LEVA-EU notifies SWOV of factor 4 mistake in speed pedelec report

LEVA-EU has written to SWOV to point out that their recent report on the position of speed pedelecs on the road (see https://leva-eu.com/2017/09/21/dutch-swov-researches-position-speed-pedelec-in-traffic/ ) holds some incorrect information. Footnote 17 on page 16 of the report states: “According to European legislation the motors of speed pedelecs are allowed a motor output of 4000 W.  With that it is stipulated that the motor output added to the pedal power supplied by the cyclist should never be more than 4 times the cyclist’s power.

LEVA-EU explained to SWOV that it is incorrect to state that the European legislation requires for speed pedelec power output not to exceed 4 times the cyclist’s power (so-called factor 4). Point 1.1.2 of Annex XIX of Regulation 4/2013 stipulates: “Cycles designed to pedal of vehicle category L1e-B shall have a mass in running order ≤ 35 kg and shall be fitted with pedals enabling the vehicle to be propelled solely by the rider’s muscular leg power. The vehicle shall feature adjustable rider positioning in order to enhance the ergonomic posture of the rider for pedalling. The auxiliary propulsion power shall be added to the driver’s pedal power and shall be less than or equal to four times the actual pedal power.”

There is no mention anywhere in the European legal texts of the fact that speed pedelecs must comply with the above-mentioned definition of cycles designed to pedal in vehicle category L1e-B. There is only a legal requirement for speed pedelecs to be tested for power output as detailed in Annex X, Appendix 4 of Regulation 134/2014. But once again, this is by no means a requirement to comply with factor 4.

LEVA-EU has provided SWOV with official statements by the European Commission that confirm this interpretation.

The SWOV report also holds the following conclusion: “The power of the speed pedelec is determining the speed used, especially on cycle paths: speed pedelecs with more power ride faster there than speed pedelecs with less power, whilst on the road there is no difference.” LEVA-EU noted that this conclusion appeared to be insufficiently argued, because through the mentioned footnote, the statement gets linked to factor 4. This seems to suggest that factor 4 is a necessary requirement with a view to limiting the power. Furthermore, the SWOV conclusion has no further details on the type of power concerned, nor on how that power has been measured.

LEVA-EU explained to SWOV that in the framework of this Doctorate,  Bram Rotthier (KU Leuven) has done research on factor 4. He will be publishing a scientific article on his findings in the next few weeks. LEVA-EU suggested for SWOV to get in touch with Bram Rotthier with a view to further discussing the matter.

We vinden de conclusie “dat het vermogen van de speedpedelec bepalend is voor de gereden snelheid, en dan vooral op het fietspad: de speed-pedelecs met een groter vermogen rijden daar sneller dan de speed-pedelecs met een lager vermogen, terwijl er op de rijbaan geen verschil is.” nogal kort door de bocht vooral omdat dit door de voetnoot wordt gekoppeld aan factor 4. Dit lijkt te suggereren dat factor 4 een noodzakelijke vereiste is om het vermogen te beperken. De vermelde conclusie geeft ook geen verdere details over welk vermogen het hier precies gaat en hoe dat vermogen is gemeten. Bram Rotthier, die aan KU Leuven een doctoraatsthesis over speed pedelecs aan het voorbereiden is, heeft die factor 4 verder onderzocht en zal op korte termijn hierover publiceren. Misschien vindt u het nuttig om met hem hierover van gedachten te wisselen, hij staat in kopie.

 

We hopen dat u bovenstaande opmerkingen in overweging zal nemen en de foute informatie over factor 4 in het rapport zal rechtzetten.

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