Proposed electric bicycle law in Texas

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reikiman
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One of the followers to the wwwatts.net twitter account sent me this link:

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/81R/analysis/html/HB01687H.htm

If this becomes law it would make for an interesting change that I believe many of us here would appreciate. Maybe.

The idea is to:

  • Remove the condition that an electric bicycle weigh less than 100 lbs
  • Increase the allowable speed to 30 miles/hr

It does not mention any requirement that it include pedals.

Legislative status is here:
http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB1687

It appears to have been approved by the committee with a unanimous consent.

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reikiman
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Re: Proposed electric bicycle law in Texas

My thoughts:

I've always thought 30 miles/hr is fast for typical bicycle components. As you increase the speed the bicycle components need to be beefier, and eventually when you increase the speed enough you're really riding a motorcycle. Typical bicycle components don't have brakes meant to stop from high speed (e.g. caliper brakes).

In other words I think that increased speed should be coupled with increased safety requirements.

I am all in favor of making it easier to get more small EV's on the road. But it needs to be coupled with sensible safety requirements.

In the worst case version that law change would allow adding a 4hp electric motor (3000 watts) to a childs bicycle for traveling at 30 miles/hr. Uh... I'm sure some of you are grinning at the thought of doing that. But do you really think that's a safe thing to do?

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- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra Townie, 1971 Karmann Ghia (since sold), Kia Soul EV

steamboat
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Re: Proposed electric bicycle law in Texas

Below is link to a copy of the Federal Register concerning Ebikes. The Federal Law supercedes state law. Va recently changed their code to comply wih Federal Law.

http://www.largoscooters.com/sunbikes/fed.ebikelaw.pdf

garygid
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Re: Federal law vs. State law

What makes you believe that the "Federal law supercedes State law" in this case?

In spite of a statement to that effect on the X-Treme web site, is it not true that, in many cases, many State laws will supercede the related Federal laws?

For example, different states seem to have much different laws concerning what is a "bicycle". Further, even different localities have different laws on how and where one is permitted to use various "kinds" of wheeled "vehicles".

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steamboat
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Re: Federal law vs. State law

Right or wrong, this is my reference.

Link to the Federal Government site:

http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr03/low.html

Excerpt:
Pursuant to Executive Order No. 12988, the Commission states the preemptive effect of this regulation as follows. Section 1 of the Act provides that its requirements ``shall supercede any State law or requirement with respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements referred to in subsection (a)[the Commission's regulations on bicycles at 16 CFR part 1512].'' Public Law No. 107-319,
section 1, 116 Stat. 2776.

andys
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Re: Proposed electric bicycle law in Texas

As someone who enjoys building and riding small EV's, you'd think I would be excited by the new proposed law in Texas. But I think if this passes, Texas will reget this.

Most 30 MPH electric bicycles will be very unsafe, especially driven by inexperienced riders with only bicycle safety equipment.. You can't panic stop a bicycle from 30 mph. Maybe a fully tricked out downhill bike with massive hydraulic brakes and a very experienced rider could, but some rim brake walmart bike with a 60 volt 30 mph motor is a death trap. You also can't make a quick direction change on a bike at 30 mph either. Even worse, try stopping the bike quickly from 30 MPH while in the middle of a sweeping turn! Even the Tour de France guys often crash if they are going 30 MPH and they have to make an emergency maneuver.

I have posted this before in some of the "I want my bike to go really fast" threads. I tell people to get going 30 mph down a hill, and see how long it takes you to panic stop the bike, like if a car pulled out on you (which happens about every time I ride)or a big dog ran across the road right in front of you.

Did you know the majority of fatal motorcycle accidents occur at speed under 30 MPH? And that is usually with full safety equipment and a real DOT approved heavy duty helmet.

The difference in kinetic energy from 20MPH to 30MPH is huge. I got bumped going 20 MPH on my electric bike last year, and crashed hard without even seeing it coming. It was the most violent thing I ever experienced in my life. My neck was sore for 4 months, and it was obvious I came close to breaking it. I broke my helmet in 2 places, busted up my face and broke a tooth, as bicycle helmets don't really protect your face at all. If I was going 30 MPH at the time, I'd probably be dead.

I also wouldn't want to be a pedestrian in a city where anyone with a few bucks and no rider training could be whizzing by me at 30 MPH on a 100 pound plus electric motorcycle. The margin for error at 30 MPH is much less than 20 MPH.

If Texas does pass this law, there should be safety requirements drawn up for the bike and some sort of training & licensing required.

garygid
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Points: 441
Re: Federal law vs. State law

CFR 1512 appears to only apply to e-bicycles that are under 750 watts and can achieve a max of 20 mph when under motor-only power.
Basically, it defines the safety aspects of the construction of these for-sale-to-consumer bicycles (and e-powered tricycles).

E-powered bicycles 751 watts and over, and any "capable" of over 20 mph would seem to be treated elsewhere.

Also, it appears that a non-motorized FRONT-wheel drive bicycle is not covered either.

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Cheers, Gary
XM-5000Li, wired for cell voltage measuring and logging.

steamboat
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Re: Federal law vs. State law

garygid wrote:

What makes you believe that the "Federal law supercedes State law" in this case?

In spite of a statement to that effect on the X-Treme web site, is it not true that, in many cases, many State laws will supercede the related Federal laws?

For example, different states seem to have much different laws concerning what is a "bicycle". Further, even different localities have different laws on how and where one is permitted to use various "kinds" of wheeled "vehicles".

Federal vs State laws info.
http://www.house.gov/house/Educate.shtml

[THE SUPREMACY CLAUSE Article. VI. This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.]

Any federal law does trump any conflicting state law
Issues like credit reporting and debt collector abuse are researched by millions of consumers each and every day. Commonly, there is confusion as to whether the law to consider is a state or federal law and which one will finally rule. The Supremacy Clause in the Constitution explains that federal law always trumps state law which means federal always wins if there is a conflict between the two. If there is no conflict then the state law will be used but if there is any question or conflict of the two reading as the same, then the federal rule would win.

dogman
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Re: Proposed electric bicycle law in Texas

I could be wrong, but I think the way it works is states can supercede the fed law to have MORE stringent statutes, including out right banning ebikes. I don't know if they can be more lenient though. The fed ebike law, of course is not a motor vehicle statute, has nothing to do with operating an ebike, and relates only to the sale of ebikes.

They could just call them mopeds, though, and do whatever they want with the law.

In new mexico, as close as I can figure it out, under 20 mph and I am a bicycle. but go 21 mph to 25 mph and bingo, I magically become a moped.
all new mexico has is a moped law, for under 25 mph, that applies to bikes with a motor. Above 25 mph I am an outlaw biker.

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steamboat
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Re: Proposed electric bicycle law in Texas

dogman wrote:

I could be wrong, but I think the way it works is states can supercede the fed law to have MORE stringent statutes, including out right banning ebikes. I don't know if they can be more lenient though. The fed ebike law, of course is not a motor vehicle statute, has nothing to do with operating an ebike, and relates only to the sale of ebikes.

They could just call them mopeds, though, and do whatever they want with the law.

In new mexico, as close as I can figure it out, under 20 mph and I am a bicycle. but go 21 mph to 25 mph and bingo, I magically become a moped.
all new mexico has is a moped law, for under 25 mph, that applies to bikes with a motor. Above 25 mph I am an outlaw biker.

Va. is confusing.

" Electric power-assisted bicycle" means a vehicle that travels on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground and is equipped with (i) pedals that allow propulsion by human power and (ii) an electric motor with an input of no more than 1,000 watts that reduces the pedal effort required of the rider. For the purposes of Chapter 8 of this title, an electric power-assisted bicycle shall be a vehicle when operated on a highway.

"Moped" means every vehicle that travels on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground that has (i) a seat that is no less than 24 inches in height, measured from the middle of the seat perpendicular to the ground and (ii) a gasoline, electric, or hybrid motor that displaces less than 50 cubic centimeters. For purposes of Chapter 8 (§ 46.2-800 et seq.) of this title, a moped shall be a vehicle while operated on a highway.

needWheels
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Re: Proposed electric bicycle law in Texas

I don't like the idea of kids being able to get bikes that can do 30mph and cause a bad reputation for ebike when they start getting hurt (lawyers will have fun).

But if it makes ebikes more attractive and they sell more, it will cause prices to come down and an increase in innovations.

I remember when personal computers started to become more popular and ebikes seem to be at that phases. This means if it follows the same curve there will be one in every garage in 10 years because they will be so inexpensive and practical!

Batteries are the drawback, hopefully lifepo4 will 1/4th the price in 10 years.

richardb
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Re: Proposed electric bicycle law in Texas

reikiman wrote:

My thoughts:
I've always thought 30 miles/hr is fast for typical bicycle components.

In the worst case version that law change would allow adding a 4hp electric motor (3000 watts) to a childs bicycle for traveling at 30 miles/hr. Uh... I'm sure some of you are grinning at the thought of doing that. But do you really think that's a safe thing to do?

I'm in total agreement with David here. I've modified an XB500 scooter to bring the top speed up to 30 mph, and I feel like I'm pushing the safety envelope each time I drive this machine at that speed. I feel that keeping up with traffic speed is considerably safer than driving slower than the flow, but when you can't handle even the smallest irregularity in the road surface without fear of losing control, you're negating the positive aspects of keeping up with the flow. If we're going to make a bicycle go 30 mph, we better make sure that bicycle can handle a pothole at that speed. I don't think many of us are doing this.

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