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Ebike Law: Can you ride e-bikes on MUP and "non motorized" trails

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Ebike Law: Can you ride e-bikes on MUP and "non motorized" trails

Old 09-07-16, 11:23 AM
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chas58
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Ebike Law: Can you ride e-bikes on MUP and "non motorized" trails

Yes, you can ride a e-bike a "non motorized" or MUP trail with some caveats.

There has been some good discussion and debate on whether you can ride an ebike on a trail designated as MUP or for use by "non motorized vehicle." This should help clear that up.

Ironically, whether the bike has a motor or not is irrelevant – what is relevant is the legal definition of motorized vehicle, and low powered e bikes are exempt from motor vehicle classifications. (unless a local ordinance over rides this).

Summarizing federal law, Ebikes with <=750 watts, and a speed of <=20mph unassisted are considered bicycles, not motor vehicles. Above that, they could be restricted, or require a license. FYI, 750 watts is 1.01hp.

Local laws of course take precedence over Federal laws. Certainly there are areas that explicitly prohibit e-bikes.

Here is the relevant federal law:
The federal Consumer Product Safety Act defines a "low speed electric bicycle" as a two or three wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals, a top speed when powered solely by the motor under 20 mph (32 km/h) and an electric motor that produces less than 750 W (1.01 hp). The rules for e-bikes on public roads, sidewalks, and pathways are under state jurisdiction, and vary.

In conformance with legislation adopted by the U.S. Congress defining this category of electric-power bicycle (15 U.S.C. 2085(b)),
CPSC rules stipulate that low speed electric bicycles exempt from classification as motor vehicles providing they have fully operable pedals, an electric motor of less than 750W (1 hp), and a top motor-powered speed of less than 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) when operated by a rider weighing 170 pounds.An electric bike remaining within these specifications is subject to the CPSC consumer product regulations for a bicycle.
Commercially manufactured e-bikes exceeding these power and speed limits are regulated by the federal DOT and NHTSA as motor vehicles, and must meet additional safety requirements.”
Reference: https://www.peopleforbikes.org/page/-...%20%281%29.pdf


California is one of the rare states that actually have thought this through in detail. Most states (~30) have pretty ambiguous references to motorized bicycles that don't incorporate the concept of a low powered e bike. They often regulate pedal bikes, and mopeds-scooters, but not e-bikes yet.

Here is California's example of a practical and well thought out state law (that vaguely mirrors European laws).
[/QUOTE] Reference: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01520160AB1096

1) A “class 1 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” 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 20 miles per hour.

2) A “class 2 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle
equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not
capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

3) ) A “class 3 electric bicycle,” or “speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” 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 miles per hour, and
is equipped with a speedometer.
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Old 09-08-16, 12:15 AM
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How many of these threads are we going to start!

The answer is YES......until someone in authority challenges you.

Then your best defense is quoting the federal statute in the above post.

SO far I have taken my bike all over and nobody has challenged me. I expect it to stay that way.

-SP
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Old 09-12-16, 09:54 AM
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Where I live officially NO MOTORIZED on pathways.
In practice I was rebuked twice in 5 years by mostly road bike racers/licras for being on MUP.
It all depends on popularity, numbers of ebikes on pathways.
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Old 09-13-16, 01:40 PM
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haha, rebuke them back!

I've found most people are ignorant of any of the rules and laws. They just see "no motorized vehicles" and assume ANYTHING powered must be illegal.

-SP
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Old 10-01-16, 03:17 PM
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Which is true unless your locality has reclassified ebikes as non motorized. Mine hasn't yet which is why I know. They say they're working on it.

The fed CPSA law states they are "low-powered electric bicycles", not bicycles, it doesn't make any allowances for use. It says they are not a "motor vehicle" which is a legal class of motorized vehicle, like cars and trucks, "motorized vehicles" is a common definition of any vehicle with a motor. Two very different things.
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Old 10-01-16, 05:56 PM
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Its Up to each state. see US Constitution, 10th amendment..
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Old 10-02-16, 09:40 AM
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CA, UT & NC have the same or similar law. People for Bikes, an advocacy group, is working to establish this law in other states, but it was rejected by SC & NY last year. Plan is to have NY accept the "CA" law, then it's felt the rest will fall in line.
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Old 10-03-16, 03:30 PM
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Necco- What IS your area? We would like to know who might be "reclassifying" ebikes.

-SP
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Old 10-03-16, 05:17 PM
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It's amazing how people will differentiate electric and internal combustion engines but easily forget the 'regular' engine is sitting on the saddle and needs it's computer reprogrammed sometimes.
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Old 10-04-16, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
Necco- What IS your area? We would like to know who might be "reclassifying" ebikes.

-SP
Steamboat Springs, CO

Right now, they classify ebikes as a motorized vehicle. They say they can't change the non motorized MUPs to motorized to allow ebikes, which they would like to do because of funding and that would allow anything with a motor on them. So, they would have to reclassify ebikes as "non-motorized" to allow just them.

Parks and Rec Commission to discuss electric bike rules as some press for changes | Steamboat Pilot & Today
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Old 10-10-16, 12:08 AM
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Weed is legal there, probably makes sense to keep DWI/DUI convictions off anything faster than their minds.


Makes delivery more expensive maybe.
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Old 10-11-16, 05:45 PM
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I was chatting with a guy at the DC e-bike expo and asked him about what will we do about all the wacky laws from state to state. He said People for Bikes are the ones spearheading common laws and definitions for e-bikes. I still need to check out that lead.

-SP
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Old 10-11-16, 06:17 PM
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While E-bikes are legally allowed on trails here in SoCal, I have never once seen one on any of the 70 miles of the SART between my house and the Pacific Ocean. Or on the PET, or any other MUT I've ridden. Only on the streets. So I think it's a bit of a non-issue.
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Old 10-14-16, 11:01 AM
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Biggest reason people don't ride ebikes in the US. You can't ride them anywhere. I saw my first mid drive bike riding around the other day. Probably doing 20+ mph, but riding on the shoulder of a busy street. He looked very stressed out riding next to the traffic on the roads, but where else is he to ride?

If you can't ride on bike trails, there is nowhere to ride in much of the US at 20-25mph.

When race training, I ride 20-30mph in a pack of bikes. Twice this summer in Michigan packs of bikes have been hit by cars, but its safer than riding alone. On an e-bike, there are not many options without trail use...
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Old 10-14-16, 01:47 PM
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Maybe other states will implement the CA, UT & NC law in 2017, although People for Bikes, the group proposing this law is going after SC & NY in 2017 per their representative. There are so many bike trails with relatively few riders in CA (although some of the beach trails are traveled heavily) that finding a place to ride is easy; same with off road trails; not many users (except for a few notably heavily trafficked ones), no policing.
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Old 10-17-16, 10:49 AM
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People for bikes is going after every state, the people that pay the bills there have a vested interest in making sure the ebikes they are selling can be ridden everywhere. Give it 5 years and I bet we'll see uniformity across the country.
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Old 10-20-16, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Maybe other states will implement the CA, UT & NC law in 2017, although People for Bikes, the group proposing this law is going after SC & NY in 2017 per their representative. There are so many bike trails with relatively few riders in CA (although some of the beach trails are traveled heavily) that finding a place to ride is easy; same with off road trails; not many users (except for a few notably heavily trafficked ones), no policing.
Most places in New England do not allow motorized vehicles on off road trails.
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Old 10-20-16, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Most places in New England do not allow motorized vehicles on off road trails.
The point that is being made in this thread is that, in many states, the law has been written to make it clear that e-bikes are not motorized vehicles. As is said here frequently, you need to research the laws to see what applies where you are.

For many short trips, that the typical person makes, e-bikes are very well suited. The result is that many states are making sure that e-bikes receive a relaxed standard of treatment in order to reduce the number of cars on the road.
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Old 10-20-16, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
The point that is being made in this thread is that, in many states, the law has been written to make it clear that e-bikes are not motorized vehicles. As is said here frequently, you need to research the laws to see what applies where you are.

For many short trips, that the typical person makes, e-bikes are very well suited. The result is that many states are making sure that e-bikes receive a relaxed standard of treatment in order to reduce the number of cars on the road.
I have done the research for MA, as it pertains to multi use, off road trails, not mups per se. No motorized vehicles allowed. Your reference refers to state hiway and road use, not parks and forests.
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