Class 3 Legality?

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).
HI Ken, thank you for pointing out the ambiguity, I meant "unassisted" as in motor power only, ie throttle only without any pedaling.

Can point me to the regulation you are referring to that a non-motorized bicycle and low powered electric bicycle are considered the same and should be regulated equivalently? The only federal requirements I can find for electric bicycles is in the Consumer Product Safety Act, which is limited to a definition of what a low-speed electric bicycle is and does not provide any guidance on how the bicycles should be regulated at the state level. All regulations for actual use seem to be at the state level, with each state differing.

CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY ACT

Sec. 38 [15 U.S.C. § 2085].
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, low-speed electric bicycles
are consumer products within the meaning of section 3(a)(1) [15 U.S.C. §
2052 (a)(1)] and shall be subject to the Commission regulations published
at section 1500.18(a)(12) and part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal
Regulations.
(b) For the purpose of this section, the term "low-speed electric bicycle"
means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an
electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a
paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by
an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.
(c) To further protect the safety of consumers who ride low-speed electric
bicycles, the Commission may promulgate new or amended requirements
applicable to such vehicles as necessary and appropriate.
(d) This section shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect
to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or
requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements
referred to in subsection (a).
 

Johnny

Active Member
HI Ken, thank you for pointing out the ambiguity, I meant "unassisted" as in motor power only, ie throttle only without any pedaling.

Can point me to the regulation you are referring to that a non-motorized bicycle and low powered electric bicycle are considered the same and should be regulated equivalently? The only federal requirements I can find for electric bicycles is in the Consumer Product Safety Act, which is limited to a definition of what a low-speed electric bicycle is and does not provide any guidance on how the bicycles should be regulated at the state level. All regulations for actual use seem to be at the state level, with each state differing.

CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY ACT

Sec. 38 [15 U.S.C. § 2085].
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, low-speed electric bicycles
are consumer products within the meaning of section 3(a)(1) [15 U.S.C. §
2052 (a)(1)] and shall be subject to the Commission regulations published
at section 1500.18(a)(12) and part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal
Regulations.
(b) For the purpose of this section, the term "low-speed electric bicycle"
means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an
electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a
paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by
an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.
(c) To further protect the safety of consumers who ride low-speed electric
bicycles, the Commission may promulgate new or amended requirements
applicable to such vehicles as necessary and appropriate.
(d) This section shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect
to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or
requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements
referred to in subsection (a).
Interesting, according to this as long as the motor output is less than 750W and throttle does not accelerate past 20mph the bicycle is legal which means class 1 and class 3 are not really any different according to law ?
 

StmbtDave

New Member
Thank you all for your input. I didn't want to encounter any problems down the road so I purchased a Yamaha Wabash yesterday. It's quite zippy even in the lower boost levels and you can reach the 20mph cutoff very easily. I think it will serve my purposes well.

Dave
 

PatriciaK

Member
HI Ken, thank you for pointing out the ambiguity, I meant "unassisted" as in motor power only, ie throttle only without any pedaling.

Can point me to the regulation you are referring to that a non-motorized bicycle and low powered electric bicycle are considered the same and should be regulated equivalently? The only federal requirements I can find for electric bicycles is in the Consumer Product Safety Act, which is limited to a definition of what a low-speed electric bicycle is and does not provide any guidance on how the bicycles should be regulated at the state level. All regulations for actual use seem to be at the state level, with each state differing.

CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY ACT

Sec. 38 [15 U.S.C. § 2085].
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, low-speed electric bicycles
are consumer products within the meaning of section 3(a)(1) [15 U.S.C. §
2052 (a)(1)] and shall be subject to the Commission regulations published
at section 1500.18(a)(12) and part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal
Regulations.
(b) For the purpose of this section, the term "low-speed electric bicycle"
means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an
electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a
paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by
an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.
(c) To further protect the safety of consumers who ride low-speed electric
bicycles, the Commission may promulgate new or amended requirements
applicable to such vehicles as necessary and appropriate.
(d) This section shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect
to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or
requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements
referred to in subsection (a).
Well, according to this, the person riding needs to weigh 170 lbs, too 😉. So, if we're going to enforce the federal regulation to the letter where it suits us, then we had all better be weighing exactly 170 😅😅😅? Also, any motor even capable of going 20 mph or above would be prohibited, correct?

Just saying... Be careful about citing a reg that supports only PART of an argument when the rest could bite one in the butt 😉.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I think you need the read the federal regulation again...Anyplace you can legally ride a traditional bike you are federally allowed to ride a compliant ebike.
The People for Bikes bicycle industry primer on electric bike regulation describes how Public Law 107-319 amended the Consumer Product Safety Act to define federally that a "low speed electric bicycle" is subject to the same product safety regulations as a traditional pedal bicycle for the purposes of the manufacture and first sale of these devices, Source: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/static.peopleforbikes.org/uploads/E-Bike Law Primer v3 (1).pdf

The federal definition of a saleable "low speed electric bicycle" does not affect or supercede how the states can define or use this or any other type of ebike on public roads, trails, and land under state law,
Source: https://www.bicycleretailer.com/opinion-analysis/2013/07/29/legal-analysis-confusion-over-electric-bike-regulations#.XWXWyMopChA
Source: https://ppms.trec.pdx.edu/media/project_files/NITC-RR-564_Regulations_of_E-Bikes_in_North_America_1.pdf
The exception to this is where the federal government owns the land, Source: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44267.pdf and hence the welcome recent announcement by the Secretary of the Interior directing its agencies to revise regulations permitting Class 1-3 ebikes (but not Motorized Scooters or mopeds) where pedal bicycles are permitted to ride on National Park land, Source: https://peopleforbikes.org/our-work/e-bikes/department-of-the-interior-e-bike-policy-faq/?fbclid=IwAR2d1p5EsbK5OT8H8eYVNLp0g2YaEdN4aCkWl8FTlNR6KmK4N9in3iHoui8

We are currently in an anomalous period where in some states ebikes are sold that exceed speed or power limits in state vehicle codes, and all Class 3 ebikes exceed the CPSC definition of a "low speed electric bicycle". In the case of New York state there is presently a de facto ban on the use of ebikes because the state does not recognize them in its vehicle code, Source: http://nysdmv.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/74/~/scooters,-go-karts,-mini-bikes,-motor-assisted-bicycles,-mopeds,-atvs-and-other, yet New York ebike shops under Public Law 107-319 can legally sell "low speed electric bicycles". The $multi-million push over several years by the BPSA/PfB for state legislatures to adopt the model 3-class ebike legislation is an attempt to regularize how ebikes are defined in state vehicle codes where mostly (with the exception of New York) they are not considered Motor Vehicles but are their own category of Vehicle described variously (eg in Virginia an 'Electric Power-Assisted Bicycle' can be up to 1,000w, in the District of Columbia a Motorized Bicycle must be 750w). The 3-Class ebike legislation contains a clause recognizing states and localities have the right to continue to regulate how and where ebikes may be used.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known 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?
They are regulated like any other ebike. I'm pretty sure all the fleet share ebikes have assists that are limited to 20mph. The scooters are probably limited to slower speeds but I have no idea how they are regulated (probably most cities treat them as ebikes).
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Bike share ebikes are not regulated the same as privately owned ebikes. Here's just one recent example.