Class 3 Bikes: What Do Manufacturers Know That We Don't Know?

timacn

Member
In the course of looking for a new ebike with an upright riding position, I discovered that most of the bike models on my short list are offered only as Class 3 machines. I also discovered that Class 3 ebikes are not permitted in my home state (PA). Furthermore, I discovered (and I think this is accurate but things change) that MOST states (approx. 29) do not permit Class 3 ebikes. My question is: why would the smart, astute, engineering and marketing people in these companies design and sell bikes that are not permitted in 29 states? Is there some sort of initiative afoot to change these laws? I hope so. To me it would make more sense to just establish a speed limit of 20 mph for bikes and use radar guns to catch violators.
 

timacn

Member
Hey, A.D Yes, I think we do, at least insofar as we "need" any thread. Unless I missed something, I think I've read most of the threads on this issue. I tried to frame my question a little differently. Stay dry up there in Selinsgrove.
 

Normalization

New Member
Region
USA
Furthermore, I discovered (and I think this is accurate but things change) that MOST states (approx. 29) do not permit Class 3 ebikes.
The pendulum has swung the other way recently; as far as I can tell from some quick research, 26 states have now adopted the three-tiered system. It's likely that manufacturers have been anticipating this trend of further adoption across the country. Furthermore, several of the states that have adopted such laws are big e-bike markets. It's possible that manufacturers have decided that these markets are worth focusing on, even if other states never adopt the same laws.
 

timacn

Member
The pendulum has swung the other way recently; as far as I can tell from some quick research, 26 states have now adopted the three-tiered system. It's likely that manufacturers have been anticipating this trend of further adoption across the country. Furthermore, several of the states that have adopted such laws are big e-bike markets. It's possible that manufacturers have decided that these markets are worth focusing on, even if other states never adopt the same laws.
Thanks, Johnny. Your response was exactly what I was thinking. (But you expressed yourself much better than I did!)
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
At least you checked the existing threads. This is such a devisive issue that I wish it would just go away TBH.
FWIW, I like the Canadian approach. One speed limit, no BS about throttle vs PAS, etc. I would like a 25mph limit for every thing including bikes , golf carts , and horse drawn buggies.
Nothing magic about 25mph except that we already have tens of thousands of miles of 25mph roads .
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Now if we could get any politican to agree...Sigh.
 

timacn

Member
I agree. I understand why politicians might want bicycle speed limits on bike trails and even, perhaps, on highways. They have the right to legislate such things and, in most cases, I think, do so in good faith with public and individual safety as their goal. I don't agree that a bicycle with the potential for going 28 mph should be banned. If the bike trail has a speed limit of 15mph and a rider goes 16mph, ticket him or her. To ban a bike just because it might be able to exceed a certain speed limit doesn't make sense to me. Almost every machine or tool that I can think of that has been designed for a certain safe and legal use can possibly be used for a dangerous or destructive or illegal purpose. A Louisville Slugger was designed to hit baseballs, but I've read of some idiots that use them to club people rather baseballs. Do you ban baseball bats or go after the knuckleheads that use them as weapons?
 

timacn

Member
BTW: When I was younger, some of my friends had "muscle cars" and I knew people that had speed machines like Corvettes and Porches. The speedometers on these vehicles would go WAY over 100 mph and the engines would probably go even faster, well above the highest posted speed limits. Nobody banned them outright with a prior restraint argument, but I recall that some of them got lots of tickets. (and they deserved the tickets)
 

Pulsar

New Member
Region
USA
City
DFW
If you ride safe, be cautious around other people you encounter on trails, I would not worry about bike class. Most cops and park folks don’t have a clue about ebikes or their differences. My bike is class 3, I ride where I want on streets and parks by me while not doing anything stupid to draw attention to myself. Folks worry way to much about bike classes here with very little being said about a bad encounter with the law or a ticket being issued. Enjoy your bike whatever class and ride safe. The po po have better things to worry about than an ebike on a trail somewhere.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I filed a petition with the CPSC to preempt the bad 3-class state legislation because the 2002 HR727 definition for a compliant Low Speed Electric Bicycle (LSEB) is so much better. It defines one "class" of compliant ebike and allows the power that sustains a 170lb rider on a Level Surface to continue beyond 20mph so rider power does creates more speed but keeps an LSEB pretty much in the historical range for bikes.

Obviously there are many on EBR that feel I'm an extremist to even attempt to do this but there is a lot of research and work that went into it and I'm not a legal professional. I have been very strongly opposed to the 3-class legislation because it was not drafted for the reasons People for Bikes claims (clarity and safety). It was primarily about harmonization with the 2 class system in Europe (the US allowed throttle-assist so they decided a 3rd class was justified but that just made the legislation worse in my opinion. Many defend the legislation because they feel it's the only reason they have trial access on their class 1 ebike. Koolaid a plenty.
 

Elkman

Active Member
In the course of looking for a new ebike with an upright riding position, I discovered that most of the bike models on my short list are offered only as Class 3 machines. I also discovered that Class 3 ebikes are not permitted in my home state (PA). Furthermore, I discovered (and I think this is accurate but things change) that MOST states (approx. 29) do not permit Class 3 ebikes. My question is: why would the smart, astute, engineering and marketing people in these companies design and sell bikes that are not permitted in 29 states? Is there some sort of initiative afoot to change these laws? I hope so. To me it would make more sense to just establish a speed limit of 20 mph for bikes and use radar guns to catch violators.
The federal government does not restrict e-bikes at all on roads or in parks or national forests and the states have not done so either. There may be a speed limit for bicycles (all types) but that is quite different.

Cars and trucks are sold that can be driven faster than the highest speed limit anywhere in the country. Ponder that if you need something to worry about.
 

Normalization

New Member
Region
USA
If you ride safe, be cautious around other people you encounter on trails, I would not worry about bike class. Most cops and park folks don’t have a clue about ebikes or their differences. My bike is class 3, I ride where I want on streets and parks by me while not doing anything stupid to draw attention to myself. Folks worry way to much about bike classes here with very little being said about a bad encounter with the law or a ticket being issued. Enjoy your bike whatever class and ride safe. The po po have better things to worry about than an ebike on a trail somewhere.
100% this. It's all about using your head instead of the electronics. I frequently ride my class 3 in places where it's technically not allowed, but nobody spares me a second glance because I don't bother them by riding past them like a maniac.
 

Kevin8tor

Active Member
I live in Pennsylvania and I've already had one (good) encounter with a State Trooper who didn't seem the least bit interested in the fact that I was on an ebike. I have a beyond class 3 bike, Rize RX, and I use and ride it like any other bike I own. I ride it where and when I want, and I don't act like an idiot or any differently that I would on a non-ebike. My experience over the last year is that it's not a problem as long as YOU the rider don't make it a problem.
 

ruffruff

Well-Known Member
Lower the speed limit setting on the bike and put a Class 2 sticker on it. ;)
"Class 3 officer? I dropped out in class 2. But I know my goez-into's".
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
At least you checked the existing threads. This is such a devisive issue that I wish it would just go away TBH.
FWIW, I like the Canadian approach. One speed limit, no BS about throttle vs PAS, etc. I would like a 25mph limit for every thing including bikes , golf carts , and horse drawn buggies.
Nothing magic about 25mph except that we already have tens of thousands of miles of 25mph roads .
Florida does that one better. There are 3 classes of e-bikes there, but they follow one set of rules. You can ride them anywhere you can ride a bike. THAT'S the ultimate in simplicity.

Most will admit that the rules in many, or most, states are a collection of poorly thought out knee jerk reactions. The ONLY purpose they serve is so they had something in place. It's my belief that changes making much more sense will slowly roll out as the ebike crowd evolves. My thought anyway, FWIW.