Class 3 Legality?

StmbtDave

New Member
I'm in the process of purchasing my first ebike. My wife purchased an Electra Loft 8i last week and now I can't keep up with her on the hills! I've been both a road and mtn biker for years but at 72 I've given up the knarly single track for fear of injury but I still enjoy gravel Forest Service roads when we're out camping. I was impressed with Court's review of the class 3 Trek CrossRip+ as it looked that it would do everything I want in an ebike. I do want a bike with drop bars as that's what I'm accustomed to. I put down a deposit at my local Trek dealer and they have one being delivered this week. I then made the mistake of researching regulations on ebikes and find that class 3 ebikes are pretty much limited to the streets. One of the main reasons for me purchasing the ebike is to ride with my wife on the local rec trails and the trails are posted as class 1 and 2 only.

My question isn't really the legality as that's cut and dried. I'm more wondering if it's really an issue as long as you're not ripping along at 25mph. A class 3 looks no different from a class 1 and you still have to pedal like a class 1. Has anyone with a class 3 ever been questioned or stopped for being illegal?

Thanks for any input.

Dave
 

Mike's E-Bikes

Well-Known Member
It probably boils down mostly to where you live and will ride, as to estimating your odds of getting 'caught.' I'm guessing the majority of ebike buyers of Class 3 ebikes don't even worry about it. I'm not endorsing breaking any laws, but just sharing an observation of what I see occur from my customers.
 

FreeWheelie

New Member
I think it depends on the bike too, if you have a well integrated battery people barely notice its an ebike. So if you're travelling safely and ding your bell politely every so often, you blend in.
 

ruffruff

Member
Not that it makes it OK,
but I'm guessing if I was in a county park or state owned land etc. the fish police would not have a clue what the difference between a class 2 or class 3 bike is and how to even tell.
 

Hanz

New Member
I don’t fly past folks doing 28 MPH to piss everyone off. I also don’t brag to them about my top speed. My car is fast but I still obey the posted speed limits.
 

Slowpoke

Member
I'm in the process of purchasing my first ebike. My wife purchased an Electra Loft 8i last week and now I can't keep up with her on the hills! I've been both a road and mtn biker for years but at 72 I've given up the knarly single track for fear of injury but I still enjoy gravel Forest Service roads when we're out camping. I was impressed with Court's review of the class 3 Trek CrossRip+ as it looked that it would do everything I want in an ebike. I do want a bike with drop bars as that's what I'm accustomed to. I put down a deposit at my local Trek dealer and they have one being delivered this week. I then made the mistake of researching regulations on ebikes and find that class 3 ebikes are pretty much limited to the streets. One of the main reasons for me purchasing the ebike is to ride with my wife on the local rec trails and the trails are posted as class 1 and 2 only.

My question isn't really the legality as that's cut and dried. I'm more wondering if it's really an issue as long as you're not ripping along at 25mph. A class 3 looks no different from a class 1 and you still have to pedal like a class 1. Has anyone with a class 3 ever been questioned or stopped for being illegal?

Thanks for any input.

Dave
I'm wrestling with the same thoughts.My ebike is 20mph on pas. and has a throttle.In my short time and 1400 plus miles on class1 trails I've had no problems.I believe the throttle makes it a class 2.Most all of the ebikes I like all have a throttle.So do I remove the throttle?My bike is a 2016 model and didn't come with a class sticker.I might be fussing over nothing.
 

drewberz

Active Member
I have a Class 3 bike and I *may* have ridden routes that are limited to Class 1. That being said, I don't ride like a jerk and I've never been stopped nor questioned for it.

But if you are mostly riding on the local rec trails with your wife, and her speeds are mostly at or below 20mph, why not get a Class 1 drop bar bike? There is the Giant Toughroad GX, Yamaha Wabash, Yamaha Urban Rush, BH Easy Motion Gravel X, and probably more.

The extra 8mph has really only served me when I want to have a high average pace to commute at and on fast and flat sections. It only helps when climbing very moderate ascents (2% or less maybe?) and doesn't really factor in when descending.

So there are similarly priced Class 1 options that won't leave you wondering: will I be ticketed?
 

Bruce Arnold

Well-Known Member
I rode a trail last year that might have had restrictions. Not being coy, I really don't know, but something I saw made me wonder.

In any case, my wife and I maintained a fairly sedate pace, enjoyed ourselves immensely (the blue bonnets were at peak blossom that weekend), no one got mad or looked at us cross-eyed.

So my take is that as long as you are riding within safe and considerate limits, no one is looking that closely. I've been on EBR for nearly 2 years and have not yet heard of law enforcement pulling someone over just to check what class their bike was. It seems to be violations that draw attention.

For those who prefer to remain strictly within the letter of the law, you have my respect. For those, like me, who tend to honor the spirit of the law and hope for the best, life is full of adventure.
 
My Como had a little sticker designating it as a class 3. I suspect this will become the norm or required for the benefit of the enforcers. I promptly switched mine to a class 1 sticker. However, I’ve been riding an Ebike now for three years in all kinds of places and never been questioned. I ride the same speeds as everyone else for the most part and try to be courteous.
 

Amazer98

Member
I bought a Bulls Grinder Evo a few weeks ago and have been loving it. It’s an aluminum drop bar bike with slightly flared handlebars and 40c tires… wide enough to handle rutted dirt roads with aplomb. Plus it has a suspension fork that you can lock out or adjust the dampening effect on.

It’s a class 3 ebike with a Bosch Performance Speed motor. I generally ride it in Eco-mode and occasionally in Tour if I want to go a bit faster or have a long hill ahead of me and want to climb it quickly.

I find the motor is a big help on hills, even fairly steep ones, so long as I keep my pedaling cadence relatively fast. The 2020 Bosch Performance Speed motor is not yet available on this bike, and that motor puts out 75nm of torque compared to the current motor, which puts out a maximum of 62nm. Still, I find the motor on my bike plenty powerful.

However, the 2020 Powertube batteries will have 625whr of power as opposed to 500whr… so that will be a nice improvement.

I think that the Class 3 bikes offer such a major benefit, that I would wholeheartedly recommend you get one and then remove the class 3 sticker, and just pedal responsibly on forest roads.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
I'm in the process of purchasing my first ebike. My wife purchased an Electra Loft 8i last week and now I can't keep up with her on the hills! I've been both a road and mtn biker for years but at 72 I've given up the knarly single track for fear of injury but I still enjoy gravel Forest Service roads when we're out camping. I was impressed with Court's review of the class 3 Trek CrossRip+ as it looked that it would do everything I want in an ebike. I do want a bike with drop bars as that's what I'm accustomed to. I put down a deposit at my local Trek dealer and they have one being delivered this week. I then made the mistake of researching regulations on ebikes and find that class 3 ebikes are pretty much limited to the streets. One of the main reasons for me purchasing the ebike is to ride with my wife on the local rec trails and the trails are posted as class 1 and 2 only.

My question isn't really the legality as that's cut and dried. I'm more wondering if it's really an issue as long as you're not ripping along at 25mph. A class 3 looks no different from a class 1 and you still have to pedal like a class 1. Has anyone with a class 3 ever been questioned or stopped for being illegal?

Thanks for any input.

Dave
In reality the federal regulation / definition of an ebike has no assist limit so long as the rider is required to pedal. The speed classifications that have been pushed by People for Bikes (heavily backed by Bosch) is more about bike manufacturer's desire to sell the same models world wide.

The recent federal decision that allows ebike access to all federal land was in reality already the law but some people were claiming that a compliant ebike was a "motorized vehicle" which the federal ebike regulation/definition specifically states they are NOT. There were simply bigger egos in the room than intellects so it was a good thing for the secretary of the state to announce the clarification of ebikes having access to federal land where traditional bikes have been allowed.

I say buy the class 3 bike and just ride it safely as 99% of bikers always have.
 

PatriciaK

Member
I'm in the process of purchasing my first ebike. My wife purchased an Electra Loft 8i last week and now I can't keep up with her on the hills! I've been both a road and mtn biker for years but at 72 I've given up the knarly single track for fear of injury but I still enjoy gravel Forest Service roads when we're out camping. I was impressed with Court's review of the class 3 Trek CrossRip+ as it looked that it would do everything I want in an ebike. I do want a bike with drop bars as that's what I'm accustomed to. I put down a deposit at my local Trek dealer and they have one being delivered this week. I then made the mistake of researching regulations on ebikes and find that class 3 ebikes are pretty much limited to the streets. One of the main reasons for me purchasing the ebike is to ride with my wife on the local rec trails and the trails are posted as class 1 and 2 only.

My question isn't really the legality as that's cut and dried. I'm more wondering if it's really an issue as long as you're not ripping along at 25mph. A class 3 looks no different from a class 1 and you still have to pedal like a class 1. Has anyone with a class 3 ever been questioned or stopped for being illegal?

Thanks for any input.

Dave
As you said, the legality is cut and dried. Why not just get a class 1 or 2 bike and ride legally? Perhaps ebike riders deciding that posted regulations don't apply to them is one of the reasons we have trouble accessing shared ride spaces?
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
As you said, the legality is cut and dried. Why not just get a class 1 or 2 bike and ride legally? Perhaps ebike riders deciding that posted regulations don't apply to them is one of the reasons we have trouble accessing shared ride spaces?
The legality is cut and dried but it's not as you implied. A PAS ebike is permitted by federal regulation to assist past 20mph. This is a fact regardless what some local and state bureaucrats have claimed (a lot of this banter about assist faster than 20mph is driven by DMV and insurance companies wanting to cash in on making faster ebikes the equivalent of a moped or motorcycle). Local and state regulations are allowed to establish usage rights but anywhere they allow a traditional bike a federally legal ebike is allowed to ride unless you get lawyers egos in a room and they see ways to make litigation $$$s.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I have many times on EBR encouraged everyone to read the actual federal regulation / definition of an ebike because if you read opinions of it you will never know the truth. For example I have read many times that some local and state lawmakers think they can classify an federally compliant ebike as "motor vehicle." No they can't according to the federal regulation because it specifically states that compliant ebikes are NOT motor vehicles. Unless people read the actual regulation they will not see this...Don't even take my opinion / word for it. EVERYONE should read it as I'm just giving my opinion but it's 99% objective I believe.
 
Basically, the US Federal government has classified an electrical bicycle as less than 750 watts and max 20 mph unassisted, with states not being able to apply more stringent rules (for example only allowing max 500 watts or 15 mph unassisted).

So as an example of additional requirements applied by individual states, California's AB 1096 meets the requirements of Fed by allowing up to 750 watts and max 20 mph unassisted, but can apply/create more rules like the Class 3, and decide where the bike can be legally ridden.

A great read about ebike laws in the US, link below.


I don't believe any of us have heard about the Class 3 police ever writing out tickets, so about the only time you might ever have a problem here in the US is if you were riding on a mup/trail where Class 3 was not allowed and you were in an accident and somebody else was injured. Personal injury lawyers would have fun with that. Or you were riding a Class 3 bike in California without a helmet and got injured and your insurance company denied coverage because you were not wearing a helmet and breaking the law.

Both scenarios have never happened as far as I know, just trying to think of the worst case what if scenarios.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Basically, the US Federal government has classified an electrical bicycle as less than 750 watts and max 20 mph unassisted, with states not being able to apply more stringent rules (for example only allowing max 500 watts or 15 mph unassisted).

So as an example of additional requirements applied by individual states, California's AB 1096 meets the requirements of Fed by allowing up to 750 watts and max 20 mph unassisted, but can apply/create more rules like the Class 3, and decide where the bike can be legally ridden.

A great read about ebike laws in the US, link below.


I don't believe any of us have heard about the Class 3 police ever writing out tickets, so about the only time you might ever have a problem here in the US is if you were riding on a mup/trail where Class 3 was not allowed and you were in an accident and somebody else was injured. Personal injury lawyers would have fun with that. Or you were riding a Class 3 bike in California without a helmet and got injured and your insurance company denied coverage because you were not wearing a helmet and breaking the law.

Both scenarios have never happened as far as I know, just trying to think of the worst case what if scenarios.
I think you need the read the federal regulation again because it does NOT state "an electrical bicycle as less than 750 watts and max 20 mph unassisted."

The only reference to a 20mph assist limit is when powered exclusively by a throttle. If you mean "unassisted" by the rider then you need to clarify because your wording seems to imply that the federal regulation does limit the assist speed of even PAS ebikes to 20mph which it DOES NOT.

To bring a light as to how powerly people interpret regulations the regulation does state the the motor rating must be LESS THAN 750W, which technically means that a 750W rated ebike is NOT Compliant (must be 749.99999W or less). In reality the lawmakers were not intelligent enough to realize what they wrote as I believe then intended that a 750W rating is compliant (I'm not going to dive into the how nebulous the whole idea rating a motor by just a static wattage limit).

You are correct about the stipulation that states can not have more stringent regulations on the ebike itself but in reality the federal regulation defines a compliant ebike as being the equivalent of a traditional bike and that ebikes are not motor vehicles. Anyplace you can legally ride a traditional bike you are federally allowed to ride a compliant ebike.

I've had this discussion with state regulators and I can assure you they know what they doing. They know they can only regulate usage of bikes & ebikes equivalently but that does not stop them from duping the public into thinking they can treat them legally different. This is why they are not out ticketing people riding class 3 ebikes on sidewalks where they are supposedly not allowed to ride. One of the Colorado's lawmakers that push the Class 1-3 system thru here in just 4 months to get Hibike to agree to move their North America headquarters here admitted to me that they probably needed someone on the team that was "technical".... I laughed as I reminded him that no politician likes to have technical people involved in anything for obvious reasons (lawmakers want ambiguous laws which allow lawyers to make money on endless litigation - I've been told this by state judges).
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
How about regulating the shares ebikes and scooters? Are they?
Re-write that question in a way it can be interpreted.

I interpret the law has treated scooters (even though they have 4 wheels and bikes are limited to 3) that have throttle assist speeds of less than 20mph as the equivalent of bikes and ebikes.

Keep in mind that those little kids "Scooty" bikes with no pedals are obviously considered the equivalent of a bike with pedals. Footloose sells an ebike with pedals that do not drive the rear wheel but instead just drive a generator to charge the battery so it's the same as a emoped with no pedals that can't go over 20mph.
 

Nxkharra

Member
Sorry for my bad writing. I meant to ask the bikes that you can use with an app. Like Jump (Uber). Are they regulated?
There are motorized scooters out there also that you can rent. How about them. Any laws for them?