Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 34

E-BIKES GET MORE PEOPLE
RIDING MORE OFTEN,
BUT DOES THAT MEAN CURRENT
BICYCLISTS WANT THEM?
KEN MCLEOD

I

f you haven't seen an e-bike yet, you
likely will soon. E-bikes represented
1% of all bikes sold in 2016, which increased to 7% in 2017. 80% more e-bikes
were sold in 2017 compared to 2016.
One of the major factors potentially
holding back e-bike sales in the US is
regulatory and consumer uncertainty.
There are two regulatory issues facing
e-bikes and they both lead to consumer
uncertainty:
1. What can be sold as an e-bike is
governed by a vague statute and is
enforced through the Consumer
Product Safety Commission.
2. The use of an e-bike is governed by
state law, meaning where an e-bike
can be used or the legality of using
one at all varies state-to-state.
Together, these issues lead to consumer uncertainty because potential e-bike
consumers must make a major purchase
without a lot of information about what
they are buying or where it can be used
legally. Similarly, policymakers such as
elected officials are not sure exactly what
they are regulating or what best practices
might be for regulation.
To combat issues of consumer and
policymaker uncertainty, the bicycle industry, through the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and the trade group
People for Bikes, has proposed a three-

34 BICYCLE FRIENDLY AMERICA

class system that would add clear definition beyond the CPSC regulation of
e-bikes and provide a standard practice
for where e-bikes can legally be used.
The three-class system is based upon the
approach to e-bikes taken by policymakers in the European Union, which has
helped adoption of e-bikes there.
The three-class system was first adopted by the bicycle industry in 2015 and
a version of the system is now the law in
8 states. In March, at the National Bike
Summit, we asked Morgan Lommele
and Alex Logemann to talk about the
specifics of the three-class system and
how it can benefit everyone interested in
having more people bike more often. For
those not able to attend, here are some
takeaways:
» The three classes are:
* Class 1 = pedal-assist bicycle
with a max assisted speed of 20
mph that can travel on all infrastructure open to a person-powered bicycle
* Class 2 = a bicycle capable of
being powered only by electric
power through a throttle with a
max assisted speed of 20 mph
* Class 3 = a pedal-assist bicycle
with a max assisted speed of 28
mph that is restricted from use
on shared use paths unless cer-

tain conditions apply. People
under 16 years of age cannot ride
Class 3 bikes and all riders must
wear helmets.
* Studies of e-bike users suggest
that e-bikes lower perceived barriers to bicycling and increase
the perceived safety of bicycling
- leading to e-bike users riding
more often.
» Studies suggest that e-bike users
tend to travel faster than unassisted
bicyclists, with studies showing the
difference being slightly more than
1 mph faster to up to 5 mph faster
- although in two studies e-bikes
were observed to have slower speeds
on shared use paths (One study was
done by Portland State University,
and the other was done by People
for Bikes.)
» Even where the three-class system
is adopted there is a need for education of land managers, local jurisdictions, retailers, and consumers
about how to explain the three-class
system, provide for appropriate signage and enforcement, and promote
consistent use regulation on routes
appropriate for e-bikes.
Credit is due to the bicycle industry
for proactively proposing and promoting
regulation in a way that will enable better


https://www.peopleforbikes.org/our-work/e-bikes/ https://www.peopleforbikes.org/our-work/e-bikes/ https://2018nationalbikesummitgrassroots.sched.com/event/C9EJ/state-policies-that-enable-and-regulate-e-bikes https://2018nationalbikesummitgrassroots.sched.com/event/C9EJ/state-policies-that-enable-and-regulate-e-bikes https://trec.pdx.edu/blog/are-e-bikes-faster-conventional-bicycles https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/static.peopleforbikes.org/docs/Model%20eBike%20Legislation.pdf https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nczS0sJBPyzrmtE_jlIpYs52BdUz3O5Tb_mG5k8uPkg/edit https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nczS0sJBPyzrmtE_jlIpYs52BdUz3O5Tb_mG5k8uPkg/edit http://www.bpsa.org/ http://www.bpsa.org/ https://www.peopleforbikes.org/

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Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover1
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover2
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - 1
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Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover3
Bicycle Friendly America Summer 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016_GatewayDemo
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Spring2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com