House File 493 - Introduced
HOUSE FILE 493
BY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
(SUCCESSOR TO HSB 80)
(COMPANION TO SF 97 BY LOFGREN)
A BILL FOR
1 An Act relating to low-speed electric bicycles, providing
2 penalties, making penalties applicable, and including
3 applicability provisions.
4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
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1 Section 1. Section 308A.1, subsection 1, Code 2021, is
2 amended to read as follows:
3 1. The department of natural resources, in consultation
4 with the state transportation commission, is hereby authorized
5 to establish recreational bikeways within this state for the
6 use, enjoyment, and participation of the public in nonmotorized
7 bicycling, not including the use of motorized bicycles as
8 defined in section 321.1. The routes established for such
9 bikeways shall be designed to maximize the safety of cyclists
10 and motorists and may utilize secondary roads when the normal
11 flow of motor vehicle traffic will not be hindered, as well
12 as other infrequently traveled roads, streets, parkways, and
13 appropriate thoroughfares. Such bikeways shall be routed,
14 wherever possible, to allow the enjoyment of scenic views and
15 points of historical interest, and may connect state parks and
16 other recreational areas throughout the state.
17 Sec. 2. Section 321.1, Code 2021, is amended by adding the
18 following new subsection:
19 NEW SUBSECTION. 036A. “Low-speed electric bicycle” means
20 a device having a saddle or seat for the use of a rider, two
21 or three wheels equipped with fully operable pedals, and an
22 electric motor of less than seven hundred fifty watts that
23 meets the requirements of one of the following classes:
24 a. “Class 1 low-speed electric bicycle” means a low-speed
25 electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used to
26 provide assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that
27 ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed
28 of twenty miles per hour or more.
29 b. “Class 2 low-speed electric bicycle” means a low-speed
30 electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used
31 exclusively to propel the bicycle and that is not capable of
32 providing assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of twenty
33 miles per hour or more.
34 c. “Class 3 low-speed electric bicycle” means a low-speed
35 electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used to
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1 provide assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that
2 ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed
3 of twenty-eight miles per hour or more.
4 Sec. 3. Section 321.1, subsection 40, Code 2021, is amended
5 to read as follows:
6 40. a. “Motorcycle” means every motor vehicle having
7 a saddle or seat for the use of the rider and designed to
8 travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the
9 ground including a motor scooter but excluding a tractor,
10 an autocycle, a low-speed electric bicycle, and a motorized
12 b. “Motorized bicycle” means a motor vehicle having a saddle
13 or a seat for the use of a rider, designed to travel on not more
14 than three wheels in contact with the ground, and not capable
15 of operating at a speed in excess of thirty-nine miles per
16 hour on level ground unassisted by human power, but excluding
17 a low-speed electric bicycle.
18 c. “Bicycle” means either of the following:
19 (1) A device having two or three wheels and having at least
20 one saddle or seat for the use of a rider which is propelled by
21 human power.
22 (2) A device having two or three wheels with fully operable
23 pedals and an electric motor of less than seven hundred fifty
24 watts (one horsepower), whose maximum speed on a paved level
25 surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden, is
26 less than twenty miles per hour A low-speed electric bicycle.
27 Sec. 4. Section 321.1, subsection 90, paragraph a, Code
28 2021, is amended to read as follows:
29 a. Any device moved by human power, including a low-speed
30 electric bicycle.
31 Sec. 5. NEW SECTION. 321.235B Low-speed electric bicycles
32 —— labels —— operation.
33 1. A manufacturer or distributor of low-speed electric
34 bicycles shall apply a label that is permanently affixed
35 in a prominent location to each of the manufacturer’s or
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1 distributor’s low-speed electric bicycles. The label shall
2 contain all of the following information printed in arial font
3 with a font size not less than nine point type:
4 a. A classification number for the low-speed electric
5 bicycle that corresponds with a class defined in section 321.1,
6 subsection 036A.
7 b. The low-speed electric bicycle’s top assisted speed.
8 c. The low-speed electric bicycle’s motor wattage.
9 2. A person shall not knowingly modify the speed capability
10 or engagement of a low-speed electric bicycle such that the
11 low-speed electric bicycle does not qualify for a class defined
12 in section 321.1, subsection 036A. If a person has modified
13 the speed capability or engagement of a low-speed electric
14 bicycle, the person shall affix a new label containing the
15 information listed in subsection 1 to the modified low-speed
16 electric bicycle.
17 3. A low-speed electric bicycle shall be manufactured and
18 equipped in compliance with 16 C.F.R. pt. 1512.
19 4. A low-speed electric bicycle shall be manufactured to
20 operate in such a manner that when the rider stops pedaling,
21 applies the brakes, or the electric motor is disengaged, the
22 electric motor assist ceases to function.
23 5. A class 3 low-speed electric bicycle shall not be
24 operated unless it is equipped with a speedometer that displays
25 its speed in miles per hour.
26 6. A person under the age of sixteen shall not operate a
27 class 3 low-speed electric bicycle. A person under the age of
28 sixteen may ride as a passenger on a class 3 low-speed electric
29 bicycle in compliance with section 321.234, subsection 4.
30 7. A person operating a low-speed electric bicycle on a
31 highway is subject to the provisions of this chapter applicable
32 to a rider of a bicycle on a highway and has all the rights and
33 duties under this chapter applicable to a rider of a bicycle,
34 except those provisions of this chapter which by their nature
35 can have no application, or except as otherwise provided in
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1 this section.
2 8. Except for provisions of the Code made specifically
3 applicable to low-speed electric bicycles in this section,
4 low-speed electric bicycles are not subject to provisions of
5 the Code applicable to vehicles, including provisions relating
6 to all of the following:
7 a. Licensure, registration, titling, inspection, and proof
8 of financial liability coverage.
9 b. Possession of a driver’s license or permit.
10 9. A low-speed electric bicycle may be operated in any
11 place where a bicycle is allowed to operate, including but not
12 limited to streets, highways, roadways, shoulders, bicycle
13 lanes, bikeways, and bicycle or multi-use paths.
14 Sec. 6. Section 322D.1, subsection 8, Code 2021, is amended
15 to read as follows:
16 8. “Motorcycle” means a motor vehicle as defined in section
17 321.1 other than an all-terrain vehicle, which has a saddle
18 or seat for the use of a rider and that is designed to travel
19 on not more than two wheels in contact with the ground, but
20 excluding a motorized bicycle, a low-speed electric bicycle, or
21 autocycle as defined in section 321.1.
22 Sec. 7. Section 805.8A, subsection 9A, Code 2021, is amended
23 to read as follows:
24 9A. Electric personal assistive mobility device
25 violations. For electric device violations under section
26 321.235A the following sections, the scheduled fine is
27 twenty-five dollars. is as follows:
28 a. Section 321.235A.....................................$25
29 b. Section 321.235B.....................................$25
30 Sec. 8. APPLICABILITY. Section 321.235B, subsections 1 and
31 2, as enacted in this Act, apply to low-speed electric bicycles
32 manufactured or distributed on or after January 1, 2022.
33 Sec. 9. APPLICABILITY. Section 321.235B, subsections 3 and
34 4, as enacted in this Act, apply to low-speed electric bicycles
35 manufactured or distributed on or after the effective date of
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1 this Act.
3 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
4 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
5 Under current law, the definition of “bicycle” includes
6 a device with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of
7 less than 750 watts with a maximum speed of less than 20 miles
8 per hour when powered solely by the electric motor. This
9 bill strikes that provision and includes low-speed electric
10 bicycles within the definition of “bicycle”. The bill also
11 expands the definition of “bicycle” to include devices with
12 three wheels. The bill defines the term “low-speed electric
13 bicycle”, including three defined classes. The bill excludes
14 low-speed electric bicycles from the definitions of “vehicle”,
15 “motorcycle”, and “motorized bicycle” under Code section
16 321.1, thereby making the provisions of Code chapter 321
17 (motor vehicles and law of the road) relating to vehicles,
18 motor vehicles, automobiles, cars, motorcycles, and motorized
19 bicycles inapplicable to low-speed electric bicycles. The bill
20 also excludes low-speed electric bicycles from the definition
21 of “motorcycle” under Code section 322D.1.
22 Under the bill, a person operating a low-speed electric
23 bicycle on a highway is subject to the provisions of Code
24 chapter 321 applicable to a rider of a bicycle on a highway and
25 has all the rights and duties under Code chapter 321 applicable
26 to a rider of a bicycle. Under Code section 321.234, a person
27 riding a bicycle on a highway is subject to the provisions of
28 Code chapter 321 and has all the rights and duties applicable
29 to a driver of a vehicle, except those provisions which by
30 their nature can have no application. Code section 321.234
31 prohibits a person from using a bicycle on a highway to carry
32 more persons at one time than the number of persons for which
33 the bicycle is designed and equipped. Code section 321.281
34 prohibits a person operating a motor vehicle from steering
35 the motor vehicle unreasonably close to or toward a person
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1 riding a bicycle on a highway, including the roadway or the
2 shoulder adjacent to the roadway, and prohibits a person from
3 knowingly projecting any object or substance at or against a
4 person riding a bicycle on a highway. Code section 321.397
5 requires bicycles to at certain times be equipped with a lamp
6 on the front exhibiting a white light and a lamp on the rear
7 exhibiting a red light, except that a red reflector may be used
8 in lieu of a rear light. Code section 321.434 prohibits a
9 bicycle from being equipped with, and a person from using upon
10 a bicycle, any siren or whistle.
11 By operation of law, a local authority is authorized to
12 regulate low-speed electric bicycles under Code section
14 The bill provides that except for provisions of the Code
15 made specifically applicable to low-speed electric bicycles
16 in the bill, low-speed electric bicycles are not subject to
17 the provisions of the Code applicable to vehicles, including
18 provisions relating to licensure, registration, titling,
19 inspection, proof of financial liability coverage, and
20 possession of a driver’s license or permit.
21 The bill provides that a person may operate a low-speed
22 electric bicycle any place where a bicycle is allowed to
23 operate, including but not limited to streets, highways,
24 roadways, shoulders, bicycle lanes, bikeways, and bicycle or
25 multi-use paths.
26 Beginning January 1, 2022, the bill requires manufacturers
27 and distributors of low-speed electric bicycles to apply a
28 label to each low-speed electric bicycle identifying the
29 class of the bicycle, the bicycle’s top assisted speed, and
30 the bicycle’s motor wattage. The bill further prohibits a
31 person from modifying the speed capability or engagement of a
32 low-speed electric bicycle such that the low-speed electric
33 bicycle does not qualify for a class as provided for in the
34 bill. A person who has modified the speed capability or
35 engagement of a low-speed electric bicycle must affix a new
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1 label containing the required information as provided for in
2 the bill to the modified low-speed electric bicycle.
3 The bill also requires that low-speed electric bicycles
4 be manufactured in compliance with 16 C.F.R. pt. 1512 and be
5 manufactured to operate in such a manner that when the rider
6 stops pedaling, applies the brakes, or the electric motor is
7 disengaged, the electric motor assist ceases to function.
8 The bill provides that a class 3 low-speed electric bicycle
9 shall not be operated unless it is equipped with a speedometer
10 that displays its speed in miles per hour. The bill also
11 prohibits persons under the age of 16 from operating a class 3
12 low-speed electric bicycle. However, such persons may ride as
13 a passenger on a class 3 low-speed electric bicycle.
14 A violation of the bill is punishable by a scheduled fine of
16 The bill makes a conforming change to Code section 308A.1
17 related to the establishment of recreational bikeways.
LSB 1314HV (2) 89
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Introduced: 308A.1, 321.1, 805.8A