USA Federal Electric Bike Law: HR 727
Consumer Product Safety Commission 16 CRF Part 1512: Requirements for Low-Speed Bicycles
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Code of Motor Vehicle Safety states that electric bicycles and tricycles meeting the definition of low-speed electric bicycles will be considered consumer products to be regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the same manner as ordinary bicycles, and are not considered motor vehicles under U.S. DOT and NHTSA regulations.
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 (to include two- and three-wheel vehicles) are 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 will be regarded simply as a bicycle for purposes of federal law. 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. However, such requirements do not apply to e-bikes assembled from parts or kits by an individual. The use of home-built or kit-assembled e-bikes are instead governed by state and local laws, as federal law does not preempt state and local jurisdictions from enacting their own laws governing the operation of such vehicles on public streets and roadways. The legislation enacting this amendment to the CPSC is also known as HR 727.
Model Legislation for the USA
The Light Electric Vehicle Association had a member group of representatives from e-bike companies and suppliers who worked on this model legislation during 2011 and issued their final suggested language on August 24, 2011. Cities and states who are struggling with language related to the use of light electric vehicles may find this information helpful in formulating their own regulations. To read the entire document, click here. Long time industry veteran, Rob Means, was LEVA's legislative advisor and chair of the committee. To promote zero-emission, domestically-powered, appropriately-sized electric vehicles, LEVA recommends that each state's Vehicle Code conform to these rules. Doing so will simplify the rules, reduce barriers, and fairly treat LEVs as viable transportation alternatives.
Lithium Battery Regulations
NEW REGULATIONS for air transport of Lithium Batteries announced JANUARY 1, 2013! This information is now available on the IATA website at: www.iata.org/lithiumbatteries
A good introduction and start to understanding how to legally ship lithium batteries is to view the power point presentation LEVA Member AllCell Technology presented at our Interbike Seminars. View it here.
Cycling Law Association
The mission of the International Cycling Law Association is to "bridge the gap" between the cycling industry and myriad of laws that affect it and, ultimately govern its success. For more information about this newly created association website is http://www.cyclinglaw.org.
Legal Analysis: Confusion Over Electric Bike Regulations
Article by Steve Hansen, 2013
After reading two articles in BRAIN’s June 15, 2013 issue (“Speedy e-bikes trouble industry” and “NYC e-bike crackdown exposes legal morass”) as well as a follow up letter to the editor in the July 1, 2013 edition, I was compelled to respond to some apparent misunderstanding by some as to what the “laws and regulations” are with respect to electric bikes and how they do and don’t work together. Click here to read the rest of the article.
Legal Status of Fast E-Bikes in the USA
Article by Ed Benjamin, 2013
“Fast ebikes” or “speed pedelecs” or “illegal ebikes” are a topic of conversation as the market for electric bikes in the USA grows. The key message here is that electric bikes can comply with the law, even the ones that are faster than the federal definition. And it is not hard to comply. Some of these bikes can achieve speeds of 60 plus MPH. Many can exceed 40 MPH. Operating such, which appear to be outside the law, can cause problems for the entire industry, as well as the individual operators. Click here to read the rest of the article.
Also check state updates from the USA Department of Motor Vehicles http://www.dmvnv.com/50_state_dmv_list.html
For information on Canada and its provinces go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws#Federal_Safety_requirements