As alluded to in last week’s post, Product Safety Regulations for Electric Bicycles and Scooters, micromobility products, such as e-bikes and scooters, fall at the intersection of jurisdiction between two distinct federal agencies: the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with “consumer products.” “Consumer products” broadly defined includes any product for use in or around residences, schools and in recreation. CPSC’s jurisdiction expressly excludes “motor vehicles.”
NHTSA, which is charged with ensuring safety on public road ways, has jurisdiction over “motor vehicles.” “Motor vehicles” are “vehicle[s] driven or drawn by mechanical power manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways, but does not include a vehicle operated only on a rail line.”
There is no hard-and-fast rule as to what constitutes a “motor vehicle” subject to NHTSA’s jurisdiction. Thus in determining whether a product is a “motor vehicle,” NHTSA typically considers such factors as:
- the product’s intended use;
- the product’s use of the public roadways and how incidental or predominant that use tends to be;
- how the product is marketed;
- the kinds of dealers that sell the product;
- how or whether dealers may certify or register the product; and
- the product’s speed.