In 2017, California passed a law defining an electric bicycle, as opposed to a motorcycle or a moped, and regulating access to existing bike infrastructure. This legislation may be partially responsible for the enormous surge in electric bicycles’ popularity just five years later.
With more people of different ages riding electric bikes, officials across the state have seen an increase in unsafe riding behaviors. In the interest of reversing this dangerous trend, the California state legislature recently passed a law that requires Highway Patrol to develop new electric bicycle safety standards and training.
What dangerous behaviors have electric bike riders engaged in?
The purpose of the new law is partially to discourage dangerous behavior, such as attempting to operate an electric bicycle with multiple riders. It is also to prevent electric bike riders from disregarding traffic safety rules, especially the rule about wearing helmets. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, many of the riders observed to ride electric bikes in an unsafe manner are teenagers or even pre-teens.
What kinds of injuries can result from riding an electric bicycle unsafely?
When operated correctly, electric bicycles are safe and easy to ride. Nevertheless, unsafe behaviors on electric bikes can lead to serious injuries to the internal organs, spinal cord and brain. Electric bicycles reach speeds between 20 and 30 miles per hour, so a collision could be dangerous to pedestrians as well as the riders of the bikes themselves.
The new law requires the California Highway Patrol to develop safety guidelines and training programs for implementation in September 2023. Topics include electric bike laws, road rules, safety and emergency maneuvering skills. According to Fox 5, the CHP is then to make the training program available online for use by schools.