Why Class 1 and 3 treated differently in U.S.?

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the replies, and you have helped me make up my mind: I'll get whatever "class" of bike looks good to me and will deal with things from there, but don't really expect any problems.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
I don't want to get off topic here, but I've sometimes seen that startling a pedestrian by calling out "On your left" causes them to move to their left! If I'm not on a bike with a bell, I usually just say "Passing" or "Passing on the left".
There is nothing predictable about passing pedestrians. You might call " On your left" and pass 6 of them with no trouble but the 7th will be on their phone and hear you but not recognize it , the 8th will inexplicably jump left at the last second ,the 9th will not hear you at all ( earbuds in) nor will the 10th ( they left the hearing aids in their other pants). Dont get me started on the loose-dog walkers. Oh yeah I forgot my point. If we all ride for the conditions there will not be an Ebike backlash and the classifications will not matter on the paths. Having said that it is the possible growth of E-motos (capabable of over 70 kmh) which concerns me somewhat, since they may be confused with E-bikes by the general public.
 
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ChezCheese:)

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Kitsap Co, WA
I spent the first 9 years of my life there. Went to Meadowbrook elementary school...
 
At least in Stoney Creek Metropark, there are no e-bikes allowed on the MTB trails. But again, I've never seen this posted and have seen a few on the trails. There was an article recently in the NY Times about how great eMTBs are and it unleashed a s***storm of protest in a majority of the reader comments. Lots of strong opinions to say the least!
Sorry, late to this thread. HC metroparks are allowing class 1 for a trial period on MTB trails.
 

MarkB61

New Member
Not a perfect analogy, but I drive a car with a top speed of around 100mph, but it is obviously still permissible for me to drive it on residential streets with a 25mph limit provided that I don't exceed the limit, and that is what I do. So why is there a distinction on where a Class 1 vs Class 3 bike is allowed when the only difference between the two is the theoretically top assisted speed (20 vs 28mph)?

In my state -- Michigan -- the law regarding e-bikes on multi-user paths, rail trails, and other off-road uses is that Class 1 bikes are permitted unless specifically forbidden, and Class 2 & 3 are forbidden unless specifically permitted. This leads to a lot of confusion, at least partly since I don't think I've ever seen a sign on one of these trails stating the local regulations. For example, the "Great Lake to Lake Trail" is a connected route using paved and unpaved trails that go all the way across the state, but is subject to the local jurisdiction of the various segments that make it up. Just locally here, we have one trail that is officially "Class 1 only" and another that is "Class 1 & 2", but you can ride right across the county line and be on what appears to be the same trail, but is now "Pedal assisted only" (IOW Classes 1 & 3, but not 2)!

In my mind, the issue is how fast I'm riding and not how fast my bike can go. I've been going for a walk on these trails and been suddenly passed by a virtual paceline of young hardbodies going at least mid-20s in their matching team kits, so it isn't only e-bikes that can be ridden faster than might be advisable.

My interest in this subject is mainly because I'm trying to decide on an e-bike and, although I'd be OK with a Class 1 bike, which is what my wife has, the bikes with the features I'd like to have tend to be Class 3. Fortunately, there's no way to distinguish the classes other than looking for the sticker (if there is one) and official enforcement is nil as far as I can see, so I'm probably OK going with Class 3 as long as I don't do something stupid on it. It's just that the current class distinction doesn't make sense to me.
It varies, state to state. Indiana makes the same difference (20v28mph) between Classes 1 and 2 versus 3. In the mostly uninformed opinions of lawmakers, a 28mph top speed classifies Class 3 as equivalent to mopeds/gas scooters, which have required a license rider and insurance for a few years now.

It's nothing but the many paying the penalty for a stupid few.
 

MarkB61

New Member
IF there's a little tyke on the bike path, I pretty come to a stop unless the mother knows there's a bike coming. Even then, they have jumped out in front of me with a karate pose.

I do find it amusing how some dogs will turn and give eye contact, even while their owners are off in the clouds.

I learned last month that the next burb to the east of me doesn't allow any ebikes, scooters, hoverboards on their bike paths. No big deal. I've always turned around there because it changes from forest preserve to park, and I have to cross a busy 50 mph road to get there..
I JUST encountered a wayward tyke on the MUP. already rolling slow, I watched him as he a)noticed me, b)started to approach me, and c)tried to follow my maneuvers to pass him, i.e., trying to block me. A handful of brake later, he jumped like I'd scared him. Not likely, since he kept an eyes-locked posture the whole time.

He was the biggest of 3 stair-step kids, mama had hands full.
 

Jsaint

New Member
I'm wondering how many would even know if you were riding responsibly*.
(*being courteous to others they might meet.)

Then of course for the busybody that knows just enough to be a nuisance, you could always just 'indicate' the type of bike you ride like this.
https://boltonebikes.com/products/ebike-class-stickers
My thoughts are unless its a heavily used path too congested to ride safely I'll probably ride the occasional poorly marked trail at a reasonable speed to reach a waypoint. At least until someone raises a stink.
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Then of course for the busybody that knows just enough to be a nuisance, you could always just 'indicate' the type of bike you ride like this.
https://boltonebikes.com/products/ebike-class-stickers
Interestingly, my Specialized Vado 4.0 -- a Class 3 bike -- came with an envelope of miscellaneous small parts, etc. In that pack was a Class 1 sticker! I'm not sure if this was a mistake somewhere along the line or not, but I'm definitely holding onto it in case I ever find that someone is actually checking.
 

Lightning P38

Active Member
I don't want to get off topic here, but I've sometimes seen that startling a pedestrian by calling out "On your left" causes them to move to their left! If I'm not on a bike with a bell, I usually just say "Passing" or "Passing on the left".

I have stopped yelling out to people, I ring my bell, or use my air horn if there is a crowd of people talking on the trail...like yesterday. I honked 3 times on the air horn, and slowed down, and they gave me just enough room to squeeze through.

The trail is wooded and has curves, so I use the air horn a good distance back, if I see no reaction I start to slow and honk or ring the bell. If they are not blocking the trail, I ring the bell as a polite warning. If they are impeding traffic, I blast them with the horn.....it works so much better than yelling. They look to see what in the hell that noise is, and then they move.

The air horn is effective with groups of people, but you need to give them time to react....pull in their dog, yell at their kid, pull hubby off the middle of the trail, etc.
 

kmccune

Active Member
Hmm! Guess I am a bit late to this "bike fight" I can guarantee that my wonderful , munificent home state( that is from your pocket to state coffers) will gladly start fining anybody who is in violation of the law( Lah) when they can get around to it, back in my truck driving tenure,I was always on the lookout for the dreaded VDOT lackeys who could turn a profitable enterprise into bankruptcy with a few stops. Give it time speed guns work on bike trails too and the impounded bike can be assessed or who knows maybe they will come up with a portable dyno. The state always wins and it tragically seems they are "vetting" for officials that love to write tickets( think it gives some of them a "chub")After my pleasant surprise from the extra state 'fuel-efficient" tax I would not put anything past them. My current ebike is just barely legal with the legally allowed power and is a lit overweight( actually am I looking for a lighter build I can afford,am not afraid of a high power 36 volt build, most of the biking around here is climbing and coasting) the big cruiser fat tire bike is hard to pedal so I am looking for something with less dead weight. Its nice to be able to go 30+ MPH on the other hand it is not mandatory, I found out this October how cold the chill factor is at 25mph with shorts and T-shirt one reason I am seeking regen and I do have a healthy respect for pedestrians. All it takes is a few with the proper pull to muck up the works for everyone.

Things will change probably not for the better as far as "we" are concerned, as the Lady Ranger told me" yes Ebikes are welcome where all motorized vehicles are allowed, never on Hiking trails( sometimes{rarely} Mtn Bikes are. Nothing at all allowed in "timber sale areas". This resort close to where I reside stopped sponsoring the "Tour Dupont", because they said it cost too much. Strangely enough, no bike lanes at all on the roads( no truck lanes either and as far as trucks go the "engine brakes not allowed "are in the works guarantee you) These two counties in my area are fast turning into "gated" communities with scarcely anything for the natives( conservation easements . ad nuesueam) My daughter mentioned the other day if certain things were to come about we should sell out and leave, Amen. Thought about it more than once.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
People for Bikes got $300,000 from the industry to pay lobbyists to get this 3 class system in as many states as possible....not for safety reasons but to harmonize the market with Europe. This is just a fact.
The guy that wrote the federal definition (a brilliant guy name Malcolm Currie) that is in the CPSC "bike regulation" document is elegant and worked for 12 years. Just regulated compliant ebikes as a bike for all uasage and all these issues get fixed. He was ahead of his time and understood the potential of ebikes and spandex wearers and Larry Pizzi pushed legislation because they were getting money to do so. Not what a bike advocacy group should do but money talks and they always loose site of what they should be doing - growing bike use and making it safer for everyone.

I researched this and I could not believe what I found....
 

Lightning P38

Active Member
Not a perfect analogy, but I drive a car with a top speed of around 100mph, but it is obviously still permissible for me to drive it on residential streets with a 25mph limit provided that I don't exceed the limit, and that is what I do. So why is there a distinction on where a Class 1 vs Class 3 bike is allowed when the only difference between the two is the theoretically top assisted speed (20 vs 28mph)?

In my state -- Michigan -- the law regarding e-bikes on multi-user paths, rail trails, and other off-road uses is that Class 1 bikes are permitted unless specifically forbidden, and Class 2 & 3 are forbidden unless specifically permitted. This leads to a lot of confusion, at least partly since I don't think I've ever seen a sign on one of these trails stating the local regulations. For example, the "Great Lake to Lake Trail" is a connected route using paved and unpaved trails that go all the way across the state, but is subject to the local jurisdiction of the various segments that make it up. Just locally here, we have one trail that is officially "Class 1 only" and another that is "Class 1 & 2", but you can ride right across the county line and be on what appears to be the same trail, but is now "Pedal assisted only" (IOW Classes 1 & 3, but not 2)!

In my mind, the issue is how fast I'm riding and not how fast my bike can go. I've been going for a walk on these trails and been suddenly passed by a virtual paceline of young hardbodies going at least mid-20s in their matching team kits, so it isn't only e-bikes that can be ridden faster than might be advisable.

My interest in this subject is mainly because I'm trying to decide on an e-bike and, although I'd be OK with a Class 1 bike, which is what my wife has, the bikes with the features I'd like to have tend to be Class 3. Fortunately, there's no way to distinguish the classes other than looking for the sticker (if there is one) and official enforcement is nil as far as I can see, so I'm probably OK going with Class 3 as long as I don't do something stupid on it. It's just that the current class distinction doesn't make sense to me.
Your analogy with cars is perfect. I would always pick a class 3 over a class 1 or 2 e-assist. Most of the time I ride paved trails at 13 mph or less depending on walkers. Trails here continue to expand, as the demand continues to grow for them.

The funny thing is, without e-assist my recumbent road bike will go up to 45 mph, if I had the power to pedal it in top gear. Without e-assist I can ride 30 mph in a burst on a flat trail..top speed in the middle ring is 35 mph.
So I guess my bike shouldn’t have a middle or big ring, as those speeds are much faster than the e-assist speeds are, as I could ride faster than a class 1 or 2 ebike. The logic of using class ratings is broken. Speed limits of mph should be used instead.

Sometimes I ride in downtown or urban traffic and I need assist to keep up with cars in a 25 or 35 mph speed zone, so I need assist to go up to 28 mph to blend in with traffic.

If I ever rode a trail with a class 1 restriction, I would simply not exceed assist level two, which is 12-13 mph. If I were ever stopped by law enforcement, I would tell them my assist is set to 12 mph, and therefore in compliance with the regulation. What is the Class 1 speed limit? I don’t even know!

There is no label on my kit to indicate what class the assist is.
 

McCorby

Well-Known Member
If I ever rode a trail with a class 1 restriction, I would simply not exceed assist level two, which is 12-13 mph. If I were ever stopped by law enforcement, I would tell them my assist is set to 12 mph, and therefore in compliance with the regulation. What is the Class 1 speed limit? I don’t even know!

There is no label on my kit to indicate what class the assist is.
Class 1 in the US is 20 mph.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
People for Bikes got $300,000 from the industry to pay lobbyists to get this 3 class system in as many states as possible....not for safety reasons but to harmonize the market with Europe. This is just a fact.
The guy that wrote the federal definition (a brilliant guy name Malcolm Currie) that is in the CPSC "bike regulation" document is elegant and worked for 12 years. Just regulated compliant ebikes as a bike for all uasage and all these issues get fixed. He was ahead of his time and understood the potential of ebikes and spandex wearers and Larry Pizzi pushed legislation because they were getting money to do so. Not what a bike advocacy group should do but money talks and they always loose site of what they should be doing - growing bike use and making it safer for everyone.

I researched this and I could not believe what I found....
Thanks Ken, that IS interesting! It provides some insight as to how some of these dumb a** rules came into effect. Should be no surprise money came into play while making these rules, WAY before common sense.... -Al
 
I don't want to get off topic here, but I've sometimes seen that startling a pedestrian by calling out "On your left" causes them to move to their left! If I'm not on a bike with a bell, I usually just say "Passing" or "Passing on the left".
I shout BICYCLE! Most folks understand what that means and move to the right.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Thanks Ken, that IS interesting! It provides some insight as to how some of these dumb a** rules came into effect. Should be no surprise money came into play while making these rules, WAY before common sense.... -Al

Currie technology was instrumental in the early days of US ebikes and as mentioned Malcom wrote the federal laws that have been peacefully in place for years. Larry Pizzi was an employee at Currie when they were bought out by ACCELL of the Netherlands, that introduced the Haiibike ebike brand to the US with a torque sensing Bosch motor one of the first on our shores. The Currie drive was cadence/throttle controlled and although it worked it proved to not be as efficient as a hub or the latter mid drives and is no longer produced.

Through the BPSA Pizzi started the movement towards aligning the EU regulations with the US ones and the Class Laws were the result. Another early eBike advocate Pedego founder Don DiConstanzo was on the board and fought hard for throttles which are not part of the EU regulations which resulted in the Class 2 designation for bikes with throttles that in reality gives them the same access and privileges as Class 1 yet this is not universally recognized. Class 3 is really in limbo because there is no precedent for it in Federal law. People for Bikes as mentioned is another arm of the industry that does their lobbying and is as much to blame for the confusion as anyone I feel.

I am thankful that the state I reside, OR, so far has resisted the PFB lobbying several times now and even without them access here is becoming more open as time goes on with lots being sold and ridden and oddly enough responsibly..... It is funny that under OR law a scooter is allowed to go 25mph and bikes are limited to 20 and working to see about getting bikes that upgrade.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Larry used to be a contributing member of the forum. I remember him; good guy and was good at his job. I'm not a fan of the 3 class law, it allows targeted regulations that limit access for some riders. There wasn't anything underhanded about BPSA and PFB working together on the 'model legislation', they were upfront from the beginning. Now BPSA and PFB have merged into one.

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