Words by Jeffrey Stern
Joining California, Tennessee and Utah, Colorado and Arkansas became the fourth and fifth states respectively to define the three different classes of electric-assist bikes.
Many e-bike manufacturers are pushing for the classification system as a way to standardize regulation in the industry because of the gray area in which these bikes sit. In some states, they are technically illegal.
Earlier this year, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said, “As e-bikes grow in both the commuter bike space as well as the mountain biking arena, we wanted to be sure the thought leadership for this segment of the industry resided in Colorado.”
By signing House Bill 17-1151, the state of Colorado is doing just that. The bill helps define the various levels of e-bike assistance depending on whether the electric motor fixed to the bike assists while pedaling and the top speed that can be reached.
Although only applicable to e-bikes ridden on the roads and bike paths, the new state law requires all e-bike manufacturers to label their bikes in such a way that allows local government agencies to identify the various classes. The new bill does not provide management of e-bikes ridden on mountain bike trails throughout the state.
Section one of HB 17-1151 defines the three classes based on top speed as well as when the motor assists the rider—while pedaling or independently. Section four requires all e-bikes to comply with the federal consumer product safety commission, lays out the labeling obligation of the three classes for manufacturers and prohibits users from modifying their motors without acquiring the appropriate label. The last section of the bill speaks to the helmet requirement for all riders younger than 18 and also prohibits a person under the age of 16 from riding a class three e-bike, except as a passenger.
This is also the section of the bill that gives local government agencies the authority to “allow or prohibit the use of specified classes of electrical assisted bicycles on pedestrian paths and bike paths.”
The Arkansas HB2185 is similar in structure to Colorado’s bill. PeopleForBikes, the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and many local retailers came out in strong support of both bills and continue to work hard on legislation in other states. Larry Pizzi, head of the BPSA’s e-bike committee told Bicycle Retailer, “At long last e-bikes are really gaining the momentum we need them to. This is more great news on the BPSA and PeopleForBikes e-bike front. Colorado is really important. The bill got tremendous support there. We’re stoked we can put one more important state in the bag.”
Reports suggest that at least another half-dozen states have bills in progress including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin.
For more information on e-bike laws in your state, visit PeopleForBikes.org/e-bikes.Tweet Print
This is the final installment of the National Bike Summit Recap. We highlighted a tiny fraction of the organizations and people that attended this year’s event. Again, the role that these organizations play in bicycle and pedestrian safety is extremely important. So go support your local bicycle advocacy group; become a member, volunteer, go to an education class, attend and support hosted events.
Our last Q&A is with Jamie from The City of Fort Collins FC Bike Program. Jamie hosted a sessions called “Bicycle Friendly Driver” a successful education class that she hopes to share to the masses. The “Bicycle Friendly Driver” class teaches what is legal or illegal with photo reference, it teaches and emphasizes little things that can be done to prevent injuring a pedestrian or cyclist; open your car door with your right hand (makes you look over your shoulder), slow down and pass with care, what are the passing laws, etc. This is a program that Jamie and her colleagues have taken to the Fort Collins transportation service and has taught all the drivers how to be a “Bicycle Friendly Driver”, they have taken this to trucking companies, sanitation companies and more. Everyone who passes receives a sticker for their vehicle, and a certificate to show off. I’m sure we’ll hear more on this program’s success in the coming years.
Bike Summit Attendee: Jamie Gaskill-Fox
Organization: The City of Fort Collins FC Bikes Program
Tell me why did you attended the National Bike Summit? I attended the Summit because I was invited by the League to do a session on the Bicycle Friendly Program that we developed and have been implementing in Fort Collins since December 2015.
What are some easy ways for people to get involved and support an organization like yours? 1) Ride your bike and do so in a safe and lawful manner. Be the example – the more of us who are positive examples on a daily basis, the safer we will all be and the more support we will have in the long run. 2) Vote to support sustainable transportation. Our programs won’t exist without the support of voters. 3) Volunteer with our organization – we’re always looking for more awesome Ambassadors. Ambassadors help educate others about safe cycling and encourage others to ride. Plus, Ambassadors help reinforce the positive cycling community.
Why should people support organizations like yours? The work that we do makes roadways safer and easier to travel for ALL people. Our programming also helps meet much larger strategic goals such as climate action goals and reducing traffic congestion.
What was your #1 takeaway from the Summit? Even though there are great things happening across the country in regards to making our communities better for bicycling, we are at a critical time when we need to reflect on what we want the future to look like for people who ride bikes and to make it happen.. We need to find new ways to reach people through each of the 5 (now 6) Es. and engage them in a way that spurs them into action. Change is good – just as long as we grab it by the handlebars and steer it the way we need to go to make a better biking nation.
Contest ended. Congrats to:
- Winner: Jimmy Clere of Colorado Springs, CO
- Winner: Doug Welscott of Golden , CO
- Winner: Andre Rethman of West Des Moines, IA
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The Old Man Winter Rally has partnered with us to give three winners the opportunity to win a free entry for themselves and an entry for a friend. Because riding with buddy is good times. Enter to win below.
Complete the survey below the video by 11:59 p.m., December 28, 2016 to be entered to win. We will choose and notify a winner the following day. Some terms and conditions apply, but don’t they always? Open to U.S. residents, only. Sorry, but that’s not our choice.
If you are on a mobile device, click here to take the survey.
Oskar Blues’ Old Man Winter Rally had a wildly successful first year in 2015, with nearly 700 riders from Tour de France participants to 10-year-olds on fat bikes, and is set to go even bigger in 2016. The event takes place in Boulder County, Colorado, on February 7, 2016, and you’re invited.
Choose either the 50km or 100km route of dirt, snow, sweat, and beer. The 50km option offers a scenic spin along the paved and gravel farm roads on the east side of the Foothills Highway. The 100km route promises leg-burning climbs, bone-chilling descents, and an exhilarating adventure in the dramatic canyons west of Boulder. Whether you tackle it on a road bike, cross bike, mountain bike or fat bike is entirely up to you.
Every participant (1,000 are expected) can look forward to luxury aid stations with heat and eats, a hot meal and a cold beer at the finish line, and a rousing post-ride party with live music, contests, and a massive raffle. Funds raised from the event will go toward local trail maintenance via the Oskar Blue Can’d Aid Foundation. Register now.
Photos courtesy of Eddie Clark/Adventure Fit/Oskar Blues.
Images by Jake Orness, courtesy of SRAM
We joined SRAM in Boulder, Colorado, for an awesome ride on the new single chainring drivetrains as part of the Open the Road Tour. We rode 40 miles through Four Mile Canyon, along the stunning Switzerland Trail to Gold Hill and the iconic Gold Hill Store. The SRAM disc brakes were a huge help on the rough and loose Lick Skillet descent and through Lefthand Canyon, then we made it up over Old Stage and back to the Sanitas Brewery for tacos, beers and an informal focus group to see how the gear performed.
Special thanks goes to Skratch Labs and Real Athlete Diets for the nutrition along the way and to pro racers Nicole Duke and Kristin Weber for leading the way.
Stay tuned to see if the SRAM Open the Road Tour will be coming to a city near you.
To see full-size photos, click the magnifying glass.