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Archive of posts published in the category: Laws
Apr
22

State Electric Bicycle Laws | A Legislative Primer

Introduction

women with purse and electric bikeThe past few years have seen a marked increase in the number of electric bicycles (or “e-bikes”) in the U.S.

This primer deals specifically with low-speed electric bicycles as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. E-bikes are most frequently “pedal-assist” or “muscle-assist,” meaning the rider must be pedaling for the electric motor to engage. E-bikes may also come equipped with a throttle that allows the bike to be propelled without pedaling.

The bicycle’s low-speed electric motor provides a boost of power to climb hills, extend the range of trips where a bicycle can be used, allow current bicycle users to bike more often and farther, provide a new recreation option for people who want to bike and in general, extend the range of any ride.

Low-speed e-bikes are as safe and sturdy as traditional bicycles and move at speeds similar to conventional bikes. E-bikes are emissions-free, low impact and operate silently. E-bikes vary widely in terms of shape and size, but the different types closely align with those of regular bicycles. E-bikes resemble traditional bicycles in both appearance and operation and do not function similarly to mopeds, scooters and other motorized vehicles.

According to a 2018 bicycle industry analysis, e-bikes sales increased 83 percent between May of 2017 and May of 2018, and e-bikes made up 10 percent of overall bikes sales in the U.S. for that time period. While the Asian and European e-bike markets are more robust, industry advocates hope to continue to expand U.S. e-bike sales.. Most major U.S. bicycle brands sell e-bikes, and bicycle manufacturers have moved or are positioning themselves to move to the U.S. to capitalize on the growing market.

Electric bicycles cost on average $2,000 – $3,000, versus a $1,000 average investment for a mid-range traditional commuter bicycle. An investment in an electric bicycle is appealing to those who are looking to replace short trips typically made by car, therefore the investment can be justified if the buyer factors in the reduced cost of car maintenance and fuel.  

Reasons for purchasing an e-bike vary, with some looking for a cheap commuting mode and others looking for a less physically demanding bicycle option or help bicycling through hilly areas. E-bikes may also provide a more attractive and feasible choice to take short trips. According to U.S. Department of Transportation survey data, half of all trips in the U.S. are three miles or less in length, a distance widely regarded as bikeable for most adults and even more feasible for electric bicycle riders. Seventy-two percent of those trips are currently made by cars and fewer than 2 percent by bicycle. E-bikes also provide a new transportation and recreation option for people with disabilities and those with physical limitations.

E-bikes have even been embraced by the nation’s rapidly expanding bike-share systems. In 2011, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville launched the country’s first electric bicycle sharing system, with two bike-share stations on their campus. In 2015, Birmingham, Ala., unveiled a citywide bike-share

Apr
6

Oregon Bicycle Laws – BikePortland.org

Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) Pertaining to Bicycles

814.400: Application of vehicle laws to bicycles
814.405: Status of electric assisted bicycle
814.410: Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk; penalty
814.420: Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty
814.430: Improper use of lanes; exceptions; penalty
814.440: Failure to signal turn; exceptions; penalty
814.450: Unlawful load on bicycle; penalty
814.460: Unlawful passengers on bicycle; penalty
814.470: Failure to use bicycle seat; penalty
814.480: Nonmotorized vehicle clinging to another vehicle; penalty
814.484: Meaning of “bicycle” and “operating or riding on a highway”
814.485: Failure to wear protective headgear; penalty
814.486: Endangering bicycle operator or passenger; penalty
814.487: Exemptions from protective headgear requirements
814.488: Citations; exemption from requirement to pay fine
814.489: Use of evidence of lack of protective headgear on bicyclist

814.400 Application of vehicle laws to bicycles.

(1) Every person riding a bicycle upon a public way is subject to the provisions applicable to and has the same rights and duties as the driver of any other vehicle concerning operating on highways, vehicle equipment and abandoned vehicles, except:

    (a) Those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.
    (b) When otherwise specifically provided under the vehicle code.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section:

    (a) A bicycle is a vehicle for purposes of the vehicle code; and
    (b) When the term “vehicle” is used the term shall be deemed to be applicable to bicycles.

(3) The provisions of the vehicle code relating to the operation of bicycles do not relieve a bicyclist or motorist from the duty to exercise due care. [1983 c.338 §697; 1985 c.16 §335]

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814.405: Status of electric assisted bicycle.

An electric assisted bicycle shall be considered a bicycle, rather than a motor vehicle, for purposes of the Oregon Vehicle Code, except when otherwise specifically provided by statute. [1997 c.400 §4]

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814.410: Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk; penalty.

(1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following

    (a) Operates the bicycle so as to suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
    (b) Operates a bicycle upon a sidewalk and does not give an audible warning before overtaking and passing a pedestrian and does not yield the right of way to all pedestrians on the sidewalk.
    (c) Operates a bicycle on a sidewalk in a careless manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.
    (d) Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp. This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other
Apr
4

Bicycle Laws – FindLaw

As with traffic laws in general, bicycle laws are enforced at the state and local levels. But while bicyclists generally are expected to follow the same traffic laws that apply to motorists, most jurisdictions also have laws that are specific to those operating bicycles on public thoroughfares. State laws and local ordinances also typically include bicycle helmet provisions, rules against riding a bike on the sidewalk, biking while under the influence and other bicycle-specific rules.

Some local bicycle ordinances have been criticized for making bikers (and pedestrians) less safe, such as requirements that bicyclists ride on the sidewalk or walk their bikes across intersections. Since bicycle laws can be different from one municipality to another, and not always intuitive, bicyclists should familiarize themselves with laws along regularly traveled routes. Read on to learn more about how bicycle laws work. 

Traffic violations incurred while riding a bicycle are handled just the same as for a moving violation involving an automobile. The ticket should indicate whether the violation involved a bicycle and will not affect your automobile insurance.

Common Bicycle Traffic Rules

Signaling

While some bicycles are equipped with turn signals, bicyclists are required to use the proper hand signals when turning, changing lanes or stopping. Failure to signal while biking in traffic can result in a traffic citation:

  • Right Turn / Lane Change: Right hand extended straight out
  • Left Turn / Lane Change: Right hand bent upward 90 degrees at the elbow
  • Stop: Right hand bent downward 90 degrees at the elbow

Helmet Laws

Most states and the District of Columbia require the use of bicycle helmets to some degree, often for children under the age of 16 or 18. And while there are no state laws requiring helmets for bicyclists all ages, many local ordinances do. Washington state, for example, has no state law addressing the use of helmets at all but many of its cities (including Seattle) require bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets.

Lights and Reflectors

In virtually every state, bicyclists are required to have red lights on the back and white lights on the front, as well as white reflectors on the front and red reflectors on the back. Details vary with respect to individual state and local laws.

Riding on Sidewalks

Most state and local ordinances prohibit bicyclists over a certain age (13 in San Francisco, for example) from biking on sidewalks, although bikers must always yield to pedestrians. However, some local ordinances allow bicycling on sidewalks and even prohibit bikes on certain streets.

Running a Stop Sign or Stoplight

As with motorists, bicyclists may not ride through a stop sign or stoplight without stopping completely first. Bikes move slowly (compared to automobiles) and so it may not seem practical to come to a complete stop–especially if stopping uphill–but failing to do so could result in a citation.

State Bicycle Laws

The California Vehicle Code Section

Apr
1

Unlawful Vehicle Modifications: State Laws

State Statute Alabama Regulation of Operation of Motor Vehicles: Equipment

(AL Code Title 32, Ch. 5, scroll to Article 9)
Window Tinting (AL Code Title 32, Ch. 5C)

Alaska

Vehicle Equipment Standards

(AK Statutes scroll to section 28.05.081)

Arizona Equipment

(ARS Title 28 scroll to 28-921 to 28-966)

Arkansas Size and Load Regulations

(AR Code Title 27, Ch. 35)
Equipment Regulations (AR Code Title 27, Ch. 37)

California Division 12 – Equipment of Vehicles (scroll down)

(California Vehicle Code)

Colorado Regulation of Vehicles and Traffic: Equipment

(CRS Title 42 scroll to 42-4-201 to 42-4-239)

Connecticut Motor Vehicles: Equipment

(GSC Ch. 246 scroll to section 14-80 to 14-106)

Delaware Equipment Requirements

(DE Code Title 21, Ch. 43, Subchapter I)
Lights (DE Code Title 21, Ch. 43, Subchapter II)

District of Columbia

D.C. Vehicle Code (scroll to Title 50)

Florida State Uniform Traffic Control: Equipment

(FS Ch. 316 scroll to 316.217 to 316.455)

Georgia Vehicles and equipment

(Georgia Code §sect; 40-8-7 to 40-8-90)

Hawaii Street rod vehicle requirements

(HRS section 286-26.5)

Idaho Vehicle Equipment

(ID Statutes Title 49, Ch. 9)

Illinois Equipment of Vehicles

(625 ILCS 5, Chapter 12)

Indiana Motor Vehicle Equipment

(Indiana Code Title 9, Article 19)

Iowa Vehicle Equipment

(IA Code Ch. 321 scroll to 321.384 to 321.481 )

Kansas Equipment of Vehicles

(KS Statutes Ch. 8, Article 17)

Kentucky Vehicle Equipment

(KRS Chapter 189 scroll to sections .020 to .205)

Louisiana Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation: Equipment

(LRS Title 32 scroll to 32:301 to 32:369)
Low rider vehicles (LRS 32:297)
Proper equipment required on vehicles (LRS 32:53)

Maine Equipment

(MRS Title 29-A Chapter 17)

Maryland Equipment of Vehicles

(MD Transp. Code Title 22)

Massachusetts Operation of unregistered or improperly equipped motor vehicles

(90 MGL section 9)

Michigan Equipment

(MI Vehicle Code sections 257.683 to 257.711)
After-Market Lighting [PDF] (MI State Police)

Minnesota Traffic Regulations: Equipment

(MN Statutes Ch. 169; scroll to 169.47 to 169.75)

Mississippi Equipment and Identification

(MS Code Title 63, Ch. 7)

Missouri Vehicle Equipment Regulations

(MRS Chapter 307)

Montana Vehicle Equipment

(MCA Title 61, Ch. 9)

Nebraska Vehicle equipment and violations

(R.R.S. Nebr. § 60-6, 220 et al.)

Nevada Equipment of Vehicles

(NRS 484.541 to 484.646)

New Hampshire Equipment of Vehicles

(NH Statutes Ch. 266)

New Jersey Motor vehicle equipment

(NJ Statutes 39:3-46 to 39:3-84)

New Mexico Motor Vehicles: Equipment

(NMS Ch. 66, Article 3 scroll to Part 9)

New York Equipment of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles

(NY Vehicle & Traffic Code Article 9)

North Carolina Motor Vehicle Act: Equipment

(NCGS Ch. 20, Article 3 scroll to sections 20-122 to 20-137)

North Dakota Equipment of Vehicles

[PDF] (ND Code Chapter 39-21)
Size, Width, and Height Restrictions [PDF] (ND Code Chapter 39-12)

Ohio Traffic Laws: Equipment

(ORC Chapter 4513)

Oklahoma Vehicle equipment

(OK Statutes Title 47 scroll to 47-12-101)

Oregon Vehicle Equipment Generally

[PDF] (OR Vehicle Code Ch. 815)
Vehicle Equipment Lights [PDF] (OR Vehicle Code Ch. 816)

Pennsylvania Equipment Standards

[PDF] (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 41)
Lighting Equipment [PDF] (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 43)
Other