Bill exempting electric bikes from motor vehicle regulations passes

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The Alaska Senate passed House Bill 8 on Monday, which excerpts low-powered electric bikes from most state motor vehicle regulation. The bill had earlier passed the House. HB 8 specifies that bikes with electric motors generating less than 750 watts of power will not be subject to motorcycle regulations, and will be permitted on sidewalks and bike trails where motorized vehicles are not allowed.

Most ebikes stop providing electric assist while the rider is pedaling after the speed reaches 20 miles per hour, or 28 mph for what’s called a Class 3 bike.

The publication Bicycle Retailer and Industry News reported that ebike sales grew 300% in the past five years making them the fastest growing segment of the bicycle industry.

According to Precedence Research, the global e-bike market size was valued at $17.56 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach over $40.98 billion by 2030, poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.6% from 2021 to 2030.

The House bill was the brainchild of freshman legislator Rep. Ashley Carrick of Fairbanks, a member of the Democrat minority. The Republican majority has been supportive of several minority-authored bills like this one, and several Republicans signed on as cosponsors.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Ever been hit by something that is going 20 miles an hour? I have. Broke my pelvis in half when I was 16. This is total and absolute crap. It is illegal to use a motorized vehicle on bike paths and sidewalks for a reason. The new path of giving all things “green” a pass to ignore all the rules is just going to require the rest of us to pay the bill for this idiocy.

    • We still have the right to file civil complaints and compensation injury suite’s in the courts though.

  2. This is really a stupid bill and will cause many injuries to pedestrians on sidewalks and trails. It does not take into consideration the elderly nor those who use canes, walkers or wheelchairs. What was she thinking? She wasn’t.

  3. Thank God they are dealing with important issues facing Alaska.

    If they ever get around to it.

  4. So now police will have an Amp meter along with gun, mace, stun gun, handcuffs and baton.

  5. I am so glad to know that there is now even more likelihood of a pedestrian getting run over on the sidewalk.

  6. This is good news. It’s my three wheel ebike runs about 25 miles an hour and has a range of approximately 30 miles. Although it is equipped with turn signals brake lights and headlights, I wouldn’t dare put it out on the road. Most motor vehicles don’t understand what sharing the road means. The safest place for them is on the sidewalk or if one is provided, in a bike lane.

    • Gregory, You can definitely say that again. I used to many many years ago had a 50cc moped in another city in the lower 48, drivers don’t care to watch out for others. I soon had to learned to use it on the back streets, unfortunately, it wasn’t allowed on the sidewalks.

      • They don’t even look out for each other in automobiles. It’s gotten bad. Cops don’t want to pull anybody over for running a red light or a stop sign. Too much paperwork for a misdemeanor that their love will just skip from in court. Let alone looking out for a pedestrian or somebody on a bicycle. I saw a guy the other day down here blatantly running red lights. He wasn’t going on through on a yellow and it turned red on him halfway through or anything like that. The light was red as can be a block in front of him and he went right on through like he was color blind. He just simply didn’t care. Too much of that going on nowadays.

  7. Old age has prevented me from hiking the trails that I used to enjoy. This will allow me to once again enjoy our trails. I promise not to run anyone down. I won’t be anywhere near the homeless trails of Anchorage. Twenty mph is not fast enough to outrun angry desperadoes. These bikes are great for people who miss their mobility, and if used in a polite manner should pose no problems for anyone.

  8. Whew! I was afraid this very important piece of legislation would be left on the back burner. I can now rest easy.

  9. Regular pedal bikes can sometimes be a hazard to walkers on sidewalks & trails when operated by irresponsible cyclists. I can only imagine the coming carnage when we have e-bikes on those areas, too! They are nothing more than a small scooter & should be regulated as such.

  10. This is great. Less regulation means less government involvement in public affairs. Smaller government = better government = less regulations. Applauded.

  11. Drunkards who’ve lost their license because of DWIs can endanger people (including themselves) and children at 28 mph on public sidewalks now!

  12. They might oughta talk to some Arizona colleges to see why they banned the electric bikes from the campuses.

  13. HB 8 doesn’t pertain to e-bikes that are less than 750 watts, it pertains to e-bikes that don’t put out more than 750 watts. Big difference, as most e-bikes come with a 750 watt motor. What I find interesting is that this legislation covers Class 1, 2 and 3 e-bikes. A lot of localities only allow Class 1 and 2 e-bikes. Class 1 and 2 are governed at 20 mph. Class 3 provides power assist until 28 mph. But I wouldn’t worry too much. Most bicyclists seem to prefer riding on the streets instead of the bike trails that we paid tens of millions of dollars for.

  14. Great. So now the operators of these Trans-Bicycles (its an electric motor, so its not really a motor) can think and act like they own the sidewalks and trails, as well as the roads.

  15. That right Greg. It does not have a electric motor. It’s just runs on electrons pulled from thin air.

  16. Let’s get real people, the world evolves, so should you. That’s the simple reason we no longer ride horses and buggies. Bicyles powered by foot power go well surroundings.
    Kids ride their bikes faster than 20 MPH.
    I do agree bicyclists and pedestrians need to be aware of suroundings.
    Consider how many elderly and disabled can now enjoy a bikeride on one of these so called dangerous E Bikes.
    I agree there could and will be issues, Ignorant riders and ignorant pedestrians, accidents happen from both perspectives, but this bill was much needed and long overdue. Thank you

  17. Okay, most people who are commenting have not ridden an e-bike. I ride my e everyday to work and back. The only thing my e-bike does is assist with on long hills. These are not motorized vehicles. Chill!

    • E-bikes don’t just assist on long hills. Like most e-bikes being sold today, mine can go from 0 to 20 mph on electric power alone, no pedaling required. And if I want to override the electronic governor, it can go up to 28 mph. So it’s pretty much a motorized vehicle, just like a Tesla is. Only difference is, when the battery dies, you can’t pedal your Tesla. Pedaling an e-bike just conserves the battery, that’s all.

  18. I am glad to see that ebike usage is receiving legal clarification, and I am glad that it will allow me to continue using my ebike on Anchorage’s bike trail system. Like most ebikes riders I am older and find the addition of a motor helps me do the riding I used to be able to do fifty years ago. I find that the most dangerous individuals on the bike trails are small children, whether on foot or on bikes, because they can be unpredictable and can move suddenly. I always slow down near small children, and if overtaking a family group on the bike trail I announce my presence and how I expect to pass them. And no, I am not advocating removal of children from the bike trails. We are fortunate in Anchorage to have a fine bike trail system, and
    I hope more people will use it. Safely. And with ebikes if they so wish.

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