Legalise throttle only eBikes for the disabled

Legalise throttle only eBikes for the disabled

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John Baldock started this petition to UK Government

I became ill with M.E. (Chronic Fatigue) back in 1996. Prior to this I had been very active, cycling to college every day and mountain biking in various rugged places on many weekends. As my illness worsened I became house bound and have not had the energy to use a bike for over 20 years now.

Last month I purchased an eBike so I could go door to door to a club once a week when I was not able to get a lift from my family. The ability to do this independently has been something of a revelation. It feels wonderful to have the freedom to get about on my own once in a while, when I have the energy.

All well and good it seems, but unfortunately I need to break the law to use it as you are legally obliged to pedal. I tried doing this the first time, not actually putting any force behind the pedal strokes, just moving them around. Even so this exhausted me for some days after.

I don’t see why anyone should be restricted from using the throttle only on an eBike as long as it is only 250 watts and has a max speed of 15mph. They certainly don’t go as fast as I used to cycle when I was healthy! If there is, however, a genuine issue then an exemption could be made for those who have a Blue Badge to prove that they really do need help with mobility.

I want to address one argument that I sometimes see against this: saying that disabled people can already use throttle only bikes in the form of mopeds. This argument falls down on a number of fronts, for example.

  • The cost of insurance, the bike, tax, cbt, tests, etc adds up. Remember that the people who are at my level of disability are not able to work and so have to get by with benefits, which, while wonderful, don’t go very far.
  • Another issue is that the energy it takes to move a heavier moped, wear and carry the heavier clothing and helmet, take the cbt, sit exams, etc, is considerable. Bear in mind that I have to be careful how many times I sit down/stand up in a day. What seems a trivial amount of effort to most is a big deal for me.

All in all, not allowing disabled people to use eBikes because their disability restricts them from pedaling is, in my opinion, pointless and can quite easily be seen as discriminatory.

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