Encourage Hybrid Pedal Power
Hybrid pedal/motor-assist power is of immense importance to the future of sustainable transport. Every endeavour should be made to optimise the utility of hybrid pedal/motor-assist power. A motor vehicle powered by the principle "pedal if possible, power boost if needed" results in the lowest consumption of power (i.e. non-human power) that is achievable. We’ll call this Hybrid Pedal Power.
HybriPed Advocates: Australia should encourage the uptake of Hybrid Pedal Power for personal mobility by; (i) permitting a range of suitable low cost pedal vehicle options, (ii) establishing on-road networks suitable for vulnerable road vehicles (bicycles, motorized pedal cycles and scooters) and (iii) encouraging the development of teenage operator/rider competency programmes.
Better mobility options for the physically impaired
Physical impairment can occur at any stage of life. A low power-assist limit or a low speed under power-assist restriction are forms of indirect discrimination by preventing individuals with physical impairment from attaining optimum utility of a pedal cycle that would ordinarily be enjoyed by individuals with average or higher physical stamina capacity.
For about 40 years, Australian regulations have limited bicycle auxiliary power to 200 watts, yet research and practical evidence indicates that total power of 1 kW or more can be safely and usefully deployed on a pedal cycle.
HybriPed Advocates: Australian regulations should encourage users with a wide range of physical and personal abilities to take up safe use of pedal cycles either as unassisted cycles, power-assisted pedal cycles or motorised pedal cycles.
Encourage people to take up pedal transport
Unless bicycles are useful and convenient in a wide range of circumstances to meet personal mobility needs, people will tend not to use them except for recreation and exercise.
The proposed Australian regulations to restrict maximum assisted speed to 25 km/h and maximum pedal cycle auxiliary power to 250 watts are likely to retard the uptake of cycles for on-road use. HybriPed considers that would-be pedal cyclists (albeit of the power-assisted variety) are lost to cycling by migrating to either motorcycles that are more hazardous vehicles for the rider, or motorcars that are more dangerous opponents to pedal cycles.
HybriPed Advocates: Australian regulations should encourage the uptake of power-assisted pedal cycles and motorized pedal cycles by permitting a range of vehicles to meet user needs such as the Ministry of Transportation Ontario, Canada. More powerful pedal cycles should be available to competent rider/operators
Improve on-road safety for cyclists
If motor vehicle regulations have the effect of limiting the uptake of cycles (as argued above), then the roads are more hazardous for all vulnerable road users.
Research (Cycling - There is safety in numbers) suggests that there truly is safety in numbers for cyclists and continuation of highly restrictive auxiliary power regulations in Australia contributes to Australian roads being amongst the most forbidding in the world for pedal cyclists and impedes the development of on-road cycle-friendly infrastructure.
HybriPed Advocates: By encouraging more people onto pedals and thereby raise the general level of road safety awareness, the regulatory framework could facilitate improvements to the overall road-safety performance of the road network.
Encourage Best Environmental Outcomes
There are detrimental environmental consequences of all power-assistance technologies suitable for pedal cycles and exclusion of petrol /internal combustion-assisted pedal cycles cannot be justified on environmental grounds.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is moving to shut down the importation of all ‘dirty’ 2-strokes from 2010. These ‘dirty’ 2-strokes are lightweight and ideally suited to Hybrid Pedal Power. Air quality problems occur in densely populated cities can be addressed on a case by case basis. Where residents generally have access to good public transport, personal mobility is provided for by electric-assisted pedal cycles.
HybriPed Advocates: The implementation of regulations applying to 'carburettored 2-stroke motors on bicycles' by the US EPA be deferred for 24 months while alternative Hybrid Pedal Power personal mobility technology is developed
On-road safety of riders, especially young riders, is the primary management and regulatory challenge facing road regulators. This calls for a much greater emphasis on behavioural response and competency licensing.
HybriPed Advocates: The establishment of road networks suitable for vulnerable road users and 'Safe Roads to Schools' for bicycles by dedicating parts of the existing road networks to multi-mode use (ie cars, cycles and assisted cycles) in urban areas with lower speed limits and traffic calming