Not all motorized bikes are created equal.
But state law currently lumps all electric bicycles into the same category as their faster counterparts, mopeds, that require a driver’s license. That means electric bicycles that only offer peddle assistance over hills can’t be used by younger people, on bike trails or included in bike share programs such as Bluebikes.
A proposed bill, co-sponsored by Watertown Representative Steven Owen, would create different classes of e-bikes, giving municipalities the ability to set speed limits and location use regulation, notes Chris Van Buskirk at State House News.
“This legislation would allow municipalities to start feeling comfortable starting up e-bike sharing programs,” Owens said.
The change has Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller’s support. Fuller joined officials from other municipalities asking lawmakers to allow cities and towns to regulate e-bike use.
They say the changes would expand mobility options for people looking to travel long distances, offer accessibility benefits for people with certain disabilities or the inability to cycle up hills, and encourage alternatives to automobile use.
Greg Reibman is the chair of the Charles River Chamber of Commerce.