuous 1.5-2kW of power and 2.5kW (2500W) in spikes to go up at around 7-10km/h. Maybe I was going up slower with the generic, but it's likely still been using way over 1kW of contínuous power during the climb. So it seems the motor rating just tells how much power the motors were "meant" to use, nothing stops you pushing more into them (whole another thing if they can take it without breaking in the long run, although both the Firewheel & generic still work just fine), and during pretty much any kind of climb, the power easily goes above 1kW. If the measurements of the Gotway mainboards are correct. vee's using more than 5000W in spikes with his modded MSuper.

 

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:P

It's funny that the limitations still revolve around motor powers (It's going to be the same here, 1kW upper limit, but at least they didn't keep it at the 250W max like with current e-bikes)... The speed limit sounds reasonable.

As for the real power usage, with vee's MCM2s, I used something like around 280W on AVERAGE while riding in the woods, yet looking at the graph, it was very spiky all the time, and the spikes were somewhere between -2 ... +2.5kW ;)  With the 350W generic, I've gone up the hill that MCM2s showed needed continuous 1.5-2kW of power and 2.5kW (2500W) in spikes to go up at around 7-10km/h. Maybe I was going up slower with the generic, but it's likely still been using way over 1kW of contínuous power during the climb. So it seems the motor rating just tells how much power the motors were "meant" to use, nothing stops you pushing more into them (whole another thing if they can take it without breaking in the long run, although both the Firewheel & generic still work just fine), and during pretty much any kind of climb, the power easily goes above 1kW. If the measurements of the Gotway mainboards are correct. vee's using more than 5000W in spikes with his modded MSuper.

 

By my tests and comparisons, I think Gotway exaggerated the current hence the power by a factor of 2 at least. That is, when real current is 10A, Gotway gives at least 20A.
I'll make more tests and give detailed explanation on this later.

Edit: A simple validation: Normal EUCs consume about 10Wh per km under normal conditions. I tested before by using current sensor and current shunt give 9.0Wh/km for both MSuper MS and MCM2 when riding at 15km/h to 20km/h. I'm 72kg.
By using Wheelemetrics(which is great btw.), one can quickly find out this figure since the power, duration and mileage is all stored there. My two small trips give 22Wh/km resulting from Gotway/Wheelemetrics.

Edited by zlymex
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Going uphill on a 20 degree slope at 4m/s (14km/h) for someone weighing 80kg with the wheel requires about 1.07kW of mechanical energy. The motor+ESC probably have 80% efficiency, so it is about 1.3kW.

Something to consider, the PID "stiffness" affects power consumption. For quadcopters, the impact can be quite large, more than 30%. I suppose the impact is there for unicycles too.

I think the nominal power should be limited, but limiting the peak power can actually be dangerous, as it could cause face plant.

Edit: It should be limited on the streets/bikepath, but off-road, I am all for a 2kW nominal power wheel :)

Edited by Jebarus
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  • 2 years later...

It's too bad this CA state law doesn't override local/regional laws which renders it very limited in application. I've to many East Bay Regional Parks and they prohibit the use of any motorized vehicles inside the park. Some of these parks have routes that can be used for daily EUC commuters. I think the laws need to open up these parks routes/trails to EUC commuters. In my opinion, the state needs to mandate these local parks to change their rules/regulations to accommodate EUC riders. For example, why can't EUC riders go on Golden Gate Bridge when there are already hundreds of bicyclists using this bridge, some cycling above the speed limit of 15 mph? If I am a daily commuter using an EUC, I have to walk my wheel for a couple of miles on the bridge. Ridiculous! Hopefully, changes will be coming!

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On 1/17/2018 at 9:22 AM, scubadragosan said:

It's too bad this CA state law doesn't override local/regional laws which renders it very limited in application. I've to many East Bay Regional Parks and they prohibit the use of any motorized vehicles inside the park. Some of these parks have routes that can be used for daily EUC commuters. I think the laws need to open up these parks routes/trails to EUC commuters. In my opinion, the state needs to mandate these local parks to change their rules/regulations to accommodate EUC riders. For example, why can't EUC riders go on Golden Gate Bridge when there are already hundreds of bicyclists using this bridge, some cycling above the speed limit of 15 mph? If I am a daily commuter using an EUC, I have to walk my wheel for a couple of miles on the bridge. Ridiculous! Hopefully, changes will be coming!

One of the problems is there are EUC riders that want to ride where bicycles are ridden.  But they also feel they should be able to ride where it’s posted to walk your bicycle.  They want to be treated like s bicycle but feel unless it’s posted EUCs can’t be ridden there, they have the right to ride there.  This will eventually become a problem especially here in California where EUCs can be ridden pretty much year around. 

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3 hours ago, abinder3 said:

One of the problems is there are EUC riders that want to ride where bicycles are ridden.  But they also feel they should be able to ride where it’s posted to walk your bicycle.  They want to be treated like s bicycle but feel unless it’s posted EUCs can’t be ridden there, they have the right to ride there.  This will eventually become a problem especially here in California where EUCs can be ridden pretty much year around. 

In my humble opinion, we should not be regulated as foot traffic nor should we be regulated as bike traffic.  That is just pushing us into a category that we really don't belong and the same rules shouldn't always apply.  I think first and foremost we should ride with respect of others whether they are walking, biking or driving.  The footprint of an EUC is unlike a bike and can be safely ridden in areas where it  may not be appropriate or as safe for a bicycle.  And if you do so respecting the space of others and at a speed that is consistent with others around you if in more congested areas, there will be no issues with most people.  Of course this does not apply if there are rules specifically against EUCs.  

Motorized vehicles also doesn't necessarily include EUCs because when the laws were written to have signs like that, there were no electric EUCs, skateboards, bikes, etc.   They were written for combustion vehicles.  But again, this does not apply if the state/county/city has specifically included electric vehicles in the definition of motorized vehicles.  

And there is also the technicality of a sign that says "Walk your bicycle".  A EUC is not a bicycle no more than a unicycle, skateboard, or rollerblades are a bicycle.  It may not get you out of being harassed or even getting a ticket but unless it is clearly defined to expand the meaning of what a bicycle is in the law, they can't arbitrarily include whatever they want into it which makes it a defensible position in court.  

I'm not taking the position of a rebel here.  I am just stating what I feel is right and based on trying to keep myself informed on how the law is written and how it applies to me to ensure that I am able to operate within it.  I will always respect those around me and won't do things that may make them feel unsafe because I can empathize with them.  I also respect the law for how it is written but not always for how some try to enforce it using their own misinterpretation. 

I am also a bicyclist in Florida and there are times where I ride on the sidewalk, times I am able to ride in a bike lane and times when I ride in the road taking a lane.  The law is specifically written to allow me to make a call on where would be the safest place for me to be.  I rarely ride on sidewalks though because I'm going 18+MPH and it would make it unsafe to be there if anyone is walking with me going by at those speeds.  If there is a bike lane but an obstruction exists or there is a lot of sand or debris which would make me feel unsafe to ride in it, I can legally take a lane of traffic.  But again, I ride with respect of those around me and certainly don't want to be run over.  But there are times when an uninformed motorists feel I am doing something wrong by not being on a sidewalk (even though I may be going over 20MPH) and will yell, honk or drive very close to me.  And that is why I ride with a bright tail light, headlight if appropriate and cameras on the back and front of my bike recording my ride.

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On 10/12/2015 at 4:17 PM, GQS said:

has an electric propulsion system averaging less than 1,000 watts

This line item excludes most of the EUC fleet these days. What's left? A couple of small king songs, a few ips and the ninebot one. I don't think Gotway makes a wheel under 1k watt motor size. the mten maybe. 

I wouldn't want to ride an EUC under 1k watts these days. A weak euc is as dangerous as a fast one.

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5 hours ago, stevedig said:

This line item excludes most of the EUC fleet these days. What's left? A couple of small king songs, a few ips and the ninebot one. I don't think Gotway makes a wheel under 1k watt motor size. the mten maybe. 

I wouldn't want to ride an EUC under 1k watts these days. A weak euc is as dangerous as a fast one.

It specifies a propulsion system averaging less than 1,000 watts which should not be confused with the maximum power.  A KS 16S has a maximum of 1,200 watts but it isn't possible to average close to that without it overheating.  Same with even some of the more powerful EUCs.  We don't ever average that much power unless you are only measuring on a short speed run or just going up a hill.  But that isn't how we normally ride.

This is an old post and there are probably newer ones but it shows that when maintaining 28kph while going around a running track for two laps, the average power was only 454W. 

 

 

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On 10/12/2015 at 5:29 PM, zentype said:

This is good to know. Especially since I plan to be riding an 18" wheel soon...

I imagine a police stop going something like this:

Cop: "So how fast does that thing go?"

Me: (on Gotway Msuper) "I've heard 19mph but I've never dared taking that high. Too scary"

Cop: "And the motor size?"

Me: "Oh about 999 watts" 

;)

I've gotten pulled over by a motorcycle cop (running a red light). He lectured me a bit and let me go.

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  • 1 year later...

Check out this article by Estey Bomberger Law Firm website whose 7th fact states that "Unicycles are legal on the California roadways. Whether they are EUc (electric unicycles) or regular foot-powered, they may go wherever bicycles are allowed. You are, however required to wear a helmet, and at least 16 years old to legally operate a unicycle on the road." If you get in trouble like riding on Golden Gate Bridge, you know which law firm to call to save your ass. I wonder how this article would stand up to Golden Gate Bridge police patrol. Anyone wants to give it a try?

8 facts.PNG

Edited by scubadragosan
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32 minutes ago, scubadragosan said:

Check out this article by Estey Bomberger Law Firm website whose 7th fact states that "Unicycles are legal on the California roadways. Whether they are EUc (electric unicycles) or regular foot-powered, they may go wherever bicycles are allowed. You are, however required to wear a helmet, and at least 16 years old to legally operate a unicycle on the road." If you get in trouble like riding on Golden Gate Bridge, you know which law firm to call to save your ass. I wonder how this article would stand up to Golden Gate Bridge police patrol. Anyone wants to give it a try?

8 facts.PNG

I think we need to make a group ride to  Sausalito soon. Let’s test it out! 

There’s a new law in the Bay Area too, started this January. Anyone over 18 years of age doesn’t need to wear a helmet. I believe the escooters share companies were behind that one because of the amount of people renting escooters. 

Edited by Nevin@Tec-toyz.com
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