Very interested in opinion on the Pre-emptive Clause in HR727 defining ebikes....

Do you interpret the preemptive clause to apply to both the federal definition & safety requirements


  • Total voters
    2

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Note: I also posted this poll in the forum regulations section but I think that is a less read forum on EBR so posting in general discussion as well. Please provide a poll response if you have a few minutes.

This section shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements referred to in subsection a.

Notes:
1) Subsection a is a reference to CPSC 1512 which is a "Bike Requirements" regulation that has both the federal ebike definition and the safety requirements for bikes to be legal for first sales in the US.
2) Be sure to consider the context of the "or" as it seems to imply the pre-emptive clause is applicable to the federal ebike law definition.

There are some that claim this pre-preemptive clause only applies to the safety requirements in CPSC 1512 but the federal ebike definition (enacted as a law) is included in that document and the reference to section was clearly to section 38 of HR727 pertaining to "low speed electric bicycle" being specified and ensuring they are not motor vehicles (strangely People For Bikes and the states define classes by motor performance which seems totally contradictory to something defined to not be a motor vehicle. I'm just looking for opinions as I think this is an important issue as CPSC controls "bikes" thru first sale and states are then supposed to traffic/usage regulate but not re-define. I'm just wondering what others think (all the lawyers I've talked to can't give an opinion without being paid and if you pay them for an opinion they tell you what you want to hear so they are of no help)....
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I very much want to get as many opinions on this as possible. I simply believe that when Dr. Malcolm Currie drafted the federal definition he has a vision for that definition of a compliant ebike to remain as just another definition for a bike such that all states would regulate them for traffic and usage as such (not motor vehicles and not 3-class based on motor performance / specs). The intent even in the congressional notes was for a low speed electric bicycle to be equivalent of a standard human powered "bike." I believe Court's early text on the regulatory status concluded that as well.
 

Kaiede

Member
strangely People For Bikes and the states define classes by motor performance which seems totally contradictory to something defined to not be a motor vehicle.

This is where legal terms get interesting, since they have their own meaning defined by laws, not the dictionary. So the legal definition can and will vary from the common definition, and are more focused on creating categories and including/excluding things from those categories. Reading through HR727, this is really a bill that creates the category of e-bike, and defines how it interacts with other existing categories when it comes to safety standards.

For example, here's the bit you are referring to, which covers the "not a motor vehicle" portion of the bill, emphasis mine:
For purposes of motor vehicle safety standards issued and enforced pursuant to chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, a low-speed electric bicycle (as defined in section 38(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act) shall not be considered a motor vehicle as defined by section 30102(6) of title 49, United States Code

This specifically excludes e-bikes from motor vehicle safety standards, by excluding e-bikes from a specific legal definition of motor vehicle. It doesn't attempt to remove the motor from consideration when it comes to regulating this category. This category cannot be defined without talking about the motor performance and behavior.

The rest of the bill covers creating the category of "Low-speed Electric Bicycles". An interesting bit here is the definition they set in subsection (b), again emphasis mine:
the term ‘low-speed electric bicycle’ means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.

The interesting bits here are in bold, since the definition as it relates to speed is clearly focused on the full motor assist, and not pedal assist. But I'll get back to why it's interesting in a second. First, I want to point out that subsection (d) states that it supersedes State law or requirement that "is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements referred to in subsection (a)". Subsection (a) states that e-bikes are subject to specific regulations and that they are considered consumer products. The fact that it doesn't also reference subsection (b) is interesting, and suggests that there's no specific requirement that states adopt the exact same legal definition (but don't quote me on that, as I am not a lawyer). Oddly enough it's not even clear that subsection (d) applies to the motor vehicle safety standards section from my reading.

That said, this does create a rough framework for states to build on, and it does behove states to not stray too far from this. But this bill says precisely nothing about regulating usage. It's simply omitted, so it is left up to state and local jurisdictions by the nature that there is no federal law saying anything on that subject.

However, getting back to the bolded bits, really the only definition here is that the motor output cannot exceed 750W and the motor acting alone cannot push an "average" rider past 20mph. I find this interesting because it shows that People for Bikes did use this definition as their starting point of the 3-class laws they've encouraged states to adopt. Specifically when class 2 (bikes with throttles) is capped at 20mph, but class 3 accounts for faster bikes without a throttle which is allowed under the federal definition. A hypothetical "class 4" could technically exist under the federal definition which could go 28mph with assist and has a throttle, but it would have to cap the throttle at 20mph to stay within the federal definition. I do find it interesting that Class 3 caps out at 28mph instead of simply letting the 750W limit take effect. But using maximum assist speeds is easier for a buyer to understand than wattage output.

And really what People for Bikes is doing is subdividing the category of e-bike into three sub-categories for the purposes of regulating usage locally. All three classes of e-bikes as far as I am aware are still part of this "Low-speed Electric Bicycle" category. But by splitting things up this way, it does allow a jurisdiction to decide permitted usage more granularly. WA state parks apparently decided class 1/3 are allowed on bike trails, but class 2 aren't (pedal assist permitted, but not throttle), but WA in general allows class 1/2 on MUPs which generally have 15mph speed limits, but not class 3 (permission by speed). So there's some advantage to this system if your intent is to regulate based on sub-category. But there's nothing stopping a jurisdiction from saying all three classes are permitted to be used for X/Y/Z.

You can disagree with the categorizations, or how they are applied by the jurisdiction. I can even be convinced that the 3-class system leaves out viable e-bikes under the federal definition, such as that hypothetical "class 4" from above. However, I'm not convinced they are in violation of the definition created by HR727, and instead am more convinced that People for Bikes is aiming to provide a more detailed framework of sub-categories for state and local jurisdictions to work with in the absence of clear federal guidelines, using language that's easier for the public at large to parse, and that they benefit from pushing them nation-wide to avoid a patchwork of different frameworks being used.

all the lawyers I've talked to can't give an opinion without being paid and if you pay them for an opinion they tell you what you want to hear so they are of no help

I'd point out that the exact bounds of a law tend to be figured out in court when judges set precedent, so trying to get a discrete legal opinion is going to be hard. The DMCA is near 20 years old and lawyers are still bogged down and unclear on the side effects of that thing. Partly because few are willing to go to court to be the first ones to find out. So lawyers being cagey on laws that haven't had a lot of precedent set doesn't surprise me.

EDIT: I'd probably add that the 3-class system exists partly to give local legislators more tools to balance the competing demands from constituents. At least with what I've been seeing around eMTB in my area, there's been push back on e-bike use on MUPs and trails. One thing sub-dividing e-bikes as a category allows for is avoiding blanket bans on e-bikes in this situation by creating a mechanism that allows some compromise to be reached while actual data is collected over time about the impacts.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
The 3-class system was entirely about harmonizing with the EU ebike laws. $300,000 was given to People for Bikes (PFBs) to do this and it had nothing to do with giving local legislators more tools - that is the koolaid that too many drink. I have in writing from PFBs and Larry Pizzi in on pod cast stating that the intent of the 3-class system was to be consistent with the federal definition but it literally made many compliant bikes illegal for use in every state adopting their "paid for" system that had nothing to do with safety or improving the ebike regulations. For a minimum of 12 years the federal definition was working.

Here is a link to the senate discussion of HR727. They mention usage far too many times - it's crystal clear the intent was for the definition to ensure "low speed electric bicycles" were to be usage regulated as a bike by the states. I have a recent letter from PFBs to I believe Nashville in which they were advising the city to regulate all 3 classes as a bike so why in the hell did they take the EU money to push that 3-class table that has done nothing but confuse brain dead state legislators....and worse there is no way enforcement via the goofy stickers is going to work.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
This is where legal terms get interesting, since they have their own meaning defined by laws, not the dictionary. So the legal definition can and will vary from the common definition, and are more focused on creating categories and including/excluding things from those categories. Reading through HR727, this is really a bill that creates the category of e-bike, and defines how it interacts with other existing categories when it comes to safety standards.

For example, here's the bit you are referring to, which covers the "not a motor vehicle" portion of the bill, emphasis mine:


This specifically excludes e-bikes from motor vehicle safety standards, by excluding e-bikes from a specific legal definition of motor vehicle. It doesn't attempt to remove the motor from consideration when it comes to regulating this category. This category cannot be defined without talking about the motor performance and behavior.

The rest of the bill covers creating the category of "Low-speed Electric Bicycles". An interesting bit here is the definition they set in subsection (b), again emphasis mine:


The interesting bits here are in bold, since the definition as it relates to speed is clearly focused on the full motor assist, and not pedal assist. But I'll get back to why it's interesting in a second. First, I want to point out that subsection (d) states that it supersedes State law or requirement that "is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements referred to in subsection (a)". Subsection (a) states that e-bikes are subject to specific regulations and that they are considered consumer products. The fact that it doesn't also reference subsection (b) is interesting, and suggests that there's no specific requirement that states adopt the exact same legal definition (but don't quote me on that, as I am not a lawyer). Oddly enough it's not even clear that subsection (d) applies to the motor vehicle safety standards section from my reading.

That said, this does create a rough framework for states to build on, and it does behove states to not stray too far from this. But this bill says precisely nothing about regulating usage. It's simply omitted, so it is left up to state and local jurisdictions by the nature that there is no federal law saying anything on that subject.

However, getting back to the bolded bits, really the only definition here is that the motor output cannot exceed 750W and the motor acting alone cannot push an "average" rider past 20mph. I find this interesting because it shows that People for Bikes did use this definition as their starting point of the 3-class laws they've encouraged states to adopt. Specifically when class 2 (bikes with throttles) is capped at 20mph, but class 3 accounts for faster bikes without a throttle which is allowed under the federal definition. A hypothetical "class 4" could technically exist under the federal definition which could go 28mph with assist and has a throttle, but it would have to cap the throttle at 20mph to stay within the federal definition. I do find it interesting that Class 3 caps out at 28mph instead of simply letting the 750W limit take effect. But using maximum assist speeds is easier for a buyer to understand than wattage output.

And really what People for Bikes is doing is subdividing the category of e-bike into three sub-categories for the purposes of regulating usage locally. All three classes of e-bikes as far as I am aware are still part of this "Low-speed Electric Bicycle" category. But by splitting things up this way, it does allow a jurisdiction to decide permitted usage more granularly. WA state parks apparently decided class 1/3 are allowed on bike trails, but class 2 aren't (pedal assist permitted, but not throttle), but WA in general allows class 1/2 on MUPs which generally have 15mph speed limits, but not class 3 (permission by speed). So there's some advantage to this system if your intent is to regulate based on sub-category. But there's nothing stopping a jurisdiction from saying all three classes are permitted to be used for X/Y/Z.

You can disagree with the categorizations, or how they are applied by the jurisdiction. I can even be convinced that the 3-class system leaves out viable e-bikes under the federal definition, such as that hypothetical "class 4" from above. However, I'm not convinced they are in violation of the definition created by HR727, and instead am more convinced that People for Bikes is aiming to provide a more detailed framework of sub-categories for state and local jurisdictions to work with in the absence of clear federal guidelines, using language that's easier for the public at large to parse, and that they benefit from pushing them nation-wide to avoid a patchwork of different frameworks being used.



I'd point out that the exact bounds of a law tend to be figured out in court when judges set precedent, so trying to get a discrete legal opinion is going to be hard. The DMCA is near 20 years old and lawyers are still bogged down and unclear on the side effects of that thing. Partly because few are willing to go to court to be the first ones to find out. So lawyers being cagey on laws that haven't had a lot of precedent set doesn't surprise me.

EDIT: I'd probably add that the 3-class system exists partly to give local legislators more tools to balance the competing demands from constituents. At least with what I've been seeing around eMTB in my area, there's been push back on e-bike use on MUPs and trails. One thing sub-dividing e-bikes as a category allows for is avoiding blanket bans on e-bikes in this situation by creating a mechanism that allows some compromise to be reached while actual data is collected over time about the impacts.
You interpret that the federal definition says this "motor output cannot exceed 750W and the motor acting alone cannot push an "average" rider past 20mph."

That is just technically flat out wrong. A PhD in electrical engineering wrote that specification with some very tangible intent. The 750W is a motor rating not a peak power specification so in effect below 20mph there is allowance for power to peak higher for such great devices as cargo bikes. Dr. Currie knew that that lawmakers wouldn't have a clue that motor rating is not the same thing as peak drive system power (I'm not going to debate this with anyone unless they do some technical reading on how nebulous a motor rating can be but in this case it was for a good intent). The motor alone speed of 20mph is also very well thought out to keep ebike in the range of normal bike speeds while allowing more power below 20mph. It takes from 300-350W to sustain a 170lb rider at 20mph (lots of variable in that but that is a rational range). So that is peak power above 20mph that can be dynamically provided (that is a lot different than a static motor rating and again most people and lawmakers will not understand this without learning about electric drive systems).

I'm am 99% sure that EU money was spent in Europe and the US to keep cheap Chinese hub motors from flooding the market because a 250W EU drive system limit dramatically favors mid drive motors and Bosch knew this. They are larger than the entire bike market and they were putting $millions into an ebike motor development and they didn't want a level playing field with cheap hub motors.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
By the way HR727 does state that a low speed electric bicycle shall not be considered a motor vehicle. Now maybe that was only intended as justification to give CPSC jurisdiction but they did not need to state that at all. Sure seems to me that the intent was to lock down that compliant ebikes should be considered the equivalent of a bike.

Read CPSC 1512 as the definition falls under the range of definitions of a bike and the entire document is title "Bike Requirements" so just saying the definition applies to just the safety requirements is an opinion. If anyone reads the history of Dr. Currie's efforts on marketing an ebike they will understand what his hope for HR727 was and it certainly wasn't hoping the states would parse the 1HP and 20mph into a bunch of classes and require stickers. No one with a brain can think that was better or needed. I'm sorry to be blunt but that is the technical truth.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Probably my biggest ??? about the 3-class system is that it conflicts with the jurisdiction of the CPSC thru 1st sale - ebikes can be compliant to the federal definition that are not compliant per the 3-class table and I have proof from PFBs that was not intended to be the case.

If you need proof then read the specs on the last of the Polaris / PIM ebikes as they would assist past 20mph under throttle (not enough to sustain 20mph but the assist did not cease at 20mph - I have one so I know for a fact this is true and I bought it legally and according to Colorado's 3-class law it's illegal for me to ride on public infrastructure which I did for over 6,000 miles). Another example is the Izip Express which was a pedelec that assisted past 28mph that was actually used by the LA police department. These are ebikes that were 100% compliant for sale in the US per CPSC definition but in every state that adopted the PFB paid for lobby 3-class table they are illegal to ride on public property. That is a conflict that I believe will be resolved by the pre-emptive clause or the supremacy standard of the constitution.
 

Kaiede

Member
By the way HR727 does state that a low speed electric bicycle shall not be considered a motor vehicle. Now maybe that was only intended as justification to give CPSC jurisdiction but they did not need to state that at all. Sure seems to me that the intent was to lock down that compliant ebikes should be considered the equivalent of a bike.
CPSC is given jurisdiction by classifying it as a consumer product, which is done in subsection (a). Yes, excluding it from motor vehicle safety standards is a bit of a hedge, but an important one to ensure that they don't fall into moped territory outside of CPSC jurisdiction.

Read CPSC 1512 as the definition falls under the range of definitions of a bike and the entire document is title "Bike Requirements" so just saying the definition applies to just the safety requirements is an opinion. If anyone reads the history of Dr. Currie's efforts on marketing an ebike they will understand what his hope for HR727 was and it certainly wasn't hoping the states would parse the 1HP and 20mph into a bunch of classes and require stickers. No one with a brain can think that was better or needed. I'm sorry to be blunt but that is the technical truth.
I did. The definition added to CPSC 1512 applies to the regulations in CPSC 1512, if you actually read it. This is fairly common, as it ensures that any use of the term "bicycle" in CPSC 1512 applies equally to all products categorized as such in the definitions section of CPSC 1512. However, that definition doesn't carry the same legal weight outside of that context. This is what I mean by legal terms are interesting.

Probably my biggest ??? about the 3-class system is that it conflicts with the jurisdiction of the CPSC thru 1st sale
I can't agree with this statement. I agree that states are clearly being told that they cannot override the CPSC's requirements in a way that's more stringent. But those are requirements related to import and sale. It seems to be a stretch to suggest that creating sub-categories to specify how the product can be used in the public sphere conflicts with that.

Where you might be right that there is a conflict would be down to requirements for speedometers, and labeling. But overturning that wouldn't necessarily affect the classification system itself.

These are ebikes that were 100% compliant for sale in the US per CPSC definition but in every state that adopted the PFB paid for lobby 3-class table they are illegal to ride on public property.
A thing can be compliant for sale, but also restricted for use on public property. The two are not mutually exclusive, and so I believe you'd have to show a stronger case to demonstrate a conflict here. And to be honest, a lawyer would be much better equipped to craft such an argument than most of the people on this forum.

You interpret that the federal definition says this "motor output cannot exceed 750W and the motor acting alone cannot push an "average" rider past 20mph."

That is just technically flat out wrong. A PhD in electrical engineering wrote that specification with some very tangible intent. The 750W is a motor rating not a peak power specification so in effect below 20mph there is allowance for power to peak higher for such great devices as cargo bikes. Dr. Currie knew that that lawmakers wouldn't have a clue that motor rating is not the same thing as peak drive system power (I'm not going to debate this with anyone unless they do some technical reading on how nebulous a motor rating can be but in this case it was for a good intent). The motor alone speed of 20mph is also very well thought out to keep ebike in the range of normal bike speeds while allowing more power below 20mph. It takes from 300-350W to sustain a 170lb rider at 20mph (lots of variable in that but that is a rational range). So that is peak power above 20mph that can be dynamically provided (that is a lot different than a static motor rating and again most people and lawmakers will not understand this without learning about electric drive systems).
Intent unfortunately is only one aspect looked at when a law is being challenged in court. And one problem with leaving a broad law, or one that omits details is that you leave things at the mercy of jurisdictions and judges that have to fill the gaps when a case is brought before them.

Here's the thing, I'm not necessarily against your stance, since the WA state regulations have made a mess of things since in a lot of cases, usage of e-bikes on non-motorized trails is left up to land managers, so we have a patchwork of "allowed here, but not here" issues once you are in parks and areas managed by the department of natural resources. But reading through your arguments and the relevant sections of US code here, I'm still not convinced that the laws PFB has created a conflict between state and federal law here. If anything, it convinces me that HR727 was too vague (it is only a page long), and needs to be updated if your goal is to ensure consistent US-wide regulation that is less stringent than what PFB has helped pass in many states. And while I assume there's truth to your claims behind the goals of PFB, they also crafted it in a way to give local legislators an out. They made it "tasty" to folks in government stuck between folks asking for outright bans vs advocates.

One thing that might be tough is that at the federal level, jurisdiction over how e-bikes can be regulated in state/local public areas might be tougher. With the CPSC, there's the interstate commerce clause backing a lot of it up. But once you are talking about things funded and operating at the local level, it generally gets a bit murkier when it comes to the federal government having a say there.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Lawyers love to float between "intent" and "letter" of the law to suite their agenda. I had a graduate level business law and ethics class and this was a significant discussion but it's my understanding that "letter" is what judges use unless there is already precedence. If only intent mattered then our laws would be as simple as the Ten Commandments. I'm 99% sure that the "intent" of the ebike definition that Dr. Currie was involved with was to federally define a low power electric bicycle as just another bike type (mtn., road, gravel, recumbent, trike, etc.). He was working on an ebike in the late 1990s that had blinkers, head light, brake light etc. and he knew that if they were federally classified as a motor vehicle that the requirements would stiffle the technology.

Do we really want states defining what a bike is, ebike is, moped is, autocycle is, automobile is, etc. That to me makes no sense. What is some state decided no car could have over a 1.6Liter motor. You think they could enforce that the next day without a huge legal battle. Not a chance.

Look at the ebike tax incentive bill that is being proposed. They mention to get the tax incentive it must be a Class 1, 2, or 3 ebike purchase but CPSC owns jurisdiction thru 1st sale and they don't give a f*ck about the stupid classes so how can the tax bill be based on the class system that is not even adopted by all states. This is just another example of lawyers / lawmakers not thinking (they are so pre-occupied with control and money they don't do their jobs.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I consider myself to have some common sense. If HR727 specifically stated that a low speed electric bicycle is not a motor vehicle it's not just assigning jurisdiction with that wording. Therefore when a advocacy group is being paid lobby money to create classes based on motor performance or type of assist system I view that as a direct contradiction to the said wording. Can a sleazy lawyer dance around the courtroom and make some nonsensical argument that my interpretation is wrong? Sure, but I can read and I don't read between lines like they do to create a new way for them to make money from legal battles. Don't tell me it's not a motor vehicle...then claim that was for jurisdiction only...that just adds to their bad reputation. Why not just state that low power electric bicycles are under CPSC jurisdiction? Pretty simple English.

One Horsepower ... essentially the power of the average two slice toaster and People for Bikes needed to slice that into performance classes? NO THEY DIDN'T...they did it because harmonizing the market with the EU would benefit some big players and that is not a reason to push a non-nonsensical 3-class system that has some local jurisdictions slicing continuous trails from legal to non-legal as we ride across county lines. The federal definition to leave them as a "bike" would work and there were bike traffic laws going back decades.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Here is what I don't understand. The feds can set a definition for a product that can be legally sold in all 50 states but it means nothing relative to state law so they can just decide on a definition what could reclassify that product as a motor vehicle when the feds specifically state it is not. That is not logical. Claiming the definition has no legal weight out side the context of establishing jurisdiction as a "bike" for 1st sale but that product can be totally redefined by the states simple makes no sense to me. From what I understand the states have repeatably ask the feds to define "autocycle" so they don't just come up with 50 different definitions such that they could be legal driven in one state and entire illegal in the next.

Read CPSC 1512 as the definition falls under the range of definitions of a bike and the entire document is title "Bike Requirements" so just saying the definition applies to just the safety requirements is an opinion. If anyone reads the history of Dr. Currie's efforts on marketing an ebike they will understand what his hope for HR727 was and it certainly wasn't hoping the states would parse the 1HP and 20mph into a bunch of classes and require stickers. No one with a brain can think that was better or needed. I'm sorry to be blunt but that is the technical truth.
I did. The definition added to CPSC 1512 applies to the regulations in CPSC 1512, if you actually read it. This is fairly common, as it ensures that any use of the term "bicycle" in CPSC 1512 applies equally to all products categorized as such in the definitions section of CPSC 1512. However, that definition doesn't carry the same legal weight outside of that context. This is what I mean by legal terms are interesting.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
"when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph."

Seems that they had translated this from an a European law because here in US most operators would be obviously above 170lb.
For A 250lb rider the ebike would be a lot slower so that would not make any sense.

Why allow up to 20mph for a "skinny" operator all while allowing said law to limit the power/speed for a more powerful/heavier operator ?? That is discriminatory !
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
"when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph."

Seems that they had translated this from an a European law because here in US most operators would be obviously above 170lb.
For A 250lb rider the ebike would be a lot slower so that would not make any sense.

Why allow up to 20mph for a "skinny" operator all while allowing said law to limit the power/speed for a more powerful/heavier operator ?? That is discriminatory !

Actually what is interesting is that on flat surface rider weight is a very small factor. Now getting that extra weight up a hill is really discriminatory. :)

In reality the way Dr. Currie wrote the federal definition there was allowance for more power below 20mph (I believe that is why he went with motor rating vs drive system peak power - motor rating is quite nebulous if you spend the time to read technical information on Grin Tech website). The power limit above 20mph was a great way to ensure ebikes were not really out side the normal speed range of traditional bikes because above 20mph aerodynamic drags negates power quickly give the resistance factor is exponential.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
I need to read a couple of the things that you mentioned before i make additional comments, but I def. agree that this was done to benefit Bosch/Yamaha

But those motors are seen on 2.5k and up ebikes.

Most of the ebikes under 2.5k (Aventon, Rad power, Juiced, Magnum, Surface and others ) have rear geared hubs.

One small step away from a law banning IGH and that would make it a conspiracy for Bosch/Yamaha. Sadly the majority of people would not even care about it....
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I need to read a couple of the things that you mentioned before i make additional comments, but I def. agree that this was done to benefit Bosch/Yamaha

But those motors are seen on 2.5k and up ebikes.

Most of the ebikes under 2.5k (Aventon, Rad power, Juiced, Magnum, Surface and others ) have rear geared hubs.

One small step away from a law banning IGH and that would make it a conspiracy for Bosch/Yamaha. Sadly the majority of people would not even care about it....
I have this subject going in the general discussion and the Regulations forum as well so I'm trying to post all that I know. I honestly was shocked to find out that lobby money was behind the PFBs efforts on the 3-class system but it is what it is (business is not always a level playing field). I do think there was a lot of concern the EU compliant mid-drives would find long term competition in the US with the higher power allowed (obviously the Bafang M600 and M620 mid-drives are very much targeting the US market and starting to take real market share from the big 3 - Bosch/Yamaha/Brose.

I'm a mechanical engineer and I know it does not cost much more to design a motor to be capable of a 750W continuous vs 250W continuous so I really don't comprehend the reluctance of the big three to have a "US spec'd" motor but I also understand the market size here is much smaller than the EU. It will play out over time.

I do think there is room for both well designed direct drive hubs (over about 12mph they become efficient enough to compete with mid drives but should emphasize human power to get to a certain speed before engaging as they are very inefficient at starts and low speeds even though torque can be high) and gear hub drives but they really should have more refined designs (like the Grin All-Axle direct drive motor with a much thinner magnet backing plate to drop the weight substantially).

Personally I think there is still too many cyclists designing ebikes for cyclists and not really considering what having a motor on the bike opens up from an urban mobility perspective. Why are they worried about keeping tires thin and light when thicker tires would be more puncture proof and last much longer (bean counters need to be told to keep out of decisions more frequently), and using harsh and failure prone aluminum vs maybe going back to Chromemoly for frames (a couple pounds is not a big deal on an ebike). I just laugh that so much focus is put into hiding the battery and motor so the ebike looks like a traditional bike when maybe using both as a cosmetic item like motorcycles have done with motors would make more sense than appeasing the spandexters.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Not a single vote on the Preemptive clause meaning. Huh...I wonder how many riders have taken the time to actually read HB727 to form an educated opinion on what was intended by defining a low speed electric bike as a non-motor vehicle (tells me that using motor performance to define classes goes clearly against the intent and I understand some claim that was for jurisdiction to CPSC but that was established in the very first sense of the bill that was passed as federal law). The definition was placed with the other definitions for traditional bikes which also tells me the intent was for the states to regulate usage of ebikes (all that meet the CPSC definition) as any other bike. It worked for 12+ years and would have continued to work if People for bikes wouldn't have refused the EU lobby money. There is one and only one state Attorney General opinion published on this and he said they should be usage / traffic regulated as a bike per the statutes he reviewed (including CPSC 1512). I understand there are opposing opinions but none from a ranking legal attorney at this level ... typically just from low level attorneys being paid to have an opinion they write about.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Just trying to keep this debate in view on the forums. I just hope people that care about the urban mobility potential of ebikes really pay attention to this regulatory debate. I think the harmonization lobby money paid to People for Bikes got them to do something that really wasn't in the best interest of maximizing the potential for ebikes in the US.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Read a survey that indicated that 82% of riders believe that a CPSC compliant low speed electric bicycle should be just treated as a bike for traffic / usage laws.

So if that is true, why did People for Bikes take that lobby money to push a 3 class system that clearly provides the path to differentiated usage laws of ebikes. Seems like going in reverse of what we need for effective urban mobility and it clearly is not preferred by most US riders.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
why did People for Bikes take that lobby money
Even prior to merging, PFB and BPSA had been partners. PFB is an industry group that's always gotten funding from the industry to advance cycling in the US. Every major US industry has at least one lobby group.

"The boards of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and PeopleForBikes Coalition have each voted to merge the organizations. The merger must still be approved by a vote of all BPSA members."

 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Even prior to merging, PFB and BPSA had been partners. PFB is an industry group that's always gotten funding from the industry to advance cycling in the US. Every major US industry has at least one lobby group.

"The boards of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and PeopleForBikes Coalition have each voted to merge the organizations. The merger must still be approved by a vote of all BPSA members."


I understand why Bosch and Brose would love the 3-class harmonization but they could have shipped and sold EU spec'd ebikes to the US without pumping in lobby money that effectively limited US ebikes down to the EU level. I don't think Dr. Currie's definition was any kind of dangerous over-powered ebike specification and the only real issues were from some land managers that just didn't like throttles (as you pointed out earlier that money could have been spent educating them).

The federal definition limited the power above 20mph to what would sustain a 170lb rider at 20mph so by tossing in the harmonization cease of assist at 20mph the merits of 750W below 20mph is kind of negated on a single passenger bike with a lot of gears.

My entire view on this is based on the fact that we really need ebikes to be as desirable (while still being in the bike speed range so they can be treated just as bikes are for traffic / use) as possible for urban mobility. While maybe that was on the backs of the minds of the people at PFBs and BPSA I don't think it was their priority - they viewed harmonization as the way for better economies of scale for the EU focused bike companies.

Why didn't they just push to get clarity that a CPSC compliant ebike be treated a bike for all state/local/managed land use. That would have been a whole lot cleaner and better for the US market without harming anyone just wanting to sell an EU specified ebike here (some will never ride over 20mph which is OK but far better to have somewhat more capable ebikes and have path speed limits when justified for safety).

I live not far from PFBs location in Boulder CO and have tried to discuss this with them but it's not something they are really open-minded about as they feel the 3-class system is consistent with the federal definition but they are not really technically solid on that assessment.
 
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