Federal eBike Definition vs. States Class Definition

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I know this has been discussed but I want to keep this discussion very specific.

Federal law defines the limits of a low speed electric bike, equating it to a bicycle, and bypassing the definition of a motor vehicle but some say that is only “For purposes of motor vehicle safety standards…”

Question #1: How can the CPSC control / regulated ebikes thru 1st sale if each state can establish product definitions for ebikes that can only be possible if they are manufactured to said regulations?

Relavent Preemptive Note: The Federal law supersedes all state laws that equate bicycles to ebikes where the state law is more stringent (lower limits) on power and speed (which both Class 1 & 2 definitions are given the cutoff stipulation).

I fully understand states have the right to establish usage and traffic laws for bike. But since a compliant ebikes per federal definition are the equivalent of any other type of bike it seems to me they can not isolate ebikes to have separate product or usage rules than any other bike.

Question 2: If a federal "low speed electric bicycle" is the same as any other bike by definition and regulated as such thru 1st sale then how can a state do anything but apply any usage law they put on the books to all bikes equally?

I personally believe the BPSA and P4B pushed what appears to be really good legislation at the state level but they were guided by the industry that wanted harmonized specifications and classifications with the EU. I understand the states can have the Classes defined but compliance seems to have no legal standing to me other than voluntary by the industry.

I do not want to hear that product definition and usage are the same thing....they are NOT.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
One more input: It is my understanding that when the 2002 federal definition was established with 107-319 that some states already had ebike definitions that were more stringent which is why the Preemptive Clause was put in the bill.

Does anyone know if any state definitions were superseded as by my understand that would be legal standing that no state can have a more stringent definition of an ebike?
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Regarding "superseded" consider that in many states pot can be sold legally, with states receiving taxes paid on millions of dollars worth of sales, yet from a federal standpoint it's still illegal.

Not worth wasting my brain cells trying to justify either case as far as I'm concerned. Much easier to abide by local enforcement policy.
 

Bruce Arnold

Well-Known Member
There is such a welter of laws and regulations that it is impossible to make any general sense of it all. For instance, one national park may have different rules than another, but they are both part of the same federal agency.

Technically, my HyperScorpion is not an ebike by my state's standards -- the 1000 watt motor is over the specified 750 watts -- but who's measuring?

Sometimes I think that since I like to pedal and virtually never go throttle-only, that I look enough like a bicyclist and therefore draw less attention. This is probably delusional. There are YouTube reviewers who are quite open about virtually never pedaling -- in other words, treating their ebike like a moped -- but they're not getting pulled over by the cops either.

Mostly, I just don't worry about it. I try to be responsible and courteous and give no cause for concern.

There are a lot of laws you can evade or downright violate and so long as no one complains, you will never be cited. Maybe most laws; I wonder if there are statistics on that point.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Similar to motorcycles, but Federal Law allows ALL riders to have modulating lights. So Feds CAN supersede states.
That is my view that when considered important enough the fed regulations can supersede states. There are legal opinions that claim the preemptive clause in HR727 was only intended for the safety regulations but CPSC 1512 (the safety regulations for bikes) also includes the legal limit definition for an ebike to be defined as a bike (along with all types including recumbent, mtn., road, trike, etc.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Regarding "superseded" consider that in many states pot can be sold legally, with states receiving taxes paid on millions of dollars worth of sales, yet from a federal standpoint it's still illegal.

Not worth wasting my brain cells trying to justify either case as far as I'm concerned. Much easier to abide by local enforcement policy.
Not every law has legal standing.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I was really hoping someone would know if the Class system can truly supersede the CSPC definition of a compliant ebike give they have control thru first sale.