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e-bike laws

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Old 07-11-16, 06:36 PM
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speedy25
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e-bike laws

Actually the info I am looking for pertains to FEDERAL restrictions of e-bikes.

I know there is a thread on here somewhere that mentioned a certain federal statute but I cannot find it.

I got a piece of info that I need to verify that "rangers" will not allow e-bikes on the towpath trail that runs from Cleveland to (eventually) New Philadelphia. Covering all that ground makes a giant hodge podge of enforcement of whatever any LEO might THINK instead of enforcing whats written. We have possibility of state, city, county, and federal law since part of it runs through the national park.

I'm trying to be proactive and head this off at the pass, especially since I plan to open an e-bike shop to cater to some of those individuals using that path.

Help me out guys,

-SP
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Old 07-11-16, 07:54 PM
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If it has a motor on it then it is a motor-cycle and should not be on a human powered path. JMO.
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Old 07-11-16, 09:22 PM
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Is this the thread you are looking for?

http://www.bikeforums.net/electric-b...s-license.html
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Old 07-12-16, 06:30 AM
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Good question!
No good answer though.

First, this is an international community here, but I'm going to infer from your post that you are talking US Federal laws.

Answer: it doesn't make any difference, Local laws will supercede Federal laws.


Federal laws basically limit it to 750 watts and 20mph top speed (without pedaling).
More info, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electr...ctric_Bicycles
That basically sums it up.

California has the best thought out and very specific laws. Basically the non speed bikes (aka bikes that don't go over 20mph unassisted) are allowed on all types of bike paths, while restricting access of "speed bikes" (pedal assist up to 28mph).

Here is the graphic:
http://b.3cdn.net/bikes/2f0872d06ea2..._8zm6bi1fc.pdf

For more info, see:
New California Law Brings Clarity to Electric Bike Regulations | Electric Bike Report | Electric Bike, Ebikes, Electric Bicycles, E Bike, Reviews
http://www.sacog.org/sites/main/file...attachment.pdf
"The bill designates three classes of e-bikes, and distinguishes lower speed electric bicycles that reach motor-assisted speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, from higher "speed pedelecs" which have motors that provide assistance up to 28 miles per hour. This class system allows the use of lowerspeed e-bikes on bicycle paths, and also provides local municipalities the flexibility to regulate different types of e-bikes based on their local needs. The bill can serve as a model for progressive e-bike legislation in the rest of the country. "
That is roughly modeled after the european model - and they have been doing ebikes much longer than the US.

Legally, a reasonably powered e-bike can use "non-motorized" trails, unless explicitly restricted.
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Old 07-12-16, 10:06 AM
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CA law is ambiguous as it relates to trail access; the law redefines Class 1, 2 & 3 electrical bicycles as non-motorized vehicles and states that Class 1 is a bicycle. However, the Rangers are allowing Class 1 in some areas, but not others.
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Old 07-12-16, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Good question!
No good answer though.

First, this is an international community here, but I'm going to infer from your post that you are talking US Federal laws.

Answer: it doesn't make any difference, Local laws will supercede Federal laws.


Federal laws basically limit it to 750 watts and 20mph top speed (without pedaling).
More info, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electr...ctric_Bicycles
That basically sums it up.

California has the best thought out and very specific laws. Basically the non speed bikes (aka bikes that don't go over 20mph unassisted) are allowed on all types of bike paths, while restricting access of "speed bikes" (pedal assist up to 28mph).

Here is the graphic:
http://b.3cdn.net/bikes/2f0872d06ea2..._8zm6bi1fc.pdf

For more info, see:
New California Law Brings Clarity to Electric Bike Regulations | Electric Bike Report | Electric Bike, Ebikes, Electric Bicycles, E Bike, Reviews
http://www.sacog.org/sites/main/file...attachment.pdf


That is roughly modeled after the european model - and they have been doing ebikes much longer than the US.

Legally, a reasonably powered e-bike can use "non-motorized" trails, unless explicitly restricted.
Very roughly indeed. Not even close IMO as Anything more than 500watt and a throttle is a moped IMO.
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Old 07-12-16, 10:56 AM
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2old
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Agree with 350; 250 - 500w is adequate and PAS except for physically challenged individuals who should be allowed to employ a throttle IMO. Other consideration is how to rate motors since it seems like some suppliers throw on a sticker that complies with the laws of the country.
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Old 07-12-16, 11:25 AM
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Gentlemen, the OP appears to be asking for actual information, not opinions. The facts are that I do not have specific information in regard to the OP's question.

I looked quickly and I do see your problem, there are several different sections and they each seem to be under different authority. The first place I would go is to find the definition of a bicycle in the states on that path.

It appears that Ohio does use the definition that is favored with the Just Drive a Car lobby here on bike forums:
The State of Ohio classifies electric bikes and motorized bicycles as mopeds.
from here

The text of the law seems to be here:
Chapter 4511: TRAFFIC LAWS - OPERATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES


4511.01 Traffic laws - operation of motor vehicles definitions.
As used in this chapter and in Chapter 4513. of the Revised Code:

. . .

(G) "Bicycle" means every device, other than a device that is designed solely for use as a play vehicle by a child, that is propelled solely by human power upon which a person may ride, and that has two or more wheels, any of which is more than fourteen inches in diameter.

(H)

(1) Until January 1, 2017, "motorized bicycle" means any vehicle having either two tandem wheels or one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear, that is capable of being pedaled and is equipped with a helper motor of not more than fifty cubic centimeters piston displacement that produces no more than one brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of no greater than twenty miles per hour on a level surface.

(2) Effective January 1, 2017, "motorized bicycle" or "moped" means any vehicle having either two tandem wheels or one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear, that may be pedaled, and that is equipped with a helper motor of not more than fifty cubic centimeters piston displacement that produces not more than one brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not greater than twenty miles per hour on a level surface.

. . .

4511.713 Use of bicycle paths.
(A) No person shall operate a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or all-purpose vehicle upon any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, when an appropriate sign giving notice of such use is posted on the path.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any rule of the director of natural resources governing the operation of motor vehicles, snowmobiles, all-purpose vehicles, and bicycles on lands under the director's jurisdiction.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Effective Date: 01-01-2004
from here

So, looking at this, it looks like there may be a problem with the use of e-bikes on the path in Ohio.

This page has some case law; but there is little on e-bikes there.

As I see it, Ohio seems to be a win for the Just Drive a Car lobby here on bike forums.

All that being said, it appears that the path you are looking at is part of the GAP trail. I find this part interesting:
Great Allegheny Passage Mode of Transport Policy
Statement of Purpose:

The Great Allegheny Passage is a non-motorized trail. Vehicles with gasoline powered engines
are strictly prohibited. This policy details the permissible modes of transport in recognition that
some people have special needs and those individuals should be encouraged to use the Passage
while at the same time respecting the wish for a quality experience for all users.

. . .

Section B: Motorized forms of transportation are not allowed, with the following exceptions:
1. Maintenance and other purposes designated by regional and local trail groups;
2. motorized wheelchairs;
3. bicycles with an electric assist system; and
4. emergency and police vehicles

Definitions:
. . .

Bicycles with an Electric Assist System are considered to be any unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, or
quadracycle with an electric motor not exceeding 750 watts of power, a maximum weight of 100
pounds, pedal-assist, and top-speed utilized not in excess of 15 miles per hour, or less if
otherwise noted.
*
from here

Last edited by Robert C; 07-12-16 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 07-12-16, 12:09 PM
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chas58
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Very roughly indeed. Not even close IMO as Anything more than 500watt and a throttle is a moped IMO.
Funny man.

the reference to "that" referrers to california, not US federal guidelines. Depends on the country, but there is a clear distinction between low speed and high speed bikes whenever there is thought put into the laws. California is similar, and a bit more liberal many European regulations.

No one has ever said that the federal guidelines allowing throttle only and 750 watts is similar to euorpe, with a straight face.
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Old 07-12-16, 12:17 PM
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chas58
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
Gentlemen, the OP appears to be asking for actual information, not opinions. The facts are that I do not have specific information in regard to the OP's question.

I looked quickly and I do see your problem, there are several different sections and they each seem to be under different authority. The first place I would go is to find the definition of a bicycle in the states on that path.

It appears that Ohio does use the definition that is favored with the Just Drive a Car lobby here on bike forums:
That is some good information. I see you edited it to clean it up a bit.

Assuming the OP is talking state laws, specifically Ohio, that is a different question. And as stated above, state laws are more relevant as they are more restrictive. Places like NYC and Ohio are examples of extreme restrictions on ebike laws.

Thanks for sharing Robert!
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Old 07-12-16, 12:43 PM
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The problem is that there is a lot of ambiguity in the Ohio law. It appears that they were not really thinking of e-bikes. None of this really seems to address low powered electric bicycle using PAS (not a throttle), hense the confusion.

The motorized bicycle terms are directed at a throttle controlled internal combustion engine type moped. It is unclear what a "Electric personal assistive mobility device" is; it is apparently a device that requires "FULL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT - HELMET, WRIST GUARDS, ELBOW PADS, AND KNEE PADS." Probably not a wheel chair. LOL No doubt, it was inspired by hoverboards and similar devices.

Where laws are written explicitly applicable to e-bikes, they pretty consistently treat low powered (250 watt) low speed (25km/hr) PAS bikes the same as a regular bike. NYC is a notable exception. A strong biker (and there are a lot of them on these forums) can easily outpower a 250 watt bike, so those usually are not controversial. Where a community decides to draw the actual line is drawn is somewhat variable. (usually between 250-750 watts, and between 15 and 20mph).

Last edited by chas58; 07-12-16 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 07-12-16, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
the problem is that there is a lot of ambiguity in the ohio law. It appears that they were not really thinking of e-bikes. None of this really seems to address low powered electric bicycle using pas (not a throttle), hense the confusion.

The motorized bicycle terms are directed at a throttle controlled internal combustion engine type moped. It is unclear what a "electric personal assistive mobility device" is; it is apparently a device that requires "full protective equipment - helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads." probably not a wheel chair. Lol no doubt, it was inspired by hoverboards and similar devices.

where laws are written explicitly applicable to e-bikes, they pretty consistently treat low powered (250 watt) low speed (25km/hr) pas bikes the same as a regular bike. Nyc is a notable exception. A strong biker (and there are a lot of them on these forums) can easily outpower a 250 watt bike, so those usually are not controversial. Where a community decides to draw the actual line is drawn is somewhat variable. (usually between 250-750 watts, and between 15 and 20mph).
bingo, And... where the "problem" starts... IMO Is when they try and say that higher powered E-Bikes are the same as normal bicycles, even with a throttle... You end up with a backlash... Against ALL E-Bikes, even the low powered ones

EDIT; Like in this tread where I am being lambasted for riding an E-Assist bike on a tour... http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/10...touring-4.html And this is the second tread, the first one was shut down because of a few "A" Holes, but this one is headed there too.... Here is the first one... http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/10...ebikes-12.html

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Old 07-12-16, 08:00 PM
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Or the OP could pick up the phone and call the local federal Park Service and just ASK them what is/is not allowed rather than playing internet sleuth - just sayin'.......
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Old 07-13-16, 10:52 AM
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Speedy, did any of this help?

Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
Actually the info I am looking for pertains to FEDERAL restrictions of e-bikes.

I know there is a thread on here somewhere that mentioned a certain federal statute but I cannot find it.

I got a piece of info that I need to verify that "rangers" will not allow e-bikes on the towpath trail that runs from Cleveland to (eventually) New Philadelphia. Covering all that ground makes a giant hodge podge of enforcement of whatever any LEO might THINK instead of enforcing whats written. We have possibility of state, city, county, and federal law since part of it runs through the national park.

I'm trying to be proactive and head this off at the pass, especially since I plan to open an e-bike shop to cater to some of those individuals using that path.

Help me out guys,

-SP
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Old 07-19-16, 08:43 AM
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speedy25
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Arrgh! I added a reply last week and it seems it didnt post.

Thanks everyone. Yes that information is helpful. When you are educated about the local law ans then know about others laws and debate its much easier to make an informed discussion go the way you want.

Keep the discussion going!

-SP
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