By Bob Katzen
The House 153-0, approved and sent to the Senate a bill that would regulate the use of electric bicycles on the state’s roads. The measure classifies electric bikes the same as non-electric bikes and replaces a current law which classifies them as a motorized scooter or vehicle.
The bill would subject e-bike users to the same rights, privileges and duties as non-electric bike users as long as they are not operated on sidewalks. Municipalities would have the final say by having the power to adopt ordinances on the use of e-bikes on bike paths, bikeways and trails with a natural surface tread. Electric bikes would also be required to be properly labeled with classification numbers and riders would be prohibited from any tampering that changes the speed capability of an e-bike.
“Electric bicycles promote physical fitness and well-being, facilitate healthy aging, and help reduce transportation emissions,” said co-sponsor Rep. Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth). “Despite their increasing popularity and widespread use, e-bikes currently exist in a legal gray area under Massachusetts law. This legislation creates state standards that codify when and where e-bikes can be ridden and gives local authorities the tools to properly regulate them.”
“Electric bicycles can be a piece of the puzzle to encourage mode shift,” said co-sponsor Rep. Steve Owens (D-Watertown). “They reduce traffic and carbon emissions and can be a cheaper and healthier alternative to cars. By defining electric bicycles in law, we can join nearly all other states in the country and regulate this increasingly popular method of transportation.”
(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)
Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven