Ebike News out of the Shift'23 Conference


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A few articles from the ongoing Shift'23 Conference in Bentonville, Arkansas.

CPSC Commissioner: New e-bike injury data 'really concerning'

CPSC commissioner: We are ready to consider e-bike regulations

The first article is pretty expected IMO. Despite the slightly alarmist headline, the article does note that we don't really have injury-vs-usage data and data is likely incomplete. With usage exploding I would expect an overall increase in raw injuries and death, even if the actual rate per hour/mile ridden is holding steady or falling. But obviously more people getting injured or killed is still something to be concerned about.

The second article is more interesting, because we have the Commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Mary Boyle saying that battery regulations are coming (which should probably be expected and would basically be the feds following NYs example) but also expressing some apprehension regarding class 2/3 bikes.

"I do worry that, especially Class 2, with a throttle-based system, that there are no pedals involved," Boyle said.

Class 2 e-bikes actually do have pedals and provide throttle-controlled assistance. "Electric bikes" like Sur-Ron off-road are marketed as bicycles but have no pedals.

"It makes me wonder whether (a Class 2 e-bike is) a bicycle and what consumers will think of that. Is it a motorbike? Is it a motor vehicle? As for Class 3, I'm also concerned about the 28 mph speed. I worry that it doesn't match what ordinary riders can achieve, especially for older Americans. I think we need to look at that from a regulatory perspective and from your business perspective. Your consumer base might be different from the bicycle aficionados that make up your original base. Do those speeds make sense for children and older Americans?"
There is a lot of riding data that indicates that the vast majority of riders do achieve speeds in the 25-30mph range when going down hill. Now I know some will claim that is meaningless but it shows that most riders do in fact feel safe at those speeds and it's probably why the class 3 45kph/28mph assist speed was established.

Most rider fault accidents on bike/ebikes are likely when going down a hill which is not really related to being on an ebike.
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