Two California lawmakers want to crack down on kids riding electric bicycles under new proposals: Ban


California – In California, two politicians are stepping up efforts to make electric bike riding safer for kids after several serious accidents have caught the public’s eye.

Two proposals on the table

San Diego’s Assemblymember Tasha Boerner has put forward a proposal last week. This plan would stop kids under 12 from using e-bikes and would ask those riding without a car license to complete a safety course online, pass a test on what they’ve learned, and have a state-approved ID with them when they ride.

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Another proposal from Damon Connolly, an Assemblymember from Marin County, wants to make it so only those 16 and older can ride Class 2 e-bikes. These bikes have a throttle and can go up to 20 mph.

E-bikes have become much more popular across the U.S. lately. While it’s tough to say exactly how many are sold, about 1.1 million were brought into the U.S. in 2022. This is a huge increase from 2018’s numbers, according to Business Insider. As more people ride these bikes, there have been several deadly accidents in California, including a 12-year-old girl in Los Angeles, a 15-year-old boy in Encinitas, and a 17-year-old boy in Santa Clarita.

Research from the University of California Berkeley, which looked at all bike crashes in California, found that deaths and serious injuries were at their highest in five years in 2022.

“Striking a balance that prioritizes the safety of our community while keeping transportation options accessible to those who need them is a top priority,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael).

“Working with Supervisor Mary Sackett, I believe we have found that middle ground by limiting children’s access to high speed, throttle powered e-bikes that have been found to be most prevalent in collisions and injuries in our community. While we continue to encourage the use of sustainable transportation options, we need to address the shocking increase in accidents to ensure everyone in our community is safe.”

California politicians are stepping up efforts to make electric bike riding safer for kids after several serious accidents in recent years

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California Bicycle Coalition backs e-bikes usage

Even though some people worry about children riding electric bikes, data from emergency responses suggests that e-bikes aren’t as dangerous for young riders as feared, says Jared Sanchez from the California Bicycle Coalition.

Looking at information from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it’s adults aged 25 to 44 who are most likely to end up in the emergency room from e-bike accidents. This group, which is 34% of all e-bike related emergency visits between 2017 and 2022, is slightly larger than their share of the U.S. population, which is about 28%.

The group aged 45 to 64 years old saw even higher rates of hospital visits from e-bike accidents, making up 30% of these visits while only being 20% of the population. The 15 to 24-year-olds also saw a slightly higher rate of emergency visits compared to their population share, accounting for 18% of visits and 14% of the population.

In contrast, children between 5 to 14 years old were less likely to be taken to the hospital for e-bike accidents. They represented only 7% of the emergency visits, even though they make up 13% of the population.

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Right now, California doesn’t keep a statewide record of e-bike accidents. However, a law was passed last year that calls for a detailed study of this issue in the near future.

“Before we get to the state of saying who can ride an e-bike or not, we need to be sure this is a real problem,” Sanchez, who opposes both measures, said as reported by San Francisco Standard.

He believes that making streets safer for bikes and cars to share the space is a better approach to safety than the proposed regulations.

The new legislature should only affect e-bikes, e-scooters and hoverboards to be excluded from the measure

The new rules for electric bikes wouldn’t affect other small electric vehicles, like scooters or hoverboards.

Some bike community leaders, like Christopher White from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, don’t agree with the need for riders to have IDs. He argues that California should be encouraging e-bike use to help with climate change, not making it harder. White is also worried that asking for IDs could lead to more unnecessary police stops, especially of young people of color. This concern comes amid debates in San Francisco over stopping vehicles without a strong reason.

However, White thinks it’s reasonable to say kids 12 and younger shouldn’t be on e-bikes.

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“I think there’s something to be said for a 20-mph bike not being operated by a 10-year-old,” Klehm, the CEO of eBliss Global, said. “As a parent, I would very much like to probably have my young person not riding their e-bike at 12.”

Alex Burton
Alex Burton
Alex is part of US News Hub where he covers local news about Los Angeles and Long Beach. From LA crime news to local Long Beach events and happenings, Alex provides breaking stories keeping US News Hub readers informed and engaged.

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