City of Bend Police Department – eBike Update 11/29/2022

A Message from the Bend Police Department:
We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of e-bikes on the roads! We recognize e-bikes can be useful and fun. However, we want to make sure the community knows the rules that apply to them. In Oregon, e-bikes are not legal for kids under 16 to ride.   We’re seeing a lot of kids zooming around on them, and it’s important for parents to know that this is illegal.   Kids under the age of 16 usually don’t have experience driving and may not know all the “rules of the road.” Specifically, we’re seeing kids riding against the flow of traffic on the wrong side of the road, not using correct hand signals to alert drivers to their intended route of travel, and improperly using sidewalks or crossing roads.   These mistakes are exceptionally dangerous as drivers could be unable to see the e-bike and rider, expect them to be traveling at lower speeds than they are, or fail to anticipate the bicyclist’s route of travel – leading to an accident.   The speed at which e-bikes are traveling may be illegal.   In Oregon, e-bikes are generally supposed to top out at 20 mph, but we often see e-bikes bombing past traffic at dangerous speeds. Slower speeds can help decrease the likelihood of an accident. If an accident occurs and a car is damaged or someone is injured and it’s the bike’s fault, the bicyclist would be held liable.   Additionally, e-bikes that go faster than 20 mph may be considered a moped or a motorcycle, which would require a license, registration and insurance. We recommend bicyclists wear helmets, and please remember that bicyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear them. We have seen many accidents involving e-bikes, and with school back in session and many students riding to school, we worry this could increase.   A helmet can do wonders to protect e-bike riders from suffering a life-altering injury. Head trauma is the most common injury and the leading cause of death and disability in accidents involving bikes. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of death or injury and reduce the severity of the injury in the event of an accident. E-bikes are not legal to ride on sidewalks. Regular bicycles are allowed on sidewalks, but e-bikes are not. Cycling on sidewalks may pose danger to bicyclists, pedestrians, and even drivers. Cars tend to look at bike lanes and roads for cyclists, and don’t see them or expect them to be on the sidewalks, increasing accidents. Pedestrians move much slower and are often unprepared for faster-moving bikes.   Only e-bikes built for passengers should carry them. Specialized cargo bicycles and cargo e-bicycles can carry multiple kids or larger, heavier loads. A person can carry passengers on an e-bike if it is designed and safely equipped for passengers. Additionally, passengers should be aware of distracting or endangering the operator of the e-bike, and operators should keep passenger safety in mind. It’s great to see people having so much fun on e-bikes – we just want everyone in Bend to be safe. We have growing concerns that someone could be injured or killed from improperly using e-bikes, and we don’t want to wait for that to happen – we want to be proactive and ensure people know the rules and know how to keep themselves and their kids safe.   If your family owns an electric bike, help us by prioritizing e-bike safety in your own home!
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