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People for Bikes E-Bike Summit 2019: Laws, eMTB Access, eBiking Study, Inspiration, & More!
Dec 09, 2019
The 5th annual People for Bikes E-Bike Summit was a big success with the largest attendance yet.
2019 was a busy year for many aspects of electric bikes so there was a lot to cover in this 1 day event.
This year the summit was held at Canyon Bicycles USA headquarters in Carlsbad, California.
Enjoy this E-Bike Summit report!
Morgan Lommele (left) and Larry Pizzi (right) from People for Bikes
Morgan Lommele, Director of State & Local Policy from People for Bikes presented on the latest e-bike law accomplishments.
The adoption on the 3 Class eBike law doubled in number of states in 2019.
After 5 years of work 23 states have adopted the model e-bike bill with 57% of the US population covered.
For 2020, People for Bikes has a goal of adding 14 more states to the current 23.
Those states are: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia.
People for Bikes notes that states that have the clear 3 Class eBike law have seen sales of eBikes more than double because it helps dealers explain clearly where eBikes can and cannot be ridden.
2019 was also a big year for micromobility with eScooters getting a lot of attention.
eScooter riders and companies want safe places to ride and there is synergy between bikes, eBikes, eScooters, pedestrians, etc. when it comes to advocating for more safe infrastructure.
People for Bikes is working with eScooter companies for better infrastructure while also recommending that ‘electric scooters must be managed by local decision makers on their own merits, separate from bicycles.’
Another big win in 2019 was approval of eBikes in National Parks and BLM land to access where traditional bicycles can be ridden.
Local land managers will decide which class of eBikes are allowed on the traditional bicycle routes. People for Bikes recommends contacting local land managers about your interest in electric bike access and possibly meeting with them to demonstrate what an eBikes is.
2019 also saw California Senate Bill 400 that now includes eBikes as purchase options for California’s Clean Cars 4 All program: ‘Clean Cars 4 All is a program that focuses on providing incentives through California Climate Investments to lower-income California drivers to scrap their older, high-polluting car and replace it with a zero- or near-zero emission replacement.’
We may see other states offering eBike purchase incentives as well. Stay tuned.
Insuring electric bikes was a challenge that was brought up because not all insurance providers will cover eBikes.
Some members of the industry are working to educated insurance underwriters about electric bikes.
An idea from some attendees was that People for Bikes could possibly provide insurance. Velosurance does provide electric bike insurance.
Alex Logemann, Policy Council from People for Bikes, presented on the history, current status, and potential future of the tariffs for China, Europe, and Japan.
Regarding the Chinese tariffs, there were some good details for the industry but overall not much has changed as of December 3rd when the presentation was made.
There was the potential for tariffs on some bicycle components coming from Europe due to EU subsidies to Airbus but in the end bicycle parts were excluded from any tariffs.
Japan and the US reached a new trade agreement in October that should reduce tariffs on some bike parts over a 2 year period.
Growing the E-Bike Channel with Creativity and Inspiration
Karen Wiener, Co-owner of The New Wheel eBike shops in the San Francisco area, presented her ideas on how the industry as a whole can work together to grow the electric bike market in the US.
She underscored the point that local dealers have so much valuable information for eBike companies about the eBike riders that they serve.
Karen has been commuting full time with an electric cargo bike while transporting her young daughter Ida. She has learned a lot from the daily commute and encourages all those involved in the industry to use eBikes as much as possible to truly live the eBike experience.
The New Wheel focuses on electric bikes as an alternative to automobiles and they working on local advocacy for more bicycle infrastructure in the San Francisco area.
eMTB’s continue to be a growing eBike segment and there are currently 23 states that allow eMTB’s on some non-motorized trails.
Those states are: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming.
Some of the important work is getting local land managers to become more familiar with eMTBs. People for Bikes recommends meeting with a land manager for a test ride so that they can understand the capabilities of an eMTB for determining where they are allowed.
Joe Vadeboncoeur is former Trek senior manager and now bicycle industry consultant and advocate. He believes that more studies need to be conducted on eMTB impacts to further help land managers make decisions on access.
Some of the studies and questions that need to be addressed from Mr. Vadeboncoeur are:
Multiple eMTB physical trail impact studies from different parts of the country and different types of soil
Can eMTBs and traditional MTBs coexist on all trail types? Do some trails need to change?
Some trails have been built from funding for non-motorized trails. How would allowing eMTBs work?
A power limit and max assist speed should be established.
Will an increase of riders on the trails lead to more maintenance? And if so, where will the funding come from? Sales tax or license fee?
After the presentation Mr. Vadeboncoeur had a panel of land managers, an IMBA rep, and a San Diego Mountain Bike Association rep answer questions from the audience on many of the topics he presented.
eBike Data and Stats
The NPD Group presented Retail Trends and E-Bike Sales in the US and the good news is that according to their data electric bike sales are up 51% from last year.
eBikes are also a big highlight when compared to many other categories in the overall bicycle industry.
Mobility by E-Bike Study
John MacArthur from OTREC & PSU
John MacArthur is a Sustainable Transportation Program Manager at TREC – Portland State University and he was at the summit promoting an e-bike study.
‘Electric bikes (e-bikes) are a new mode of transportation that could substantially improve efficiency in the transportation system if adopted as substitutes for cars. Researchers at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Portland State University, University of Pittsburgh, and Bosch E-Bike Systems have received funding from the National Science Foundation to measure real-world travel behavior and assess the sustainability impacts of those choices. We are developing a platform that is easily deployed, non-invasive, and leverages computing resources enabled by e-bike technology and smartphone sensor capabilities.’
Further more ‘Current practices of tracking e-bike data rely on memory recall and self-reporting from the user. Our approach will instead leverage smartphones to conduct ad-hoc travel surveys to supplement passive data collection and, using machine learning algorithms, create the largest and richest dataset to support the growth of e-bike use as a transportation option.’
They are actively seeking participants who must ‘use your e-bike to commute, run errands, or visit friends and family’ and have a Bosch powered eBike with at least an iPhone 10.
Canyon had a couple of electric bikes on display with European pricing with the note “Currently not available in the USA”…..