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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

E-Bikes Classified as Bikes, Not “Motorized” Bikes

New e-bike laws classify e-bikes as bikes, not motorized bikes. This allows two of three e-bikes to be ridden on bike paths and trails. Type 3 cannot be ridden on a bike path. Law went into effect 1 January 2016.

Electric Bicycles (AB 1096, Chiu): This law adds an entirely new definition of an electric bicycle to the California Vehicle Code.

An electric bicycle is defined as a bicycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts. The law creates three classes of electric bicycles. Manufacturers will also need to certify the electric bicycles comply with specified requirements. Electric bicycle riders will be able to use roads similar to other bicycle riders, while providing a measure of local control if safety concerns arise on specific paths or public trails.

SECTION 1.Section 312.5 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
(a) An “electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.

(1) A “class 1 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

(2) A “class 2 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

(3) A “class 3 electric bicycle,” or “speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour, and equipped with a speedometer.

On and after January 1, 2017, manufacturers and distributors of electric bicycles shall apply a label that is permanently affixed, in a prominent location, to each electric bicycle. The label shall contain the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage of the electric bicycle, and shall be printed in Arial font in at least 9-point type.

The bill would prohibit persons under 16 years of age from operating a class 3 electric bicycle. The bill would also require persons operating, or riding upon, a class 3 electric bicycle to wear a helmet, as specified. The bill would prohibit the operation of a class 3 electric bicycle on specified paths, lanes, or trails, unless that operation is authorized by a local ordinance.

The bill would also authorize a local authority or governing body to prohibit, by ordinance, the operation of class 1 or class 2 electric bicycles on specified paths or trails. The bill would prohibit a person from tampering with or modifying an electric bicycle to change its speed capability, unless he or she appropriately replaces the classification label. The bill would specify that a person operating an electric bicycle is not subject to financial responsibility, driver’s license, registration, or license plate requirements. The bill would also make conforming changes.

For more clarification go to People for Bikes http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/new-e-bike-law-passes-in-california

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