Enlighten me on some of these intricacies - seeking the expertise of knowledgeable folks here!

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I am not a law expert. So, I thought of picking the brains of more knowledgeable people here.

I am not a big fan of some of these speed restrictions and laws but I wonder....
Ho do companies like Luna or even Juiced can sell an E-bike that operates at 1000W+ and not get into legal trouble?

Is it that ...as long as they mention "can only be ridden on private land or riders responsibility" it is not a problem?



There is no yearly audit or checks in regards to what a company is selling?
Like if a company is based out of California and is selling bikes that are 1000w+ within the US, nobody(organization) checks if these bikes are compliant with the federal laws?

Yamaha produces some of the most amazing engines for the motorbike world but they refuse to sell their E-bike speed motor to the US market.

Not to mention hundreds of Bafang vendors who sell 1000W motors without any sticker or paperwork whatsoever!
 
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rich c

Well-Known Member
My opinion is that the industry is still too new and it's a bit like the wild west. When a discussion comes up like this, I'm reminded that my Dad drove a commercial semi as a young teenager because no driver's license was required. Illinois didn't require a driver's license until 1939 when he turned 16, and there was no testing until 1953. The laws and regulations may catch up with eBikes in the near future.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I asked this question of the California AG’s office when Juiced released the Cross Current S with a Class 3 decal but unlimited off road mode and received a letter basically saying they were not going to do anything about it. Without VIN numbers these mopeds cannot be titled, registered, or insured, for riding on public roads.
 
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Dewey

Well-Known Member
Same in New York City where businesses selling Arrow brand mopeds to the delivery market operate despite throttle ebikes being illegal to operate there.
 

LimboJim

Well-Known Member
Are sellers and manufacturers responsible for users breaking laws? I'm not suggesting they should or shouldn't be, but supercharged cars are sold legally that are capable of more than twice highway speed limits. Why are carmakers and dealers allowed to sell such beasts? They don't even have to add a "private land only" caveat...

Whenever I discuss offroad ebike regulations with shop owners, industry folks, and even (potential) eMTB riders, many seem to feel that enforcement is absent and/or impossible. The same is somewhat true for road use, I imagine.

I'm not saying something unique here, but if enough people ride ebikes recklessly, enforcement will surely increase. My local Park Ranger told me that, back in the 1990s when ATVs and dirtbikes were first banned from most trails, it was primarily because of a handful of a-holes, not so much the machines themselves. They sure are noisy and stink though o_O

If these rangers catch a motorbike or quad on the trails now, they confiscate the vehicle - plus tickets and fines! If there's willful trail damage or other harm involved, then they prosecute the fools, too. I doubt we'll ever get to that stage with ebikes, but I think it will depend on how folks use them.
 
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Johnny

Active Member
I think this is a good question. I really would like to hear the answer from a lawyer.

For example when a car hits a cyclist how do they check if the bicycle is class1,2-3 ? What happens if the bicycle can assist more ?

I realize that some manufacturers are cutting the speed softly and they keep on assisting until 30-31mph. I read somewhere that complete cut off can be up to %10 higher but I don't know where?

And what is the responsibility of the manufacturer?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
My opinion is that the industry is still too new and it's a bit like the wild west.
The Chinese manufacturers just don't care. It is like they offered hard drugs with the notice: "It is a collector's sample, not to be used".

Writing that from the world region with well defined e-bike laws however restrictive these are. Yes you can buy and register a 45 km/h and up to 4 kW e-bike here as long it is solely activated by pedals, has a VIN, EU Certificate of Conformity, has been bought against an invoice and is adequately equipped. (For this reason the Turbo Creo SL 28 mph will not be available in Europe).

The Big Three are very careful about what they deliver and where. For example, Trek chose to limit their Super Commuter+ 8S to 25 km/h for Europe even if they didn't need to do that. Specialized delivers speed Turbo Vados with all necessary documents, bells & whistles to Europe so it can be registered and insured here. They have even provided the STOP tail-light just in case. Every Speed E-Bike delivered to Europe has got a permanent support for the license plate that cannot be removed unless you remove the carrier and the tail-light (the e-bike controller might report an error in that case).

Not that we don't have hot-heads on converted bikes here.

It looks to me -- a foreigner from a distant country -- that many Americans in their big country think "If the law isn't enforced, there's no law". I only wonder what happens if the rider of the monster e-bike kills someone in an accident.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Yes, I indeed know what the anarchy means.
It is the opposite when a citizen knows what the laws are and abides to them, not only for own good but also for the community. If every law must be enforced it is the straight way towards a fascist regime.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
For example when a car hits a cyclist how do they check if the bicycle is class1,2-3 ? What happens if the bicycle can assist more ? ... And what is the responsibility of the manufacturer?
I am not a lawyer but it depends in which state you live. If you live in Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, or North Carolina, and you are hit by someone or something while riding even just a pedal bike, those are “contributory negligence” states meaning if you are judged to be even just 1% at fault, eg you ride into a crosswalk instead of walking your bike across the road, and you get right hooked by an inattentive driver, the lawyers can argue their client’s insurance company does not have to reimburse you for anything. It is an evil, pernicious, law and needs to be repealed, Virginia and DC tried to repeal in the past year and both times were defeated by insurance lobbyists, but at least it’s on the radar of our local cyclist advocacy groups WABA and the Virginia Cycling Federation, so I expect legislation will continue to be introduced each year until justice prevails. In DC at least pedal cyclists and pedestrians are protected from this thanks to the 2016 Motor vehicle recovery act, but ebike and scooter riders are still treated under the contributory negligence standard. Other states apply a “comparative negligence” legal standard and in that scenario the rider might be judged only 50% at fault and the insurer told to pay half the hospital and repair/replacement bills.
 
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6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
IMO, ebike makers are just as confused about the laws as those who ride them. How do you design and market a product that conforms to every federal, state and local regulation? To further complicate this issue is the fact that here in the US, laws are changing almost weekly.

I'm not saying that manufacturers shouldn't be held accountable for the products they sell. I just don't see how it's feasible to do so in the emerging ebike industry.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
The Consumer Products Safety Commission has the regulatory powers over eBikes and at the Federal Level they have so many other things to worry about that eBikes are pretty low on the list. The Bicycle Products Safety Association and People for Bikes that are the lobbying arms of the industry of course are trying to implement their view of how things should be via the Class Law's but I only see this as an extention of the EU regs due to the fact that the primary market to this point, other than China, for eBikes is to be able to modify our laws so that they don't have to do much other than a software tweak and a plug change to import bikes here.

There are no Federal regs that would allow for a 28mph bike although the Class Laws do so what if you are in an accident involving others would the Class Law protect you or could the Federal 20mph limit be a factor if it went that far in a court of law even if your state has adopted the Class Laws?

It all kind of fits under the radar when you consider that you can buy a car off the lot that will easily exceed any national speed limit posted. At the end of the day it is the responsibility of the operator to follow the rules of the road and act prudently. There have been over watted eBikes around for years and having followed their progression it seems to me that there really is little interest outside of a few that are interested in bicycles that can be construed to be motorcycles and the gen pop is more willing to accept eBikes as they are being presented today that are primarily within the current Federal regs here.
 

CCroft

New Member
Former lawyer here. JRA has nailed it. This is simply not a priority....be thankful it isn't (yet). What changes these 'under-the-radar' situations is some kind of high-profile accident/event that triggers a regulatory/law enforcement response--usually a bad/excessive one.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
The Consumer Products Safety Commission has the regulatory powers over eBikes and at the Federal Level they have so many other things to worry about that eBikes are pretty low on the list.
Very true, since February 2017 when the Administration appointed a new CPSC commission chair, the agency has been directed to dismantle its oversight role leading to its disgraceful handling of product safety flaws. Under the current regime, the agency would not act as it did in 2015 to require bicycle manufacturers to fix potentially lethal problems with quick release components. Despite a recent Senate Commerce Committee report criticizing the politicization of the CPSC, the Washington Post reports the Administration intends to appoint a new CPSC chair who at the EPA relaxed risk assessment rules on toxic chemicals. In part this open reporting on deliberate maladministration might have contributed to the Administration redirecting a $10bn DoD IT contract away from the Washington Post's owner Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO). It's not the fault of the civil servants at the agency, it's the folks at the top pulling the strings on behalf of the manufacturers who need to be removed before too many dangerous or defective components are allowed to be sold leading to cyclist injuries eroding consumer confidence in the safety of bicycle products sold in the US (ironically many of which are bought on Amazon).
 
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Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
There are no Federal regs that would allow for a 28mph bike although the Class Laws do so what if you are in an accident involving others would the Class Law protect you or could the Federal 20mph limit be a factor if it went that far in a court of law even if your state has adopted the Class Laws?
This is a great point!
Thank you all for sharing your understanding. I wanted to understand this better because yesterday I was talking to a friend who is an attorney and an avid bicyclist. He started asking me questions regarding E-bike laws and I could not really answer some of his questions.

The crux of my question is this:

Can a company sell 1000+ W powered E-bikes without any legal problem?

Some companies like Yamaha, Shimano play very cautiously and do not even bring in speed-motors to the US market because it is not quite established here.
Companies like Bosch and Brose go through lots of paperwork and testing to bring in speed motors.

While cars can exceed the road speed limits, they go extensive crash testing by NHTSA and several other procedures to ensure all kinds of safety measures are taken before it is sold to the public. And on top of that every car has a VIN and registration.

But there are thousands of other bikes that do not comply with 20mph limit and then some that fall under Class 1,2,3.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
"Can a company sell 1000+ W powered E-bikes without any legal problem?"

Apparently so because it continues unabated and has been the norm for years. But as stated above when an instance occurs that is the fault of the over the limit bike there will be at least some discussion about it and sabers rattled. But like so many other problems in our society it will soon be forgotten and doubtful that any meaningful legislation will occur. I would site gun violence/mass shootings as an extreme example although there are no motors involved.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Something disturbing today in an email from Bolton. They are selling counterfeit class stickers under the guise of "Want to let everyone know what class your ebike is so you can ride the trails, explore the roads, and share what your ebike can do - Bolton Ebikes Style?!" Yeah, right. Wink, Wink! A real nose thumbing to laws and regs.