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It’s no secret that we’re living through a global pandemic. That’s why getting outside for some sun or light exercise is crucial now more than ever. With kids not being in school this winter and COVID-19 cases on the rise, there have been numerous complaints regarding kids riding without helmets and failing to stop at stop signs. Despite increased awareness of electric bikes’ laws in California and general road safety tips via social media channels, the complaints continued. On January 30th, Manhattan Beach police began strictly enforcing the local and state laws that apply to electric bikes.
With the increase in popularity of electric bikes or e-bikes over the last several months, the complaints, concerns, and violations of the law only grew to be more prevalent. In July of last year, e-bike sales in Manhattan Beach saw a 918% increase in sales and more than 800% in Hermosa Beach compared to sales in 2019.
Law enforcement officials will strictly address the following traffic violations:
Failing to stop at a stop sign.
Riding on a sidewalk.
Riding on the Strand.
Riding on a designated bike path.
Additionally, if your own movement isn’t propelling the bicycle, it is not allowed on the bike path. Only pedestrians are allowed to occupy the Strand.
When riding on a beach bike path, people on e-bikes must pedal instead of using the electric motor. Bicyclists can only utilize the electric motor as they reach the end of the path.
“This should just be common sense,” Tim Zin, PIO for the city’s police department, states, “Some have been e-biking down the path at 15 to 20 mph. You wouldn’t do 60 mph in a 20 mph because you could get hurt or killed.
The portion of the Strand that falls in the parameters of Hermosa Beach only allows riders to go up to 8 mph. Using the electric motor is also strictly prohibited under Hermosa Beach’s enforcement code and efforts. All class 3 e-bike riders must wear a helmet, and those under the age of 16 can only ride as passengers on a class 3 e-bike.
Here are classifications of types of e-bikes according to California law:
Class 1: A bicycle whose motor provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling. When the e-bike reaches 20mph, the e-bike no longer provides that assistance.
Class 2: A bicycle with a throttle-actuated motor. These types of motors also cease to assist the rider when they’ve reached a speed of 20 mph.
Class 3: A bicycle that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and does not provide assistance beyond a speed of 28mph.
Increasing your understanding of electric bicycles’ laws in California is a great way to keep yourself or your children safe. If you’re from Manhattan or Hermosa Beach, you can also take a look at the municipal codes for your specific region. The police departments from both cities aim to reassure their citizens and visitors by clarifying that greater enforcement on e-bikes does not translate to heftier, more expensive tickets.
“Every situation dictates its own outcome; if an officer sees multiple violations, they might feel as though that person needs a citation. More minor violations often receive a simple, verbal warning,” Zin says.
Riders who choose to obey traffic and speeding laws while adhering to stop signs should feel a greater sense of safety when riding their bicycles. Riding your bike safely allows you to uphold your responsibility to those around you while also avoiding potentially horrific accidents.