This might be contentious but I think the PFB class table has problems...

Ken M

Well-Known Member
If anyone cares to review the congressional notes of HR727 it's actually pretty clear the intent was to define a compliant "low speed electric bicycle" per the definition as a bike (in other words just like any other bike for all traffic & usage laws). I think we should all keep in mind that the federal definition pretty much worked for 12+ years before the PFB class table was pushed via lobby money from Europe (never was about safety). I realize the number of ebikes was low but we are talking about 750w (power of an average 2 slice toaster) and an advocacy group parsing the federal definition into classes for nothing but harmonizing the market.

I'm almost certain that the EU went with the 250W limit because they didn't want the low cost Chinese hub motors flooding the market (hub motors do need higher power at the lower speeds because of simply physics). I will argue that the world needs the best human scale transportation solutions and we should be listening an advocacy group getting paid to lobby for laws that were about harmonizing a market while FALSELY claiming it was about safety and growing the market. I like their charter but they violated it themselves and I'm not going to hold back punches.

I encourage everyone to read about Dr. Malcolm Currie who was responsible for pushing the federal definition early. I believe he knew the potential of the technology far better the PFBs and his definition should have been advocated instead of chopping it to pieces to harmonize with Europe. The table has some inherent conflicts with the HR727 which put the table in legal standing jeopardy. Just watch it will come down. The Mississippi AG is on record as stating his opinion that a low speed electric bicycle should be just treated as any other bike (mtn bike, road bike, recumbent, trike, etc.).

Larry Pizzi is on pod cast record as saying that the intent was for the class table to be consistent with the HR727 / CPSC definition. It's not because money got in the way of logic.

I know there are plenty of opinions that claim the CPSC definition just establishes the guideline for the application of the safety regulation in 1512 but if that's the case why does PFBs literally reference it as not having a cease of assist thus allowing for human and motor power to combine to create a speed pedelec class. They reference it just like a product spec so I think those that claim it's just to establish the safety regulations need to think a bit longer if they are correct. My take is that Dr. Currie definition should stand as a bike for traffic and usage laws - he knew more than the lawmakers.


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I was hoping someone would share more insight on this as I know it's been debated before but I think there is a clear conflict with the 3-class table and the federal definition.
Is there anyone that has solid legal understand of the definition and if the states can really ignore it to redefine for traffic / usage regulations? There is one Attorney General opinion published on this and he claims to have read all the legal statutes and believes the intent was for CPSC compliant low speed electric bicycles to be treated as just a bike.