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107th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                      107-5

======================================================================



 
                      LOW-SPEED ELECTRIC BICYCLES

                                _______
                                

 March 5, 2001.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Tauzin, from the Committee on Energy and Commerce, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 727]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Energy and Commerce, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 727) to amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to 
provide that low-speed electric bicycles are consumer products 
subject to such Act, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill 
do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     1
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
Committee on Government Reform Oversight Findings................     3
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     3
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     3
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     3
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     5
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     5
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     5
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     6

                          Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of H.R. 727 is to amend the Consumer Product 
Safety Act to provide that low-speed electric bicycles are 
consumer products subject to that Act. The bill removes low-
speed electric bicycles from the definition of ``motor 
vehicle'' within the jurisdiction of the Department of 
Transportation, where such bicycles are required to be 
regulated in the same manner as motorcycles. The bill then 
amends the Consumer Product Safety Act to transfer jurisdiction 
over low-speed electric bicycles to the Consumer Product Safety 
Commission (CPSC), where those bicycles would be regulated 
similarly to human-powered bicycles.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Electric bicycles are in use worldwide, with the market 
rapidly evolving over the last several years. Electric bicycles 
generate no pollution, are almost silent, and can greatly 
increase the recreational and transportation options for 
commuters.
    Some electric bicycles (power-assisted) provide motorized 
assistance pedaling, although they cannot be operated solely by 
motor power. These bicycles, like all non-powered bicycles, are 
regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 
Other electric bicycles (power-on-demand) can be operated 
solely by an electric motor, but still use lightweight frames, 
are used in a manner similar to non-powered bicycles. They have 
maximum motorized speeds not greater than those typical of a 
reasonably athletic bicyclist while biking.
    Typical users of low-speed electric bicycles include older 
and disabled riders who do not have the physical strength to 
ride up hills without motorized assistance, law enforcement 
agencies who use electric powered bicycles to increase their 
patrol range, and commuters who cannot afford automobile 
transportation or that work in traffic-congested areas.
    Power-on-demand, low-speed electric bicycles are currently 
regulated by the Department of Transportation by the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Section 30111 of 
title 49, U.S. Code, requires the Secretary of Transportation 
to prescribe motor vehicle safety standards. The term ``motor 
vehicle'' is defined by section 30102(6) as ``a vehicle driven 
or drawn by mechanical power and manufactured primarily for use 
on public streets, roads, and highways * * *.''
    If NHTSA were to enforce its regulations on low-speed 
electric bicycles strictly, the bikes would be required to have 
a number of safety features, such as brake lights, turn 
signals, automotive grade headlights, rear view mirrors, and 
license plates, that are prohibitively costly, unwieldy, or 
consume too much power for a low-speed electric bicycle. It is 
estimated that the application of motor vehicle regulations to 
power-assisted bicycles would increase the retail price of 
these bicycles by at least $200-$300 and make them less 
manageable and more unwieldy for consumers.
    Since low-speed electric bicycles are designed not to 
exceed the maximum speed of a human-powered bicycle, and they 
are typically used in the same manner as human-powered 
bicycles, electric bicycles shouldbe regulated in the same 
manner and under the same agency (the CPSC) as human-powered bicycles.

                                Hearings

    The Committee has not held any hearings on H.R. 727.

                        Committee Consideration

    On February 28, 2001, the Committee on Energy and Commerce 
met in open markup session and ordered H.R. 727 reported to the 
House, by a voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report legislation and amendments thereto. 
There were no record votes taken in connection with ordering 
H.R. 727 reported.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    The Committee did not hold a legislative or oversight 
hearing on H.R. 727 in the 107th Congress.

           Committee on Government Reform Oversight Findings

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, no oversight findings have been 
submitted to the Committee by the Committee on Government 
Reform.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee finds that H.R. 
727, a bill to amend the Consumer Products Safety Act to 
provide that low-speed electric bicycles are consumer products 
subject to such Act, would result in no new or increased budget 
authority, entitlement authority, or tax expenditures or 
revenues.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared 
by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                  Congressional Budget Office Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, March 5, 2001.
Hon. W.J. ``Billy'' Tauzin,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 727, a bill to 
amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to provide that low-speed 
electric bicycles are consumer products subject to such act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Charles 
Betley.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 727--A bill to amend the Consumer Products Safety Act to provide 
        that low-speed electric bicycles are consumer products subject 
        to such act

    Summary: This bill would assign to the Consumer Product 
Safety Commission (CPSC) jurisdiction for regulating the safety 
of low-power electric bicycles. Low-power electric bicycles are 
defined by the bill as bicycles or tricycles with an electric 
motor of less than one horsepower or 750 watts and a maximum 
speed of 20 mph on a level surface. The bill would also preempt 
state laws affecting such vehicles which are more stringent 
than the Federal Consumer Products Safety Act. The bill would 
not affect direct spending or receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-
go procedures would not apply. CBO estimates that implementing 
and enforcing new regulations under the bill would cost less 
than $500,000 a year, subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds.
    H.R. 727 contains an intergovernmental mandate as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) because it would 
preempt any state law or regulation that has more stringent 
requirements for the regulation of low-speed electric bicycles 
than those required under the bill. Although data are limited, 
CBO estimates that complying with these mandates would not 
exceed the threshold established by the act ($55 million in 
2000, adjusted annually for inflation). The bill would not 
impose any private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: Currently the 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 
regulates ``motor-driven cycles,'' which are defined as 
motorcycles and mopeds with less than five horsepower. By 
assigning jurisdiction of low-power electric bicycles to the 
CPSC,H.R. 727 may allow NHTSA to expend fewer resources on 
regulating a relatively low-risk transportation vehicle, but NHTSA 
would still be responsible for enforcing safety regulations for motor-
driven cycles that have gasoline engines, that are capable of speeds 
greater than 20 mph, or that have more than one horsepower. Additional 
costs to the federal government would occur should the CPSC decide 
that, to assure consumer safety, low-power electric bicycles require 
new regulations. CBO estimates that discretionary costs for 
implementing potential new safety regulations would be less than 
$500,000 a year. The costs of this legislation fall within budget 
function 550 (health).
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
    Estimated impact on State, local, and tribal governments: 
H.R. 727 contains an intergovernmental mandate as defined in 
UMRA. The bill would expressly preempt state laws and 
regulations governing low-speed electric bicycles that contain 
more stringent requirements than those established by the 
Consumer Product Safety Commission. Because states vary 
significantly in their regulation of consumer products and 
information about the operation of such programs is limited, 
CBO cannot determine with certainty the effect of this bill on 
state budgets. However, because the state statutes we reviewed 
largely regulate the use of low-speed bicycles in traffic, not 
the standards by which they are produced, CBO estimates that 
any costs to the states, primarily lost revenue from fines, 
would likely be minimal and would not exceed the threshold 
established by UMRA ($55 million in 2000, adjusted annually for 
inflation).
    Estimated impact on the private sector: The bill would 
authorize the CPSC to expand the existing regulations for 
bicycles to include new regulations for low-speed electric 
bicycles. Industry experts stated that, should the CPSC decide 
to regulate low-speed bicycles in the same category as 
bicycles, those requirements would be less burdensome for 
manufacturers than existing requirements under NHTSA. Thus, CBO 
expects that the bill would impose no new private-sector 
mandates.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Charles L. Betley; 
impact on State, local and tribal governments: Shelley 
Finlayson; impact on the private sector: Jean Talarico.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that the 
Constitutional authority for this legislation is provided in 
Article I, section 8, clause 3, which grants Congress the power 
to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several 
States, and with the Indian tribes.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Consumer Product Safety Act

    Section 1 classifies low-speed electric bicycles as 
consumer products within the meaning of the Consumer Product 
Safety Act, making them subject to regulation and oversight by 
the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Low-speed electric 
bicycles are defined as two- or three-wheeled vehicles 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. This definition is 
derived from the Department of Transportation's definition of 
electric bicycles used in the Bicycle Transportation and 
Pedestrian Walkways provisions of section 217(j) of title 23 of 
the U.S. Code, that defines ``electric bicycle'' as meaning any 
bicycle or tricycle with a low-powered electric motor weighing 
under 100 pounds, with a top motor-powered speed not in excess 
of 20 miles per hour. To further provide for the safety of 
consumers, this section gives the Commission authority to 
``promulgate new or amended requirements applicable to such 
vehicles as necessary and appropriate.'' Any State laws or 
requirements governing low-speed electric bicycles that are 
more stringent than those of the Commission are superseded.

Section 2. Motor vehicle safety standards

    Section 2 clarifies that in transferring jurisdiction over 
low-speed electric bicycles to the Consumer Product Safety 
Commission, those bicycles will no longer be regulated as motor 
vehicles subject to the jurisdiction of the Department of 
Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic):

                      CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY ACT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *




                      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.
  (c) To further protect the safety of consumers who ride low-
speed electric bicycles, the Commission may promulgate new or 
amended requirements applicable to such vehicles as necessary 
and appropriate.
  (d) This section shall supersede any State law or requirement 
with respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that 
such State law or requirement is more stringent than the 
Federal law or requirements referred to in subsection (a).