People for Bikes Presents 3-Class as "Voluntary" to the CPSC

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Not sure how many noticed that PFBs presented 3-class legislation at a CPSC sponsored micromobility forum as a "Voluntary ebike Standard." I think they are hedging in case the 3-class system does end up getting preempted - they will claim the states adopted as law entirely on their own. I don't understand why someone at the CPSC did not consider the interstate commerce impact of 3-class state legislation during this presentation but claiming it's voluntary was deceptive. PFBs was claiming they nearly have the entire ebike industry only producing 3-class compliant ebikes to a voluntary standard (not true but if no one questions it I guess it is). Here's how they presented 3-class...

VOLUNTARY E-BIKE STANDARDS
» Three class state regulatory system:
» Clarifies an important ambiguity in federal product safety law, which does not specify a maximum pedal-assisted motorized speed that e-bicycles may travel.
» Addresses and enables local government use regulation.

This legislative capture effort by PFBs (more of an industry lobby group now than a bike advocacy organization) should not be viewed as a good way forward for the ebike industry. I hope more ebikers speak out.

I want to point out the two lies of the last 2 bullets. There was/is no ambiguity in the federal product definition on maximum pedal assisted speed because it was crystal clear that the assist power was limited above 20mph per constraints which makes for a much more natural speed control than the cease of assists defined by 3-class (we all need to understand this is a lie). The last bullet states 3-class "enables local government use regulation. Now this is simply an out-fight LIE that should upset everyone. The states have had the right to regulate vehicle use, including bikes and ebikes, long before 3-class legislation was created by People for Bikes (they want us to drink their koolaid and I can't just sit here and not speak out when a so called bike advocacy group out-right lies to everyone).
 
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Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
How about starting writing with a definition of acronyms? I understand PFB, as it is in the title, but not the CPwhatever.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
How about starting writing with a definition of acronyms? I understand PFB, as it is in the title, but not the CPwhatever.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Thanks. I just thought that was a common acronym with the ebike crowd given that is where compliance regulation lies.

I started this tread because I feel it's very very puzzling that PFBs literally presented their 3-class policy legislation as "voluntary." I very much think that they understand that they, nor the states, have legal power to require the bike industry to ship 3-class compliant bikes for 1st sale. When a product is federally regulated the states can no longer define what a compliant product is. If anyone reads the history of the CPSC they will understand why this is important as interstate commerce is a federal enumerated right via the constitution.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Moving in the right direction !

This actually happened back in 2002 but there were a lot of states that had remnants of NHTSA's desire that ebikes be considered motor vehicles. When "'low speed electric bicycles" were passed to CPSC along with the modified definition they were no longer motor vehicles but some people at local levels just can't let go of the past.

One of my biggest ????s is how People for Bikes parses the classes based on motor performance and speed when by definition there really isn't a motor. I understand that seems nonsensical but LSEBs are not motor vehicles and there should be no indication that is not full regulatory reality. Trail managers should not be saying pedal-assist OK and throttle-assist not OK because they are to be USE regulated as a bike. So many have a hard time with this but this is what would be best for anyone that ever buys and rides an ebike but some refuse to even consider what "non motorized" should really mean.
 

CareyR

New Member
Thanks. I just thought that was a common acronym with the ebike crowd given that is where compliance regulation lies.

I started this tread because I feel it's very very puzzling that PFBs literally presented their 3-class policy legislation as "voluntary." I very much think that they understand that they, nor the states, have legal power to require the bike industry to ship 3-class compliant bikes for 1st sale. When a product is federally regulated the states can no longer define what a compliant product is. If anyone reads the history of the CPSC they will understand why this is important as interstate commerce is a federal enumerated right via the constitution.
I apologize but I don't quite understand the problem with the 3 class system. I'm not sure what they mean by "voluntary" but in my state, Tennessee, the model PFB law makes a lot more sense than the previous law. I'm not crazy about the class 2 model but lots of people buy them. I support e-bikes because I want to grow cycling and that is definitely happening. My local parks board thinks they have banned e-bikes from greenways, which they consider a motorized vehicle, despite the fact our council has never passed the enabling legislation required in the state law. It didn't really matter as I rode an e-bike for the last five years because they didn't enforce it or the 15 MPH speed limit. Our bike share system is about to go all electric and 300 e-bikes will be available to ride on their greenways. That should ignite some discussion.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I apologize but I don't quite understand the problem with the 3 class system. I'm not sure what they mean by "voluntary" but in my state, Tennessee, the model PFB law makes a lot more sense than the previous law. I'm not crazy about the class 2 model but lots of people buy them. I support e-bikes because I want to grow cycling and that is definitely happening. My local parks board thinks they have banned e-bikes from greenways, which they consider a motorized vehicle, despite the fact our council has never passed the enabling legislation required in the state law. It didn't really matter as I rode an e-bike for the last five years because they didn't enforce it or the 15 MPH speed limit. Our bike share system is about to go all electric and 300 e-bikes will be available to ride on their greenways. That should ignite some discussion.

The issue with the 3-class system is how it violates interstate commerce laws. The CPSC has had an ebike definition and safety regulation in place for ebikes since 2002 with an expressed preemtion clause (states that states can not regulate with more stringent requirements than in CPSC 1512). Most people in the US are not going to pull them selves away from the TV long enough to learn anything about the history of consumer product regulations, interstate commerce, and certainly not preemption policy of the CPSC.

I'm not certain what Tennessee's ebike laws were prior to them drinking the 3-class koolaid but if the lawmakers there could read they would have understood that the federal definition for a "low speed electric bicycle" clearly made them non-motor vehicles (some goofy trail managers still want to claim otherwise but again if they would take the time to read the HR727 they would know that is the wrong view) that were to be "use / traffic" regulated as bikes by the states. Only one AG in the US has voiced an opinion on this and that is exactly what he concluded so unless another state AG is willing to go on record with an opinion outside of court (most never do as there's no money in just given opinions out) then I believe that opinion means a lot.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
Please someone with People for Bikes comment on why 3-class was presented to the CPSC as voluntary.

It just seems that PFBs is aware that there is an interstate commerce conflict with the federal definition so they are backing away from claiming this is better legislation than the simple federal definition what sets a power limit above 20mph via the constraints of 170lb rider on a level surface which usually requires about 300-350W.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
power limit above 20mph via the constraints of 170lb rider on a level surface which usually requires about 300-350W.
Why they didn’t used a real life scenario - usually a Us young adult is closer to 170lb and a Us adult most likely avg. 215-235lb ; should use a 265-285lb weight plus a trailer (125-175lb), and adjust or increase the power required so that the ebike with the heaviest rider/load (500lb total) under harshest conditions ( cold, 10% incline , 30mph headwind ) can move swiftly @20mph.

People were unhappy about this and Ariel Grizzly (1.5kw motor, 2x1kw batteries), WattWagon( Bafang 1.5kw motor) , and a few others companies are filling the gap.

Bosch will be left hung out to dry and thei proprietary bs motor/battery/display used only by the brainwashed masses !




When Ford launches a truck, that truck can pull a 10.000lb load and still reach 70-75mph or 90mph if needed.

It looks like by design or by law they want to make the E bikes unsafe by making them slow and “fast” only for a light rider, the test has no 30mph headwind, no 10% incline as in real life. A 1.5kw motor should be the norm . Maybe dual hub motors for winter.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Su
Why they didn’t used a real life scenario - usually a Us young adult is closer to 170lb and a Us adult most likely avg. 215-235lb ; should use a 265-285lb weight plus a trailer (125-175lb), and adjust or increase the power required so that the ebike with the heaviest rider/load (500lb total) under harshest conditions ( cold, 10% incline , 30mph headwind ) can move swiftly @20mph.

People were unhappy about this and Ariel Grizzly (1.5kw motor, 2x1kw batteries), WattWagon( Bafang 1.5kw motor) , and a few others companies are filling the gap.

Bosch will be left hung out to dry and thei proprietary bs motor/battery/display used only by the brainwashed masses !




When Ford launches a truck, that truck can pull a 10.000lb load and still reach 70-75mph or 90mph if needed.

It looks like by design or by law they want to make the E bikes unsafe by making them slow and “fast” only for a light rider, the test has no 30mph headwind, no 10% incline as in real life. A 1.5kw motor should be the norm . Maybe dual hub motors for winter.
Surprisingly it does not take that much more power to sustain a much heavier rider at 20mph on a level surface. What Dr. Currie was trying to do in 2001 was to create a definition that would not alarm the NHTSA because they did not want to allow ebikes to be moved to the CPSC and not considered a motor vehicle if they could achieve faster than 20mph so this was a way to allow assist beyond 20mph when the rider provides input.

The federal definition is also written in such a way as to allow peak power to be higher than 750W below 20mph which provides a great solution for utility bikes but the power must not exceed what can sustain a 170lb rider on a level surface on that specific bike (every bike has different efficiencies so this is address via the way Dr Currie wrote the definition - he had a PhD in electrical engineering which I'm certain makes him more qualified to write a good definition vs the spandexters at People for Bikes that were getting lobby money to push the 3-class legislation similar to Europe to harmonize at least the class 3 models).
 
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mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Why they didn’t used a real life scenario - usually a Us young adult is closer to 170lb and a Us adult most likely avg. 215-235lb ; should use a 265-285lb weight plus a trailer (125-175lb), and adjust or increase the power required so that the ebike with the heaviest rider/load (500lb total) under harshest conditions ( cold, 10% incline , 30mph headwind ) can move swiftly @20mph.

People were unhappy about this and Ariel Grizzly (1.5kw motor, 2x1kw batteries), WattWagon( Bafang 1.5kw motor) , and a few others companies are filling the gap.

Bosch will be left hung out to dry and thei proprietary bs motor/battery/display used only by the brainwashed masses !




When Ford launches a truck, that truck can pull a 10.000lb load and still reach 70-75mph or 90mph if needed.

It looks like by design or by law they want to make the E bikes unsafe by making them slow and “fast” only for a light rider, the test has no 30mph headwind, no 10% incline as in real life. A 1.5kw motor should be the norm . Maybe dual hub motors for winter.

i get what you’re saying, but i personally would absolutely not want vehicles capable of accelerating a 500lb load up a 10% grade in the bike lane, on mixed use paths, or frankly anywhere else than in automobile lanes with license plates, registration, insurance, and license requirements. there is a trade off for totally unlicensed lightweight vehicles which have the opportunity to bypass traffic, park on the sidewalk, do the idaho “yield,” and so on.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
i get what you’re saying, but i personally would absolutely not want vehicles capable of accelerating a 500lb load up a 10% grade in the bike lane, on mixed use paths, or frankly anywhere else than in automobile lanes with license plates, registration, insurance, and license requirements. there is a trade off for totally unlicensed lightweight vehicles which have the opportunity to bypass traffic, park on the sidewalk, do the idaho “yield,” and so on.
The constraints limit the speed (not going to get much from a rider above 20mph but below 20mph the extra power (a power rating is pretty nebulous) does provide utility. Given how the definition is structured it's unlikely that even a heavy load cargo bike would ever need more than say 2000W peak and even at that power level their are system costs that would limit it's appeal. I think the main intent of the definition was to allow ebikes to go slightly faster than 20mph so they are a good transportation solution.

The 3-class system is an interstate commerce violation as the CPSC controls what is compliant for sale and not all federally compliant low speed electric bikes are compliant to 3-class legislation and most of the buyers are not even aware of this. You should read the petition I filed with the CPSC to make a preemption decision against the 28 states that have adopted the 3-class legislation under the pretense it was needed for effective "use" regulation of ebikes (a nice glass of koolaid for the masses to drink but the federal definition was intended to just leave a LSEB as a bike for use laws at the state level.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
@Ken.M , I would try to email them , it would be interesting to see what response you would get from PFB.

Yes, i did read the CPSC petition, by what date are they supposed to provide an answer ? AND what could be the consequences if they do make that decision against the 28states who adopted the class 3 system ?
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
capable of accelerating a 500lb load up a 10% grade in the bike lane, on mixed use paths, or frankly anywhere else than in automobile lanes
That is a very rare scenario, but it is safe and needed to have that power on a steep incline. Have you had to start from a complete stop with a cargo ebike on a steep incline ? Lots of people use them and a class 3 ebike is not adequate for this purpose.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
That is a very rare scenario, but it is safe and needed to have that power on a steep incline. Have you had to start from a complete stop with a cargo ebike on a steep incline ? Lots of people use them and a class 3 ebike is not adequate for this purpose.
i think it's an interesting question, since clearly the amount of damage a vehicle can do to a pedestrian or cyclist is proportional to it's mass and speed. (maybe the square of the speed)

i live in san francisco and start uphill with myself and my kid on a class 1 bike all the time, 250w nominal 500w max. i think if someone wants a 1500w two wheeled vehicle, that's awesome, but at 500lb and 28mph i do not want it in the bike lane with my kid, unless there are some new limitations on speeds and behavior in the bike lanes, on mixed use paths, crosswalks, etc, which frankly i'd rather not see.

conceptually there seem to be two ways to address vehicle safety. 1) strictly regulate the operator and the behavior, as with automobiles - licensing, points, violations, maximum speed, a million other rules. 2) limit the vehicles, whether by size, weight, power, speed, etc. in the US on the road we've mostly done number 1. there is no limit on power, acceleration, and frankly only minor limits on weight and other aspects of vehicle design except performance in a crash and emissions.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
That "500 lb load" is common on cargo bikes. Using that scenario, you are pretty much wiping out cargo bikes period, which is unacceptable, and of course the fear voiced in that desired prohibition is unwarranted. Cargo bikes have equipment to make them safe at those loads.

I rode my Bullitt into work this morning loaded with a breakroom resupply. Several cases of sodas. I was easily at the 500 lb limit. I weigh 255 by myself. The bike is about 100. I had about 125 lbs in supplies and heck... my bike lock alone weighs 15 lbs so I am sure I can find another 5 somewhere to make 500. I have 4-piston brakes and 2.3mm thick, 203mm rotors front and rear and stopping is *no* problem if I hit a yellow light.

Now, on general principles I would agree that on a shared-use path, such a bike has no place. On a bike lane on the street, same as a Class 3, absolutely it belongs there and its ridiculous to think you have to put a 10-20 mph bike like that in the street.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
That "500 lb load" is common on cargo bikes. Using that scenario, you are pretty much wiping out cargo bikes period, which is unacceptable, and of course the fear voiced in that desired prohibition is unwarranted. Cargo bikes have equipment to make them safe at those loads.

I rode my Bullitt into work this morning loaded with a breakroom resupply. Several cases of sodas. I was easily at the 500 lb limit. I weigh 255 by myself. The bike is about 100. I had about 125 lbs in supplies and heck... my bike lock alone weighs 15 lbs so I am sure I can find another 5 somewhere to make 500. I have 4-piston brakes and 2.3mm thick, 203mm rotors front and rear and stopping is *no* problem if I hit a yellow light.

Now, on general principles I would agree that on a shared-use path, such a bike has no place. On a bike lane on the street, same as a Class 3, absolutely it belongs there and its ridiculous to think you have to put a 10-20 mph bike like that in the street.

that seems very reasonable to me in the 10-20mph scenario you describe. your 500lb at 20mph has about the same energy as a big guy on a class 3 road bike going 30.

i guess my question is, what's the best way to limit the speed of such a rig to 20mph in a bike lane? limit the power of the vehicle, an assist cut-off, or speed limits? around here, bike lanes are constantly interrupted by doors, deliveries, ubers, turns, pedestrians, scooters, etc etc etc.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
that seems very reasonable to me in the 10-20mph scenario you describe. your 500lb at 20mph has about the same energy as a big guy on a class 3 road bike going 30.

i guess my question is, what's the best way to limit the speed of such a rig to 20mph in a bike lane? limit the power of the vehicle, an assist cut-off, or speed limits? around here, bike lanes are constantly interrupted by doors, deliveries, ubers, turns, pedestrians, scooters, etc etc etc.
I'm limited to 20 mph mostly due to common sense. Even road undulations - never mind potholes - are causes for concern with respect to the frame etc., although a Bullitt is one mighty robust platform, and I am using custom built wheels as well as suspension seatpost to limit the shock of at least 255 lbs of the static load. But I had a couple of streets - whose pavement I am familiar with - to get across to make the green light and got it up to 25.

I don't think you can introduce weight limits based on ... circumstances? Its just not going to happen. I mean, I built mine and its as strong and safe as it can be, but I have seen plenty of DIY stuff that is just... crap. There's no regulating that. At least not in the USA. I mean... I pedal hard in the street and if I have a tailwind and no load I can cruise at up to 32-34 mph. I've been radar'd... even paced by both motorcycles and squad cars at that speed without incident... I geared the bike to be able to do it, I am working it hard and the cops aren't concerned about it; nor I think will they ever be in this country. Especially since my analog counterparts on road bikes are right there with me (oftentimes I let a string of them draft me and 28 is about right for them).

I understand your concerns, but I think regulation isn't going to be an answer. Especially in the USA where the climate is to loosen restrictions and widen the use of bicycles for utility to encourage their use as auto replacements. Some give in that direction is happening and will continue to go in that direction, I'm thinking.