People for Bikes: Progress on Ebike Laws in the US

Discussion in 'Electric Bike Laws, Resources' started by Court, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. Court

    Court Administrator Staff Member

    People for Bikes started in 1999 as Bikes Belong. It has grown to include a coalition of suppliers and retailers and also houses a charitable foundation. It advocates for cycling on a national level in the USA, supporting local efforts through financial, community and communication resources. They have a great page which shows progress on ebike laws (screenshot below) and links to many of the laws and legislation:


  2. Please support your local electric bike shop! These guys work hard offering test rides, sharing expertise and performing support.
    EBR strives to be impartial, we don't sell bikes ourselves and keep ads limited and relevant. Donations are greatly appreciated.

  3. J.R.

    J.R. Well-Known Member

    People For eBikes Too!

    I recieved an email from PFB and apparently Ward and June Cleaver are talking about bikes!


    June was telling Ward all about ebikes too!

    Where did they dig up that Clipart? PFB has been a supporter of ebikes for a long time. About the same time I found EBR, I had heard that People For Bikes was doing there best to inform people here in Pennsylvania about the proposed legislation to legalize ebikes. That was more than two and a half years ago and since October 2014 ebikes have been legal here in PA.

    The US isn't where we should be according the map. Very disappointing to see just how far we have to go.


    People For Bikes doesn't cost a penny to join and has never once sold, given away or shared my email address. I get one email per month, packed with news and information.

    Sign up today!
  4. Nutella

    Nutella Active Member

    They are funded by the bike industry, it's great to see the guys that sell the bikes pushing to gain more access for us. Win Win
  5. bob armani

    bob armani Active Member

  6. J.R.

    J.R. Well-Known Member

    @bob armani

    No is the short answer to your question. HR 727 is a consumer law legalizing ebikes to be sold as bicycles and not motorized vehicles in the US. For the purpose you want (if necessary?), you would want state and local laws. That's what determines if your ebike is legal and that you're allowed to ride where you are riding.
    Ann M. likes this.
  7. Ann M.

    Ann M. Administrator

    @bob armani, search within your state's transportation code, that's where you will find the legal definition and rules governing electric bikes. J.R.'s right- although the federal law should supersede any state code, there are provisions that allow local entities like cities and park departments to have their own variations of the laws.
  8. bob armani

    bob armani Active Member

    Thanks Ann for the info! This is beginning to become more confusing than I ever anticipated. I live in Chicago and the FPD regulations seem pretty stringent being when you ride a extended bike path of approx 20 miles, you are passing through various parks and forest preserve districts that govern the rules posted on the bike path/trail signs. However, I have a relative in Minnesota, and the code clearly stipulates that ebikes are allowed on all posted bike paths and trails. Unfortunately, the Chicago code is more strict. I am hoping legislation changes the rules for ebike commuters. I would hate to be caught up in the bureaucracy over an ebike. :(
  9. J.R.

    J.R. Well-Known Member

    Bob, I haven't looked into laws for Illinois, it would be helpful if the state has specific ebike laws, stating ebikes within certain specifications are classified as bicycles. Where I live, to be a bicycle it must be under 1 horsepower (~750 watts). The local governments have fallen in line with that since our ebike law took affect in 2014. Since ebikes are classified as bicycles, the signs reading "No Motorized Vehicles", do not apply. Hopefully that's the case for you as well. Good luck!
  10. bob armani

    bob armani Active Member

    Thanks JR! I have written to the SO-IL DOT website posing the question so I can get something in writing, but no response. Ihave aslo asked a County sheriff near the bike paths and he indicated that in fact you could receive a violation for a class 1 PAS ebike if ridden on the bike path.
    It is however that the No Motorized Vehicles sign posted may not apply. I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed. LOL ;)
    J.R. likes this.
  11. obee

    obee New Member

    The parks systems here in Ohio (Stark and Summit Counties that I know of) officially prohibit even electric assist bicycles that look like bicycles. Someone needs to challenge, and get legal clarity on the use of e-bikes nationwide so they have the same status as any bicycle. I'm looking for activist attorneys (any State) willing to assist me on this.

  12. obee

    obee New Member <<< the state of ohio does not legally define ebikes. Therefore an ebike is a bicycle that can go anywhere bikes go? How would one challenge an Ohio sub-park rule prohibiting any electric assisted bicycle? Get a ticket for the violation, take it to municipal, common pleas or administrative court? ....and hope to get a final answer at the appellate or supreme court?
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
    Chris Nolte likes this.
  13. Chris Nolte

    Chris Nolte Well-Known Member

    I did something similar to this in NYC. With a court decision you have a legal precedent. It was a little easier because we had a law and I just needed to prove that it doesn't apply to pedal assist bikes. Fortunately we did
    Matt A likes this.
  14. Alan Acock

    Alan Acock Member

    I worry about restricting ebikes that have a top assisted level of 28 mph. It makes sense to restrict bike speed on many paths, say 15 mph. If they do this, then they don't need to restrict ebikes that have a top assisted level of 28 mph.
    fxr3 and Jimbow like this.
  15. Hss5602

    Hss5602 New Member

    Hello I am new to this site, just scrolling down the posts I was thinking about this very subject, I started out looking for the ordinances for my area here in seattle as I have been feeling the gap between regular bike riders and the reaction to ebikes. I wanted to be prepared for the eventual argument with one of these people who think they own the bike path and have the right to accost others who ride an ebike and even pedestrians if they are in "their" way. I ride to enjoy the ride I pedal when I feel like it, I ride more for pleasure than exercise and I ride safely, my bike will do 20mph on the straight long stretches which is plenty for a bike, I'm no panzy either, I pushed it plenty when I was younger and still like a speed rush now and then , 20mph is ok but plenty , but starts getting squirrely above that speed, the bike is not flimzy or light so its pretty stable at hi speed. But the reality is over 15-20 is just to fast for bike paths regardless if it is a regular bike or an ebike - Especially when there are pedestrians who rarely pay attention to staying on the right side and usually are wearing earpods and can't hear my bell so I have to slow down anyway to safely get around them and then there are little kids jumping around anyway, I can't really blame them to much as they are just out for a nice walk to, what really gets my goat is the anal spandex wearing psychos who have all there fancy fitness devices cruising as fast as they can go zipping past unaware pedestrians and other bikes constantly checking their pulse and speed thinking that they are the only people allowed on the path. spouting rules and laws when in fact they themselves are the most dangerous people out there, and these are the people whining that ebikes are unsafe. There does need to be some rules pertaining to the use of the bike trails as more people build faster bikes , the bottom line though is people just need to be considerate of others and be responsible while riding, seems simple but I see ta growing crowd out there especially the entitled younger crowd becoming more self centered and selfish and a lot of the " its all the other guys fault" attitude. this is why I will not ride on the road, there are so crazy people out there - why would I risk my life riding anywhere near cars just to make a point that I have the right to do so. It's illegal here to ride on the sidewalk but I do it anyway but I am respectful of pedestrians right of way in doing so , and stay as far from them as i can, its called common sense. I am babbling. but yes I very much agree a speed limit is reasonable , i've seen many near misses from speeders.
    PCDoctorUSA, Sonoboy and Alphbetadog like this.
  16. JRA

    JRA Well-Known Member

    I have done a lot of e biking out of Fisherman's terminal as I commercial fish out of there sometimes. The Ship Canal Trail down to Fremont and back to the locks or down in to town, Shilshole, the entire Burke Gilman trail and I like going up in to Magnolia and cruise around on the side streets looking at whatever catches my eye. Very little traffic in the hillier sections of town and with an e bike it is enjoyable.

    I just am courteous to other users, use lights at night and watch out for the ear pod plodders, who I think are the worst quite frankly, no matter what MUP you are on anywhere in the country. I have been riding MUP's all over in fact and find that just by using common sense have never had an issue. Most all the MUP's I have been on have a 15mph speed limit anyway which as you say the racer rick and rita types flaunt at will.

    But there is a popular 2 lane country road loop where I live that I ride some that I get the nastiest looks from the roadies although I always pass them at a speed that is not too fast and say hello as I go by. I am only out there having a good time, like I hope they are, and if I choose to do it a bit differently I can't see what the problem is. It doesn't bother me but I do find it odd. Having been primarily a mtb'er for the last 35 yrs. I guess I am just used to a less fragile ego type of crowd. But it seems like e mtb's are getting them riled up also. Once again although I don't plan on e mtbing I would ride in the same manor, courteously and with respect to the environment.
  17. Dewey

    Dewey Active Member

    In the District of Columbia there was a recent change to DC Code repealing contributory negligence in fault in bicycle-car collisions to provide fairness to crash victims - there was no mention of "motorized bicycles" as an exception to the motor vehicle definition so Class 1 and Class 2 e-bike riders remain subject to the unfair contributory negligence provision exploited by drivers lawyers.

    The DC DoT non-traditional vehicle fact-sheet appears to mis-interpret 18 DCMR §§ 1201.18 by claiming motorized bicycles are not permitted on DC "bike lanes", but that rule applies to "off-street" sidewalk, bikepath, or bicycle routes. Rule 18 DCMR §§ 1201.19 states "a motorized bicycle may be operated on any part of a roadway designated for the use of bicycles". An e-bike with a motor capable of between 20mph-30mph such as a Class 3 speed pedelec is classed as a motor-driven cycle and is not permitted in DC bike lanes. An e-bike with a motor capable of >30mph is classed as a motorcycle and is not permitted in DC bike lanes. Any Gas or electric motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, moped, and scooter is not permitted in DC bike lanes. But Class 1 pedal assist and Class 2 throttle e-bikes that are motor limited to <20mph are classed as motorized bicycles and are permitted in on-street DC bike lanes and protected bike lanes as they are in Virginia and Maryland.

    The Park Service is not listening to the local bicycle advocacy group request for on-street bike lanes on Memorial Bridge when at present there is no safe way for cyclists to cross the Potomac bridges except off-street sidewalks/paths. This situation needs to change to protect Class 1 and Class 2 e-bike riders and pedestrians alike.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  18. Ken M

    Ken M Member

    Clearly eBike/eScooters are going to have to be faster than 20mph or even 28mph to become viable urban mobility and commuting vehicles. If it takes someone 30-60 minutes longer each way to work, the time lost will exceed the value of the gas and parking savings. Rarely can an eBike/eScooter complete replace a car for anyone so they will still be paying for insurance on a car so that potential savings will be rarely realized by these products.

    That said, I'm guessing that 50% of more commuters do not need to take a freeway or interstate to work so the performance of a truly practical eBike/eScooter only needs to be 75-80kph (45-50mph). The eBike community and the LEVA talks about "safety" of keeping the speed limits of eBikes at 20mph or 28mph, but I would argue that any speed slower than the traffic flow on a city street increases the safety risk of someone on two wheels. I would feel much safer going 40mph on a eScooter and keeping up with traffic (in a bike lane or actual traffic lanes) than being limited to 2omph on an eBike with cars flying by me doing double that speed (speed differential is more hazardous than a faster eBike/eScooter in my opinion and I'm betting there is data that would prove this to be true).

    So why is the LEVA patting itself on the back because California and a few other states have adopted their 3 ebike class rating system. Their top speed is too slow for most people to seriously consider riding to work unless they only have a few miles to travel each way.

    We need more people out of their cars to solve traffic congestion issues, so state regulators need to open their minds and consider allowing faster eBikes and eScooters that still don't require registrations are are very low cost register (like in Colorado where it's $5.85 for 3 years to register a light electric vehicle with less than 10bhp) and don't require more than personal liability that a homeowners policy provides. Insurance companies will surely gouge LEV owners if states require owners to have separate liability insurance like they do on cars, yet for every mile someone rides an LEV vs their car the liability for an insurance company is reduced (executives won't care what the actually underwriting data is they will screw any customer they can to get their undeserved bonuses and perks). A SMART insurance company would tell any driver that has their car covered by the company can get FREE coverage for a LEV that they wish to insure as well (common sense says that would be a huge competitive advantage while promoting alternative forms of more efficient transportation).

    I think the current state and federal regulations and even the LEVA recommendations are failing urban congestion blight. I suggest all fans of eBikes and eScooters push for regulation reform that allows for real urban mobility transformation (going 20mph is not transformational - that just makes old school bikers feel safe).
  19. Xiggy

    Xiggy New Member

    I actually have the experience of living simultaneously in two extremes of commuting which could be transformed by support for bike infrastructure. During the week I am in Los Angeles. I hate to drive in traffic, I really enjoy getting places on public transit, even if it takes a reasonable amount of time longer. An ebike can often solve the last mile problem for me. Lack of parking at the Metro station, a mile or two between the most efficient train or trolley lines. Unfortunately, Los Angeles and surrounding cities and counties have a long way to go in establishing bike lanes or even traffic enforcement friendly to two wheeled commuters. On the weekends I am in my house in the mountains in San Bernardino County. Even though there are several famous races that take place in the area, there is no cycling infrastructure. No organizations seem to want to set up attractions for the international cycling community that would show up if facilities were in place. I've seen it work in other places. There are not any bike lanes up and down the mountain road so one must really pray all the way! Bicycles are still looked upon as mere recreational vehicles here for the most part. The bike industry in the US also needs to come aboard and start to change their pitch as well. They could do a lot for themselves and riders by changing advertising toward marketing bikes as serious vehicles for car replacement and helping get legislation for lanes and in school rider safety education passed at the grade school level. Whatever they are doing now is not enough. We see money spent for mountain biking on the "Xtreme" end, There is a lot of money left on the table on the commuter end once folks don't have to feel they have to wear special shoes or Lycra shorts just to go five miles to work
    There is a huge market of folks in my demographic (50+), who used to ride or even race and would get back out regularly with a modern ebike. Folks like me don't mind paying Stromer or R&M money for a bike if we are getting value for money!. We just don't want to get killed for our troubles if at all possible.
  20. Nutella

    Nutella Active Member

    I have friends who work as bike planners and in bike infrastructure, the animosity of car drivers towards cyclists who take their territory away by bike lanes or street quieting is often unbelievably hostile. I've seen city employees become afraid for their personal safety after taking an excess, under used car lane out and replacing it with a bike lane.

    Adding bike infrastructure is waaaay easier said than done
  21. Over50

    Over50 Well-Known Member

    I'm in the Motor City but I am a transplant not a native so the car culture is not one I feel close to. Over the last few years I've seen some good progress in the metro area at adding bike lanes. But nevertheless, I also hear complaints from strangers in the barbershop, the coffee shop or wherever - and even from coworkers about bike lanes and cyclists. From some it seems to border on being a true hatred. So I know what you are saying is true. Sad but true. I see plenty of motorists driving in the bike lanes or double parking in the bike lanes. I pass through Wayne State University on my commute. They have bike lanes and purport to be bike friendly but the lanes on campus are mostly used for dormitory loading/unloading or for double parking by the pizza delivery guys. I rarely use them and instead stay in the road - its safer. I see and hear animosity to the bike lanes and I witness a lot of bad behavior or lack of understanding by drivers who drive or park in the lanes. On trash collection days, I am dodging trash bins that residents set out in the bike lane. Getting the lane is a first step but it is a long way from ensuring the lanes are a safe place for cyclists.