Compulsory insurance "likely" on ebikes if 3-class becomes federal law

Ken M

Well-Known Member
As someone in the insurance industry (at the company level who has designed rate plans and rates, and has worked with all of the various states who individually regulate the industry), I can say this is complete nonsense. We HATE compulsory insurance because that means we have to give coverage regardless of the risk factors. We want to underwrite (judge) a risk (person and their usage/storage situation) and arrive at a price that is tailored to our risk. OR walk away because we can't help but lose big on bad-risk drivers.

Compulsory insurance has compulsory rates (to enable affordability) that prevents us from pricing to suit the risk. So we literally lose our ass on coverages of this type. Take automobile insurance as an example in the USA which is the sole form of compulsory vehicle insurance in this country. There is such a thing as the Assigned Risk pool. Lets say it costs $2000 a year to have a policy like that (which is about right here in California). With minimum liability limits of about $35,000 (California) to $75,000 in most states... you do the math and figure out how many policies it takes to pay off just one claim. This is why they call it "Assigned" risk because the state assigns each driver to a pool of all insurance companies... because otherwise we'd all run screaming in the other direction. So they hand a number to each company that is a quota the company must fill without argument.

We want nothing to do with it. Regulations out the wazoo for a whole new class of regulated product nobody knows how to price, and we already have ways to make money selling insurance people actually want.
Why would the insurance industry not want to give any ebike owner free liabillity coverage for riding the ebike if they also have a car policy. Obviously any time someone is riding an ebike vs driving a car the insurance liability is much less yet my guess is you would never see that happen. I have asked a number of major insurance providers this question.

Seems a bit odd that I get many car insurance sales cold calls every week if they are loosing money on compulsory auto insurance. Maybe not paying the executives $10s or even $100s of $millions a year could prevent those claimed losses.

Also, why does that Bike Europe article mention the insurance industry efforts for 5 years to get compulsory insurance on all ebikes. Something just doesn't add up if what you are saying is accurate.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I anticipated some if that in my answer above. Sellers can sell and buyers can buy those bikes in 3 class states. It's the same for motocross motorcycles. An urban dweller can buy a motocross bike with nowhere to legally ride it. You haven't refuted my post. No commerce issue involved. People actually buy things that are regulated or banned in the future. They maybe legal in the next county or state, yet banned for use for some. You can buy it, but you need a privately owned place to use it. Ken, I know you don't like it, but it's not illegal. The will of the people.
Off-road motorcross bikes are a totally different product category. All compliant LSEBs sold in the US have a written compliance statement filed with the CPSC (they don't have time to verify compliance of every brand and model ebike imported and sold in the US). But if someone reports an LSEB as being non-compliant to the federal definition and it's discovered they company submitted a false compliance claim knowingly there are literally federal laws violated which can have huge consequences. Much better to sell the non-compliant ebike as an off-road product and if the owner wants to ride it illegally as many do on bike paths/trails/sidewalks/lanes they do so with great liability risks (they are riding an unlicensed uninsured motor vehicle).

I know owners of motorcross bikes that trailer them almost every weekend to a track or location they can legally ride them. Seems like a lot of work to me but they were never intended to be infrastructure legal to use (the do not comply with either of the 3 categories of product definitions I sent earlier). The CPSC and NHTSA define what has been traditionally use legal products.

The commerce issue is the more stringent requirements outlines in the 3-class legislation without justification based on improved safety. Just requiring a class sticker prior to entry into interstate commerce is not really permitted or even the speedometer requirement on Class 3 models. The states can decide to require speedometers on ebikes that ride on streets and roads as a use requirement but not prior to 1st sale. I understand this stuff pretty well but it's not that easy to get your arms around.

Let me ask you to consider this. Under the 3-class legislation are the new assist systems using heart rate and slope compliant? My guess is you just assume they are just another form of pedal-assist but it that assumption legally correct. I don't know. Just bring up a point as they clearly are HR727 compliant because the federal LSEB doesn't restrict the assist technology utilized like 3-class does. I can find no where in the 3-class model legislation or the state legislation that those are pedal-assist systems. If they are, what would a throttle-assist that only functions if a rider has a high heart rate be classified as? These are fair questions given that PFBs decided to parse the assist technology in their model legislation without consideration of what could be invented in the future.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I should add that no state that adopted the 3 class law has banned the sale of any ebike. You can buy any ebike you want in these states. The classes come into play when the rubber meets the public road.

If there are differences in what states require as standard equipment on public infrastructure, the most likely outcome is an addendum to state or federal requirements. For instance, can anyone argue a speedometer on a 28 mph bike is a bad thing? Unsafe? When the CPSC wrote those specs in 2002, ebikes had difficulty in reaching 15 mph. Local speed limits can be as low as 15 to 25mph. Makes sense to have a speedometer and the CPSC would likely adjust their specs. Other compromises would likely happen without anyone but manufactures knowing it.

The people makeup the federal and local governments. More states have 3 class than not. A few have no law and ebikes are motor vehicles. A few have a modified 2 class law. It'll be up to the feds to adjust and compromise with the majority of the country. If the feds make a good case about safety, I'm sure the states will compromise.

I have been involved in a couple political battles and this one is more evident than most that the will of the people are actually winning. People want ebikes and they want access. Spoiler alert: it's actually happening!
The big problem is that some buyers are being told the ebike they are buying is legal to ride in the state they are buying it in. I have two Haibikes that are not legal to ride on Colorado infrastructure and I was told they were 100% compliant to state ebike laws as class 1 ebikes. Haibike's sale headquarters is only 12 miles from my home. When I brought this to their attention they refused to discuss it.

Here's why: they don't have ebrakes and the assist system does not cease to provide assist when no being pedaled. The first generation Yamaha PDX drive system prioritized torque so much that you can be at a stop light with both brakes applied and not pedaling and just rest your foot on a pedal and the bike begins to apply assist. I believe this may also be true of some early Bosch drive systems (they needed to require some cadense or wheel rotation before allowing assist but they wanted the assist to be immediate with any pedal pressure). That is NOT compliant to the letter of the 3-class legislation adopted in other states besides just Colorado and the big brands are ignoring it. It could be easily fixed by programming that required cadence or wheel rotation before allowing the assist to start. I can guarantee the OEMs would never do this if the CPSC had the same ebrake requirement but the OEMs know that the state 3-class regulations are meritless in defining what can be legally sold, but telling buyers they are legal to ride in the state they are buying them in should not be allowed but again who cares because no one is paying attention so long as they have their class 1 trail access....right?

In effect I could report it to the state but no gives a crap because the regulation for sale compliance is the CPSC and they don't require ebrakes. But they are not legal bikes to ride on public infrastructure and with that comes the same liability risk as riding a motorcross bike illegally on the sidewalk.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
Let me ask you to consider this. Under the 3-class legislation are the new assist systems using heart rate and slope compliant? My guess is you just assume they are just another form of pedal-assist but it that assumption legally correct. I don't know.

Why wouldn't they be? AFIAK, they still operate pedal assist only and speed cutoffs are per the 3 class legislation. Systems like Specialized just adjust how much assist you get based on how hard you're working. Are there systems that will engage the motor without pedaling based on your heart rate?

My class 1 and class 3 both have adjustable assist, but it doesn't change when it kicks in (while pedaling) nor change where it stops (at the cutoff).
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Off-road motorcross bikes are a totally different product category.
You just won't or can't understand. Its truly frustrating. It's not about the thing, it's the theory or concept, the laws of commerce. Look a the big picture! You can't make a commerce argument when the bikes aren't banned for sale. Commerce can't dictate what a community allows to be used on public infrastructure. Never has, never will. Your argument falls apart when the bikes aren't banned for sale. It's not up to sellers to say what can be used in the local park.

The big problem is that some buyers are being told the ebike they are buying is legal to ride in the state they are buying it in.
And that's the fault of who? The seller for lying and the buyer for not checking first.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Why wouldn't they be? AFIAK, they still operate pedal assist only and speed cutoffs are per the 3 class legislation. Systems like Specialized just adjust how much assist you get based on how hard you're working. Are there systems that will engage the motor without pedaling based on your heart rate?

My class 1 and class 3 both have adjustable assist, but it doesn't change when it kicks in (while pedaling) nor change where it stops (at the cutoff).
So a throttle-assist only enabled by a heart rate becomes a pedal assist ebike by your explanation.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
You just won't or can't understand. Its truly frustrating. It's not about the thing, it's the theory or concept, the laws of commerce. Look a the big picture! You can't make a commerce argument when the bikes aren't banned for sale. Commerce can't dictate what a community allows to be used on public infrastructure. Never has, never will. Your argument falls apart when the bikes aren't banned for sale. It's not up to sellers to say what can be used in the local park.


And that's the fault of who? The seller for lying and the buyer for not checking first.
The commerce argument has everything to do with the intent of having the safety agencies in the first place. One of primary reasons they were formed was to have product definition harmony for economies of scale - so every state didn't define what was legal for sale. It works so long at they align use laws with what is legally purchased. That does not mean that a motorcross bike is same as a bike as a LSEB is defined to be.

So you are giving a free pass to some of the biggest OEM bike brands for selling ebikes that are not legal to ride in 3-class states. The funnest example of this is the Specialize turbo Creo (maybe the most expensive mass marketed ebike). It's a class 3 ebike sold in all 50 states including all the 3-class states but even though it's a class 3 ebike it doesn't have a speedometer. In 3-class states it's not a legal vehicle allowed on public infrastructure any more than a 500cc motorcross bike is. Same legal liabilities exist and it's all due to 3-class legislation not being consistent with the federal definition.
 
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jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
So a throttle-assist only enabled by a heart rate becomes a pedal assist ebike by your explanation.

I'm not familiar with every system out there; the main one I'm aware of that uses heart rate is the low power motor Specialized uses on the Creo and Levo S. It can be set to adjust assist amount based on your heart rate (so you get more assist when working hard and less when not working as much). That system still behaves exactly the same as any other class 1/3 ebike, meaning you only get assist when pedaling and assist stops at 20/28mph. Heart rate just adjusts how much help the motor gives. Not sure why that would make it noncompliant.

If theres something out there that is sold as a class 3 but can read heart rate and run the motor without pedaling if your heart rate is high, that would obviously not actually be a class 3 since the motor engages without pedaling. I don't know of any bikes that work that way though.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Here's why: they don;t have ebrakes and the assist system does not cease to provide assist when no being pedaled. The first generation Yamaha PDX drive system prioritized torque so much that you can be at a stop light with both brakes applied and not pedaling and just rest your foot on a pedal and the bike begins to apply assist. I believe this may also be true of some early Bosch drive systems (they needed to require some cadense or wheel rotation before allowing assist but they wanted the assist to be immediate with any pedal pressure. That is NOT compliant to the letter of the 3-class legislation adopted in other states besides just Colorado and the big brands are ignoring it. In effect I could report it to the state but no gives a crap because the regulation for sale compliance is the CPSC and they don't require ebrakes. But they are not legal bikes to ride on public infrastructure and with that comes the same liability risk as riding a motorcross bike illegally on the sidewalk.
You point out issues between sellers and federal specifications. Nothing you state has anything to do with states and 3 class laws. A sticker can be affixed at the dealer. Brake cutoffs on mid drives are a sensor in the motor, not on the levers. And as I said there will need to be addendum as time goes on. Do you know that cars never had windshield wipers. Now they do and are required to have them. Tech didn't stop in 2002.

Your argument isn't with the 3 class states, it partly with the slow moving CPSC in updating their tech specs and sellers lying at time of sale.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
The commerce argument has everything to do with the intent of having the safety agencies in the first place.
Commerce is not part of the argument because the bikes aren't banned for sale.

I never said a word about safety agencies.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
You point out issues between sellers and federal specifications. Nothing you state has anything to do with states and 3 class laws. A sticker can be affixed at the dealer. Brake cutoffs on mid drives are a sensor in the motor, not on the levers. And as I said there will need to be addendum as time goes on. Do you know that cars never had windshield wipers. Now they do and are required to have them. Tech didn't stop in 2002.

Your argument isn't with the 3 class states, it partly with the slow moving CPSC in updating their tech specs and sellers lying at time of sale.
ebrakes levers have a magnet and hall switch that sends a signal to the controller to not allow any assist when the levers are pulled. This tech is actually how brake lights on motorcycles are integrated.

I'm not arguing that ebrakes are needed and the CPSC does not have a requirement for them. I'm saying that the 3-class model legislation requires ebrake and the CPSC does not so even states that have adopted this part of the 3-class legislation have bikes with class stickers on them that do not comply with this requirement. This is not a CPSC issue it's entire a state legislative screw up. The local lawmakers you praise so much have no clue abou the tech and for the most part the CPSC is doing a good job (they are integrating the electrical requires driven via UL and the international battery requirements into the total ebike safety requirements...there is information on this in the latest CPSC webinar).
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Commerce is not part of the argument because the bikes aren't banned for sale.

I never said a word about safety agencies.
It's the safety agencies that define compliance for 1st sale. You do understand this right?

Have you actually read HR727?
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I'm not familiar with every system out there; the main one I'm aware of that uses heart rate is the low power motor Specialized uses on the Creo and Levo S. It can be set to adjust assist amount based on your heart rate (so you get more assist when working hard and less when not working as much). That system still behaves exactly the same as any other class 1/3 ebike, meaning you only get assist when pedaling and assist stops at 20/28mph. Heart rate just adjusts how much help the motor gives. Not sure why that would make it noncompliant.

If theres something out there that is sold as a class 3 but can read heart rate and run the motor without pedaling if your heart rate is high, that would obviously not actually be a class 3 since the motor engages without pedaling. I don't know of any bikes that work that way though.
I'm an engineer so I tend to think like one on something like ebike assist system technology. There are many ways to integrate sensors (heart rate, slope, torque, throttle position, cadence, gear, wheel speed, etc.) to provide an ebike assist solution I just don't understand parsing by pedal-assist and throttle-assist. Have you ever ridden an cadence assist ebike? Most of them just turn on and off the assist with crank rotation. On some model bikes that on/off feature is something i consider somewhat dangerous. If you are not ready for it or on a slick surface it can be troubling. I had someone test ride my cadence assist 20" fat tire bike and he went right into the side of a cargo container when trying to turn and the sensor determined he was pedaling and turn on full power assist. Just having a cadence sensor on the crank is considered a pedal-assist ebike by PFBs.

Then you have the tech they did on the Izip Express. They has a little motor used a generator off the crank axle. This motor put a voltage level to the controller exactly like a throttle does so you could ghost pedal in 1st gear and the bike performed like a throttle-assist ebike.

These are all legit assist technologies that literally 3-class does not accurately address yet they are compliant to the federal definition as they all should be.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Commerce is not part of the argument because the bikes aren't banned for sale.

I never said a word about safety agencies.
The safety agencies were given the power to enforce interstate commerce by congress. They have to power to preemept the 3-class legislation if they determine, as I claim, that the legislation does impact interstate commerce in multiple ways (primarily by violating the express preemptive clause in HR727 that the states can not have more stringent law or requirements on an LSEB as defined in HR727.

Pleast take 5 minutes and read HR727 so you know I'm not just making this up.
 

mjeds

Active Member
Region
USA
I know there are plenty of people that have claimed that I'm a crazy conspiracy theorist in claiming that if the 3-class legislation being pushed by People for Bikes replaces the profoundly better 2002 Federal definition for Low Speed Electric Bike per HR727 that compulsory insurance on Class 3 ebikes is almost assured to happen. For 5 years the industry fought the cycling advocates in Europe to extend the insurance requirement on speed pedelecs to all ebikes but fortunately for ebike cyclists the insurance industry lost the fight (for now ... they have deep pockets and will look for another way).

Just so everyone understands ... this is one of the primary motivations I have to get the CPSC to preempt the 3-class legislation. We should all hope my petition is successful.

are you saying you don't have or want insurance for your e-bike?

just asking.. for me it was a no brainer, insurance to cover me because I commute in traffic. 150 million d1ckheads in cars that could easily cripple me or end my life, having insurance is a given.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
You point out issues between sellers and federal specifications. Nothing you state has anything to do with states and 3 class laws. A sticker can be affixed at the dealer. Brake cutoffs on mid drives are a sensor in the motor, not on the levers. And as I said there will need to be addendum as time goes on. Do you know that cars never had windshield wipers. Now they do and are required to have them. Tech didn't stop in 2002.

Your argument isn't with the 3 class states, it partly with the slow moving CPSC in updating their tech specs and sellers lying at time of sale.
Can the dealer put the class programming into the micro-processor controller or does that have to be on the ebike prior to entry into interstate commerce (it shipped from the factory that way)?

That is something that the interstate commerce laws are not supposed to allow much less the more stringent assist speed cut-offs that the federal definition does not have (even though some interpret that the federal definition does have an assist speed limit at 20mph the CPSC has clarified that is not the case and even PFBs has this information on their site (how Class 3 28mph is compliant).
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
are you saying you don't have or want insurance for your e-bike?

just asking.. for me it was a no brainer, insurance to cover me because I commute in traffic. 150 million d1ckheads in cars that could easily cripple me or end my life, having insurance is a given.
That is health / injury insurance probably covered by your health care policy if an un-insured motorist were to hit you.

I'm referring to liability insurance in case you damage a car with your ebike or hurt a walker.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
It's the safety agencies that define compliance for 1st sale. You do understand this right?
You made a commerce argument and it has nothing to do with commerce as the bikes can be sold in 3 class states. Follow the thread... or at least the argument you are making. I'll say it again, I never mentioned the safety agency that you accuse me of mentioning. There is no ban on the sale of ebikes in 3 class states.

It's like one person saying: wow, that's a pretty sky. And the other person saying: no, the grass needs mowing.

Back to the trolling performance art.
 

Law

Active Member
Mandatory insurance is a good thing. What if you get whacked going 20 mph head on collision, and you have no life insurance or medical insurance? Then what?

They should at least institute minimum of 25K as it is in Georgia. Obviously get med pay.

it won’t cost that much maybe 200 a year.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Can the dealer put the class programming into the micro-processor controller or does that have to be on the ebike prior to entry into interstate commerce (it shipped from the factory that way)?
It doesn't matter! Sellers know what can be used on public infrastructure in more than half the country. They can choose to sell what they want, buyers can buy what they want. Nothing is standing in their way. No ban. What's the problem? Oh, you can't ride them on the bike path? Yeah, I can't ride my Harley there either.