Larry Pizzi of EBCC discusses Electric Bike Laws and Classes at Interbike

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Court had the opportunity to talk with Larry Pizzi about the CA Bill AB-1096, other bike laws and classes while he was at Interbike last week.


A bill in California (drafted during 2015) specifies three classes of electric bikes. This bill is meant to guide how and where people can use low speed electric bikes and enable some classes to be usable on mountain bike trails in a way that is not disruptive to existing human powered bicycles and pedestrian hikers.

- (1) A “class 1 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
- (2) A “class 2 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
- (3) A “class 3 electric bicycle,” or “speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour, and equipped with a speedometer.

You can read more about the bill (which was waiting for approval by the governer at the time of this video) here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/fac... This enables law enforcement and land management agencies to regulate appropriately. The bill is on the Governers desk and has until October 11th to be signed, they have an endorsement from California Highway Patrol. They hope that it will serve as model legislation for other states that do not have clarity on ebike regulation.

Larry Pizzi is the senior vice president of Raleigh, in charge of all dealer business. He is also president of the EBCC (electric bike competence and service center, which grew out of Currie Technologies). He also serves as the Chair of the electric bike committee of the bicycle product suppliers association (he is a board member). They work with People for Bikes to make legislative and regulatory progress. The official committe was formed on the BPSA in 2014 to 2015. IMBA was commissioned to do impact studies. Supporters were Shimano, Bosch, BionX, Currie Technologies, Accell North America, Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, People for Bikes, National Bicycle Dealers Association, Yuba (and more).
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
There are some questions. I wonder what it means to require pedal assist to go 28 mph. How much? In theory, you could set up a bike for almost no assist, just rotate the pedals, and go 28 mph. People want the speed, which is the other problem. A lot of people are building bikes that will easily get into the 30's. No one has really explained how the 'sticker' system' is going to work, especially with kit bikes.

Notably absent from his list of supporters was Pedego. What can you say? The head of Pedego (Don DiCostanzo) says most states should stick with the Federal rules that guide most states. The Pizzi coalition was going after two big states with very bad regulations, California and New York. In California, there was no access for ebikes on bike paths. In New York, gee, they don't allow ebikes, more or less. So California is 'fixed' and New York remains to be done. But most states have fewers issues that Cal and NY. Why should they change? Where are Pedego and Prodeco.

If the big companies bring bikes into California, bikes that are legal as Speed Pedelecs, then what? Do they 'neuter' them to ship to Utah and most other states? Do they just leave them as 28 mph ebikes? Then they are selling illegal ebikes in states with the 20 mph limits. I don't know that it matters because I can buy a high power motor from a dozen vendors, get a 48 volt high amp hour battery, and tool along at 35 mph, at least until someone says I can't. I'm not doing that, but it's clear many people are doing this.

Mr. Pizzi seems to be saying we can have high speed bikes, but basically European bikes that reflect European standards. He may think 28 mph and no throttle is the ideal, but the marketplace, right now, really doesn't reflect that. There's nothing horrible about the Cal standards. It would be OK, with me, if they were the national standards, and having one set of standards would be better. There is a risk that when they said a 30 miles per hour motorized electric bike was "OK", they opened the door to high powered bikes being legal. Many people may stop at "high powered bikes are OK", and not read the fine print. What can they do for the 35 mph bike? What can they do for the ebike with a throttle that goes 22 mph? How do they 'sticker' the kit bikes, in January 2017?

Maybe they can sell it, maybe they can't. It fixes some real problems in California. It does nothing for Utah.
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
I can buy a turbo or supercharger for a Miata and it still isnt as fast as a Vette but it still is faster than any speed limit in the US with out the addition, speed is not the issue IMHO drivers are. if you keep me and my bike off the bike paths you will lose my Tourist money spending in your area, hotels , food, bike stuff and then what foolish things my wife wants :) do you want another me to drive on the roads and be extra safe w/cars? I dont believe the regulations are bad, I think if we had registered bikes we would have responsible drivers if they thought they would get caught. i am ok w/big fines and penalties once enforced. I also strongly believe that one set of rules will not cover all the issues, there will always be away around something, less rules , more freedoms along w/more responsibility.

Pleae note when I think bike paths i think long paved shared paths, long fire roads not the single track stuff w/big down hills
 

Paul E.

Active Member
A little throttle anecdote... recently the bike path I take on my commute was flooded in places after heavy rain just so that it was passable but if I had to pedal through, I would have soaked my feet in muddy water. Instead, I used the throttle of my Dash to crawl through holding my feet up and dry. I felt so sinful I had to whip myself like the bad monk in Da Vinci Code when I got home.

With Mr. Pizzi pushing this anti-throttle crap now, I doubt my next ebike will be from Currie.
 
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Vern

Active Member
A little throttle anecdote... recently the bike path I take on my commute was flooded in places after heavy rain just so that it was passable but if I had to pedal through, I would have soaked my feet in muddy water. Instead, I used the throttle of my Dash to crawl through holding my feet up and dry. I felt so sinful I had to whip myself like the bad monk in Da Vinci Code when I got home.

With Mr. Pizzi pushing this anti-throttle crap now, I doubt my next ebike will be from Currie.

If your bike is equipped with a throttle and it surpasses 20mph it is illegal based on federal law NOW. Why are you mad at Mr. Pizzi for pushing for a less lenient California law that at least makes a provision for speed pedelecs. The CA law does allow for a throttle bike, just not passed 20 mph.
 

Paul E.

Active Member
If your bike is equipped with a throttle and it surpasses 20mph it is illegal based on federal law NOW. Why are you mad at Mr. Pizzi for pushing for a less lenient California law that at least makes a provision for speed pedelecs. The CA law does allow for a throttle bike, just not passed 20 mph.
My bike is limited to 20 mph on throttle. I'm mad at Mr. Pizzi for pushing it to be some kind of "class 2" now that is banned somewhere or extra regulated and taxed and licensed somehow just because it has a throttle, unlike based on the federal law NOW.
 

Vern

Active Member
States are able to make their own laws regarding motor vehicles. CA and NY tend to be trend setters in many areas and other states may follow. CA emissions requirements on motor vehicles comes to mind. CA has traditionally had the most strict emission requirements in the nation. Now new cars are just made to meet 50 state emission requirements. For better or worse...
I guess the one reason I like the CA law is because at least it doesn't follow along with NYs outright ban. Additionally it allows for a speed pedelec which is a must in my mind for commuters. I don't think it is as big of a problem as you make it out to be. Retailers traditionally have to modify their products and product lines based on local and state ordinances. In CA a class sticker may have to be placed on a bike. In other states a retailer can decide whether or not they want to carry "speed pedelecs" that are technically illegal in their state. The speed pedelec class is really the only difference anyway. Considering that there are many bikes being sold that are technically illegal now, retailer may not care and just let the market decide what to carry. There are many retailers near me that sell the Outlaw and I don't think it is technically legal anywhere in CA. I don't see any reason why a class sticker could not be included in a kit as well. There will have to be a honor system to some extent as to whether home builders follow the law and use the stickers. I really can't imagine that much enforcement unless someone is being a complete idiot and blatantly ignoring the laws.
 

Vern

Active Member
My bike is limited to 20 mph on throttle. I'm mad at Mr. Pizzi for pushing it to be some kind of "class 2" now that is banned somewhere or extra regulated and taxed and licensed somehow just because it has a throttle, unlike based on the federal law NOW.
I get what you mean. I don't know how they intend to handle bikes that were made before the law was enacted. I'll email Larry and see if he knows.
 

Paul E.

Active Member
I'm not worried that my bike would suddenly be illegal where I live. I'm more annoyed by how this kind of stuff always ends up affecting what kind of bikes are going to be available to buy anywhere, as can be seen in Currie's 2016 iZip lineup that mostly now has a "boost button" instead of throttle.
 

David1

Active Member
Ann M ,thanks for posting these links to Interbike.Court good to see you felt better and got these great videos. I'm going sometime. Thanks again.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
Court had the opportunity to talk with Larry Pizzi about the CA Bill AB-1096, other bike laws and classes while he was at Interbike last week.

A bill in California (drafted during 2015) specifies three classes of electric bikes. This bill is meant to guide how and where people can use low speed electric bikes and enable some classes to be usable on mountain bike trails in a way that is not disruptive to existing human powered bicycles and pedestrian hikers.

- (1) A “class 1 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
- (2) A “class 2 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
- (3) A “class 3 electric bicycle,” or “speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour, and equipped with a speedometer.

You can read more about the bill (which was waiting for approval by the governer at the time of this video) here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/fac... This enables law enforcement and land management agencies to regulate appropriately. The bill is on the Governers desk and has until October 11th to be signed, they have an endorsement from California Highway Patrol. They hope that it will serve as model legislation for other states that do not have clarity on ebike regulation.

Larry Pizzi is the senior vice president of Raleigh, in charge of all dealer business. He is also president of the EBCC (electric bike competence and service center, which grew out of Currie Technologies). He also serves as the Chair of the electric bike committee of the bicycle product suppliers association (he is a board member). They work with People for Bikes to make legislative and regulatory progress. The official committe was formed on the BPSA in 2014 to 2015. IMBA was commissioned to do impact studies. Supporters were Shimano, Bosch, BionX, Currie Technologies, Accell North America, Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, People for Bikes, National Bicycle Dealers Association, Yuba (and more).

Thanks Court for the interview. I won't rehash past issues with the classification. As ebikers, we need to embrace the changes and move forward, and I think providing classes will help with the legal transition of acceptance. I will ask three questions:
1. Why doesn't the class 2 allow for both PAS and throttle?
2. Why is pedaling a PAS bike 28mph considered "safe" while throttling an ebike at 28mph, with full concentration and not having 50% of our body in motion, considered less safe?
3. Why did Larry and Co. not present a class 4 electric bike as a moped class distinct from scooters and ICE motorcycles?
 

Vern

Active Member
Thanks Court for the interview. I won't rehash past issues with the classification. As ebikers, we need to embrace the changes and move forward, and I think providing classes will help with the legal transition of acceptance. I will ask three questions:
1. Why doesn't the class 2 allow for both PAS and throttle?
2. Why is pedaling a PAS bike 28mph considered "safe" while throttling an ebike at 28mph, with full concentration and not having 50% of our body in motion, considered less safe?
3. Why did Larry and Co. not present a class 4 electric bike as a moped class distinct from scooters and ICE motorcycles?

1) Class 2 doesn't allow for both because it is just making a distinction between the two types of bike.
2) I don't think PAS 28 mph is considered safe, it is just considered a bicycle that should be on bike paths adjacent to roads and not causing a hazard to others using dedicated bike paths for other reasons at much slower speeds. Children, Joggers, Walkers, Regular Bikers
3) It seems to me like perhaps there should be a class 4 to allow for higher power throttle bikes. However, if these bikes don't require pedaling, then they are really no longer bikes and should fall under a moped category.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Taiwan bans E-bikes from sidwalks and bike paths.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

So, it's all in our hands. If we don't exercise caution and ride a motorcycle-looking bike, we will face the same situation here.

The California rules ban the Speed Pedelecs from bike paths, anyway. I assume sidewalks are a no-go. The people building 30-40 mph ebikes seem to want to be out in traffic.

Doesn't every issue end up being decided by 'the jerks', the people who take it too far, with no common sense? Hikers go up a trail in risky weather, quite a few die, and next year the whole process of hiking these trails will be more onerous, with more red tape. I assume this will happen at Zion NP, down the road from me.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
1) Class 2 doesn't allow for both because it is just making a distinction between the two types of bike.
2) I don't think PAS 28 mph is considered safe, it is just considered a bicycle that should be on bike paths adjacent to roads and not causing a hazard to others using dedicated bike paths for other reasons at much slower speeds. Children, Joggers, Walkers, Regular Bikers
3) It seems to me like perhaps there should be a class 4 to allow for higher power throttle bikes. However, if these bikes don't require pedaling, then they are really no longer bikes and should fall under a moped category.
I think an 'American' standard would be around 1000 watts, 32 mph, with no differentiating throttle and PA if the bike really could be pedaled. Let's say that means a speed of 12 mph just with pedals. I don't like the phony pedals, but I don't like the war on throttles.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I think an 'American' standard would be around 1000 watts, 32 mph, with no differentiating throttle and PA if the bike really could be pedaled.

Hi George,

After two years of commuting 28 miles round trip I'm pretty confident in saying I would approve the idea that a pedaled ebike should be able to travel at 28 mph. I don't go above 24-26 except for downgrades; usually around 30 mph. I believe a useful commuter bike should be allowed to travel at speeds above 20 mph. In the city....probably not, in the rural areas, definitely. Let the rider be ware, it's their responsibility to insure they are riding in a safe manner. I'm in Vienna and I bought my daughter an ebike. We've been riding the island in the Danube and the non ebikers are flying by us at much faster speeds then the ebike will travel. If the US had the same speed restrictions, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be interested in using an ebike to commute 28 miles. I think 30+ is a stretch, but to bring ebikes into longer distance commutes 20+ is a big plus....

Court J.