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

Ken M

Well-Known Member
For sure, but thats true on normal bikes too, and cyclists have never really had a need for specialized liability insurance. If you have renters or homeowners insurance it does sometimes cover personal liability.

I remain highly skeptical of this threads original premise that the 3 class law is some sort of backdoor way to force insurance on ebikes.
I just point out that a S-pedelec (same as a Class 3 definition) requires both insurance and registration in Europe. I simply think that having different classes provides a foothold for compulsory insurance and registration on class 3 as a starting point. Just common sense to me that the HR727 LSEB definition as same as a bike makes this much less likely (keep in mind this bill was passed by state house and senate representatives one vote short of consensus so why did the states feel so compelled to adopt 3-class legislation that was being pushed by money from the auto industry).

We can sit hear and butt heads on this but I'm just an advocate for the federal definition of a LSEB to be considered just a bike for use regulation by the states. That was the way it was for over 12 years before People for Bikes took that lobby money and draft legislation to push as if they wrote it to clarify and improve safety (nice soundbites but there was no safety data driving the need and 3 classes is not more clear than 1 class).

I have not had time to put out much information about the call with the CPSC on the petition. They would not make a rule making decision because they stated that an LSEB and the state 3-class ebike definitions are not same - in other words an LSEB still exists for legal sale and use as a bike and the 3-class definitions are a state product that manufacturers are free to make voluntarily (not being required for 1st sale by the CPSC because all 3-class are more stringent than the LSEB definition so they are compliant for sale).
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Thanks Ken!
Are the lobbying entities named?
Bosch was certainly one of the funders. While they make mid drive motors for the ebike industry they are the largest car parts producer in the world. An executive with Bosch was literally in the room with PFB when 3-class was drafted and my guess it Bosch actually wrote the entire 3-class legislation and just handed it to PFB with the lobby money.

They want ebikes to be successful recreationally but I do not believe they want ebikes as effective alternatives to cars.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
What is strange is that I get hammered constantly for me believing the ebike industry is best served by the original HR727 definition of a LSEB as same as a bike. That is so simple and the long legacy of state traffic laws for bikes allowed this to work for 12+ years. People for Bikes invented issues with the trail managers as part of the justification for the 3 classes.

Can anyone really honestly claim there is a difference between a class 1 and 2 ebike as far as performance on how much they would damage trails? Keep in mind that a cadence assist system is considered a pedal-assist class 1 ebike.

I would also think that the growth of the multi-mode ebikes would convince everyone there is no way to effectively enforce 3-class and the stickers are a joke.
 
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jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
Eh. As has been said probably a million times in your various threads, Eu=/= the US. The legal and advocacy environment is totally different. Eu ended up that way because they basically made class 3 ebikes mopeds, which already had legal requirements (insurance, registration, plates, etc). No adopted code in the US (or the model legislation PFB pushes) has anything like that. Not only does it not have anything like that, but all ebikes are specifically exempted from all financial responsibility requirements. I linked code earlier in the thread.

Is it possible someone will try to make that a requirement? Sure. Its also possible that some state will require all ebikes be painted pink and come with free pie. I don't think either is likely. If some idiot state decides to try, there will be draft legislation and we can get hot and bothered about it then. Until then, there are actual things to spend concern and energy on instead of wasting it on imaginary boogymen.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
Until then, there are actual things to spend concern and energy on instead of wasting it on imaginary boogymen.
I'm afraid you might be the boogeyman denying what may well be in the pipe for our future. High-speed eBikes will bring the house of cards down. FFS Luna deals in SurRon and sells pedal kits...

I'm not sure I have a problem with liability insurance.

In the State of Minnesota, a person can legally operate a moped-legal scooter with a valid driver's license. No motorcycle endorsement is required. ... All mopeds registered in Minnesota must have liability insurance coverage. A 15 year old can get a moped permit after completing a state-approved moped safety course.


  • Engine displacement of 50 cc or less
  • No more than two brake horsepower
  • Incapable of exceeding 30 miles per hour on a flat surface
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
I'm afraid you might be the boogeyman denying what may well be in the pipe for our future. High-speed eBikes will bring the house of cards down. FFS Luna deals in SurRon and sells pedal kits...

I'm not sure I have a problem with liability insurance.
Sur Rons (and the like) aren't legal ebikes under any definition (even limited to 20mph in software, the motor is way, way outside the watt limit for any legal definition of ebike I'm aware of). They are electric motorcycles, even if you put vestigal pedal kits on them. I know of at least two people who were cited for trespassing for trying to ride them on local singletrack. Both tried to make the argument that they were ebikes and legal, but both were cited and told not to return. I know because the parks and local MTB groups circulated their photos and car/plate to keep an eye out for if they tried to come back.

I agree that the super powerful light motorcycles being sold as "electric bikes" are something that will risk access. Separate issue IMO though. The Sur Ron is a cool machine, I just think Luna is being deceptive when they call it an ebike. It should be sold as a dirt bike (its basically an electric pit bike; I have a friend who lives in CO that bought one as a light duty dirtbike).
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Given that ebike companies are currently shipping multi-mode models why is it out of the question that Sur Ron couldn't have a 20mph / 750W mode to be just a sit-down scooter that would be legal to ride on the sidewalk is many states? This is one of the problems that 3-class legislation created because all the 2nd tier brands are looking for any way to differentiate and in reality there is nothing preventing them from programming all 3 classes on every bike they sell ... just put all 3 class stickers on the bike as well and remove a cover (like a piece of tape) of the sticker of the mode you know is compliant for the trail your on at that time. What a great system People for Bikes promoted to the states.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
Because the legislation says an ebike is has a motor of "less than 750 watts". The Sur Ron has a motor thats waaaaaaay more powerful than that, even if you try and limit it via software. Which, lets be honest, nobody is doing, because its a bike that weighs 100 pounds and is basically impossible to actually pedal, and theres no reason to buy a bike like that if you intend on cruising at 20mph.

If your issue with the PFB system is people can't ride Sur Rons on sidewalks (and think the system you promote would allow that) than I'm really really really glad the PFB legislation is becoming the standard, because thats insane.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Because the legislation says an ebike is has a motor of "less than 750 watts". The Sur Ron has a motor thats waaaaaaay more powerful than that, even if you try and limit it via software. Which, lets be honest, nobody is doing, because its a bike that weighs 100 pounds and is basically impossible to actually pedal, and theres no reason to buy a bike like that if you intend on cruising at 20mph.

If your issue with the PFB system is people can't ride Sur Rons on sidewalks (and think the system you promote would allow that) than I'm really really really glad the PFB legislation is becoming the standard, because thats insane.
I have never suggested that full speed & full power ?ebikes? or something like the Sur Ron should be allowed on the sidewalk but if the power and speed were governed in a mode then the Sur Ron would be no different than say riding one of the new Sonders ebikes in class 1 mode on the sidewalk or even one of the sit-down scooters (I believe most states allow 20mph scooters on sidewalks). Not understanding the tech is a huge issue when debating people on the regulations.

The reason I don't like the People for Bikes promoted 3-class legislation is that it ignores technical reality and is simply a poorly conceived system (sorry but that is just fact). The LSEB federal definition was/is far superior and absolutely was reasonable because power is limited at 20mph to what would sustain 20mph motor alone with a 170lb rider on level surface (most people have no clue why those constraints were in the definition but it was written by a Phd Electrical Engineer that knew exactly what he was specifying - power limits the speed of a regular bike so that is what should limit the speed of an LSEB). It's not ambiguous but it's easier for non-technical people to understand assist cut-offs like the 3-class system uses.

You may need to do some research on what a "motor rating" means. A motor rated at 750W may be able to sustain 2000W for some time if the temperature is cooler. My point is that "motor ratings" are very nebulous because it does not define what the peak drive system power is. This was actually done by Dr. Currie intensionally when he drafted the federal definition as he wanted more power allowance below 20mph for utility and cargo bikes. Any engineer would say that if there was a mode on the Sur Ron that governed the drive system power below 750W (and 20mph motor alone) that the intent and letter of the regulation would be met (the better way would be to just put a sticker on the Sur Ron indicated a "motor rating" of 750W since all those supporting 3-class legislation think enforcement by stickers is a good idea).

I know you never take my word for anything so maybe you'll accept a more detail explanation on Grin's website: https://ebikes.ca/learn/power-ratings.html

Now please don't come back claiming I'm being nasty and mean by suggesting that you read this article because ALL that want to debate the regulations need to know this before engaging.
 
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sc00ter

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Norfolk, VA
I mess with mopeds, those old school motorized, pedal assist vehicles that were big in the 70's during the gas crisis. In my state, VA, we are not required to carry insurance on mopeds. My ebike goes faster than my mopeds but I use common sense when riding it, saving all of us unwanted attention. Now, concerning insurance.

I still carry insurance on my mopeds. Agreed value of $1000 and decent coverage. Why? Because its only $50 a YEAR for both mopeds. My insurance company reviewed coverage for my ebike but said to just a claim theft on my homeowners insurance. My homeowners and auto insurance are to different companies.

If such a thing becomes law you could always change the Class sticker to a lower power or just pay up. The yearly rate wont be that much money.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
I mess with mopeds, those old school motorized, pedal assist vehicles that were big in the 70's during the gas crisis. In my state, VA, we are not required to carry insurance on mopeds. My ebike goes faster than my mopeds but I use common sense when riding it, saving all of us unwanted attention. Now, concerning insurance.

I still carry insurance on my mopeds. Agreed value of $1000 and decent coverage. Why? Because its only $50 a YEAR for both mopeds. My insurance company reviewed coverage for my ebike but said to just a claim theft on my homeowners insurance. My homeowners and auto insurance are to different companies.

If such a thing becomes law you could always change the Class sticker to a lower power or just pay up. The yearly rate wont be that much money.
I think we need to recognize that liability insurance is not the same as insuring an ebike from theft.
 
Region
USA
I think we need to recognize that liability insurance is not the same as insuring an ebike from theft.
Each state and insurance company are different. I feel it is very important to carry liability insurance, collision, and comprehensive. If you are involved in an accident in which you are at fault, you better have liability insurance. This also pertains to standard bikes also. Make sure you fully understand your coverages. Ask your agent questions and get their answers in writing.
 

sc00ter

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Norfolk, VA
My insurance company for the cars, scooters and motorcycle won't touch a ebike. To them they are just a toy. This is for ANY coverage. I kinda agree with them as I purchased my ebike as a toy, but find myself riding it more than my scooter. And I could care less about the theft issue. I'm not in a bad area for bicycle theft and I have a good lock. The only reason I keep full coverage/agreed value on the mopeds and scooter (and cars) is when my neighbor knocked over my scooter and "thought" he was gonna walk away unscathed. I just called the police for a report, filed a claim with my insurance, payed the $250 deductible and watched him get his credit destroyed by ignoring the collections company, thus getting knocked back down the ladder to rentersville.

But anyways, I tried to get a basic policy for the ebike but no one wants or cares to touch it because it doesn't have/require a license plate. They said it was a toy in their book.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
My insurance company for the cars, scooters and motorcycle won't touch a ebike. To them they are just a toy. This is for ANY coverage. I kinda agree with them as I purchased my ebike as a toy, but find myself riding it more than my scooter. And I could care less about the theft issue. I'm not in a bad area for bicycle theft and I have a good lock. The only reason I keep full coverage/agreed value on the mopeds and scooter (and cars) is when my neighbor knocked over my scooter and "thought" he was gonna walk away unscathed. I just called the police for a report, filed a claim with my insurance, payed the $250 deductible and watched him get his credit destroyed by ignoring the collections company, thus getting knocked back down the ladder to rentersville.

But anyways, I tried to get a basic policy for the ebike but no one wants or cares to touch it because it doesn't have/require a license plate. They said it was a toy in their book.
Just a point. Europe does require registration of S-pedelecs (same as class 3 ebikes here) and also issues license plates and then required insurance. Why no one seems to think that could happen here on Class 3 ebikes is beyond me given that it happened in Europe and 3-class was clearly mostly about harmonization US ebike regulations with the EU (at least at the state level but that may not be as robust legally as some claim).
 
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