Home>Articles>Bill to Ban E-Bike Speed Capacity Devices Moves Up In Legislature

Assemblywoman Diane Dixon (Photo:dianeforcouncil)

Bill to Ban E-Bike Speed Capacity Devices Moves Up In Legislature

AB 1774 passes Senate in unanimous 37-0 vote

By Evan Symon, June 17, 2024 12:20 pm

A bill that would ban the selling of devices or products that can modify the speed capacity for an electric bike (e-bike) continued to gain steam in the state legislature in the past week, with the bill even moving past the Senate.

Assembly Bill 1774, authored by Assemblywoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach), would specifically prohibit a person from selling a product or device that can modify the speed capability of an electric bicycle such that it no longer meets the definition of an electric bicycle. According to the fact sheet for the bill, this means stopping any device that could boost the speed of an e-bike above the legally assisted e-bike speed limit of 28 miles per hour.

Assemblywoman Dixon wrote the bill earlier this year to help combat the rise of devices that boost the speeds of e-bikes to above the legal limit. She noted that the issue is a major public safety concern, with the Federal Highway Administration saying in a report that e-bikes were  three times as likely to involve a pedestrian in an accident. The California Highway Patrol said in a different report that e-bike accidents have been more severe than conventional bike accidents.

“No one is opposed to it, it’s just we want safety. Safety features added into these bikes through education and through prohibiting these illegal speed enhancement devices,” said Dixon during the weekend.

Earlier this year, Dixon also explained that the issue was one that she promised to tackle during her term in office, as many in her Orange County district had raised concerns over the speed of e-bikes.

AB 1774 passes Senate

“Today I introduced a transportation package related to e-bikes,” said Dixon in January. “When I was running for office I promised my communities that I would address public safety concerns over e-bikes. My goal is to ensure people can have fun safely, whether riding an e-bike, driving a car or simply crossing the street as a pedestrian.

“[This bill] doesn’t ban e-bikes. But [it does] address several key concerns many of our communities have with them relating to local control and speed of e-bikes.”

Since being introduced, AB 1774 has seen massive support from both Republicans and Democrats in both houses in Sacramento. Last month, the bill sailed through Senate committees with unanimous votes, and just before the weekend, the bill passed the Senate with a 37-0 vote with only 3 abstentions from Democratic Senators.

“No one is saying to stop riding them or anything remotely like that,” explained Diane Henry, a leader of a public safety group in San Diego who has helped convince some local police departments to closely monitor the speeds of e-bikes, to the Globe on Monday. “In some cases, they are actually beneficial for people who have a hard time pedaling a bicycle who otherwise wouldn’t have faster transportation. But when you see these bikes, some are going above 30 miles per hour (mph).

“Now, it depends on the class of e-bike, as some only go 15 mph, while others can reach that 28 mph limit. But with these tuning kits they have, they go much faster. At that point they are a moped or motorcycle, and there’s a reason why those require licenses. A lot of sidewalks and streets down here had people zip by going above that limit, and they were putting everyone in danger. That’s not remotely safe.

“And you can see why the bill has so much support. It really is a public safety issue. Again, e-bikes are perfectly fine when ridden safely. But not when they are altered to go even faster than the legal limit.”

AB 1774 is currently back in the Assembly going through engrossing and enrolling.

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