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Bill Would Make it Illegal for Kids Under Twelve to Ride E-Bikes

July 25, 2023

By Brian Hews


A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for kids under twelve to ride e-bikes. It also would require e-bikers who do not have driver’s licenses to take an online test and have state-issued identification.

The legislation, AB 530, is sponsored by Assemblymember Tasha Boerner. 

The move is in response to many young electric bikers who often take to the streets without testing for or receiving a typical driver’s license for a standard car; that means they need to be taught about many traffic laws and safety information.

Yes, like those little maniacs who ride on the beach boardwalk weaving in and out of walkers.

While electric bicycles were more popular with older riders a decade ago, they are now highly sought after among riders of all ages. In addition to pure recreation, they’re also a popular alternative to transportation; many young riders in cities are eschewing getting a driver’s license or a car altogether in favor of smaller, cheaper, and more fun electric bikes.

The legislation would create a stakeholders working group that includes the Department of Motor Vehicles, California Highway Patrol, the Transportation Agency, bike groups, and others to establish an e-bike training program and license to help educate riders who still need to learn the rules of the road through a typical driver’s education course.

“As a mother and a legislator, I believe that we must act to prevent our youth from injuries and educate parents on the promise and responsibility of e-bikes. AB 530 is another step to increase their safety while sharing the road,” Boerner said in a press release. “Not every parent is a bike rider that can ensure our youth receive proper training. This takes a real commitment from our communities and our state. It will be a long process, and AB 530 is a critical starting point that we’ll continue to work to develop through meetings with stakeholders this fall.”

Boerner’s district includes Carlsbad and Encinitas, both of which have made emergency proclamations calling for increased education and enforcement after several crashes involving the bikes. 

There have been two recent e-bike deaths in her district, including a teenager who died in Encinitas while riding his e-bike in June and a mother who died while riding an e-bike with her daughter in a safety seat in Carlsbad in 2022.

A recent National Transportation Safety Board study found at least 119 e-bike and e-scooter fatalities occurred between 2017 and 2021, and inadequate data collection makes identifying accidents involving e-bikes difficult.

The NTSB recommended adding e-bike and e-scooter device “codes” to police crash and injury data to enhance collecting data to assess injuries and fatalities. 

“Because the crash data are not standardized, they do not provide a robust representation of electric scooter and electric bicycle safety,” according to the study.

The NTSB recommends that the CPSC, which regulates Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes, include “an explicit product code for electric bicycles in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System,” which monitors consumer product-related injuries.

AB 530, will be going to committee in the next few weeks.