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California "Electric Bicycle" Facts

Old 03-21-17, 06:48 AM
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California "Electric Bicycle" Facts

I know this has been discussed, but there is so much misinformation out there I actually did some research to see what AB1096 actually says:

SOURCE: HTTPS://LEGINFO.LEGISLATURE.CA.GOV/F...01520160AB1096
Assembly Bill No. 1096
CHAPTER 568
An act to amend Sections 406, 12804.9, 21113, 21207.5, and 24016 of, and to add Sections 312.5 and 21213 to, the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.

[ Approved by Governor October 07, 2015. Filed with Secretary of State October 07, 2015. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

AB 1096, Chiu. Vehicles: electric bicycles.
Existing law defines a “motorized bicycle” or a “moped” as a 2-wheeled or 3-wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy, and an automatic transmission and motor, as specified.

Existing law also defines a “motorized bicycle” as a device that has fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power and has an electric motor that meets specified requirements. Existing law requires a motorized bicycle, as described by this definition, to comply with specified equipment and manufacturing requirements. Existing law also imposes specified requirements relating to the operation of bicycles. A violation of the Vehicle Code is a crime.

This bill would delete the latter definition of a “motorized bicycle.” The bill would define an “electric bicycle” as a bicycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts, and would create 3 classes of electric bicycles, as specified. The bill would require manufacturers or distributors of electric bicycles to affix a label to each electric bicycle that describes its classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage. The bill would require every electric bicycle manufacturer to certify that it complies with specified equipment and manufacturing requirements. The bill would also require an electric bicycle to operate in a manner so that the electric motor disengages or stops functioning when brakes are applied, or in a manner so that the release or activation of a switch or other mechanism disengages or stops the electric motor from functioning.

The bill would require a person riding an electric bicycle to comply with the above-described requirements relating to the operation of bicycles. The bill would prohibit persons under 16 years of age from operating a class 3 electric bicycle. The bill would also require persons operating, or riding upon, a class 3 electric bicycle to wear a helmet, as specified. The bill would prohibit the operation of a class 3 electric bicycle on specified paths, lanes, or trails, unless that operation is authorized by a local ordinance. The bill would also authorize a local authority or governing body to prohibit, by ordinance, the operation of class 1 or class 2 electric bicycles on specified paths or trails. The bill would prohibit a person from tampering with or modifying an electric bicycle to change its speed capability, unless he or she appropriately replaces the classification label. The bill would specify that a person operating an electric bicycle is not subject to financial responsibility, driver’s license, registration, or license plate requirements. The bill would also make conforming changes.

This bill would incorporate additional changes to Section 21113 of the Vehicle Code proposed by AB 604 that would become operative only if this bill and AB 604 are both chaptered, and this bill is chaptered last.
Because the bill would create new requirements regarding electric bicycles, the violation of which would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

DIGEST KEY
Vote: MAJORITY Appropriation: NO Fiscal Committee: YES Local Program: YES

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.
Section 312.5 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
312.5.

(a) An “electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.

(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 equipped with a speedometer.

(b) A person riding an electric bicycle, as defined in this section, is subject to Article 4 (commencing with Section 21200) of Chapter 1 of Division 11.

(c) On and after January 1, 2017, manufacturers and distributors of electric bicycles shall apply a label that is permanently affixed, in a prominent location, to each electric bicycle. The label shall contain the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage of the electric bicycle, and shall be printed in Arial font in at least 9-point type.

SEC. 2.
Section 406 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
406.
(a) A “motorized bicycle” or “moped” is a two-wheeled or three-wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy, and an automatic transmission and a motor that produces less than 4 gross brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
(b) Every manufacturer of a motorized bicycle or moped, as defined in this section, shall provide a disclosure to buyers that advises buyers that their existing insurance policies may not provide coverage for these bicycles and that they should contact their insurance company or insurance agent to determine if coverage is provided. The disclosure shall meet both of the following requirements:
(1) The disclosure shall be printed in not less than 14-point boldface type on a single sheet of paper that contains no information other than the disclosure.
(2) The disclosure shall include the following language in capital letters:

“YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES MAY NOT PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING THE USE OF THIS BICYCLE. TO DETERMINE IF COVERAGE IS PROVIDED YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OR AGENT.”
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Old 03-21-17, 06:53 AM
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So my take is, a Class 1 or Class 2 is permitted anywhere a bicycle can be ridden "unless" it is stated otherwise. A Class 3 can't be ridden on bike specific trails "unless" specifically stated they can be (at least that's my read for the Class 3 28mph E-bikes).

A throttle is "not" an issue, it just makes a Class 1, a Class 2; but Class 3 must be pedal-assist only.

Brakes power cut-off is "not" required, it can have another method of power cut-off.

Are manufacturers actually labeling the bikes they sell?

Are retailers actually providing the stated insurance disclosure as specified?

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Old 03-21-17, 07:59 AM
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Bike shops are allowed to sell any Ebike of any power. I know this because here in PA., the police set up a checkpoint 1/2 block from the shops that sold Electric bicycles and handed out fines dailey to the new buyers.
August , 2014 the law was changed here . It's written in the new Public Highway Law book. I think it's 1000watts output to the motors measured by a watt meter. This is what's happening dailey here. New Jersey is the same. In 2015, I rode my Ebike 46 miles each way, powered by a MAC geared hub motor.
(( I'm from California and I was going to move back but I changed my mind when I found out that Ebikes are not " Law Friendly" .
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Old 03-21-17, 08:03 AM
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Before August, 2014 , I would not make it halfway down my own block on my 250watt Ebike . I feel bad for Electric Bicycle enthusiasts in New York City because every day the police just talke Ebikes and one a month they throw all of them in the "crusher" at the salvage yard. I personally seen this happen many times

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Old 03-21-17, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by M2faux View Post
Before August, 2014 , I would not make it halfway down my own block on my 250watt Ebike . I feel bad for Electric Bicycle enthusiasts in New York City because every day the police just talke Ebikes and one a month they throw all of them in the "crusher" at the salvage yard. I personally seen this happen many times
An electric bike is legal in NYC, as long as it a pedalec. If it has a throttle, it's illegal.

This video clears up alot. Court did a wonderful​ interview of the owner of Propel in NYC.

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Old 03-21-17, 09:05 AM
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Wow. That's a great video. I don't live in NYC but you just cleared up my visions about thinking Ebikes were only ridden by "Outlaw bandits" who get chased by the police in large groups and a few occasionally get caught and locked up. Looks like I'll be visiting NYC on my Ebike this Summer to visit my friend who rides his Ebike from North Jersey to Philadelphia a few times a year . Thanks for sharing .
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Old 03-21-17, 11:38 AM
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I was hoping to keep this thread about "California Electric Bicycles," but any factual information with actual links to the source of that information is always helpful.

In California it appears the Lycra roadies and MTBers that have been complaining about throttled controlled Class 3 bikes on the trails have a valid argument. The Class 3 with a 28mph limit appears to have to be "pedal-assisted" only to be within California Electric Bicycle classification. If a Class 3 has a throttle, then it appears to fall into the "Motorized Bicycle" category along with mopeds.

This could be why there has been confusion about throttles here in California. The key is a maximum of 750W and a speed limit of 20mph for "bicycle" access to existing trails, UNLESS a specific ordinance is in place.

Again, it appears the Class 3 750W 28mph limited must be pedal-assist ONLY and is NOT granted access to exiting bicycle trail UNLESS a specific ordinance is in place to allow them.

This kills any desire for me to own a Class 3 or anything with more than 750W and powered speeds of over 20mph. I ride where there are no cars, not with cars (if at all possible).

This doesn't look good for companies like Luna that are pushing anything but a Class 1 or 2.
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Old 03-21-17, 11:39 AM
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What I noticed in that video was that 9 out of 10 riders riding the streets didn't give a hoot abut the no throttle law, they weren't even pretend pedaling... The only person who tried to follow the law was the person trying to sell true pedal assist "legal" E-Bikes, He has a tough row to hoe... and that I suspect is the same in California too, you know, give an inch people take a mile...
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Old 03-21-17, 12:00 PM
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I don't live in CA, nor do I currently ride an E-bike, so my opinion needs to be considered in that context.

I don't have issues with class 1&2 bikes though I have some minor concerns about throttle vs. power assist bikes.

Class 3 gives me pause, and I suspect will cause issues down the road (no pun).

At 28mph, it's too fast to mix safely with bicycles in a bike lane, especially with a relatively inexperienced rider at the helm, and too slow to mix safely into laminar flow with urban motor traffic moving at 35mph or so. As such it's neither fish nor fowl, and IMO doesn't make much sense.

I spend enough time in Cozumel to be familiar with the problems of inexperienced people riding wheeled vehicles they can't handle. I wouldn't care at a certain level, but I suspect that problems relating to class three will cause trickle down problems for class 1&2, leading to counterproductive regulation later on.

But, as I said I don't live in CA.
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Old 03-21-17, 12:00 PM
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What is your experience about the Ebike check points? How does a California officer measure the actual watts output to the motor? I know they use watt meters in PA. I was just wondering if it's the same in California
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Old 03-21-17, 12:05 PM
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There are no check points in California that I know of and little to no knowledge thereof by law enforcement. It's just too new and hasn't become a large enough issue to address yet.
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Old 03-21-17, 12:06 PM
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I continue to be amazed at the amount of quality thought that went into California AB1096. They defined the classifications, gave access to 750W 20mph limited electric bicycles with pedal-assist or throttle and left it up to the local ordinances to op them out. Likewise, they excluded greater than 750W and faster than 20mph electric bicycles (that have to be pedal-assist only to even be considered an electric bicycle) and left it up to the local ordinances to op them in. All other power assisted bicycles are either a motorized bicycle or moped.

PURE GENIUS!

That is my take on all this here in California...

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Old 03-21-17, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by NoPhart View Post
I continue to be amazed at the amount of quality thought that went into California AB1096. They defined the classifications, gave access to 750W 20mph limited electric bicycles with pedal-assist or throttle and left it up to the local ordinances to op them out. Likewise, they excluded greater than 750W and faster than 20mph electric bicycles (that have to be pedal-assist only to even be considered an electric bicycle) and left it up to the local ordinances to op them in. All other power assisted bicycles are either a motorized bicycle or moped.

PURE GENIUS!

That is my take on all this here in California...
Pure fail, that is my take on the California E-Bike laws...

NOW, if they would have used the 350 watt limit, with everything else basically the same, THEN, pure genius.
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Old 03-21-17, 01:27 PM
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America....the nanny state mixed with the police state. So much for freedom.
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Old 03-21-17, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I don't live in CA, nor do I currently ride an E-bike, so my opinion needs to be considered in that context.

I don't have issues with class 1&2 bikes though I have some minor concerns about throttle vs. power assist bikes.

Class 3 gives me pause, and I suspect will cause issues down the road (no pun).

At 28mph, it's too fast to mix safely with bicycles in a bike lane, especially with a relatively inexperienced rider at the helm, and too slow to mix safely into laminar flow with urban motor traffic moving at 35mph or so. As such it's neither fish nor fowl, and IMO doesn't make much sense.

I spend enough time in Cozumel to be familiar with the problems of inexperienced people riding wheeled vehicles they can't handle. I wouldn't care at a certain level, but I suspect that problems relating to class three will cause trickle down problems for class 1&2, leading to counterproductive regulation later on.

But, as I said I don't live in CA.
Speaking from experience, the throttle "issue"is simply an anti e-bike meme used to pray on the fear and ignorance of those who have never ridden one. The only tangible differences between using the throttle rather than assist is the rider wont get any exercise, and their overall speed and range will be reduced. The classic red herring, that inexperienced riders will be able to go too fast...as if that would be otherwise impossible...but we all knows what happens going down a hill. Also, a few of the most experienced and able riders make it a habit of going too fast.

I use my bikes throttle maybe 2 or 3 seconds on my 16 mile RT commute, To compensate for the assist lag when first starting off at intersections on steep hills, or when crossing 5 lane arterials at uncontrolled intersections. The net result of not having a throttle would be me taking more time to clear intersections. Who does that protect?

The class 3 28 mph speed issue? I agree its too fast for sharing bike lanes and MUTs, but then again so can 10 mph depending on conditions. On the other hand, when in traffic lanes any reduction of the speed differential is a good thing. Some restrictions are reasonable, but dismissing them out of hand isn't, as they have legitimate benefits in environments conducive to their use.

IMO, those with concerns who have never ridden an e-bike should try one out, e-bike dealers are typically happy to allow test rides.

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Old 03-21-17, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by KingCat View Post
America....the nanny state mixed with the police state. So much for freedom.
I wouldn't go that far, but sometimes pandering to constituents comes at the expense of the greater good, and that happens on both sides of the "establishment" fence.
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Old 03-21-17, 08:42 PM
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Any legal issues regarding carrying a child in a proper seat securely mounted in the back of a class-1 or 2 e-bike?

I'm sure there are safety issues to consider.
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Old 03-21-17, 09:48 PM
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Just to clarify for the last time:
1) The individuals that I met representing People for Bikes, the group that spearheaded the CA, UT & NC laws and are working in other states now, had no intention for their law to pertain to off road activities.
2) A friend told me that the superintendent of parks in Orange County, CA has prohibited e-bikes in parks under his control except for physically challenged individuals, although Rangers in the Santa Monica mountains are allowing Class 1 bikes in their parks.
3) This is moot in Orange County since there is almost no policing of the trails. I have met one individual who was accosted by a Ranger and told that he shouldn't ride his e-MTB in the park, but he could continue that day.
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Old 03-21-17, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by amauri View Post
Any legal issues regarding carrying a child in a proper seat securely mounted in the back of a class-1 or 2 e-bike?

I'm sure there are safety issues to consider.
Check your local laws, but likely no other than maybe requiring a helmet and seating appropriate to the child's size/weight.
E-cargo bike manufacturers typically have a selection of bike seats, seat pads, grab handles, and foot guards.
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Old 03-21-17, 11:14 PM
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I was hoping for something like Chuck Norris Facts. Like, e-assist bikes are too gutless to move under the weight of their price tags.
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Old 03-22-17, 01:03 AM
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Street legal e-bikes are supposed to have their class number displayed on the frame. Mine has "class 3" printed on it. It's completely unenforced though. Police officers in LA don't have time to harass e-bike riders. I can count on one hand the number of times I've ever seen police running a speed trap on cars in 13 years of living here. The bicycle LEO's only ever make token appearances on the bike paths (like on holiday weekends.)

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Old 03-22-17, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Just to clarify for the last time:
1) The individuals that I met representing People for Bikes, the group that spearheaded the CA, UT & NC laws and are working in other states now, had no intention for their law to pertain to off road activities.
First, I consider the California law to be a good compromise, including allowing 750W. While I agree that 750W is an overkill for a commuter, or pleasure, bike, it is a reasonable amount of assist for a heavily loaded cargo, or trailer pulling, bike. Creating performance limits, instead of European style power limits, makes a lot of sense.

That said, you mentioned Utah. The main change made in Utah was to remove the requirement that a e-bike rider have a drivers license. The drivers license requirement had been the law in Utah prior to the update. That was, of course flawed, it, effectively, created condition where a person with no access to a car was not able to ride an e-bike. As stated, this was corrected.
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Old 03-22-17, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Just to clarify for the last time:
1) The individuals that I met representing People for Bikes, the group that spearheaded the CA, UT & NC laws and are working in other states now, had no intention for their law to pertain to off road activities.
2) A friend told me that the superintendent of parks in Orange County, CA has prohibited e-bikes in parks under his control except for physically challenged individuals, although Rangers in the Santa Monica mountains are allowing Class 1 bikes in their parks.
3) This is moot in Orange County since there is almost no policing of the trails. I have met one individual who was accosted by a Ranger and told that he shouldn't ride his e-MTB in the park, but he could continue that day.
It's great that you claim to have these private conversions with people, but can you provide a link that substantiates your claims? If they did actually occur, it is likely that they were referring to "motorized vehicles" not the new "electric bicycle" classification.

The real reason it is mute regarding Orange County Parks Trails is they all have 10mph speed limits, be it a bike or e-bike you are riding.

Directly from the Orange County Park Trails site:
Orange County, California - Park Rules

* A speed limit of 10 MPH enforced at all times.

-and-

* Use of motorized vehicles and equipment is prohibited.

Class 1, 2 & 3 Electric Bicycles are not classified as motor vehicles.
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Old 03-22-17, 06:35 AM
  #24  
NoPhart
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Bikes: As my watts decline, I’m amping up!

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Originally Posted by M2faux View Post
How does a California officer measure the actual watts output to the motor? I know they use watt meters in PA. I was just wondering if it's the same in California
This brings up a good point. I would think the equation Volts * Amps = Watts would apply, but I have no idea what measure they would use if enforcement takes place. As I understand it, stamps on motors are only in relation to what the motor is designed to handle, clearly not a statement of how the motor is being used.
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Old 03-22-17, 06:43 AM
  #25  
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Disabled Riders (maybe having a bad leg, back or arm) should be allowed to ride a 2500w powered Ebike anywhere they like. I have a couple friends that are big guys and they are 100% reliant on the throttle/motor only.
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