"A groundbreaking e-bike measure..." Could have implications for all U.S.

J.R.

Well-Known Member
California e-bike bill set for a hearing Monday as Pedego withdraws competing bill
Published April 27, 2015
by Doug McClellan

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BRAIN) — A groundbreaking e-bike measure backed by an industry lobbying effort gets its first hearing Monday in the California legislature. The hearing comes after the sponsor of a competing bill, supported by Pedego Electric Bikes, agreed to drop his bill in favor of the other measure.

The hearing, before the Assembly Transportation Committee, is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. PDT. The e-bike bill, AB-1096, is not expected to be considered until fairly late in the hearing. The committee will stream the hearing online.

“I am glad that we won't have competing legislative efforts and I am extremely encouraged that we now have a common voice in Sacramento,” said Larry Pizzi of Currie Technologies, who chairs the e-bike committee of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association.

The BPSA and PeopleForBikes are spending close to $300,000 to support the California bill, along with a measure in the New York legislature that would legalize e-bikes in that state.

Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition; Rob Kaplan of Currie Technologies; and Karen Wiener, co-owner of The New Wheel, a San Francisco e-bike retailer, were scheduled to testify in support of the bill.

AB-1096, sponsored by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, would create three classifications of e-bikes: Class 1 for pedal-assist bikes, or pedelecs; Class 2 for bikes with throttles; and Class 3 for “speed” pedelecs. Class 1 and 2 e-bikes would be limited to an assisted speed of 20 miles an hour, while a Class 3 bike could reach an assisted speed of 28 miles an hour.

The bill also defines where each type of e-bike could be ridden.

Class 1 bikes could go wherever traditional bikes are allowed, while Class 2 bikes would be limited to paved surfaces. Class 3 bikes would be restricted to roads or bikeways that are adjacent to a road.

In a nod to concerns from cities and counties, the measure allows local governments to opt out of allowing e-bikes on bike paths or trails.

Pedego, an e-bike brand based in Irvine, Calif., has been the lone dissenter within the industry and had backed a competing e-bike bill that would simply have brought California in line with the federal definition of e-bikes.

But on Friday, the sponsor of the Pedego bill dropped his measure in favor of AB-1096 and is expected to sign on to the other bill as a co-sponsor or joint author.

Don DiCostanzo, Pedego’s co-founder and CEO, had argued that the BPSA’s classification system was too complicated for customers and retailers.

On Friday, however, he called the decision to drop his bill and support Chiu’s measure a “win-win” for the industry. “Our interests will be represented in a single bill,” DiCostanzo said.

See the May 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer for more coverage of the e-bike legislative initiative.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
So, you need a helmet for a Class 3, above 20mph? I don't know. Seems to be what it says. I don't know whether the class 2 can ride on bike paths or not.

The bill would also require
persons operating, or riding upon, a class 3 electric bicycle to wear
a helmet, as specified. The bill would prohibit the operation
of a class 3 electric bicycle on specified paths, lanes, or trails,
unless that operation is authorized by a local ordinance. The bill
would also authorize a local authority or governing body to prohibit,
by ordinance, the operation of class 1 or class 2 electric bicycles
on specified paths or trails.
The bill would also make
conforming changes.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Yes you will need a helmet in CA, I believe you already are required to use a helmet for ebikes in many states. The EU just adopted new regs for moped/MC helmets for s-peds. States that don't have MC helmet laws will likely not adopt that. Where I live (PA) there isn't an adult MC/moped/bicycle helmet required. Even when USDOT tried to withhold highway funds, PA still declined to adopt one. We still got our funds.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
So 'the industry' is kind of throwing the high powered ebike overboard, just letting go of the idea they are 'bikes'. The quirk is that 28 mph bikes are getting to be mainstream. People gripe when they can't go 25-30 mph.

They clearly want to put a label on every bike, a "1", "2" or "3". That would make it much harder to get around the limits.

(c) On and after January 1, 2017, manufacturers and distributors
of electric bicycles shall apply a label that is permanently affixed,
in a prominent location, to each electric bicycle. The label shall
contain the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor
wattage of the electric bicycle, and shall be printed in Arial font
in at least 9-point type.

I guess it's really important to pick a good font. o_O
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I don't know whether the class 2 can ride on bike paths or not.
George, that seems to be the grey area in most states. I got involved in the PA ebike issue last year at the time of legalization and our limit is 25mph, 1HP (750w) max-pedal assist. How that's applied is still grey to me and everyone that I've spoken to on the subject. To the best of my ability as long as you are under 25mph and 1hp you are good in PA. I expect it to be refined everywhere, in time.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Why was it so important to change the existing legislation other than to address the speed issue which ultimately was always there too in that anything over 20 mph was going to be considered a mo ped as currently outlined in the CA. DMV code: http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/ot...ds-Motor-Driven-Cycles-and-Motorized-Scooters

I guess I don't get it. What difference does a throttle make if the speed is restricted to 20 mph? Not being able to afford a high end pedelec system personally I prefer a throttle because I can adjust the amount of power easily to my cadence and pedaling effort as necessary, and I pedal a lot. Also having a throttle on tap to get off the line quickly is a major part of why I like e bikes.

I have always been concerned that the more restrictive EU legislation regarding e bikes would find its way across the pond and I guess it is no surprise that Accell owned Currie is leading the charge in that direction.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Why was it so important to change the existing legislation other than to address the speed issue which ultimately was always there too in that anything over 20 mph was going to be considered a mo ped as currently outlined in the CA. DMV code: http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/ot...ds-Motor-Driven-Cycles-and-Motorized-Scooters

I guess I don't get it. What difference does a throttle make if the speed is restricted to 20 mph? Not being able to afford a high end pedelec system personally I prefer a throttle because I can adjust the amount of power easily to my cadence and pedaling effort as necessary, and I pedal a lot. Also having a throttle on tap to get off the line quickly is a major part of why I like e bikes.

I have always been concerned that the more restrictive EU legislation regarding e bikes would find its way across the pond and I guess it is no surprise that Accell owned Currie is leading the charge in that direction.
I think it's all based on Europe's more mature ebike model, our speed will still be higher.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
Why was it so important to change the existing legislation other than to address the speed issue which ultimately was always there too in that anything over 20 mph was going to be considered a mo ped as currently outlined in the CA. DMV code: http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/ot...ds-Motor-Driven-Cycles-and-Motorized-Scooters

I guess I don't get it. What difference does a throttle make if the speed is restricted to 20 mph? Not being able to afford a high end pedelec system personally I prefer a throttle because I can adjust the amount of power easily to my cadence and pedaling effort as necessary, and I pedal a lot. Also having a throttle on tap to get off the line quickly is a major part of why I like e bikes.

I have always been concerned that the more restrictive EU legislation regarding e bikes would find its way across the pond and I guess it is no surprise that Accell owned Currie is leading the charge in that direction.

I'm at a loss as well - why you need to add additional distinguishing characteristics beyond a max speed and power output is beyond me. Most states don't even have e-bike laws, let alone ones that differentiate between various types. It seems to be a bit silly to expect proper enforcement and local ordinances to address the differences.

While some of the cheapest bikes are throttle only and I have no issue with that myself), most of the bikes currently produced are both throttle and pedelec. As far as I see it, this is a way to offer those who buy the most expensive pedelec only mid-drive systems a way onto bike paths and exclude those with dual or throttle only systems.

Didn't read the link, are they grandfathering currently owned bikes?
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Moped Type CVC 406(a)
A moped meeting CVC 406(a) requires the operator to have a valid Class M1 or M2 motorcycle license. The vehicle must be equipped with:

  • Operative pedals for propulsion by the rider, or no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy.
  • An automatic transmission.
  • A motor producing less than 2 brake horsepower (hp), capable of propelling the vehicle no faster than 30 MPH on level ground.
Moped Type CVC 406(b)
A CVC 406(b) moped is a motorized bicycle defined as:

  • A vehicle with pedals and an electric motor with an output of not more than 1,000 watts.
  • Incapable of reaching speeds of more than 20 MPH on level ground, even if assisted by human power.
Nothing about grandfathering existing or even kit applications. But the way it reads if you have a speed pedelec, ne' mo ped, you will also need an automatic transmission which while they are becoming available ala Shimano and Nuvinci they will add expense.

They have done nothing more than open up a can of worms that will lead to more legislation in the future in other states that ultimately will define e bikes here in the future. And not in a good way.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
  • A vehicle with pedals and an electric motor with an output of not more than 1,000 watts.
  • Incapable of reaching speeds of more than 20 MPH on level ground, even if assisted by human power.
Will the bike be required to brake to hold you to 20mph?! that is just a stupid requirement imho. What about when you travel downhill - hills should be outlawed - you can break 20mph without even pedaling. That is like reverse hill assist! There should be uphill grades everywhere, bikes should only be ridden uphill, 20 miles at a time!
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
In Utah they are all motor vehicles, but no registration or insurance. You need a drivers license, so 16+. Weight limit is 75 lbs and speed limit is 20 mph. Go over either and you are a straight motorcycle, with all the motor vehicle regs.

Speed limit is logical, to me. A fast car is regulated by speed. I have seen an enforcement ATV vehicle on the bike paths, and this is a Mountain Bike Patrol truck:
 

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stevenast

Well-Known Member
This law sounds like an excellent solution, I hope it passes, & I hope something exactly like it is passed here in Colorado! Very liberal for us bike riders.
 

Paul E.

Active Member
The speed capability limit of 20 mph is not logical, unless you also ban from bike paths every cyclist who can exceed 20 mph on a their non-electric bike.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
Actually it is very fair (obviously it's logical lol), because that is only the pedal assist speed. Just like any other bike you can pedal as furiously fast as you want on an e-bike, as long as you're within posted speed limits.
 

Paul E.

Active Member
What would be the logic, other than to punish "cheaters"? I thought speed limits are logically for safety reasons: does having electric assist or not make a difference if you hit somebody or something doing 25 mph on a bicycle? What exactly is the difference?
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
The logic is that lines have to be drawn somewhere. People make homemade contraptions that can go 45 miles an hour. Some e bikes are boldly being manufactured with a 28 mile per hour pedal assisted limit. Those two speeds just mentioned are too high for a pedestrian / bike path.

The line has to be drawn somewhere.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
Most people won't be affected by this, and those who have high-speed ebikes can ride them in a place where high speed is appropriate.