Important Poll on Pre-emptive Clause in HR727 defining "low speed electric bicycles"

Do you interpret the preemptive clause to apply to both the federal definition & safety requirements

  • Yes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No (only to safety requirements)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0

Ken M

Well-Known Member
This section shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements referred to in subsection a.

Notes:
1) Subsection a is a reference to CPSC 1512 which is a "Bike Requirements" regulation that has both the federal ebike definition and the safety requirements for bikes to be legal for first sales in the US.
2) Be sure to consider the context of the "or" as it seems to imply the pre-emptive clause is applicable to the federal ebike law definition.

There are some that claim this pre-preemptive clause only applies to the safety requirements in CPSC 1512 but the federal ebike definition (enacted as a law) is included in that document and the reference to section was clearly to section 38 of HR727 pertaining to "low speed electric bicycle" being specified and ensuring they are not motor vehicles (strangely People For Bikes and the states define classes by motor performance which seems totally contradictory to something defined to not be a motor vehicle. I'm just looking for opinions as I think this is an important issue as CPSC controls "bikes" thru first sale and states are then supposed to traffic/usage regulate but not re-define. I'm just wondering what others think (all the lawyers I've talked to can't give an opinion without being paid and if you pay them for an opinion they tell you what you want to hear so they are of no help)....
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
We generally 185*185presume that Congress is knowledgeable about existing law pertinent to the legislation it enacts. See Director, OWCP v. Perini North River Associates, 459 U. S. 297, 319-320 (1983). From a Supreme Court opinion.
I want to verify that I'm interpreting your statement and referenced document correctly. If there are two mutually exclusive definitions that are not exactly the same, the federal definition would prevail if there is any conflict (I take that as implied by the supremacy standard in the constitution as well). Also if a state did not have a definition for an ebike to be legal ridden in that state, the federal definition would apply (a Mississippi AG concluded that the intent of the federal definition / law was to designate a compliant low speed electric bicycle as just another bike such that they should be traffic and usage regulated as any other bike (that makes perfect sense to me).

Here's a relevant example. Minnesota apparently requires e-brakes (a brake that when applied has the function to cease motor assist) which is not required by CPSC safety requirements (that essentially means there is nothing requiring e-brakes on any ebike for 1st sale in the US). Seems to me that is more stringent than the federal requirements and therefore the state requirement actually has no legal standing (this is a safety requirements example but seems same would apply to definition of a compliant low speed electric bike as well). There is also the question of the Class 3 ebikes in the PFB model legislation to have speedometers (ironically it seems Specialized ignores this on their top-of-the-line Crea speed pedelec so I'm assuming their lawyers determined the state requirement had no lebal standing.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
We generally 185*185presume that Congress is knowledgeable about existing law pertinent to the legislation it enacts. See Director, OWCP v. Perini North River Associates, 459 U. S. 297, 319-320 (1983). From a Supreme Court opinion.
Hello again... Please let me know if you were implying the pre-emptive clause has merit beyond just jurisdictional assignment (that seemed pretty much complete with the 1st sentence of HR727 such that the pre-emptive clause was clearly saying the definition and status of a low speed electric bike as a non-motorized "bike" status was locked down at the federal level.

There is one AG opinion published on this that states they reviewed the statutes and had the opinion that a CPSC compliant low speed electric bike was to be treated as non-motorized "bike" for traffic and usage laws at the state level but I have been unable to get another state attorney general to make an assessment (this is just the sad state of our legal system - lawyers only give opinions when money is to be made on having an opinion).
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
The United States Department of Transportation, a cabinet level department of the executive branch of the US government regulated ebikes prior to HR 727 of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. HR 727 wasn't passed by a vote of Congress. Prior to enacting HR 727 a company wishing to sell an ebike had to be approved by USDOT to sell one. The documents are accessible on the DOT archives, I've read dozens of these documents in preparation to fight access regulations.

The CPSC HR 727 was adopted without consulting the USDOT and at the time the DOT considered adopting new regs for low speed electric bikes. They tabled the new regs, but could choose to regulate ebikes at any time which would supersede anything Congress or the CPSC does. DOT can move faster than any act of Congress and transportation is the purview of DOT. Again, all these documents are available for anyone to read. Next time I'll choose to watch paint dry.

Even the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) attorney has written a legal analysis on the issue.


It goes against their own interests, yet they've tried to set the record straight several times. The industry banded together with People for Bikes and are lobbying state legislators to pass the 3 Class law. It's been wildly successful, although I'm not a huge fan of the way it's written.

The CPSC HR 727 has no teeth, does not regulate the operation and use of ebikes and DOT can override their regs anytime they choose. States have the power to regulate the use of ebikes. And funny enough the CPSC reinforces that because ebikes, according to the CPSC, are consumer products. Use falls on the state. The federal government doesn't tell us how to install an oven in the house. The CPSC tells us what an oven is supposed to be, the state and local governments tell us how and where an oven can be installed and used. Ovens and ebikes are consumer products according to the CPSC.

Anyone wishing to fight the regs should start in their own backyard. That's where a difference can be made. All the talk about federal regs superseding state regs is a waste of time. If DOT ever decides to step in, our ebikes will be required to have DOT spec lights, blinkers, horn, brakes and tires like mopeds do now. Our 50 pound ebikes will be 100+ pounds and cost twice as much. And we will never ride the trails and MUP's again. Not something I want.

The fact that the states and local governments regulate the use of ebikes give us, the end users, much more power to effect change. It is much easier to lobby local regulators and legislators, than it is to lobby some unelected beurocrats in some federal agency in Washington DC.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
The United States Department of Transportation, a cabinet level department of the executive branch of the US government regulated ebikes prior to HR 727 of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. HR 727 wasn't passed by a vote of Congress. Prior to enacting HR 727 a company wishing to sell an ebike had to be approved by USDOT to sell one. The documents are accessible on the DOT archives, I've read dozens of these documents in preparation to fight access regulations.

The CPSC HR 727 was adopted without consulting the USDOT and at the time the DOT considered adopting new regs for low speed electric bikes. They tabled the new regs, but could choose to regulate ebikes at any time which would supersede anything Congress or the CPSC does. DOT can move faster than any act of Congress and transportation is the purview of DOT. Again, all these documents are available for anyone to read. Next time I'll choose to watch paint dry.

Even the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) attorney has written a legal analysis on the issue.


It goes against their own interests, yet they've tried to set the record straight several times. The industry banded together with People for Bikes and are lobbying state legislators to pass the 3 Class law. It's been wildly successful, although I'm not a huge fan of the way it's written.

The CPSC HR 727 has no teeth, does not regulate the operation and use of ebikes and DOT can override their regs anytime they choose. States have the power to regulate the use of ebikes. And funny enough the CPSC reinforces that because ebikes, according to the CPSC, are consumer products. Use falls on the state. The federal government doesn't tell us how to install an oven in the house. The CPSC tells us what an oven is supposed to be, the state and local governments tell us how and where an oven can be installed and used. Ovens and ebikes are consumer products according to the CPSC.

Anyone wishing to fight the regs should start in their own backyard. That's where a difference can be made. All the talk about federal regs superseding state regs is a waste of time. If DOT ever decides to step in, our ebikes will be required to have DOT spec lights, blinkers, horn, brakes and tires like mopeds do now. Our 50 pound ebikes will be 100+ pounds and cost twice as much. And we will never ride the trails and MUP's again. Not something I want.

The fact that the states and local governments regulate the use of ebikes give us, the end users, much more power to effect change. It is much easier to lobby local regulators and legislators, than it is to lobby some unelected beurocrats in some federal agency in Washington DC.

I'm not sure I agree with everything you detailed.

I understand that HR727 was passed as "LAW" - I believe it was fast tracked given that Dr. Currie was with DARPA and held important positions under two Presidents. He had retired from Defense work and seemed to have a late life crisis to create a new type of urban mobility in the late 1990s. I think he was keenly aware that if ebikes remained under DOT jurisdiction they were DOA from a market point of view (his original bike that I believe was called the EV Warrior had all the DOT requirements and he knew that was just not nonsensical for something with approx 1hp of power - essentially the power of your average household toaster). He wrote actually a very astute definition that seemed very benign to non-technical bureaucrats and he was able to leverage his relationships to get it passed very fast and into law in 2002. I think his goal was to establish that definition compliant ebikes were not motor vehicles and would be treated by state traffic / usage laws as bikes had been for decades (I encourage everyone to read the congressional notes on HR727 if they think I'm wrong and they talk about usage as a bike). Keep in mind Dr. Currie is not your typical non-tech guy - he's has a Phd in electrical engineering so the wording and intent were not by accident and out of respect I think his intent matters in this debate (a hell of a lot more than Larry Pizzi & PFBs who was getting lobby money to harmonize state classes with the EU or the states parsing classes based on motor performance of what is specifically defined as not a motor vehicle).

I have a plan to go after the 3-class system at the local level in Colorado...only because I think it took the industry backwards from just adopting the CPSC / Fed definition as a bike for all traffic laws (that is exactly what the Mississippi Attorney General published after reading the applicable statutes and no other state AG has had the cohonas to do the same and I have sent multiple requests to all AG offices to get a a simple opinion but courage and integrity is not something anyone comes out of law school with).

My purpose is to just allow ebikes to reach their full urban mobility potential without morons at the state level screw that up without any justfication (they claim the 3-classes were needed for safety but has anyone ever read any data on that claim - it was a deep ass-pull lie but if anyone involved has data I would love to see and review it - I did read one study where they reported that like 75% of ebike injuries were from people just falling getting on and off the bikes and that is not supportive data whatsoever).

I talked to one of the Colorado Lawmakers that sponsered the 3 class bill. They pushed it through to get Haibike to move their US sales headquarters from California to Denver. Serously that is WHY and that is just brain-dead crap in my opinion. I really wonder how many people know that lobby money was given to People for Bikes to get the US harmonized with EU to help market economies of scale and also to keep low cost Chinese hub motors from impacting sales of much more expensive mid drives that a $70 billion company named Bosch was developing. I love mid drives too but let them compete on a level playing field when hubs are allowed a bit more power without huge amounts of gear reduction.
 
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J.R.

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure I agree with everything you detailed.

I understand that HR727 was passed as "LAW" - I believe it was fast tracked given that Dr. Currie was with DARPA and held important positions under two Presidents. He had retired from Defense work and seemed to have a late life crisis to create a new type of urban mobility in the late 1990s. I think he was keenly aware that if ebikes remained under DOT jurisdiction they were DOA from a market point of view (his original bike that I believe was called the EV Warrior had all the DOT requirements and he knew that was just not nonsensical for something with approx 1hp of power - essentially the power of your average household toaster). He wrote actually a very astute definition that seemed very benign to non-technical bureaucrats and he was able to leverage his relationships to get it passed very fast and into law in 2002. I think his goal was to establish that definition compliant ebikes were not motor vehicles and would be treated by state traffic / usage laws as bikes had been for decades (I encourage everyone to read the congressional notes on HR727 if they think I'm wrong and they talk about usage as a bike). Keep in mind Dr. Currie is not your typical Duck Dynasty watching US moron - he's has a Phd in electrical engineering so the wording and intent were not by accident and out of respect I think his intent matters in this debate (a hell of a lot more than Larry Pizzi & PFBs who was getting lobby money to harmonize state classes with the EU or the states parsing classes based on motor performance of what is specifically defined as not a motor vehicle).

I have a plan to go after the 3-class system at the local level in Colorado...only because I think it took the industry backwards from just adopting the CPSC / Fed definition as a bike for all traffic laws (that is exactly what the Mississippi Attorney General published after reading the applicable statutes and no other state AG has had the cohonas to do the same and I have sent multiple requests to all AG offices to get a a simple opinion but courage and integrity is not something anyone comes out of law school with).

My purpose is to just allow ebikes to reach their full urban mobility potential without morons at the state level screw that up without any justfication (they claim the 3-classes were needed for safety but has anyone ever read any data on that claim - it was a deep ass-pull lie but if anyone involved has data I would love to see and review it - I did read one study where they reported that like 75% of ebike injuries were from people just falling getting on and off the bikes and that is not supportive data whatsoever).

I talked to one of the Colorado Lawmakers that sponsered the 3 class bill. They pushed it through to get Haibike to move their US sales headquarters from California to Denver. Serously that is WHY and that is just brain-dead crap in my opinion. I really wonder how many people know that lobby money was given to People for Bikes to get the US harmonized with EU to help market economies of scale and also to keep low cost Chinese hub motors from impacting sales of much more expensive mid drives that a $70 billion company named Bosch was developing. I love mid drives too but let them compete on a level playing field when hubs are allowed a bit more power without huge amounts of gear reduction.
I encourage anyone that disagrees with how government does its job to lobby for change. I have been involved lobbying for better government in issues that directly affect me since the 1980's. I've addressed legislators in two different state houses. I wasn't alone in these efforts. People and numbers are important. There's been more losses than wins. I was done with lobbying politicians, it's just gotten too dirty for me. Then ebikes were banned from our local trails, and a small local group of us ebikers worked to overturn that ban. There were good people on both sides. Regulators were willing to listen and learn. We prevailed.

It takes good people to win and your so called "morons" are the ones paying the bills in this country. You can't do this alone and if you want to influence people to join your cause, and you want the legislators to listen, it's best to not publically call anyone a moron. Another thing we refused to do is publically post any derogatory comments on any public forum. That worked in our favor because the regulators read the same forums. There are only a few serious ebike forums where people learn about people and their ebikes. This is an unsolicited focus group for lawmakers.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I encourage anyone that disagrees with how government does its job to lobby for change. I have been involved lobbying for better government in issues that directly affect me since the 1980's. I've addressed legislators in two different state houses. I wasn't alone in these efforts. People and numbers are important. There's been more losses than wins. I was done with lobbying politicians, it's just gotten too dirty for me. Then ebikes were banned from our local trails, and a small local group of us ebikers worked to overturn that ban. There were good people on both sides. Regulators were willing to listen and learn. We prevailed.

It takes good people to win and your so called "morons" are the ones paying the bills in this country. You can't do this alone and if you want to influence people to join your cause, and you want the legislators to listen, it's best to not publically call anyone a moron. Another thing we refused to do is publically post any derogatory comments on any public forum. That worked in our favor because the regulators read the same forums. There are only a few serious ebike forums where people learn about people and their ebikes. This is an unsolicited focus group for lawmakers.

I understand. I was just giving Dr. Currie more consideration. It's frustrating when you find out that EU lobby money was really what was driving the 3-class system from People for Bikes. I guess they need sponsors so the money does keep the lights on even if it harms the urban mobility of ebikes vs what Dr. Currie intended / envisioned.

My personal take on ebikes is that we really need an alternative to cars for urban mobility more than we need to have local policy create a bunch of classes and then expect enforcement with stickers to be effective. The CPSC / Federal definition was a very reasonable speed and power outline that provided that an ebike would be an effective mobility device without needing to be regulated as a motor vehicle and burdened with registration, license, and insurance costs. An ebike can supplement most people owning a car but really can't replace a car so if all those fees are put in place then it's far less likely people will own an urban mobility ebike to use instead of car for their transportation needs. Just leave that definition as a "bike" for all state traffic usage and the entire US regulatory picture for ebikes becomes lot easier for everyone.

I know some claimed the defintion and pre-emptive clause were for jurisdiction only but that was actually established in the very first sentence of HR727 (in my opinion). The pre-emptive clause sure seems to state it applies to both the federal law (the definition is consider law just given the status of HR727 as a law and to the requirements in CPSC 1512 as both are referenced based on my reading. Many say it only applies to the CPSC 1512 safety requirements but is says federal law OR the requirements.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
JR...I do have a question for you. If someone wins in a traffic court for a CPSC compliant ebike not being a class compliant ebike (I live in Colorado and have a Poloris Diesel ebike that with the throttle installed assist past 20mph - legally 1st sold per CPSC definition but not legal to use per the Class 2 cease of assist reguirement at 20mph) could that be considered a precedent case (if they can't enforce the ticket for a non-compliant Class 2 ebike being ridden (I put over 5,000 miles on that bike one year and will request to be ticketed because it's frustrating to think I bought it legally and Colorado now claims it's not legal to ride)? Doesn't law require legal standing and if this ticket was dismissed then would that be a problem for the class legal standing?
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
JR...I do have a question for you. If someone wins in a traffic court for a CPSC compliant ebike not being a class compliant ebike (I live in Colorado and have a Poloris Diesel ebike that with the throttle installed assist past 20mph - legally 1st sold per CPSC definition but not legal to use per the Class 2 cease of assist reguirement at 20mph) could that be considered a precedent case (if they can't enforce the ticket for a non-compliant Class 2 ebike being ridden (I put over 5,000 miles on that bike one year and will request to be ticketed because it's frustrating to think I bought it legally and Colorado now claims it's not legal to ride)? Doesn't law require legal standing and if this ticket was dismissed then would that be a problem for the class legal standing?
Local law enforcement is far more pragmatic than people think. If you force a cop to give you a ticket, he/she might just pile it on. Any equipment violation, disturbing the peace and anything else they can think of. No cop I've ever known will give you a ticket because you asked for it. They will know you're up to something and won't want to get involved in your civil disobedience show in court. Cops have more important things to worry about. You'll have to be a real jerk to get a ticket and it might be more than one if you do act like a jerk.

In Pennsylvania where I am the ticket for riding an illegal ebike on a trail or path is trespassing, not a vehicle violation. Riding an illegal ebike on the road is operating an unlicensed and unregistered vehicle. As far as I know, no state has ebike class tickets.

If you're hoping the courts will straighten out the ebike laws in your state, you're taking a huge gamble. You might not get the result you hoped for. The laws, regulations and fines could get tougher. The best thing to do is work to change bad laws. That's a deliberate process. Takes time. If you're really hoping for real change for the future of mobility in your state, that takes legislation, not judicial action.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Local law enforcement is far more pragmatic than people think. If you force a cop to give you a ticket, he/she might just pile it on. Any equipment violation, disturbing the peace and anything else they can think of. No cop I've ever known will give you a ticket because you asked for it. They will know you're up to something and won't want to get involved in your civil disobedience show in court. Cops have more important things to worry about. You'll have to be a real jerk to get a ticket and it might be more than one if you do act like a jerk.

In Pennsylvania where I am the ticket for riding an illegal ebike on a trail or path is trespassing, not a vehicle violation. Riding an illegal ebike on the road is operating an unlicensed and unregistered vehicle. As far as I know, no state has ebike class tickets.

If you're hoping the courts will straighten out the ebike laws in your state, you're taking a huge gamble. You might not get the result you hoped for. The laws, regulations and fines could get tougher. The best thing to do is work to change bad laws. That's a deliberate process. Takes time. If you're really hoping for real change for the future of mobility in your state, that takes legislation, not judicial action.

I have tried to bring this up with the Attorney General's office two times .... nothing but deferrals. I know I could keep riding the ebike "illegally" forever but I don't like the idea that a law was passed turning what was/is a compliant ebike for sale per CPSC that is not legal to ride on any public infrastructure in Colorado.

I just want to see how a traffic court will treat this. This is a throttle-assist ebike that assists past 20mph (maybe to 25/26mph) but not enough to sustain 20mph on it's own under throttle. That is CPSC compliant and per the PFBs 3 class system this is not a legal bike to ride. I don't want to spend 2 years talking to lawmakers...I just want to know if a traffic ticket for riding a non-compliant ebike class will have legal precedence if they decide to dismiss the ticket. I don't need the police officer to do anything buy write the ticket (they are not required to show up on something like this).
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Not just another opinion...Does anyone know the legal status of the full HR727 pre-emptive clause? It's states both federal law and the requirements in CPSC 1512 but some say it only applies to the requirements and not the low speed electric bicycle definition but that is essentially a compliance specification so states can't change it on first sale without having their own safety systems in place (the CPSC doesn't change their standards to 50 different state interpretations).
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Not just another opinion...Does anyone know the legal status of the full HR727 pre-emptive clause? It's states both federal law and the requirements in CPSC 1512 but some say it only applies to the requirements and not the low speed electric bicycle definition but that is essentially a compliance specification so states can't change it on first sale without having their own safety systems in place (the CPSC doesn't change their standards to 50 different state interpretations).
It's still the wild, wild west here in the US with respect to ebikes. I'm not trying to dissuade you from doing what you think is right. I'm just trying to add to the conversation things you might not be considering.

The law of unintended consequences.

"The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people, and especially of governments, always have effects that are unanticipated or "unintended." Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have largely ignored it."

Of course that could apply to the CPSC, in what was clearly a power grab from the USDOT. Bicycles and ebikes are clearly designed to be transportation vehicles, and like motorcycles and automobiles fall under the DOT. Yes people recreate on bikes, but so do they on MC's and in cars.

CPSC

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal regulatory agency that was created in 1972 by Congress in the Consumer Product Safety Act. In that law, Congress directed the Commission to "protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products."

We have jurisdiction over thousands of types of consumer products, from coffee makers to toys to lawn mowers. Some types of products, however, are covered by other federal agencies. For example, cars, trucks and motorcycles are covered by the Department of Transportation; food, drugs and cosmetics are covered by the Food and Drug Administration; and alcohol, tobacco and firearms are within the jurisdiction of the Department of the Treasury.


Another possible unintended consequence could be if manufacturers and sellers were forced to comply with the CPSC and there were enforced repercussions, that would put companies like Juiced Bikes out of business. The fines alone would do it, much less revamping their entire lineup to comply. A lot of bike owners would hate that.

If the CPSC were pushed to enforce their regs, there are responsibilities required by all sellers.

CPSC

General Conformity Certificate (GCC)

1. Manufacturers and importers of certain non-children’s products must issue a General Certificate of Conformityin which they certify that their consumer product complies with all applicable federal consumer product safety rules.

Note: Unlike children’s products, only certain non-children’s products have mandatory consumer product safety rules with which they must be in compliance. See the list.

2. The GCC must be furnished to the distributor or retailer. (The GCC need not be on paper and may be furnished by making it available on a dedicated Web page.)

3. A retailer is not required to view or maintain records of each GCC, but it may be advisable for a retailer to do so.




Your Responsibility: Duty to Report Unsafe, Hazardous, and Non-Compliant Products

Companies, including retailers, have a legal obligation to report a consumer product to the CPSC when they obtain information indicating that a product may create a substantial risk of injury to consumers, may be unreasonably hazardous or dangerous for consumers, may have been involved in a choking or “near miss” incident, or does not comply with rules, regulations, standards, or bans under the statutes enforced by the CPSC. Learn more about the duty to report to the CPSC.

A manufacturer may be in the best position to have this type of information. However, a retailer with information that indicates a product may be a health or safety risk, as described above, is legally obligated to report that information immediately to the CPSC, unless they have actual knowledge that the CPSC has already been fully informed of the information.

Retailers may wish to contact the manufacturer, importer, distributor, private labeler, or others in a product’s supply chain to secure written assurances that they have fully reported a particular product to the CPSC. To protect yourself, a retailer may wish to provide a copy of the written assurances to the CPSC or they may wish to submit their own timely report to the CPSC.

Failure to report this type of information immediately and in full detail could lead to the imposition of substantial civil or criminal penalties.


Having the DOT regulate ebikes isn't something I would look forward to. There are a few positives, but mostly negatives. Having the CPSC enforce their regs to the letter of the law looks just as bad for many ebike sellers and the people that bought bikes from them.

I know there are some good regs coming from both agencies, but those pesky unintended consequences...
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I understand all that. Yes bikes have plenty of history as being used for transportation but that is the same legacy that proves they have always been left out of the burden of motor vehicle safety standards or requirements for registration, ownership taxes (although I think Washington is discussing that again because they don't like the idea of more people getting out of cars and EVs reducing gas tax revenue), and insurance. Powerful non-thinking forces have always wanted revenue from bikes but they have been left alone because the history of transportation use has been primarily for the poor and that burden would be just ugly crap for any politician to pursue.

There is NOTHING wrong with the Fed./CPSC "low speed electric bicycle" compliance definition being considered a non-motorized vehicle and considered a "bike" for ALL traffic and trail usage. I have seen not one tangible study that says otherwise (the reason is that the 3-class system was driving by PFBs to harmonize with the EU and lobby money driven but they will never mention that publicly because they are supposed to be a bike advocasy group).

For 12+ years (albeit slow years for ebike sales in the US) the federal definition was working fine and most states just viewed compliant ebikes as bikes for traffic / usage regulations. It was working and would have continue to have worked but PFBs came in and claimed it needed to be "clarified" for usage laws and to ensure everyone was "safer." Both sure sounded nice but both were LIES - it was harmonization driven 100%. Nothing more and it's why the 3-class system has no merit if you really study the history of it. Dr. Currie wrote what looks like an ambiguous definition for an ebike to remain a bike but in reality is quite a brilliant simple specification to ensure they could maximize their utility value for urban mobility.

Good sprinters can run over 25mph and Usain Bolt was clocked at over 27mph but we need ebike assist speeds limited to 20mph. C'mon...no one rational can support that. I would love for someone at PFBs to support their 3-class system push but my guess is they are not really wanting to engage in an open public debate on it.

I know they say they got land managers to open more recreation space for ebikes but those same land managers were running around claiming ebikes caused way more trail damage (not true at all) and were motor vehicles equivalent to allowing motorcycles on the trails. They were not coming to the table with anything but very subjective views.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I know they say they got land managers to open more recreation space for ebikes
PFB had nothing to do with opening up off road trails and paths. They refuse to get involved. Private advocates did that with some reasonable land managers. We need more of that. If PFB is taking credit, that's untrue. They told us directly they didn't have the resources.

As for throttles on ebikes, land managers and regulators often don't want anything to do with them. During a local public comment meeting I also heard many private citizens state they didn't want them. There are more of 'them' than us. People hear throttle, they think moped or MC. I don't agree, but at the moment it is the reality.

Given the support the states have for the 3 Class law, I think the likely outcome of pushing the CPSC to act or rule, I believe they will change their regs to comply with state legislatures. 22 states have passed it, their attorney general's will fight to keep it. Several other states are considering it, and will likely pass it. And I don't see any states arguing to use the CPSC definition. The cat's out of the bag and there's no getting it back in.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Here's what I think are the big issues for the 3-class system:

1) There were throttle ebikes being sold that were legal per fed / CPSC thru 1st sale that do not cease assist at 20mph (the Polaris Diesel and the PIM models including the Archer that are examples but there are others). I've talked with People for Bikes (their so called experts on the regulatory stuff) and they claim if throttle assist past 20mph they are Class 3 but that is simply wrong per their 3-class table (they thought they had a harmonized table that was consistent with what was being sold but they failed to pay attention). Look up the Izip Express as it was an ebike used by the LA Police department that provided assist past 28mph yet was CPSC compliant. Per the current usage laws in those 22 states you mentioned these bikes are not legal to use at all on any public infrastructure. I don't think that can be done without some formal consideration of those products.

2) The HR727 federal law bill explicitly states that a compliant low speed electric bike is not to be considered a motor vehicle (some claim that was just a jurisdiction statement but jurisdiction was established by the very first sentence of the bill - that CPSC would be managing regulatory compliance of "bikes" including the low speed electric defined). If they are not motor vehicles by federal definition (this is what keeps them out of NHTSA/DOT realm) then how can the 3-class system parse the classes by motor performance? Seems like a fair question to me but if you ask anyone at PFBs you'll just get that dear in the headlights look.

3) Speedometers are not required per CPSC and that is something that would fall under "bike requirements" so how can class 3 require them (that sure seems like a more stringent requirement that is pre-empted specifically). Specialized top of the line Creo $15,000 class 3 ebike doesn't have one so that sure seems like a shot over the bow to test the legal standing of the 3 class system.

4) I've seen the letters from PFBs essentially begging the distributors and retail channel to put the ?required? stickers on the ebikes but they can not actually tamper with the boxed ebikes per CPSC regulations. I have never read anyone claim that enforcement using this sticker system is ever going to be effective and that is being very nice per the statements I have read.

I want ebikes to achieve their potential as a great urbam mobility solution so I'm arguing that the 3-class system is not a good solution. Dr. Currie (a PhD electrical engineer) had a vision and wrote the federal definition consistent with that vision and intent that compliant ebikes be traffic / usage regulated as bikes. That is clear if anyone reads the HR senate vote notes so I will leave it at that. That was a good intent....harmonizing with the EU on the classes by PFBs was not well intended in my opinion and I want them to be a strong advocacy group (they simply messed up and got blinded by the lobby money).

5) Many companies are releasing multi-mode ebikes (some literally like Juiced with Class 1, 2, 3, and offroad modes) and where does the 3-class system require that the ebike be stickered with the top mode the ebike is capable of. We are just edging close to where there will be a programmed mode to auto switch back to class 1 or 2 when below 20mph and how would enforcement ever prove someone was riding in class 3 where not permitted.

The way the system should have worked is for the federal definition to have been adopted by all 50 states as a bike and usage regulated as a bike. That was simple and would have worked fine.

The fact that land managers don't really understand that 750W is a two slice toaster of power and those throttle ebikes are not going to tear up their trails like a motorcycles matters. They need to realize that sometimes their assumptions are wrong. I know for a fact that most trail damage is due to erosion.
 
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J.R.

Well-Known Member
Here's what I think are the big issues for the 3-class system:

1) There were throttle ebikes being sold that were legal per fed / CPSC thru 1st sale that do not cease assist at 20mph (the Polaris Diesel and the PIM models including the Archer that are examples but there are others). I've talked with People for Bikes (their so called experts on the regulatory stuff) and they claim if throttle assist past 20mph they are Class 3 but that is simply wrong per their 3-class table (they thought they had a harmonized table that was consistent with what was being sold but they failed to pay attention). Look up the Izip Express as it was an ebike used by the LA Police department that provided assist past 28mph yet was CPSC compliant. Per the current usage laws in those 22 states you mentioned these bikes are not legal to use at all on any public infrastructure. I don't think that can be done without some formal consideration of those products.

2) The HR727 federal law bill explicitly states that a compliant low speed electric bike is not to be considered a motor vehicle (some claim that was just a jurisdiction statement but jurisdiction was established by the very first sentence of the bill - that CPSC would be managing regulatory compliance of "bikes" including the low speed electric defined). If they are not motor vehicles by federal definition (this is what keeps them out of NHTSA/DOT realm) then how can the 3-class system parse the classes by motor performance? Seems like a fair question to me but if you ask anyone at PFBs you'll just get that dear in the headlights look.

3) Speedometers are not required per CPSC and that is something that would fall under "bike requirements" so how can class 3 require them (that sure seems like a more stringent requirement that is pre-empted specifically). Specialized top of the line Creo $15,000 class 3 ebike doesn't have one so that sure seems like a shot over the bow to test the legal standing of the 3 class system.

4) I've seen the letters from PFBs essentially begging the distributors and retail channel to put the ?required? stickers on the ebikes but they can not actually tamper with the boxed ebikes per CPSC regulations. I have never read anyone claim that enforcement using this sticker system is ever going to be effective and that is being very nice per the statements I have read.

I want ebikes to achieve their potential as a great urbam mobility solution so I'm arguing that the 3-class system is not a good solution. Dr. Currie (a PhD electrical engineer) had a vision and wrote the federal definition consistent with that vision and intent that compliant ebikes be traffic / usage regulated as bikes. That is clear if anyone reads the HR senate vote notes so I will leave it at that. That was a good intent....harmonizing with the EU on the classes by PFBs was not well intended in my opinion and I want them to be a strong advocacy group (they simply messed up and got blinded by the lobby money).

5) Many companies are releasing multi-mode ebikes (some literally like Juiced with Class 1, 2, 3, and offroad modes) and where does the 3-class system require that the ebike be stickered with the top mode the ebike is capable of. We are just edging close to where there will be a programmed mode to auto switch back to class 1 or 2 when below 20mph and how would enforcement ever prove someone was riding in class 3 where not permitted.

The way the system should have worked is for the federal definition to have been adopted by all 50 states as a bike and usage regulated as a bike. That was simple and would have worked fine.

The fact that land managers don't really understand that 750W is a two slice toaster of power and those throttle ebikes are not going to tear up their trails like a motorcycles matters. They need to realize that sometimes their assumptions are wrong. I know for a fact that most trail damage is due to erosion.
In my argument to land managers at a public meeting, I referenced my Class 1 ebike and suggested I had a house fan that was more powerful. They liked the comparison.

This 2015 survey was used in every state that passed the 3 Class law. It contains public opinions, some you'll like and some you won't. It is the reality and what legislatures are using. It is the last major study into ebikes, their use and public opinion.

ELECTRIC BICYCLES: PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS & POLICY
Results and analysis of a national survey of American bicyclists

BY KEN MCLEOD LEAGUE OF AMERICAN BICYCLISTS LEGAL SPECIALIST

JANUARY 2015

 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Thank JR....that survey pretty much supports my opinion that the intent of HR727 was for compliant "low speed electric bicycles" to just be left as bikes for the decades old (maybe century old) bike traffic/usage laws. 82% essentially stating that position and would likely be more lopsided if done today on a wider scale.

But the article also helps understand how so many have misconceptions based on types of EVs and some of them being called ebikes when in reality they are much closer to full powered motorcycles. I will just keep my efforts going to push that a federal compliant ebike be allowed for sale and use in all 50 states. Keep it simple. If that "bike" is not safe on a path than just ban all bikes from that path because in reality "bike equality" is what was intended by HR727 (it was not just about jurisdiction as usage was discussed extensively in the congressional notes before the vote).