Statement Regarding Potential CPSC Ebike Law Preemption of 3-class Legislation

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Maybe because the old term "speed kills" comes into play. When more and faster bikes hit the roads there will be more accidents and the faster the bike is going the worse the outcome of those accidents will be. Whenever a product leads to deaths and injuries is when the regulations start to happen. There's no need for a bike to go that fast. If you ride to get to work leave a little earlier.
I have no idea how many times I have explained this. The federal definition is NO FASTER than Class 3 because of the way power is limited.

The physics of this are basic. At 20mph the power is limited to that level (ie what would sustain 20mph) which is typically around 300-350W (below the peak power of most speed pedalecs / class 3 models). If you run simulations with typical rider input with that power provided by the motor the typical top commute speed will be from 24 to 28mph. That is not a "speed kills" scenario (pretty much same result as class 3) but those that don't understand this will hyperbole. One definition is better than 3 and I can guarantee insurance will hit class 3 if PFBs is successful at it's regulatory capture game.

The one factor that will continue to provide the most speed for biking is going down a hill. Gravity is a huge power factor but that gets ignored constantly (they literally hit upwards of 70mph during the professional bike races going down hills and most everyday riders are probably hitting 30mph+. It's frustrating when people only look as the assist as a speed factor when it's not even the biggest one.
 
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Gordon71

Well-Known Member
I have no idea how many times I have explained this. The federal definition is NO FASTER than Class 3 because of the way power is limited.

The physics of this are basic. At 20mph the power is limited to that level (ie what would sustain 20mph) which is typically around 300-350W (below the peak power of most speed pedalecs / class 3 models). If you run simulations with typical rider input with that power provided by the motor the typical top commute speed will be from 24 to 28mph. That is not a "speed kills" scenario (pretty much same result as class 3) but those that don't understand this will hyperbole. One definition is better than 3 and I can guarantee insurance will hit class 3 if PFBs is successful at it's regulatory capture game.

The one factor that will continue to provide the most speed for biking is going down a hill. Gravity is a huge power factor but that gets ignored constantly (they literally hit upwards of 70mph during the professional bike races going down hills and most everyday riders are probably hitting 30mph+. It's frustrating when people only look as the assist as a speed factor when it's not even the biggest one.
I think I once hit 25mph going down a hill and that was scary fast on a bike. I usually pump my brakes going down hills. If I wanted to go fast on two wheels I would have kept my motorcycle.
 

McApple

Member
I think I once hit 25mph going down a hill and that was scary fast on a bike. I usually pump my brakes going down hills. If I wanted to go fast on two wheels I would have kept my motorcycle.
I've hit over 50mph, once. At that speed, if you have a reflector attached to your spokes, the rpms are enough to throw your wheel out of balance and your handlebars will start to shudder, you will feel a similar vibration through your seat, as the rear wheel is also out of balance. It is then that you realize, if for any reason, you have to swerve, or stop quickly, you are going to crash.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I think I once hit 25mph going down a hill and that was scary fast on a bike. I usually pump my brakes going down hills. If I wanted to go fast on two wheels I would have kept my motorcycle.
So if no bike or ebike speed is limited going down a hill why is it so important to have a 20mph cut-off when I explained how poor that methods is. Safe speeds are most regulated on bikes just because riders are vulnerable so anyone with a brain is not going to be going stupid fast regardless of assist. Keep in mind, I've only suggested we riders support the federal definition over the poorly conceived 3-class system.
 

antboy

Well-Known Member
Maybe because the old term "speed kills" comes into play. When more and faster bikes hit the roads there will be more accidents and the faster the bike is going the worse the outcome of those accidents will be. Whenever a product leads to deaths and injuries is when the regulations start to happen. There's no need for a bike to go that fast. If you ride to get to work leave a little earlier.
I think this is where things get lost in translation. :)

The idea of governing speed, as I understand it (and Ken can correct me if I'm wrong) :) is that once you hit approx 20mph, the motor gradually lowers the amount of assist until you hit 25-28mph. This is all based on level surfaces and IIRC a 170lb average rider's input.

This would end up being MORE restrictive than a current "Class 3" because of that "motor of diminishing returns", as opposed to the hard cutoff currently felt in a "Class 3" bike.

The LSEB definition just strikes me as a cleaner definition, and something that makes more sense for the end user as well.

Discussion of downhill is irrelevant, because it's possible, and actually easy in some cases, to exceed the speed of the motor's top speed, so the rider would be getting no input anyway.

Throttles would still be limited to 20mph, though that's up to the e-bike manufacturer to include.
 

rawlus

Active Member
Region
USA
I’ll stipulate that the LSEB definition is simpler, less restrictive and easier. that’s not my argument.

my sense is that in a post-3 class definition world i don’t really see municipalities going back to the original LSEB definition at all in the face of booming ebike business, increasing speeds, increasing incidents and/or injuries between ebikes and others etc.

i don’t ever see really laws reverting backwards. in the absence of the existing 3 class system i’d expect some other system that distinguishes ebikes from other bikes to be promoted and i’m concerned that new stuff would be worse than what we have today.

TL/DR i’m not convinced we can just make it go away and municipalities across the USA will just revert back to what is essentially no regulation whatsoever.

i’m not asking for regulation, i’m concerned about more.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I’ll stipulate that the LSEB definition is simpler, less restrictive and easier. that’s not my argument.

my sense is that in a post-3 class definition world i don’t really see municipalities going back to the original LSEB definition at all in the face of booming ebike business, increasing speeds, increasing incidents and/or injuries between ebikes and others etc.

i don’t ever see really laws reverting backwards. in the absence of the existing 3 class system i’d expect some other system that distinguishes ebikes from other bikes to be promoted and i’m concerned that new stuff would be worse than what we have today.

TL/DR i’m not convinced we can just make it go away and municipalities across the USA will just revert back to what is essentially no regulation whatsoever.

i’m not asking for regulation, i’m concerned about more.
Please Please Please read up on CPSC regulation and how they are chartered to ensure interstate commerce allows the same products to be sold in all 50 states. The states virtually always just adopt those definitions and establish "use" regulations if necessary which was the case with regular bikes and it worked just fine. States are not suppose do adopt more stringent regulations unless there is some truly exceptional reasons and still the federal safety regulation agencies can't just be ignored.

This effort in not about convincing the municipalities to accept the one definition...it's about hoping the CPSC tells them this is what a compliant LSEB is and it's defined as a bike. If they don't like that they can still ban use of all bikes but they will not do that or they'll be out of work.

You are making this far more complex than it is. This is something that the CPSC really should not have allowed to go this far but they typically only act if someone brings up a complaint which I have done.
 

McApple

Member
So if no bike or ebike speed is limited going down a hill why is it so important to have a 20mph cut-off when I explained how poor that methods is. Safe speeds are most regulated on bikes just because riders are vulnerable so anyone with a brain is not going to be going stupid fast regardless of assist. Keep in mind, I've only suggested we riders support the federal definition over the poorly conceived 3-class system.
For me, the 20mph cutoff is important for bikes on multi-use trails. DW and I enjoy the rail trails in our area, we usually cruise around the 15mph range, encountering multiple groups going near twice that speed would be dangerous imo.

I have no problem with higher speed bikes on city streets and roadways, but I do feel that they should be licensed and have insurance, especially bikes used for commercial purposes.
 

troehrkasse

EBR Webmaster
Region
USA
City
Fort Collins
Hey moderators! How many threads about the same topic are you allowing? Give us a break!
The threads have now been merged. Our moderation team is small, we don't create these threads, or have time to manually scrub each of the hundreds of threads created on EBR every day. If there's duplicate threads, feel free to tag me and request that they be merged and I'll make it happen :)
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
For me, the 20mph cutoff is important for bikes on multi-use trails. DW and I enjoy the rail trails in our area, we usually cruise around the 15mph range, encountering multiple groups going near twice that speed would be dangerous imo.

I have no problem with higher speed bikes on city streets and roadways, but I do feel that they should be licensed and have insurance, especially bikes used for commercial purposes.
Why is that trail riders seem to want what they feel is right for trails to define ebike performance. The human scale transportation potential is far more important. Multi-Use Trails can have their speed limit which is typically set at 15mph but don't desire that the assist limit be set that low as it is in Europe.
 

rayray

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
One more test for everyone since it's fresh in the Washington State ebike law just discussed. They require a speedometer on Class 3 ebikes.

(3) "Class 3 electric-assisted bicycle" means an electric6 assisted bicycle in which the motor provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of twenty eight miles per hour and is equipped with a speedometer.

Is that requirement an impact on interstate commerce given the vast majority of other states (even most of the states that have adopted 3-class) do not have this requirement and CPSC certainly does not have this in their safety regulation for low speed electric bicycles. Washington could claim that it's a unique "use" law for their state but by including it in with the 3-class structure it clearly implies it must be on the LSEB prior to introduction into interstate commerce (even though the bike manufacturers don't want to make a special bike just for the uptight lawmakers in Washington STATE). What if Washington wanted integrated blinkers and brake light on ebikes sold in that state? Who complies with that (no one is actually allowed to alter the product prior to 1st sale in reality so there are some issues when states just wing it on what they want)? There is a process to get something important for safety on a product but just flipping a legislative lever at the state does not work given the supremacy clause of the constitution, especially on interstate commerce.
Yes, digging up a thread from last year…

My comments/questions are related primarily to Washington State law, as that’s where I reside. I keep reading, on this and other forums, as well as minimally-researched canned articles on attorneys’ websites, that a Class 3 ebike in Washington State MUST have a speedometer. However, I cannot find this clearly stated anywhere within the applicable law.

All I can find regarding Class 3 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 mph and is equipped with a speedometer.” Note that nowhere can I find code that states it MUST have a speedometer.

To me, it’s all about the proper use of grammar, so it would seem that the way it’s written, if a bike assists up to 28mph but doesn’t have a speedometer, it is unclassified. Can someone point to another clause that makes it clear, or can the legal experts on here tell me why I’m wrong regarding the grammar?

You know, felony possession of drugs isn’t a prosecutable offense in this State, due to a court ruling regarding the wording of the law (and the Democrat-led legislature has failed to fix it after 14 months!). This is the same type of issue. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-st...rts-clearing-drug-convictions-refunding-fines
 

BlackHand

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Western WA
The must is in the paragraph before the 3 classes are defined:
"Electric-assisted bicycle" means a bicycle with two or three wheels, a saddle, fully operative pedals for human propulsion, and an electric motor. The electric-assisted bicycle's electric motor must have a power output of no more than seven hundred fifty watts. The electric-assisted bicycle must meet the requirements of one of the following three classifications:
 

rayray

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
The must is in the paragraph before the 3 classes are defined:
"Electric-assisted bicycle" means a bicycle with two or three wheels, a saddle, fully operative pedals for human propulsion, and an electric motor. The electric-assisted bicycle's electric motor must have a power output of no more than seven hundred fifty watts. The electric-assisted bicycle must meet the requirements of one of the following three classifications:
Well, it seems I need to work on my reading comprehension.

Thanks for the info.
 

BET

Active Member
I don't even know what CPSC is and you don't seem interested in helping me out. So I will continue to ride my 2 different class 3 eBikes just like I have since 2016.
CPSC is US Consumer Product Safety Commission They set safety standards for products sold in the US.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
CPSC is US Consumer Product Safety Commission They set safety standards for products sold in the US.
They were formed with the power and responsibility to regulate interstate commerce as well (everyone should take the time to read their history). The problem is they have been neutered by corporations wanting to do was they please and they seem to ignore interstate commerce violations.

For example...New York defines a class 3 ebike as a throttle only to 25mph. Requiring a speedometer would be considered a more stringent safety standard than required by the CPSC but they are even ignoring this violation. Like pretty much all government agencies they don't do anything proactively and they think that works for them. NOT!
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
For me, the 20mph cutoff is important for bikes on multi-use trails. DW and I enjoy the rail trails in our area, we usually cruise around the 15mph range, encountering multiple groups going near twice that speed would be dangerous imo.

I have no problem with higher speed bikes on city streets and roadways, but I do feel that they should be licensed and have insurance, especially bikes used for commercial purposes.
Most MUP have a 15mph speed limit so I'm confused how a 20mph assist cut-off on a Class 1 ebike ensure safe compliance. I rode over 12,000 miles in 2 years on an ebike and when on a MUP or sidewalk not once have I experienced some crazy fast biker flying thru pedestrians and putting anyone in danger and yet many toss out that possibility as fear for the masses.

You mention that bikes on the streets and roadways should be insured and registered but I would argue the risk liability for a bike on the street is far far far less than a bike on a MUP with people walking including children and elderly. On the street if a bike happened to hit a car and it was the riders fault (rarely is) the driver would be fine and the car would only have superficial damage that wouldn't even reach even a small insurance delectable.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
California shared use paths have a 20 mph speed limit. CA is where the 3-class system originated.

On multi-use paths in the Monterey Bay you see mostly analog riders flying thru pedestrians - your words but spot on - every single day. The main recreational path is used by commuters on their way to work. The scenic recreational riders are on rented ebikes and usually going more slowly, typically.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
California shared use paths have a 20 mph speed limit. CA is where the 3-class system originated.

On multi-use paths in the Monterey Bay you see mostly analog riders flying thru pedestrians - your words but spot on - every single day. The main recreational path is used by commuters on their way to work. The scenic recreational riders are on rented ebikes and usually going more slowly, typically.
3-class legislation was promoted by People for Bikes to California first - California did not draft that legislation text (most like a Bosch executive provided it to People for Bikes for many reasons I have brought up in other threads). It is simply not good legislation and it's not good for the future of ebikes either.

I don't understand why any biker would want to flying thru pedestrians on a MUP as that is dangerous for them as well as the pedestrians. I tend to think these statements are intended to get politicians to go after ebikes and ban them from MUPs with zero data showing any difference between traditional bikes and ebikes from a safety data point of view.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
3-class legislation was promoted by People for Bikes to California first - California did not draft that legislation text (most like a Bosch executive provided it to People for Bikes for many reasons I have brought up in other threads). It is simply not good legislation and it's not good for the future of ebikes either.

I don't understand why any biker would want to flying thru pedestrians on a MUP as that is dangerous for them as well as the pedestrians. I tend to think these statements are intended to get politicians to go after ebikes and ban them from MUPs with zero data showing any difference between traditional bikes and ebikes from a safety data point of view.
My statement still holds as-written: CA is where the 3-class system originated. The machinations of its creation are irrelevant to the present discussion; only to the axe you never spare an opportunity to grind.

The bikers want to fly thru pedestrians because they are on their way to work and pedestrians are a clueless, wandering impediment (this is a tourist town so lots of aimless walkers admiring the scenery and observing little else). Its not uncommon to see riders almost brushing walkers who are ignoring the posted places where pedestrians are supposed to remain in order to allow bicycle traffic thru. Very annoying if you are treating the path as a roadway. Originally the city council banned ebikes as a response but since the problem persisted because they were attacking the wrong culprits, the ban is now completely ignored and ebikes are the dominant form of wheeled transportation in that corridor despite the ordinance, which even the ebike-riding police that now ride the area on occasion ignore.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
My statement still holds as-written: CA is where the 3-class system originated. The machinations of its creation are irrelevant to the present discussion; only to the axe you never spare an opportunity to grind.

The bikers want to fly thru pedestrians because they are on their way to work and pedestrians are a clueless, wandering impediment (this is a tourist town so lots of aimless walkers admiring the scenery and observing little else). Its not uncommon to see riders almost brushing walkers who are ignoring the posted places where pedestrians are supposed to remain in order to allow bicycle traffic thru. Very annoying if you are treating the path as a roadway. Originally the city council banned ebikes as a response but since the problem persisted because they were attacking the wrong culprits, the ban is now completely ignored and ebikes are the dominant form of wheeled transportation in that corridor despite the ordinance, which even the ebike-riding police that now ride the area on occasion ignore.
I believe the "machinations of it's creation" do matter because People for Bikes claimed the reasons they promoted the 3-class system was for safety and clarity and neither were true. I just want riders to know that the 3-class state legislation pushed by People for Bikes was a lobby money funded effort of regulatory capture with the goal to keep ebikes as leisure and recreation oriented and less compelling to get people out of cars for urban mobility. My goal has never been anything but wanting to see the brightest possible future for ebikes because they are the most efficient way for anyone to go from point A to B. HR727 is a better way to regulate what a compliant ebike / Low Speed Electric Bike - this is pretty obvious because no one at People for Bikes will engage in this debate.