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New Utah Law Defines Multiple-Mode and Out-of-Class Electric Bicycles


Utah eBike Rider Beautiful Landscape

 

As of May 1, 2024, Utah State Bill HB 85 is in effect, marking a significant step in the regulation of electric bicycles. Signed into law on March 21, this legislation positions Utah as a pioneer in addressing the complexities of certain electric vehicles. The bill introduces clear definitions for multiple-mode electric bicycles and out-of-class electric vehicles (OCEVs), aiming to enhance transparency and safety within the industry.



Clarifying Multiple-Mode Electric Bicycles

The bill defines multiple-mode electric bicycles as those capable of switching between the three established class modes. During the 2024 Bicycle Leadership Conference, Utah Representative Jeff Stenquist, a bill sponsor, discussed its implications with PeopleForBikes Policy Counsel Matt Moore.


"The rise of electric vehicles with multiple operational modes has necessitated a regulatory response," said Moore. "PeopleForBikes responded by working to pass House Bill 85."


This legislation benefits both the bicycle industry and consumers by defining and labeling multiple-mode products while setting truthful advertising standards for OCEVs marketed as "e-bikes." Sellers of non-electric bicycles must now clearly inform consumers if their products do not meet electric bicycle standards.



New Labeling Requirements

Labeling electric bicycles is now a state law requirement. Multiple-mode, electric-assisted bicycles must be labeled accordingly. The Utah bill, referring to these as "programmable electric-assisted bicycles," stipulates:


"A Utah-based manufacturer or seller shall ensure that a programmable electric-assisted bicycle is equipped with a conspicuous label indicating the class or classes of electric-assisted bicycle of which the programmable electric-assisted bicycle is capable of operating."


This requirement, however, is limited to Utah-based manufacturers and sellers. The bill mandates that the labeling includes all the classes the bicycle can operate in, ensuring consumers are well-informed about the product they are purchasing.



OCEV Definition and Advertising Standards

The bill also clearly defines OCEVs and excludes certain vehicles from being classified as electric bicycles. For instance, any vehicle that can reach speeds over 20 mph on motor power alone, or has a motor power of 750 watts or more, does not qualify as an electric bicycle.


From May 1, any seller of such a vehicle must prominently display the following disclosure at the time of sale and in all advertising materials:


"THIS VEHICLE IS NOT AN "ELECTRIC ASSISTED BICYCLE" AS DEFINED BY UTAH MOTOR VEHICLE CODE AND IS INSTEAD A TYPE OF MOTOR VEHICLE AND SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE MOTOR VEHICLE LAWS IF USED ON PUBLIC ROADS OR PUBLIC LANDS. YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES MAY NOT PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING THE USE OF THIS VEHICLE. TO DETERMINE IF COVERAGE IS PROVIDED YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OR AGENT."



Ensuring Compliance

Failure to comply with these regulations, including falsely advertising OCEVs as electric bicycles, constitutes a deceptive trade practice. Violators face lawsuits from the state or any person (consumer, business, or organization) under Utah law. Courts can issue injunctions against such practices, award damages, and cover attorney fees and costs.



Conclusion

This new legislation in Utah sets a precedent for other states to follow in regulating the rapidly evolving e-bike industry. By establishing clear definitions and stringent labeling and advertising requirements, HB 85 aims to ensure consumer safety and industry transparency. As the industry grows, such measures will likely become standard across the nation, promoting a safer and more informed marketplace for electric bicycles.

Author: Benjamin Dai



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