Electric bicycles may be taken off the road (Malaysia)

ref: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=%2F2011%2F3%2F10%2Fnation%2F8214628&sec=nation

Dear Lester,

Thank you for your fine article. Can you suggest how I might get in touch with Minister Datuk Seri Kong Ch to give to him an alternative reading of how this matter can better be resolved? It is a well known set of issues, and based on what has been learned in recent years and practices at the leading edge we really do know how to handle this from a policy perceptive.

The key is not to push the electric bikes off the road, but rather to reduce their top speed to 12 miles per hour (= 18 kph). Now at that speed they can move in the traffic stream with normal bicycles, but of course not with car traffic. Other than in areas in which the speed limit for ALL traffic has been set at less or close to this speed level. It is a matter of speed hierarchies and separation of speeds, which are important for traffic safety.

Environmental advantages of electric vehicles? Yes, for local environment and local pollution. Less certain from a global warming perspective.

We would like to help the minister take a wise decision here, so if you can somehow put us in touch that might be in the public interest.

Of if you prefer I could help you with an article on this.

Kind regards, and perhaps you will want to check out World Streets from time to time. You may find some good materials for articles in our pages. And if you have any questions, you now know where to turn.

With all good wishes,


Eric Britton

Managing Director and Editor


4 thoughts on “Electric bicycles may be taken off the road (Malaysia)

  1. These are pedelecs (electric-assist bicycles) or electric scooters or mopeds? Anyway, how did you arrive at the “18” figure? In the EU it seems like pedelecs will only be able to have assisted power to 25kph.

  2. Good points. No. They are e scooters, and can go up to (and beyond) 40 kph. Makes them lovely targets for cars since they ride with them. The EU pedelec target (not yet instituted) of 25 kph is good. But if you bicycle a lot in more dense situations,. you will note that the manageable, safe limit of the traffic stream is closer to 20, or even a bit under. Bear in mind that you have people of different ages and condition s who are cycling, so a little slower is much better than a little faster. My point here is that I would like the government to look at this from a more positive perspective. That said the technical problems of putting governors on any e-scooter that wishes to stay on the road under these circumstances are real. And enforcement must be there or it’s only just more meaningless noise.

  3. If people can only go 18 on these they will use a car instead, or just hack the motor or controller, and also a bike can easily be propelled over 20 or 25, and it is actually dangerous if a vehicle is limited so concretely.

    I agree about 18 or thereabouts being a fine speed, but removing electric scooters before you get rid of cars etc. makes little sense. Are you sure we are discussing e-scooters? If so, require helmets, insurance, licensing etc and so on.

  4. You ar emaking two points here. One at a time:

    What we want when it comes to sharing pbulic space with bikes and pedelecs, is that the latter can move safely in the trafrfic stream at the safe rate (which is somewhere around 18 kph plus or minus what the epxerts will tell us). ANd if the rider wishes to go fastere, well all they have to do is peddle faster. No problem.

    Removing e scooters before we remove cars? This is a complex policy issue which requires more than the causal exchange we are having here. The minister’s problm at this point is the escooter and he feels he needs to do something about it. So our job is to help him exactly in this as best we can. ANd the day he wants to talk about getting rid of cars (and we will never “remove” them from the city, but we can reduce and rationalise them), we can help there too. But let’s take these problems one at a time.


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