New rules implemented for e-bike use

Gov. Inslee signs ESSB 6434 into law

— Gov. Jay Inslee signed new standards governing the use of electric-assisted bicycles into law on Tuesday, March 13.

The new rules create three classes of electric-assisted bicycles, adjusts the age requirements for the highest speed e-bikes, and require manufacturers to provide labels listing the classification number, top assisted speed and motor wattage.

“We have seen a rise in e-bike ridership and these new standards create more clarity, allowing consumers to make informed choices as the industry grows,” said Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, prime sponsor of ESSB 6434. “E-bikes offer an alternative mode of transportation that’s fun and environmentally friendly. These new rules will improve safety and certainty when riders are on the road.”

The new rules modify the definition of electric-assisted bicycles and provide a classification system:

  • Class 1: Motor provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and stops providing assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.
  • Class 2: Motor may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle but is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 3: Motor provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling but ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 mph and is equipped with a speedometer.

Under the new rules, the minimum age required to operate a Class 3 e-bike will be 16 years old. There is no age limit for the slower e-bikes. The legislation also generally clarifies where different classes of e-bikes are allowed to be ridden on state property, in addition to existing e-bike rules adopted by local jurisdictions.

“For older adults and people with disabilities, e-bikes make it possible to ride again. I hope by bringing our e-bike standards up to a national level, we will see ridership increase across the state,” Rolfes said.


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