Could a new law force adult e-bike riders to get a license?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2024 | Bicycle tips |

People often talk about e-bikes as though they are the ideal transportation solution of the future. There are reasons for that enthusiasm. E-bikes are affordable and efficient. They require less space to operate and to park. They pose less risk to pedestrians when collisions occur, although they are potentially more dangerous than standard bicycles during pedestrian crashes. They are faster and more accessible than traditional bicycles, as they require less physical effort on the part of the rider.

California lawmakers have previously attempted to interest people in e-bikes, but now the pendulum has begun to swing the other way. Lawmakers have introduced bills more than once now proposing an e-bike license for those operating e-bikes on public roads. Most news coverage focuses on the impact license requirements may have on children. But, could the law create a licensing obligation for adults as well?

A new bill could require adult licenses

The safety of minor e-bike riders is one of the main priorities of AB 2234 a bill that aims to adjust California’s transportation laws. If lawmakers pass the bill, children under the age of 12 can no longer legally ride e-bikes in public spaces. The law also creates a requirement for young adults over the age of 12 who want to ride e-bikes to secure a license. An educational course is part of the proposed licensing process.

The same regulations could theoretically apply to certain adults. California residents and visitors who already have a driver’s license can operate e-bikes without any additional licensing requirements. However, should the proposed bill become law, adults without driver’s licenses may need to obtain an e-bike license. They could take an online course, pass a test and secure a license from the state.

This requirement helps ensure that those riding e-bikes understand the rules of the road and how to protect themselves from collisions caused by unsafe conduct. It remains to be seen whether the bill as proposed can pass the legislature and make it to the governor’s desk. For the time being, e-bikes remain a valid option for teenagers and adults alike.

Consistently following state laws can help cyclists reduce their risk of a cycling collision and show that another party was the one at fault for a collision. Cyclists and e-bike enthusiasts who track changes to the law can follow the law and more readily recognize when other people violate state statutes.