Minnesota introduces 3-class eBike Definition proposal

James Kohls

Active Member
In addition to adding the 3-class system, this bill also adds restrictions to eBikes.

Previously, local municipalities could not restrict eBikes, with a few exceptions:

Section 160.263:
A governing body may not prohibit or otherwise restrict operation of an electric-assisted bicycle, as defined in section 169.011, subdivision 27, on any bikeway, roadway, or shoulder, unless the governing body determines that operation of the electric-assisted bicycle is not consistent with (1) the safety or general welfare of bikeway, roadway, or shoulder users; or (2) the terms of any property conveyance.

New bill allows local municipalities to restrict Class 3 eBikes and all eBikes on unpaved trails (eMTB).

(c) A person may operate a class 3 electric-assisted bicycle with the motor engaged on a bicycle path, bicycle trail, or shared use path unless the local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over the bicycle path or trail prohibits the operation.
(d) The local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a trail that is designated as nonmotorized, and that has a natural surface tread made by clearing and grading the native soil with no added surfacing materials, may regulate the operation of an electric-assisted bicycle.
This could mean the end to Minnesota's permitting eMTBs on MTB trails (rather unique in the U.S., at this time).
 

James Kohls

Active Member

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
The change is good for commuters. Some bikes are very heavy and it makes sense that those could be restricted from some purely recreational nature trails. I worked on one that was 106 pounds with a throttle. In my opinion it does not belong on a nature trail.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
Rider weight can vary by hundreds of pounds. Should overweight eBike riders be restricted from nature trail use?
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
The change is good for commuters. Some bikes are very heavy and it makes sense that those could be restricted from some purely recreational nature trails. I worked on one that was 106 pounds with a throttle. In my opinion it does not belong on a nature trail.
I don't think many serious recreational riders would want to have a 100lb + ebike on a trail. But rider weight can be a much greater factor in establishing the total weight.

I have questioned the logic of not allowing a throttle on Class 3 ebikes (I don't like the class system at all for many reasons) when most states are restricting them to only bike lanes / streets / etc. where every other vehicle that can go much faster than 28mph has a throttle / pedal. There simply is nothing logical about that. Don't ask People for Bikes why the did this because they simply will not admit that they just market harmonized with Europe's speed pedelecs and didn't think there could be a better definition for ideal commuting ebikes.

Note: Given that we are seeing ebike assist systems with control parameters like heart rate, gear, and slope the idea of just parsing based on throttle-assist or pedal-assist is already obsolete (funny how the 2002 HR727 definition for a Low Speed Electric Bicycle written by a PhD Electrical Engineer proves to be much more thought out than what People for Bikes is trying to replace it with).