E-bike bill likely to pass with big changes following compromise

This Specialized Haul ST is a Class 3 bike with a top speed of 28 mph. (Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Cycling and road safety advocates from across Oregon came together on a piece of electric bike legislation that is now poised to pass the House of Representatives. It’s likely passage is a major win for some e-bike advocates and represents a compromise they hope will lead to a more effective bill next year.

Last week BikePortland reported that a schism among bike advocates had developed over House Bill 4103. That bill was drafted by Bend lawmaker Emerson Levy (D-53) in response to a fatal collision last summer that took the life of a 15-year-old who was riding an e-bike. Levy’s bill sought to do four key things: bring Oregon in line with 41 other states that have adopted a three-class system for regulating e-bikes; make it legal for riders 15 and under to ride “Class 1” models (with a max speed of 20 mph and no throttle); prohibit people 15 and under from riding bikes equipped with throttles (Class 2) and that reach speeds of 28 mph (Class 3); and create a new misdemeanor traffic violation for parents of kids who didn’t comply with the new law.

The bill, known as “Trenton’s Law” was strongly supported by the parents of Trenton Burger, the boy who was killed by a driver while riding in Bend. Bend-based advocacy groups also supported the bill and were happy to see Class 1 bikes become legal for young riders and get more clarity and awareness around e-bikes in general. Since Burger’s death, pressure to do something about teens on throttle-equipped e-bikes has reached a fever pitch in small, high-income cities like Bend, Hood River, and Lake Oswego.

Megan Ramey, the Safe Routes to School manager for Hood River County who penned the “Dawn of the Throttle Kids” story for BikePortland in July 2022, testified at a public hearing for the bill on February 15th that one reason she supports HB 4103 is, “I can’t go a week without a friend, colleague or leader bringing up the ‘scofflaw e-bike teens.'” “The backlash is growing,” Ramey warned. “And it draws the positive energy out of Safe Routes to School.”

But despite liking some elements of the bill, other high profile advocates felt the changes went too far, too soon.

Last Wednesday, two days prior to a vote on the bill in the Joint Committee on Transportation, BikePortland reported that the two largest bike advocacy groups in America — People for Bikes and the League of American Bicyclists — had come out against the bill. Joining them in opposition were Portland-based nonprofits The Street Trust, BikeLoud PDX and No More Freeways.

One of the main sticking points for these groups was that HB 4103 would create a new law they felt was too “punitive” and would unfairly saddle some families with fines and potentially dangerous interactions with police. There were also concerns about language surrounding the maximum power output of e-bike motors, how the ban on Class 2 and 3 e-bikes might dampen adoption of cycling, the lack of a pedal requirement in the bill language, and the lack of a diversion program in lieu of the traffic fine.

“We’re particularly excited about the prospect of our state establishing what might be the nation’s first statewide task force on Electric Micromobility.”

– Sarah Iannarone, The Street Trust

These advocates argued that instead of rushing to pass significant changes this session, it would be smarter to create a statewide task force (as defined in HB 4067) where disagreements could be hammered out and then a new, more effective, bill could be introduced next session.

With the clock ticking on a very short session, and facing strong pressure from constituents to get results, Rep. Levy decided to compromise. HB 4103 was significantly amended prior to passage. The new “unsafe riding” traffic violation was taken out, but so too was the provision that would have made Class 1 e-bikes legal for everyone under 16.

The pared-down version of the bill includes only the three-class definitions and a change in the statutory definition of “bicycle” to include “is equipped with pedals” (a provision all parties agree is important to help regulate some e-bikes that don’t have them and should be considered mopeds or motorcycles).

Reached for comment Monday, Executive Director of The Street Trust Sarah Iannarone said she was optimistic about the compromise. She said it was only possible because of the leadership of Rep. Levy, (HB 4067 sponsor) Lake Oswego Rep. Daniel Nguyen (D-38), and the advocates who have worked on the bills — especially independent advocates RJ Sheperd and Cameron Bennett, John MacArthur from Portland State University, and Neil Baumsgard from The Environmental Center. Those advocates and others are members of the Electric Bikes For All group that has met regularly since 2019 (and is now led by The Street Trust). That group’s ability to quickly mobilize and educate the public and lawmakers with a position statement and petition was a key reason this compromise happened.

“While we’re glad to see Oregon develop a three-class system for e-bikes, we’re particularly excited about the prospect of our state establishing what might be the nation’s first statewide task force on Electric Micromobility to help engage stakeholders and develop policies to secure safe, equitable, affordable access to e-mobility for users regardless of where they live,” Iannarone said.

Now Iannarone and other e-bike advocates are pushing lawmakers to make sure HB 4067, the bill that will establish the Electric Micromobility Task Force, also passes this session. That bill passed the transportation committee Friday, but because it will cost the state an estimated an estimated $200,000, it is currently stuck in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago

Wouldn’t a no-petal e-bike just be considered a e-scooter like those you can rent, assuming it meets the power and speed limits?

https://www.oregon.gov/odot/forms/dmv/6619.pdf

Fred
Fred
4 months ago

Sorry but I need a shorter explainer on exactly what the new bill says.

Basically Oregon adopts the three-class system and bans motor-driven two-wheelers with no pedals and that’s it? – no more age limits and thus no tickets for parents of kids who would violate the law. And there’s a separate bill on a task force. And that’s it?

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Fred

no more age limits

The age limits remain. It will still be illegal for people under 16 to ride any e-bike, but the bill no longer creates a provision for ticketing parents of kids who violate it.

The old bill was pretty nothing, this one is completely nothing.

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2024R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB4103/A-Engrossed

Fred
Fred
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

It will still be illegal for people under 16 to ride any e-bike

Sorry but that just seems wrong to me. It’s training another generation of car-drivers, not cyclists.

And let’s remember that Trenton was killed by a driver in a slip-lane, so really this bill should ban slip-lanes.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Trenton was killed by a driver in a slip-lane, so really this bill should ban slip-lanes.

I have no problem with getting rid of slip-lanes (though “banning” them without funding the work to actually replace them probably wouldn’t accomplish much), but that’s just not what this bill is about.

What you want would be a big bill, requiring a lot of discussion, and wouldn’t really make sense for the short-session.

Vinny
Vinny
4 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Car hits kid on the bike… So let’s prohibit kids from riding bikes, they may get on the way of cars, who of course have no ability to stop or midigate danger.

Parents let their kid ride an e-bike and gets killed, than proceeded to ban all kids from riding bikes instead of promoting bike safety and infrastructure.

Micheal Moser
Micheal Moser
4 months ago
Reply to  Vinny

Exactly. Use some of that money to make popular commercials on TV and the Internet teaching bike safety. Doesn’t matter if the bicycle has a motor, it’s still a bicycle. I can put a apple on my bicycle and it doesn’t make it a fruit

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Vinny

Yea, and my understanding is it was a kid riding an ebike and without a helmet, which I bring up not to victim blame at all but only to say there were already two illegal things being done anyway… and the solution is to… just make them more ilegal somehow?

Karl
Karl
4 months ago
Reply to  Barrett

But the danger came from a car. Trenton died because of a car.

X
X
4 months ago
Reply to  Karl

Yes. We’ve normalized the dangers of large motor vehicles. When a person drives a van into the space containing another person, it’s not a 2 ton 100 horsepower van story, it’s a 50 pound 1 horsepower e-bike story.

“…a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation…”

We don’t think that failing to safely approach a crosswalk in a motor vehicle is a deviation. That’s what I mean by normalized. It’s not news and there’s no pending legislation to address it.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Fred

+1 It’s crazy, personally when I ride with my kid between the two of us he’s the one that could use an ebike. Try biking with your 5 year old for an hour ride and maintaining a decent clip. I ended up having to get a tow strap for hills 😉

John V
John V
4 months ago
Reply to  Barrett

Does the tow strap work ok? I’ve never thought of that, but I have had the thought that my kid isn’t going to be able to keep up with me for another 15 years or so, which is a bummer.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  John V

Yep surprisingly well! I got a purpose made one called a Towee I think. Most important part is to make sure it has tension the whole time so mainly if there is an uphill even slight.

Laura
Laura
4 months ago

So where does that leave the Super73 K1D “balance bike” that is designed for 4-8 year olds, capable of 15mph (rumored to be “hackable” to 20+), and no pedals?

surly ogre
surly ogre
4 months ago
Reply to  Laura

the Super73K1D looks like a motorcycle/moped. https://super73.com/pages/super73-k1d

“The pared-down version of the bill includes only the three-class definitions and a change in the statutory definition of “bicycle” to include “is equipped with pedals” (a provision all parties agree is important to help regulate some e-bikes that don’t have them and should be considered mopeds or motorcycles).”

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Laura

It would remain illegal for kids to ride, just as it is today.

Todd/Boulanger
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Watts, I assume your recommended prohibition would not include “off road”.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

I’m not recommending or advocating any position, just stating the current and future legal situations.

But I assume that none of this applies off road.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Laura

Yea same with the stacyc electric balance bikes. I guess these are illegal to use on sidewalks or at parks, probably along with things like power wheels etc.

Koro Werks
Koro Werks
4 months ago
Reply to  Barrett

There’s tons of stuff out there that is “legal on private property only” of varying speeds and hazards.

You MIGHT be able to push the idea that a 15 mph kick bike or similar is legally indistinguishable from an electric kick scooter, with or without a seat. Whether those are allowed on the sidewalk/multi use trail depends on jurisdiction.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Koro Werks

Yea that’s my point, we are lucky enough to have a large ~ 2 acre property with room to ride around but many kids don’t. Even still being able to take a stacyc to to a campground or a big park can be added fun, just seems silly it’s not legal.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Laura

Although for kids over 16 I think those would be legal as they could be considered e-scooters since e-scooters are allowed to have seats.

John MacArthur
John MacArthur
4 months ago

One note of clarification in the above article. The federal government has not adopted the three-class system for regulating e-bikes that 41 states have adopted at the state level.

In 2002, Congress passed Public Law 107 – 319, which amended the Consumer Product Safety Act that stated that low-speed electric bicycles are consumer products subject to the Act. The Act defined e-bikes as “`low-speed electric bicycle’ means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.” 

In accordance with Public Law 107-319, low-speed electric bicycles are subject to the CPSC’s federal product safety standards and detailed mechanical requirements that apply to traditional bicycles (16 C.F.R. Part 1512). The exemption for low-speed electric bicycles from NHTSA’s authority is codified in the notes to 49 U.S.C. § 30102. CPSC regulations only pertain to the manufacturing and first sale of the e-bike and states have jurisdiction over how these bicycles are used.

Many states have adopted the 3-class system definition for e-bikes in their state and how these bicycles are used. There is movement to change the CPSC definition but that will take some time as they go through their process.

Zach
Zach
4 months ago

I understand the structural helpfulness that the three class system offers in providing a basis for other legislation. However, I question the enforcability of any laws based on that system when the difference between a class 1 bike and a class 2 or 3 bike is essentially a software switch or update.

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  Zach

This is a big issue in the enforcability in my opinion too. There really is no visible difference, to a non-bike-savvy LEO, of a Class 1, 2, or 3 e-bike. And even when (if?) an easy target e-biker gets stopped, the rider can show them a sticker on the bike indicating it is a “Class 1” when in actuality, an imperceptible software or hardware hack can override that easily. All the while, tying up valuable LEO resources from patrolling the real problem.

Also, to provide a clarification, unless things have changed since I was selling them, both Class 1 and Class 3 e-bikes are pedal-assist with no throttles. The only difference is at what speed the assist stops. Class 2 is the only class with throttle.

Zach
Zach
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray

Ahh, I didn’t realize that about the throttles.

I know at least one manufacturer is shipping class 2 bikes where the speed limiter can be switched off altogether in their app, they call it “off-road” mode. I’m sure others are doing similar things. Like you say, this would be extremely difficult to detect for a casual observer.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray

Yep all the ebikes I’ve bought either come with an ‘off-road mode’ that has no speed stop or are easy to set up with one. They’ve all come with throttles as well despite at least one of them being setup with a 28 mph stop in the street mode.

X
X
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray

What keeps a class 3 e-bike from having a throttle? If it has a throttle would that mean it has to have plates?

Class 3 does require a speedometer but that’s almost universal since most controllers have a display.

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  X

As I understand it, again unless the classifications have changed in the 5 years or so since I was selling them, the throttle control itself makes it a Class 2. This is regardless of the “top speed” of the bike.

A Class 1 is pedal-assist only and will offer extra power, while you’re pedaling, until the bike reaches a speed of ~20mph.

A Class 3 is pedal-assist only and will offer extra power, while you’re pedaling, until the bike reaches a speed of ~28mph.

With both Class 1 and Class 3, most models offer a variable amount of assist (low, medium, high), that is noticeable, to add extra wattage to your leg’s output. But with both, once the bike reaches its “top speed,” the assist stops assisting.

Some Class 1 and Class 3 bikes may offer a “walk-along” or “hill start” button that will help to add assist from a stop before crank, wheel, or other sensors detect pedaling or other forward momentum. This is often very limited in either wattage or time.

A motivated owner with a little electrical knowledge and/or access to YouTube or something may be able to easily override any of this, making this bill superfluous.

*edit* This is all with the presumption that the bikes all have working and effective drivetrains with cranks and pedals engaged.

*edit2* To directly answer your question regarding registration (plates): IMO a Class 2 (throttled) e-bike with a speed capability over 20mph (all of them, basically) should be treated as a moped.

Koro Werks
Koro Werks
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray

Class 3 is throttle up to 20 mph, with anything above 20 pedal assist only, and anything above 28 technically you could do unassisted, legally.

Whether every manufacturer does that with their “class 3” mode, is another story.

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  Koro Werks

None of the Class 3 bikes I sold (Stromer, Haibike, iZip) had throttle.

I also understand that these “classifications” are in no way legally binding. So, as you said, it’s all up to the manufacturers at this point.

John Kurzman
John Kurzman
4 months ago

Speed is much easier to control with a throttle. You must have pedals, you should use the pedals. But as an avid ebike user, I find I go much slower and have much better control of Speed by gently using the throttle than having the pedal assist which magnifies my pedaling and then goes faster than the fine tuning the finger on the throttle provides. Like anything, a throttle can be misused. But lack of a throttle makes for a more dangerous ebike. Also, when I saw a truck coming at me at an intersection, it was the throttle that allowed me to get out of the way. Pedal assist also doesn’t give you the quick acceleration when you do need it. It’s a general Speed accelerator that is less responsive to your needs than the throttle that can save lives.

Christopher Lucy
4 months ago
Reply to  John Kurzman

You were going too fast that day you should slow down dude

John Kurzman
John Kurzman
4 months ago

When you’re progressing into an intersection just like all the other vehicles, and have the right of way, but a truck ignores you and decides to make their left anyway, you need to speed up and get out of their way right before he hits you! And the point is that in general, pedal assist often makes me go faster than I really want to go, but the throttle lets me go the speed I really want which is in general, slower than that. Throttle control is actual CONTROL. Pedal assist is just a power factor that is constantly added and a longer lag between when you set it and then how hard you are pedaling. People who make laws should actually learn to operate devices before they make those laws. Same with gun laws, so they won’t say stupid things, like thinking that muzzle brakes or barrel shrouds, actually improve safety for others. Similarly throttles themselves provide safety for the ebike operator, yet you are removing a key safety device for kids, because some may abuse them. Kids can just as easily speed with pedal assist or just pedals.

Chris I
Chris I
4 months ago
Reply to  John Kurzman

Why would a kid need a throttle on a class 1 e-bike with a 20mph limit?

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Class 1 e-bikes, by definition, don’t have throttles.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

It’s a lot easier for kids, especially trying to start from a stop on steep hills, having a throttle can really make a big difference. You even see electric balance bikes with only throttles and no pedals and they are easier for kids to use. You can generally set the speed cutoff much lower as well on these bikes like a stacyc I think goes from ~8 mph to 14 tops maybe.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  John Kurzman

+1 I find the throttle really really useful when trying to accelerate across a street quickly when I can’t see around corners far and need to cross streets before cars come. It’s especially useful when your trying to cross and on a steep hill

Chris I
Chris I
4 months ago
Reply to  John Kurzman

A class 1 bike with 20mph limit is safer than anything with a throttle. That is the intent of the bill.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

*Citation needed? I don’t see how that can be true. I’m pretty sure my kid’s 10 mph stacyc is safer than most class 1 ebikes.

mark
mark
4 months ago
Reply to  John Kurzman

As a bicycle mechanic, I’ve ridden at least a hundred different models of e-bike – classes 1, 2, and 3. Your experience with throttle might be specific to your bike. I find that acceleration and responsiveness vary widely between different models. I’ve ridden some class 3 bikes that accelerate very quickly with no lag at all, and some class 2 throttle bikes that are slow off the line.

The reality is that they’re all different. Your experience will not equal everyone else’s.

Christopher Lucy
4 months ago

Like all govt nanny state initiatives designed to replace parenting it’s CRAP..

Vinny
Vinny
4 months ago

Even worse. Placing the blame on the wrong party.

Olaf
Olaf
4 months ago

Seems like it would encourage better parenting through penalizing them. What am I missing?

Christopher Lucy
4 months ago

I don’t blame anybody for trying to skirt it it won’t bother me and I won’t report them I’m more worried about how they ride when they’re out there not how fast they’re going if they don’t hit anything I don’t care how fast they went

EV enthusiast
EV enthusiast
4 months ago

I don’t care how fast they went

On a 20 mph speed limit neighborhood greenway, I do care whether someone on an e-bike is going 30+ mph. Anyone who speeds in bike facilities is a ******* jerk.

Mike Moser
Mike Moser
4 months ago

How do stop people from saying “here’s what we’re doing now” without consulting with professionals on the industry first?

Bjorn
Bjorn
4 months ago

So following this logic we should be heavily limiting the speed and acceleration of cars and trucks being driven by younger drivers right?

Chris I
Chris I
4 months ago
Reply to  Bjorn

We absolutely should.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
4 months ago
Reply to  Bjorn

Not just younger drivers.

A ’67 Mustang took >10s to 60mph and was considered “quick”. (2.7m/s^2)

That’s 7 seconds for a Portland city block.

We now have multi-ton electric vehicles capable of 8+ m/s^2

That’s literally the ability to go from a red light at Morrison to Yamhill on 5th ave in about 4s.

God help the person who started to cross the street at Yamhill thinking that car 200ft away wouldn’t hit them.

Chris I
Chris I
4 months ago

There were also concerns about language surrounding the maximum power output of e-bike motors, how the ban on Class 2 and 3 e-bikes might dampen adoption of cycling

This seems like a bit much. They are concerned that children won’t be happy with a normal bike or even a class 1 e-bike, and will become lifetime drivers instead?

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

I’m of the opinion that the intent was solely to martyr (exploit) Trenton while virtue signaling that they were addressing the terribly unfortunate death of a 15-year-old who was killed by a driver. All without reducing the entitlements or privileges of drivers, which would really address the problem.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray

the intent was solely to martyr (exploit) Trenton while virtue signaling that they were addressing the terribly unfortunate death of a 15-year-old

There is absolutely nothing in the original or revised bills that even remotely looks like they were trying to address the death. I think you’ve been distracted by the name of the bill, which is irrelevant.

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The name of the bill is absolutely irrelevant, which is exactly why I said what I said.

The people who voted to pass it are the distracted ones.

qqq
qqq
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I think that’s Ray’s point.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  qqq

I thought Ray was stating that the backers of the bill were trying to make it look like they were “addressing the death”, when it seems that was never their intent. Neither the original nor the revised bill could possibly be construed that way.

I think the problem is the opposite — because of the bill’s name (which we all agree is meaningless?), some people were hoping this bill would address the death and are unhappy that it doesn’t attempt to do that.

In other words, people are upset that the bill doesn’t try to exploit the tragic death somehow.

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You’re overthinking it.

The “virtue signaling,” as I used it, was the act of using Trenton’s name in an effort to make the supporters feel good about passing a bill even though it does nothing to actually address the problem. And yes, I agree the name is meaningless, other than for the reason I just stated.

People are upset at its passing because it doesn’t address the problem, thus exploiting Trenton’s name to pass meaningless and unnecessary legislation.

qqq
qqq
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I disagree that the bill’s name is meaningless. It may be irrelevant and therefore meaningless from a legal standpoint (all that matters legally is the language in the law) but that doesn’t mean it’s meaningless.

Of course people are going to think the bill was going to address his death. That’s reasonable given that people involved in the legislation apparently are referring to it as “Trenton’s Law”.

people are upset that the bill doesn’t try to exploit the tragic death somehow.

I think you have it backwards. If it was “never the intent” of backers of the bill to make it look like they were addressing the death, they shouldn’t be referring to the bill as Trenton’s Law. Calling a bill that DOESN’T attempt to address the death is the epitome of exploiting the death.

When a law is named after a victim, most people expect that its aimed at doing something relevant to reducing the likelihood of the same thing happening to future victims (the “Amber Alert”, the “Brady Bill”, “Miranda Rights”, etc.). Referring to a law by a victim’s name, if the law doesn’t directly address the causes of that person becoming a victim, is misleading and exploitive.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Calling a bill that DOESN’T attempt to address the death is the epitome of exploiting the death.

My understanding is that the family was involved in the original drafting of the law. I’m willing to leave questions about whether this is exploitation to them.

Without the name “Trenton” this bill would likely have passed unremarked upon, and kids would now be able to legally ride low-powered e-bikes, which would help remove a distracting discussion of legality the next time an underage e-bike rider is killed by a driver.

All of this ballyhoo underscores my contention that bills should never be named after people.

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

While I truly feel for this family and all of those directly affected by Trenton’s passing, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Out of the utmost respect of people I don’t know, and likely will never meet, as I mean absolutely no ill will.

From David Burger’s (Trenton’s father) testimony:
112201 (oregonlegislature.gov)

I had been in touch with Rep Emerson Levey on a few other community issues prior to Trenton’s accident so shortly after She approached me about creating/updating E-Bike Safety Laws. I was in full support of this as I think this is a real issue that needs to be addressed! I asked if this Law could be named “Trenton’s Law” and Rep Levy said YES! I broke down in sad but joyful tears.

After Rep Levy announced the E-Bike Safety Bill, the Bend Bulletin reached out for an interview. Cori and I sat down with Anna Kaminski from the Bulletin to tell our story and support for the E-Bike Safety Laws. We want Parents, Children and Community to know that this law can’t change what has already happened but could serve in adjusting the culture and awareness around e-bike risks and contribute to safer use of e-bikes. Similarly, to how people now understand the importance of helmets and seatbelts, and how kids learn how to drive safely around motorcycles when they go to drivers’ ed.

Regulating E-Bikes in a way that makes sense age-wise is an appropriate next step and trying to encourage a broader understanding of their speeds and uses is also important for e-bike users as well as others on roadways.

HB 4103 would have some great improvements over the outdated laws. It would address the classifications of e-bikes, the ages appropriate per classification, the education of e-bike safety, like Commute Options working with our schools and children, dedication to making our streets safer and key people building on making this law effective!

I am currently working with Commute Options and the Bend LaPine SD to put on an E-Bike safety assembly with Pacific Crest Middle School next Friday where there are approximately 50 e-bikes ridden to school each day. Bend PD, Commute Options and I will be reiterating the need for e-bike safety, helmet use and laws with the students. This law could help this message reach all of our Oregon communities and families! 

Nothing here about being “involved in the original drafting of the law” or addressing the real problem. Just another way to further restrict non-vehicular traffic instead of addressing the true cause of his tragic and avoidable death, which was neither his fault nor his chosen mode of transportation.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray

Nothing here about being “involved in the original drafting of the law” 

Ok, but that doesn’t change my statement about who gets to decide their child’s name is being exploited, and my post still stands.

In its original form, the law would have made it legal for young children to ride e-bikes, which they cannot do today. That doesn’t strike me as “restricting non-vehicular traffic”, but whatever.

It seems like a whole lot of consternation over a big hill of nothing.

(As to fault, I don’t know whose fault the crash was; I’ve never seen a clear evidence-based statement of what exactly happened, and I expect I never will.)

Ray
Ray
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Ok, but that doesn’t change my statement about who gets to decide their child’s name is being exploited, and my post still stands.

That’s a fair point and I understand your stance. I think we agree on most everything here…especially putting Trenton’s name on this.

The point I’ve been asserting in this thread is that the lawmaker(s) made an effort to “address the problem” by attempting to restrict/regulate e-bike usage when the e-bike isn’t what ultimately led to Trenton’s death. When said lawmaker(s) approached Trenton’s father with their stated intent (regulating e-bikes), the father, in a worthy attempt to memorialize his son, attached the name to the bill; even though it’s addressing an issue that didn’t directly lead to his death and explicitly not addressing a problem that did. This seems like exploiting public sentiment for a political gain, to me.

I don’t think 15 and under children should be restricted from riding “Class 1” e-bikes. I think they can and are responsibly used as a tool for a parent to ride with their children as well as a tool for teens to get to social events and school, without being driven or driving themselves. Therefore safer, presuming there is a safe route to school.

As I’ve stated elsewhere, I do feel Class 2 (throttled) e-bikes should be treated as what they really are…mopeds. That means no MUP use, keep them off sidewalks, and require registration of some sort. This is very difficult to regulate as, like I’ve also stated, they are visibly no different to the casual observer to a Class 1 or Class 3.

You will probably still think…

(As to fault, I don’t know whose fault the crash was; I’ve never seen a clear evidence-based statement of what exactly happened, and I expect I never will.)

but to me it’s clearly the fault of those that designed the infrastructure. Shared at least a little bit with a driver that somehow didn’t properly assess the approaching 15-year-old.

I’ve said enough here, probably too much. I hope you can see where I’m coming from. Cheers.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray

The point I’ve been asserting in this thread is that the lawmaker(s) made an effort to “address the problem” by attempting to restrict/regulate e-bike usage when the e-bike isn’t what ultimately led to Trenton’s death.

And the point I’ve been asserting is that neither the original or the revised bill add new restrictions on who can ride an e-bike. The original bill did exactly the opposite of what you assert — it deregulated e-bike usage to a certain extent.

Can we at least agree on what the bill actually says/said?

In fact, everything you wrote in the paragraph starting with “I don’t think…” is exactly what the original bill would have done. The additional restrictions/regulations you want to add to class 2 bikes listed in the following paragraph were not in the proposal, so if anything, your critique should be that the bill did not restrict/regulate e-bike usage enough.

I really don’t have enough information to agree or disagree with your guess about what happened at the crash. I’m happy to leave it at that.

Charley
Charley
4 months ago

The three “classes” of e-bike are so confusing and poorly defined.

One might assume that a “Class Three” bike like my Specialized Turbo Vado would be the bike that is most like a motorcycle, because three is greater than two. One might also assume it’s faster and more dangerous.

However, the bike has no throttle, and even though the assist is apparently limited at 28mph, that’s pretty theoretical. The motor is only 240 watts: I have yet to attain that speed on the bike and experience the motor cutting out, even while pedaling down a hill.

On a regular basis I am passed by other e-bike riders with bikes that are obviously faster. I also regularly find myself riding as fast, but no faster, than kitted out roadies on training rides.

All of this leads me to believe that the three classes are pretty arbitrary, and that the ascending numerical order falsely implies some hierarchy of dangerousness.

The technological advances that are allowing this flourishing of fast e-motored “bikes” of various kinds is wonderful. On the other hand, allowing companies to sell “bikes” with no pedals and a 750 watt motor seems like a bad idea.

Another regulatory muddle: I understand e-bikes are disallowed from the Springwater Corridor. Does that mean I can’t even pedal on that path, with the motor turned off? If so, how is a guy struggling to pedal a heavy, bricked e-bike more dangerous than a few roadies cruising at 18mph? That’s all very arbitrary!

It’s tough to legislate this fast-moving industry, and the class system currently fails to make the necessary, meaningful distinctions.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Charley

A class 3 bike is the fastest at least on a flat road because it will assist over 20 mph whereas a class 2 will not.

However the problems are is the speed cutout is just an easy firmware / software setting so you might have been passed by riders with their limit set incorrectly.

The other problem is there is no such thing as a 750 watt motor, or a 250 watt motor etc. Motors output changes based on the power they are fed by the motor controller and software / firmware settings which are easily changed.

I only really see speed limit enforcement as the only actual enforceable way to have limits.

Charley
Charley
4 months ago
Reply to  Barrett

Well, assuming you are correct about the watts issue, then I was confused. Which proves my point about the classes being confusing!

I agree that regulating behaviors (speeding, riding motorcycles on bike paths, etc) is the primary lever in need of pulling.

On the other hand, a clearer e-bike class system is necessary if we want to, for instance, allow parents to make an informed choice about which kind of e-bike is appropriate for their child.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  Charley

I agree about leaving it to parents to make informed decisions but I don’t think we need much regulation or class systems for that.

If you buy you kid a boat, or motorcycle or even an RC car etc. you can just look at the specifications and decide – how heavy is it, what’s the top speed, the seat height, how good the brakes are, how smooth is the throttle etc.

I think pretty much all parents do this when buying other vehicles for their kids, whether it’s a motorcycle for your 3 year old or a car for your 15 year old etc.

Champs
Champs
4 months ago

These advocates argued that instead of rushing to pass significant changes this session, it would be smarter to create a statewide task force

Are we still falling for catch committee-and-kill?

crforsyth
crforsyth
4 months ago

Seems very on-brand for The Street Trust to hail the creation of a task force as an “exciting” result.

Todd/Boulanger
4 months ago

Perhaps “we” as a community of urban cyclists can come up with a simple “guide” for parents considering fleet electrification for their child or ward; as it is even confusing for us.

Three of # tips might be:

  • pick an e-bike with a good cadence sensor (to avoid the tendency to use a throttle as solution to every problem);
  • pick a level 2 e-bike that is designed for the throttle to be removed (and can be reinstalled once the child gains experience and control; and if the state rules change after purchase);
  • pick an e-bike that is not impossible to pedal without a battery (as most novice riders will get into a jam of over riding the range and this may rule out some of the silly / unsafe e-bikes that should be for off road use only: no safety lamps, etc.); and
  • etc. etc.
X
X
4 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

I’d support a collective effort to road test and rate e-bikes and scooters. Besides power levels, the way that power is applied in starting up from a stop is pretty important. Something small like a sticky throttle could cause a crash.

I’m super disappointed that little kick bikes, which seem like a really effective natural way for a small child to learn to ride and control a bicycle, have now been built as motorized toy. We’ve lost our minds.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  X

As someone who likes to ride with my kids and actually get to places, parks, restaurants, errands etc. with them the value that giving them electric assistance is HUGE. No way I could ride 5 miles in a reasonable with my 3 year old otherwise which would mean having to drive instead.

It’s way easier for them to learn the throttle than pedaling and there are pretty much no electric assist bikes for 4 year olds, that I’ve seen anyway but things like stacyc work great.

Barrett
Barrett
4 months ago
Reply to  X

Also FYI many bikes you can just change the setting and it will change the power, often just via your phone over bluetooth etc. so it’s hard to imagine anyone ever being caught that way.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

My #1 tip would be “don’t get your kids an e-bike”.

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
4 months ago

Instead of a task force, how about a requirement for every legislator and elected or appointed official to live without a car five weeks per year or so? (Yes that’s a different level of challenge for people in different situations, but they need some kind of significant experience in depending on the other modes of transportation, in their district, like the 40% of people who are unable to drive or just having car trouble, including those who are too young to vote but will be left holding the bag of carbon due to car-brained laws and policies.)

X
X
4 months ago
Reply to  Eric Leifsdad

In a perfect world?

Since our political class are unlikely to live idealistically we have to deal with the existing system of ‘amateur’ legislalators who are almost entirely dependant on personal motor vehicles to go to Salem. They also depend on campaign contributions to get into office.

The best we can do is to severely limit campaign contributions, put the campaign process into public forums, and support legislators who choose to work remotely.

If we find a way to link the public cost of personal vehicle use to the decision to drive, that would be OK with me. A person who already owns a car only sees the cost of fuel and maybe parking when they plan a trip. Insurance should be explicitly per mile travelled as well.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
4 months ago
Reply to  X

We can’t even get the Mayor of Portland, who claims to be about saving the climate, to let City employees to work from home full time, I doubt we are ever going to see our legislators working remotely full time. All the action is in Salem, not via a remote meeting in Podunk, Oregon. And even harder for a lobbyist to take a legislator out for a 3 martini lunch.

Andrew Kreps
Andrew Kreps
4 months ago

I can’t go a week without a friend, colleague or leader bringing up the ‘scofflaw drivers.’ but, you know, nothing you can do about that. 🙂

I find it hilarious that the same lawmakers that say you can’t legally have more than a single horsepower on a 50lb mobility device (which ebikes are, at least for me) also say it’s totally fine to be in a 9000lb vehicle with 1000 horses worth. Those 0’s are not a misprint.

wortkisser
wortkisser
4 months ago

Why did the Street Trust support this ridiculous bill? Trenton being 16 instead of 15 wouldn’t have made any difference. The problem is road infrastructure, not young people riding e-bikes. I’m just as confused as to why the parents are supportive of such a nonsense bill. Naming the bill after Trenton is insulting. Rationally regulating vehicle weight, power and speed would do 1000 times more for road safety but that is never a solution offered in these types waves of hysteria.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
4 months ago

I am a broken record on this topic, but….Why do they bother? We have had a law requiring that juveniles wear helmets while riding a bike, and it has never been enforced. OK, prove me wrong….at least in Bend, I see kids all the time openly riding around without a helmet. I have been at the scene of bike/car crashes where two 10-year olds were allowed, by cops, to ride away on their bikes after they were tended to by EMTs, still not wearing helmets…How many thousands of hours and dollars will be spent on a law that will receive zero enforcement? This one will be even more difficult to enforce, because cops will have to distinguish not only the age of the rider, but the type of e-bike, before they don’t bother anyway.

Dubs
1 month ago

Pedal assistance should only occur on hills, if not it is a motorcycle and should fall under the same class as other motorized vehicles.