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