Electric Bicycles (E-Bikes) Q & A
The act of getting around town should be as much of an experience as your final destination, and there's no better way to do it than with Electric Bicycles (E-Bikes). They have comfortable geometries, assisting in going farther and faster than ever before...
Where Can I Ride My E-Bike?
- Jan. 1st 2019 legislation, ARS 28-819: "An operator of an electric bicycle is granted all the rights and privileges and is subject to all of the duties of a person riding a bicycle."
- You can ride electric bikes with a max speed of 20mph (class 1 and class 2) on any bicycle and multi-use paths. Mountain bike trails are available but it's up to the land's management to whether or not they are allowed in Arizona Parks & Trails.
- E-Bikes that go over 20 mph (class 3) are not allowed on bicycle or multi-use paths unless it is adjacent to a highway or the local authority over the path allows the operation.
How Are Electric Bikes Better?
-Cost comparison with an average car use to an E-bike in similar use is much less annually, while commuting time can be surprisingly very similar.
-While an electric bike helps with reducing your energy output making your ride easier/more enjoyable, you can still get a moderate work out engaging your arms, core and leg muscles similar to a conventional bike only requiring less demand from them.
-Thanks to an E-Bikes power assist: hauling things, commuting and quick trips via bike is a treat rather than a chore.
-E-bike technologies have recently become more reliable, lighter weight when compared to past examples, cheaper to produce, with longer lasting batteries that only need plugged into any outlet to be charged anywhere.
Are E-Bikes Worth The Cost?
-Electric Bicycles have been around for over 20 years and within that time cost has gone down. Today you can buy an electric bike for just over a $1,000., while being much more reliable, faster and costing drastically less than an automobile.
-Lets get technical. If you do the math, the cost of maintaining and fueling up for an E-Bikes is far less then a car. The average annual cost to own and operate a car is nearly $10,000. While, the average annual cost to maintain and operate an E-Bike is around $300.
-The cost to fill-up your cars tank at $3.00 a gallon for 12-gallons is approximately $36. and can get you approximately 300 miles, which is about .12 cents a mile. Compared to the cost of charging your E-bike at .10 cents per kw/hr for a for 480 watt/hr battery is only .50 cents and gets you an average of 30 miles, which is a little less than .02 cents a mile!! Math.
-Not to mention, the health benefits included with riding are increased levels of exercise...improving cardiac health, improving blood sugar levels, muscles bones and joint strengthening, and hopefully preventing serious diseases. This all can translate to less overall medical costs.
Do Electric Bicycles Need a License or Registration?
-All E-bikes purchased at Global Bikes either meet or exceed current requirements and fall under the jurisdiction of normal electric-assisted bicycles laws.
-These types of bikes are required to have fully operable pedals and conform to all of the safety standards of traditional bicycles do. Meaning you can take your E-bike anywhere your traditional bike can go...trails, neighborhoods, parks, bike lanes and paths.
-As long as the motor output does not exceed 750W and cannot travel faster than 25+ mph, then no driver's license, vehicle insurance, vehicle registration or helmet is required. Although helmets are obviously recommended by most experts.
Do You Have to Pedal on an Ebike?
-E-bikes are bikes with battery-powered or “assisted” via pedaling or in some models a throttle.
-When you push the pedals on a pedal-assisted bike, a small motor engages and gives you a boost, so you can fly up hills and cruise through tough terrain without using much if any of your energy stores.
-They feel just like a conventional bike does just much more powerful and accelerate much more easily. It's still you, just faster and for longer distances!
What is Electric Bicycle Technology Like?
-An E-Bike typically consists of a motor, a battery, and a display which gives you visual read out of things like remaining battery life, speed, distance and sometimes more. Obviously motors and batteries can differ in size and power and is usually why some cost more than others, but motor and battery positioning can also have an effect in cost as well. Batteries built into the frame rather on the frame or behind the seat on a rack can change costs and balance of the bikes weight. Motors can also be in different locations driving costs up or down. A few examples are front wheel motors, rear wheel motors or even in the pedals or bottom bracket being built into the frame. The lower and more centrally located the motor is usually the preferred type and also like battery position can center the bikes weight and give the rider a more natural feel and the ability to be more agile and responsive.
-Electric Bikes claim to do anywhere from 10-80 miles per charge (depending on conditions) which is nothing compared to a full tank of gas, but fortunately the technology involved in E-Bikes is where the magic happens. Electric Bicycle batteries are phenomenal when it comes to convenience because if you can find an outlet, you can charge your battery. Let's say you are biking to work, by the time you get off work (5-8 hours) you have a fully charged battery ready for another 10-80 miles, again depending on the level of assist and riding conditions. It's also worth noting that most current batteries can be charged to 75-80% of full capacity in approximately 3-4 hours and 5-8 hours typically for a full 100% charge.
More on E-Bike Classifications in Arizona...
In Arizona, electric bicycles (also known as e-bikes) are subject to the same laws as traditional bicycles, with a few additional regulations. According to Arizona state law, e-bikes are classified into three categories:
- Class 1: These e-bikes are equipped with a motor that only provides assistance when the rider is pedaling, and ceases to provide assistance when the bike reaches a speed of 20 mph. Class 1 e-bikes are allowed on bike paths, trails, and in bike lanes.
- Class 2: These e-bikes are equipped with a motor that can be used to propel the bike without pedaling, in addition to providing assistance while pedaling. Class 2 e-bikes are allowed on bike paths, trails, and in bike lanes.
- Class 3: These e-bikes are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the bike is pedaling, and ceases to provide assistance when the bike reaches a speed of 28 mph. Class 3 e-bikes are not allowed on bike paths or trails, but they are allowed in bike lanes.
In Arizona, e-bike riders are required to follow the same rules of the road as traditional bicycle riders, including yielding to pedestrians, stopping at stop signs and red lights, and using hand signals when turning. E-bike riders must also be at least 16 years old and wear a helmet if they are under 18.
What trail systems allow electric bikes in Arizona?
In Arizona, the use of electric bikes (e-bikes) on trails is governed by the individual land management agencies that oversee the trails. Some agencies allow the use of e-bikes on their trails, while others do not. Here are a few examples of some that currently do:
- Phoenix Sonoran Preserve: The Phoenix Sonoran Preserve has more than 30,000 acres of protected desert and mountain landscape, with over 185 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed on the trails in the preserve.
- Pima County Natural Resources, Parks, and Recreation: Pima County Natural Resources, Parks, and Recreation manages a number of trails in the Phoenix area, including the Rillito River Park Trail, which stretches for over 10 miles along the Rillito River. Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed on the trails in Pima County Natural Resources, Parks, and Recreation areas.
- Flagstaff Urban Trail System: The Flagstaff Urban Trail System consists of over 50 miles of paved trails that connect parks, neighborhoods, and other destinations in the Flagstaff area. Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed on the trails in the system.
It's always a good idea to check with the individual land management agency that oversees the trails you plan to ride on to confirm their e-bike policies. You can also visit the Arizona Trail Association website for more information about e-bike policies on trails in the state.
We hope this information is helpful. If you have any other questions about e-bike use on trails in the Phoenix area, don't hesitate to ask.