One more try....Does Pre-emptive apply to CPSC ebike definition???

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Does the CPSC federal definition for low speed electric bicycles super-cede the People for Bikes 3-class system??? Not opinions...looking for legal information on this subject.

I 100% believe the CPSC Pre-emptive policy applies equally to the definition of a low speed electric bicycle and the safety requirements in CPSC 1512. The policy is stated below but I'm hoping someone someplace can give me more than just an opinion on this. I feel the federal definition of a low speed electric bicycle super-cedes the PFBs 3-class system (they are not identical) but I want to know if I'm legally correct as there are just opinions flying around and those are certainly biased depending on what policy is favored by the one writing the opinion piece.

The CPSA expressly provides for federal preemption of its provisions over state and local law:
"Whenever a consumer product safety standard under this Act is in effect and applies to a risk of injury associated with a consumer product, no State or political subdivision of a State shall have any authority either to establish or to continue in effect any provision of a safety standard or regulation which prescribes any requirements as to the performance, composition, contents, design, finish, construction, packaging, or labeling of such product which are designed to deal with the same risk of injury associated with such consumer product, unless such requirements are identical to the Federal standard."
 

Code54

Member
Just call them and have them tell you - 1 (800) 638-2772.
May need to ask for one of their attorneys (Office of General counsel) but they will be able to tell you the agency's interpretation and planned enforcement.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Just call them and have them tell you - 1 (800) 638-2772.
May need to ask for one of their attorneys (Office of General counsel) but they will be able to tell you the agency's interpretation and planned enforcement.
Thanks. I have sent emails to the CPSC but what I've found is that they are very good at responding to product specific questions and not so much at sharing positions on any policy.

I don't think many have noticed that some CPSC compliant ebike models were literally rendered ?illegal? to ride in the states that have adopted the PFBs 3 class system and those that may be aware of it seem to want to sweep in under the rug. CPSC expects states to adopt policy that is identical unless there is something compelling for them to push anything more stringent (if less stringent it doesn't impact the 1st sale of anything that CPSC regulates).
 

Code54

Member
Email most likely will not work too well. Calling is always the best option and honestly you need to ge the right person to get a solid answer. The problem is no once can really give you an answer to this question. Law is often a rule formed by a govt body that will eventually be challenged and interpreted by the courts. For now you have to find out what exactly the agency is thinking/claiming
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Email most likely will not work too well. Calling is always the best option and honestly you need to ge the right person to get a solid answer. The problem is no once can really give you an answer to this question. Law is often a rule formed by a govt body that will eventually be challenged and interpreted by the courts. For now you have to find out what exactly the agency is thinking/claiming
Thanks. I have had two email exchanges with the CPSC office of compliance earlier so I emailed that same person as that office is who they transferred me to when I just called and asked about the bandwidth of CPSC Federal Preemption.

One of my exchanges was getting feedback that the CPSC definition did indeed allow combined motor assist to continue past 20mph when the rider is adding power via pedaling. That was stated on People for Bikes website as support/justification for class 3 speed pedelecs but I could not confirm officially on the CPSC website. They did confirm that if anyone wants/needs that proof in writing.

I also notified them that I thought it would be a big mistake if they allow the federal tax incentive for ebike purchases to be based on the Class system (it has not been adopted by all states and CPSC absolutely controls what is compliant thru first sale). They did seem to agree but were not even aware of the tax incentive package that was likely to go thru. I wonder if anyone communicates in the government. It's like they are sleep walking thru the day but I still believe we need government ... just more energetic and caring about performance.
 

Code54

Member
Lol - CPSC is all about safety and keeping people safe, the tax stuff is handled my the IRS, and since that is just a proposed piece of legislation the agencies doubtfully have anything idea about it nor would they give input. The IRS sort of "enforces" the tax code but a bill like this will just be passed and handed over to them to handle the actual incentive. Their function in the process would be to give the proper language for the tax side and nothing to do with the actual language about the type/styles of bicycles. If you have concerns with the wording (classes/etc) it is best to reach out to the person that proposed the piece of legislation and your local representatives.
 

Code54

Member
Here is an article on the tax incentives in case someone has not heard about: Nothing official just something I found for a reference on our friend Google.....
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
It's really kind of shocking to me that there is a CPSC federal preemptive policy but it's not clear if that covers the ebike definition (which is clearly a requirement for an ebike to be considered compliant to the CPSC 1512. My gut tells me it must be under the preemptive policy but I have not been able to get verification. This should not have to be a court case given that one of CPSC general powers is too develop uniform safety standards for consumer products and to minimize conflicting State and local regulations. If states have their own definitions for what is a compliant ebike then I do not see an end of the confusion (I will not support the 3-class system because it was based on harmonization goals and had nothing to do with growing bike/ebike usage or safety).
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Lol - CPSC is all about safety and keeping people safe, the tax stuff is handled my the IRS, and since that is just a proposed piece of legislation the agencies doubtfully have anything idea about it nor would they give input. The IRS sort of "enforces" the tax code but a bill like this will just be passed and handed over to them to handle the actual incentive. Their function in the process would be to give the proper language for the tax side and nothing to do with the actual language about the type/styles of bicycles. If you have concerns with the wording (classes/etc) it is best to reach out to the person that proposed the piece of legislation and your local representatives.
I reached out to the two bill sponsors and questioned tying the incentive to buying a Class 1, 2, or 3 ebike. My thoughts are that they will give the incentives to multi-mode ebikes, some of which have an off-road mode, and then it will position the poorly thought out and executed 3 class system.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
This wording is hard for me to follow.
"Whenever a consumer product safety standard under this Act is in effect and applies to a risk of injury associated with a consumer product, no State or political subdivision of a State shall have any authority either to establish or to continue in effect any provision of a safety standard or regulation which prescribes any requirements as to the performance, composition, contents, design, finish, construction, packaging, or labeling of such product which are designed to deal with the same risk of injury associated with such consumer product, unless such requirements are identical to the Federal standard."
In California we have a lot of labeling standards and composition and performance standards that impact the safety of consumer products. Prop 65, VOC, and auto emissions for example.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
This wording is hard for me to follow.
"Whenever a consumer product safety standard under this Act is in effect and applies to a risk of injury associated with a consumer product, no State or political subdivision of a State shall have any authority either to establish or to continue in effect any provision of a safety standard or regulation which prescribes any requirements as to the performance, composition, contents, design, finish, construction, packaging, or labeling of such product which are designed to deal with the same risk of injury associated with such consumer product, unless such requirements are identical to the Federal standard."
In California we have a lot of labeling standards and composition and performance standards that impact the safety of consumer products. Prop 65, VOC, and auto emissions for example.
There are exceptions made and the auto emissions example is the one most people are aware of. The CPSC has actually allowed states to draft documents (sometimes mulitple states working together) that are submitted to the commission for review and I think that has driven changes to some CPSC safety requirements. But it's my understanding just redefining a product as the 3-class system does was just not supposed to happen.

Here's an example why it can create big interstate commerce issues. Let's say California decided they wanted to ban all sales and use of ebikes over 100W and 10mph and group of elected law makers went out and did that with nothing justifying the decision. I just don't see how that would stand for long given the impact it would have not only on commerce but the current owners of ebikes in the states. While I understand that the 3 class system is not that different than the federal definition it certainly made some compliant ebikes not legal for use in the states that have adopted the PFBs 3 class "?model legislation?" For example I have a Polaris Diesel / PIM Archer that has a throttle that provide some assist past 20MPH. There was no issue with this bike being compliant to CPSC definition and it was compliant for me to ride in Colorado until the 3 class system was introduced and now any throttle ebike that assists past 20mph is illegal to use on any public infrastructure. There are only model ebikes that have been impacted but this is a good example I am personally aware of.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
The Sondors LX just arrived. Got to go. I see what you mean. If you ride safely I do not think it will be a problem. I remove all regulators from my bikes and I put the throttles inside the pedals.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
The Sondors LX just arrived. Got to go. I see what you mean. If you ride safely I do not think it will be a problem. I remove all regulators from my bikes and I put the throttles inside the pedals.
Sonders models are very well thought out compared to most other brands. They were well aware that the more powerful Bafang M620/Ultra makes sense for the US market vs the other 250W mid drive brands, especially for urban mobility (mtn bikes can still benefit from lighter drive systems but a topic for another thread). That said, I do believe Sondors will have to govern that power above 20mph to be CPSC compliant if they don't want to declare all 3 models as "off-road" only.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Here is the Rockstar.
 

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antboy

Well-Known Member
Does the CPSC federal definition for low speed electric bicycles super-cede the People for Bikes 3-class system??? Not opinions...looking for legal information on this subject.

I 100% believe the CPSC Pre-emptive policy applies equally to the definition of a low speed electric bicycle and the safety requirements in CPSC 1512. The policy is stated below but I'm hoping someone someplace can give me more than just an opinion on this. I feel the federal definition of a low speed electric bicycle super-cedes the PFBs 3-class system (they are not identical) but I want to know if I'm legally correct as there are just opinions flying around and those are certainly biased depending on what policy is favored by the one writing the opinion piece.
Since the CPSC is a part of the federal gov't and PfB is listed as a non-profit corporation, I would guess the gov't would supercede PfB.

Tangent: PfB has a pretty big operating budget, and at their 2020 Town Hall talked about securing $2 billion in gov't funding for bike infrastructure & safety, so my guess is that at the state and local level, they're THE advocates for shaping policies that fit their class definitions...


People For Bikes Foundation had over $6.2 million in revenue, while People For Bikes Coalition another $3.7 million plus, so they've got cash behind them to do this.
(https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/exempt-organizations-business-master-file-extract-eo-bmf) click on Colorado to download a spreadsheet with the two orgs listed, including revenue.

I'm only sharing this because I was surprised at the size of the organization. :)
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Yea...I watched that video and I'm glad they are doing well. But I can not understand why they didn't investigate the 3-class policy. I just think objectively it's an impact to interstate commerce which is something that can lead to preemptive decisions from the CPSC. Obviously the intent was more about harmonizing with Europe (especially on class 3) which simply doesn't make much sense given the federal definition going back to 2002. Parsing that definition into 3 classes doesn't make the bikes that are compliant to 3-class non compliant to the CPSC definition but I do not think they can consider this required for state "use" regulations. We'll see as I have filed a petition for Preemption that you can read on another forum.