Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
RunForTheHills   100 W

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by RunForTheHills » Jun 04 2019 3:29pm

URB-E makes this statement in their FAQ: "Do I need a driver's license, insurance or registration to buy an URB-E?
Nope! According to US federal regulations, URB-E is categorize as a low-speed electric bicycle and does not require a license. We always encourage you to be as safe as possible while riding any vehicle."

This is a categorically false statement as the laws that govern driver's license, insurance, and registration requirements are written by each individual state and not the federal government. If you don't want your ride confiscated, I wouldn't rely on this manufacturer for legal advice.


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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by billvon » Jun 04 2019 3:37pm

Talon wrote:
Jun 04 2019 3:09pm
URBAN626 is the company that designed and makes the URB-E in Pasadena, CA. They are legal as a Class 2 ebike in CA.
Nope. From California law:

=============
312.5. (a) An “electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.

(1) A “class 1 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(2) A “class 2 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(3) A “class 3 electric bicycle,” or “speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour, and equipped with a speedometer.
==================

No fully operable pedals = not an electric bicycle = no class 2 designation.
--bill von

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by RunForTheHills » Jun 04 2019 3:39pm

That link contains this sentence:

"This is the law that defines electric bicycles as those with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts."

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by billvon » Jun 04 2019 3:42pm

RunForTheHills wrote:
Jun 04 2019 3:29pm
URB-E makes this statement in their FAQ: "Do I need a driver's license, insurance or registration to buy an URB-E?
Nope! According to US federal regulations, URB-E is categorize as a low-speed electric bicycle and does not require a license. We always encourage you to be as safe as possible while riding any vehicle."

This is a categorically false statement as the laws that govern driver's license, insurance, and registration requirements are written by each individual state and not the federal government. If you don't want your ride confiscated, I wouldn't rely on this manufacturer for legal advice.
I agree with the gist of your statement - but note that the federal government DOES have a definition of ebike, which is:
===============
LOW-SPEED ELECTRIC BICYCLES
‘‘SEC. 38. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, low speed electric bicycles are consumer products within the meaning
of section 3(a)(1) and shall be subject to the Commission regulations published at section 1500.18(a)(12) and part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal Regulations.

‘‘(b) For the purpose of this section, the term ‘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.
=================

The federal government defines them thusly so they are not considered motor vehicles (registration, insurance etc)
--bill von

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by RunForTheHills » Jun 04 2019 3:49pm

billvon wrote:
Jun 04 2019 3:42pm
RunForTheHills wrote:
Jun 04 2019 3:29pm
URB-E makes this statement in their FAQ: "Do I need a driver's license, insurance or registration to buy an URB-E?
Nope! According to US federal regulations, URB-E is categorize as a low-speed electric bicycle and does not require a license. We always encourage you to be as safe as possible while riding any vehicle."

This is a categorically false statement as the laws that govern driver's license, insurance, and registration requirements are written by each individual state and not the federal government. If you don't want your ride confiscated, I wouldn't rely on this manufacturer for legal advice.
I agree with the gist of your statement - but note that the federal government DOES have a definition of ebike, which is:
===============
LOW-SPEED ELECTRIC BICYCLES
‘‘SEC. 38. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, low speed electric bicycles are consumer products within the meaning
of section 3(a)(1) and shall be subject to the Commission regulations published at section 1500.18(a)(12) and part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal Regulations.

‘‘(b) For the purpose of this section, the term ‘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.
=================

The federal government defines them thusly so they are not considered motor vehicles (registration, insurance etc)
Interesting, but the URB-E doesn't even fit that definition of a low-speed electric bicycle as it also requires operable pedals. And that definition is meaningless for the purpose of determining driver's license, insurance, and registration requirements in each state.

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by billvon » Jun 04 2019 3:55pm

RunForTheHills wrote:
Jun 04 2019 3:49pm
Interesting, but the URB-E doesn't even fit that definition of a low-speed electric bicycle as it also requires operable pedals. And that definition is meaningless for the purpose of determining driver's license, insurance, and registration requirements in each state.
Agreed. Unfortunately, the result of not meeting the standard for exceptions in the law is that the thing is defined as a plain old motor vehicle. From California law:

==============
DIVISION 1. WORDS AND PHRASES DEFINED

(a) A “motor vehicle” is a vehicle that is self-propelled.

(b) “Motor vehicle” does not include a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle, if operated by a person who, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian.

(c) For purposes of Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 3000) of Division 2, “motor vehicle” includes a recreational vehicle as that term is defined in subdivision (a) of Section 18010 of the Health and Safety Code, but does not include a truck camper.
===============
--bill von

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by wturber » Jun 04 2019 4:01pm

billvon wrote:
Jun 04 2019 3:55pm

Agreed. Unfortunately, the result of not meeting the standard for exceptions in the law is that the thing is defined as a plain old motor vehicle. From California law:
I think it's a moped in California.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... 0160AB1096
SEC. 2. Section 406 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
406. (a) A “motorized bicycle” or “moped” is a two-wheeled or three-wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy, and an automatic transmission and a motor that produces less than 4 gross brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
(b) Every manufacturer of a motorized bicycle or moped, as defined in this section, shall provide a disclosure to buyers that advises buyers that their existing insurance policies may not provide coverage for these bicycles and that they should contact their insurance company or insurance agent to determine if coverage is provided. The disclosure shall meet both of the following requirements:
(1) The disclosure shall be printed in not less than 14-point boldface type on a single sheet of paper that contains no information other than the disclosure.
(2) The disclosure shall include the following language in capital letters:

“YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES MAY NOT PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING THE USE OF THIS BICYCLE. TO DETERMINE IF COVERAGE IS PROVIDED YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OR AGENT.”
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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by billvon » Jun 04 2019 4:16pm

wturber wrote:
Jun 04 2019 4:01pm
I think it's a moped in California.
Good catch. In which case he'd need to register it (one time only) have a driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement and use a helmet to be legal. If it qualifies as a moped in Michigan, then he'd need a driver's license or a moped license, and a registration sticker (renewed every 3 years.)
--bill von

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by wturber » Jun 04 2019 4:21pm

billvon wrote:
Jun 04 2019 4:16pm
wturber wrote:
Jun 04 2019 4:01pm
I think it's a moped in California.
Good catch. In which case he'd need to register it (one time only) have a driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement and use a helmet to be legal. If it qualifies as a moped in Michigan, then he'd need a driver's license or a moped license, and a registration sticker (renewed every 3 years.)
I'm pretty sure its a moped in Michigan as well. I posted on that previously.
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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by Talon » Jun 04 2019 4:33pm

Like I mentioned earlier. I don't have a valid driver's license. Almost every Moped that I see in Michigan has a "floor board". My URB-E does NOT have a floor board. Does that not make a Moped a "scooter"?? More confusion to add to the fire.

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by billvon » Jun 04 2019 4:37pm

Talon wrote:
Jun 04 2019 4:33pm
Like I mentioned earlier. I don't have a valid driver's license. Almost every Moped that I see in Michigan has a "floor board". My URB-E does NOT have a floor board. Does that not make a Moped a "scooter"??
I don't think so. I didn't see any exceptions to the law for floorboards.
--bill von

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by RunForTheHills » Jun 04 2019 4:53pm

Talon wrote:
Jun 04 2019 4:33pm
Like I mentioned earlier. I don't have a valid driver's license. Almost every Moped that I see in Michigan has a "floor board". My URB-E does NOT have a floor board. Does that not make a Moped a "scooter"?? More confusion to add to the fire.
Actually, if it did have a floorboard it would qualify as an electric skateboard:

https://sinasdramis.com/michigan-person ... ooter-laws

“A wheeled device that has a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding that is no more than 60 inches long and 18 inches wide, is designed to transport only 1 person at a time, has an electrical propulsion system with power of no more than 2,500 watts, and has a maximum speed on a paved level surface of not more than 25 mph."

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by billvon » Jun 04 2019 5:10pm

RunForTheHills wrote:
Jun 04 2019 4:53pm
Actually, if it did have a floorboard it would qualify as an electric skateboard
If it was designed to be stood on while riding. A Vespa style scooter with a floorboard and a seat would seem to not qualify.
--bill von

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by Sunder » Jun 04 2019 11:42pm

One quick way to tell if Urban626 was intending this to be a Class 2 eBike:
(2) Beginning on January 1, 2018, a manufacturer or distributor of electric bicycles offered for sale or distribution in this state shall permanently affix in a prominent location on the electric bicycle a label that contains the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage of the electric bicycle. The label required under this subsection shall be printed in Arial font and shall be at least 9-point type.
If no such plate exists, the sales person conned you into buying a vehicle not fit for purpose.

If a plate exists, it could make it legit despite not meeting the requirement of the law, or the manufacturer could be just trying it on, if there was no penalty for claiming a non-compliant bike was compliant (But surely consumer laws would stop that).
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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by wturber » Jun 05 2019 1:39am

Sunder wrote:
Jun 04 2019 11:42pm

If no such plate exists, the sales person conned you into buying a vehicle not fit for purpose.
The OP has had the moped for 2.5 years. He bought it about a year before the law changed. So that is of little help to him. Though it might be of help to others.
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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by fechter » Jun 05 2019 8:48am

Sunder wrote:
Jun 04 2019 11:42pm
(2) Beginning on January 1, 2018, a manufacturer or distributor of electric bicycles offered for sale or distribution in this state shall permanently affix in a prominent location on the electric bicycle a label that contains the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage of the electric bicycle. The label required under this subsection shall be printed in Arial font and shall be at least 9-point type.
Maybe go to the URB-E store and look at a new one to see if it has the sticker.

You could just print your own and stick it on...
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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by Volt_Ampere » Jun 05 2019 9:24am

No pedals == not an electric "ASSIST" bicycle.

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by Sunder » Jun 05 2019 6:54pm

fechter wrote:
Jun 05 2019 8:48am
Maybe go to the URB-E store and look at a new one to see if it has the sticker.
None of the photos anywhere on the store show compliance stickers, and their FAQ contains the usual evasive "Laws vary, so do your own due diligence".

You know, it's not the fines and confiscation that should be scaring people. It's the civil litigation, and possible criminal charges. I'll be just as evasive, and say the laws vary as well, but under pretty typical western law:

1. If you hit someone young, and injure them and you're at fault, regardless, you are going to be liable for compensative damages under negligence laws. However, if you were shown to be reckless, you can also be sued for punitive or exemplary damages. So if the judge thinks not only were you being careless in riding, but you knew, or reasonably should have known your electric bike was not legal, they can impose very stiff additional penalties unrelated to the injuries caused.

For example, in the recent Roundup (Glyphosate) law suit, the jury determined that they should be compensated $55m for contracting cancer. That seems high to me, but that wasn't the end of it. Because they felt that Monsanto acted dishonestly by continuing to sell Roundup when there was suspicion it causes cancer, they were fined an additional $2 BILLION dollars as a punitive damage. They're not saying this is deserved as compensation, they're saying because you were reckless to the risk you were imposing on others, we're basically going to bankrupt your company. Imagine if the jury felt the same about you: "You need to pay him $50,000 medical fees, $10,000 for time off work, and because you were completely reckless to the safety of the pedestrians around you, another $1m".

2. If you hit someone and they die - even from complications, you can be criminally charged. I'm aware of a case where someone in my extended social circle clipped an older woman stepping out from behind a truck (He was driving a car, not on an eBike). Nothing too serious, just a broken leg. He got a negligent driving charge, just a fine and a few demerit points on the license. But 12 days later, she contracted MRSA - antibiotic resistant staph infection. 3 weeks after that, she died from the infection, and since the official cause of death was "complications from motor vehicle accident", the coroner got involved.

After the death, the charge was originally upgraded to negligent driving occasioning death, from a small fine to loss of license. But when the coroner looked deeper into his driving record and car's insurance etc, he was a couple days late in renewing his registration, so even though his insurance and license were paid up, they were invalidated because he hadn't lodged the paperwork with the Roads and Maritime Services. For 9 months he was facing an unlawful death lawsuit with no insurance, and reckless driving occasioning death charge - up to four years imprisonment, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving an uninsured vehicle, and a few other minor charges. The stress on him caused him to lose his job and cost him his health

OP has already had a tiny taste of it - Sometimes, the smallest non-compliance things can cause disproportionate impacts.

Thankfully, the magistrate saw the sense in this case, and downgraded the charge back to negligent driving occasioning death, and he got his license back after a year. But it was a bit of a warning tale to me how things that seem small, can cost you.
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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by MadRhino » Jun 05 2019 6:58pm

The law is not a problem when you are not looking for troubles. The police have a lot to do and bikes are not a priority, but when they want you off the streets there is enough laws to find a reason.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by docw009 » Jun 06 2019 8:10am

In the OP's case, the police were never the problem. They ignored him and the law for 2 years. The problem is going to be his buddy at Starbux that is going to be hysterically demanding the cops do their jobs when he sees the OP/scooter again.

And maybe the ranking cop was really drawing a line in the sand.

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by fechter » Jun 06 2019 8:17am

It looks like it might be possible to install platforms on both sides of the Urb-e and you could remove the seat and ride it standing. This would probably require extending the handlebars to the right height. Maybe a lot of work, but might make it "compliant" with the stupid laws.
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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by Talon » Jun 06 2019 4:28pm

docw009 wrote:
Jun 06 2019 8:10am
In the OP's case, the police were never the problem. They ignored him and the law for 2 years. The problem is going to be his buddy at Starbux that is going to be hysterically demanding the cops do their jobs when he sees the OP/scooter again.

And maybe the ranking cop was really drawing a line in the sand.
Like I said earlier, I have been riding in this city for 2 1/2 years with no harassment from the law enforcement at all. Just because a moron reported me to the police is why I got the unwanted attention. The same moron threatened me last summer with calling the police and I argued with him and drove away. I know exactly what he looks like, and if I see him again...... I will drive the other way so I won't be tempted to knock his teeth out and hand them to him. I am always courteous to all pedestrians and oncoming traffic, and always yield to them. Most of the cop's in town know this I am quite sure as they have never bothered me ever before. I am 60 years old and am not some crazy inconsiderate kid riding around town with no respect for others.

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by MesquiteTim » Jun 06 2019 4:48pm

Sorry, but you should not threaten violence against someone when you are clearly breaking the law. Sell your ILLEGAL "vehicle" and buy a LEGAL electric bike. I'm 60 too and I don't get the anger and stubborn attitude of some people. I'll take a guess that you rarely admit when you are wrong.

Your repeated claim that you got away with it for two years somehow makes it Ok is silly. What if I ran the same stop sign in my quiet neighborhood every day for two years and finally the cops stopped me because a concerned neighbor called them?

And finally, change the title of this thread. Your case is not about illegal confiscation!

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Re: Illegal bike confiscation possibilities by police not up to date on newer laws

Post by wturber » Jun 06 2019 5:13pm

MesquiteTim wrote:
Jun 06 2019 4:48pm

Your repeated claim that you got away with it for two years somehow makes it Ok is silly.
... especially when you consider that the law regarding ebikes has been changed in the meantime.
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