Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 11 April 2013) . . Page.. 1518 ..
The change to the Australian design rules was the required first stage to enable pedalecs to be used in Australia, by authorising their importation for supply and marketing within Australia. However, the higher power output of pedalecs means that consequential amendments to the road rules, driver licensing regulations and vehicle standards regulations are required in each jurisdiction to allow these vehicles to be legally used on roads and road-related areas.
This bill gives effect to the change in the Australian design rules. It will enable pedalecs to be ridden in the ACT, including on the extensive network of community paths in the ACT and cycle lanes on roads. It mirrors similar changes that have already been made in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and which are being progressed in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
The cycling industry and bicycle user groups have been supportive of these changes and have encouraged jurisdictions to make the necessary changes to allow pedalecs to be used.
The bill ensures that the road rules for bicycles, rather than motor vehicles, are applied to pedalecs. This means riders must follow the same rules for pedalecs as for pedal cycles without motors, such as wearing a helmet which meets the Australian standard and dismounting to cross a pedestrian crossing.
The introduction of pedalecs in Australia comes in response to changes in technology and a growing demand for low-powered, efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles. The higher performance of pedalecs makes them a more robust alternative to current power-assisted cycles. In addition, they produce no tailpipe emissions and, provided they are recharged utilising green power, will be virtually emission free. Even those recharged utilising power sources that are not green will produce just a very small fraction of the emissions that a motorcycle or car would produce over the same distance.
A special benefit of pedalecs is that they may make cycling a more feasible option for many people, particularly those who may not be able to easily pedal a non-powered bicycle, such as seniors, people recovering from illness or injury, or those with disabilities. People who need to make longer journeys, who live in hilly areas, or who are simply interested in a less sweaty commute, will also benefit.
Pedalecs also have stringent safety requirements to prevent them posing a risk to other road users. Power assistance on a pedalec cuts out at 25 kilometres an hour, preventing users from coasting at high speeds. They also operate with a mandatory pedal-assist mode, which means that the pedals must be pushed to activate the motor above speeds of six kilometres an hour. The allowance for power application below seven kilometres an hour without pedalling will assist riders starting from rest, particularly when riding uphill.
These safety features of pedalecs mean that they are safe to be used in a cycling environment while at the same time allowing riders to travel further and ride with less effort.