California Assembly Bill 2173 Puts E-Bikes On The Right Track

California assembly bill 2173, introduced by Steven Bradford would redefine “motorized bicycle” by, among other things, renaming it a “low-speed electric bicycle,” stating that it can have either 2 or 3 wheels, lowering the maximum power output to 750 watts, and requiring that it weigh no more than 80 pounds. The bill would exempt a low-speed electric bicycle from the provision prohibiting the operation of a motorized bicycle on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane established as provided, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail. You can read the bill and changes by clicking here.

This bill addresses an antiquated law that was written during the moped boom of the 80’s. While an electric assist bicycle is a far cry from a moped, in the eyes of law enforcement, they are the same. This new law would remove the gray area around bike path use for well-defined electric bikes. Read the bill over and if you feel it is a step in the right direction, let your state representative know your position. And thank you Steven Bradford.

Right now, the use of electric-assist bikes on bike paths are viewed by law enforcement as illegal although we have not heard of enforcement (when was the last time you got a ticket for driving 60mph on the freeway?). Still, this bill would update an out-of-date law.