Petition calls for throttle allowance on disability e-Bikes

A petition is live on Change.org calling on a subtle change to existing electric bike regulations to better serve those with a disability using e-Bikes.

Started by John Baldock, the request seeks the allowance of throttle assistance on bikes equipped for those with a disability that would make pedalling difficult or energy sapping.

Baldock, who suffers with M.E. (chronic fatigue), writes:

“Last month I purchased an e-Bike 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 e-Bike 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.”

Those living with a disability are very often restricted in their ability to work, compounding mobility issues due to financial freedom. This, says Baldock, has meant the electric bike has been the most cost effective road to personal mobility, as opposed to a moped which requires the additional burden of insurance, tax, licensing and fuel, among other things.

At present the petition, which has been running for a year already, has little support, but with what the bike industry can do to assist those living with disabilities in focus, perhaps now is the time to open a new, more inclusive dialogue.