The Washington state legislature passed the BPSA-created and -backed three-class e-bike legislation in late February.
The bill (SB 6434) is very similar to bills passed in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee and Utah and was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on March 13th with an effective date of June 7th, 2018.
“We worked closely with Washington Bikes on this bill and have an ally in the governor’s office,” said Morgan Lommele, e-bike campaigns manager for BPSA.
Lommele said BPSA is pursuing e-bike bills in Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this year.
At the conclusion of the BLC event, during the group dinner, the BPSA presented their annual Lifetime Achievement Award to Mike Mercuri (aka Merc), one of the founders of SRAM in 1987 and chairman of the PeopleForBikes board from 2013-2015.
“I’m not sure I’m deserving of this award,” said Merc. “But, I am proud that SRAM and World Bicycle Relief have been a positive force in the world of bikes, and I know I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have worked in this awesome industry for the last 30 years.”
You may have heard about the new $15 tax on bikes of $200 or more in Oregon, which has generated questions and concerns within our community. Here’s “the rest of the story…”
Alex Logemann, on behalf of the BPSA/PeopleForBikes joint Legislative Monitoring effort, worked for months with the The Street Trust and local bike businesses to minimize the impact of this tax on our industry and ensure that new investments in bike facilities dramatically outweigh the revenue collected from the tax.
The bike tax was included within a $5.3 billion transportation funding package. Lawmakers originally proposed a 5% tax on bikes retailing for $500 or more. After immediate push-back by Alex and our Oregon allies, legislators reduced the tax to 3%. Following a concerted campaign during June and July, the tax was rolled back to a flat $15, and the qualifying amount to $200.
Amending the bike tax to a flat fee eliminates the potentially disastrous impact of a percentage-based tax on high-end bike sales, reduces our real tax burden over time, and spreads the burden out to a wider range of retailers.
A critical aspect of this bill that received less coverage than the tax itself: The projected $1.2 million in annual revenue goes into a pool of over $22 million of annual funding to build more bike facilities in Oregon. Great job, Alex, and thanks to BPSA members, these are your dues dollars at work!
In March 2011, BPSA and several of its member companies were notified that US Customs was imposing a 10% duty on cassettes by moving them from the “free-wheel sprocket wheels” category, where there was no tariff imposed, to the 10% tariff “other” category.
This is where trade associations really shine. BPSA Board members Trek, QBP and SRAM immediately jumped into action, and after five years of research, litigation and $117,500 in BPSA legal fees, a multi-step appeal process ending in the Court of International Trade recently resulted in victory.
Cassettes will now be re-classified the same as tariff-free freewheels, with companies entitled to refunds of duties paid from past years. Dozens of companies that spec, import or distribute cassettes will save millions of dollars based on this concerted effort shepherded by Matt Moore, BPSA’s Legal committee chair.
Moore summed up this unprecedented industry effort: “It’s a pretty big deal. It’s the first time we’ve gone to the Court of International Trade to resolve a tariff issue. And it’s remarkable that it was successful.”
We’ve been leading the charge to pass favorable e-bike laws, gain more access for e-bikes, and inform retailers and consumers for three years. Here are our latest successes:
• Clarifying e-bike laws: So that it’s easy for riders, retailers, and lawmakers to know where e-bikes are allowed, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Tennessee, and Utah have passed laws that classify e-bikes like bicycles. Click for state by state e-bike guides.
• 2018 e-bike campaigns: We have identified 13 new states where we believe we have the relationships and resources needed to advance e-bike friendly bills: AL, AK, AZ, CT, FL, HI, ID, ME, MA, MO, OR, PA and WY.
• Places to ride eMTBs: A great result of our BPSA/PeopleForBikes partnership is an interactive eMTB map with 8,679 miles of routes cataloged. Our eMTB Adventures highlight great rides in places like Crested Butte, Gunnison, Hood River, or Sun Valley.
• Fighting for better e-bike access: The new eMTB Playbook helps locals advocate for better eMTB access. Use it to understand how e-bike policy works and for all the right talking points.