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Oregon Legislature Advances Safety Legislation for E-Bikes


electric bike judge courtroom

 

In a unanimous decision, the Oregon House recently passed a significant bill aimed at enhancing the safety of electric bicycle riders across the state. This legislative move, spurred by the tragic death of a young rider in Bend, marks a crucial step in updating decades-old regulations to reflect the growing use of e-bikes.


Introduced by Representative Emerson Levy of Bend, House Bill 4103 seeks to modernize a 27-year-old statute by introducing a classification system for electric bicycles. This initiative, initially dubbed Trenton’s Law in memory of 15-year-old Trenton Burger, aims to provide clear guidelines on e-bike usage and capabilities. Trenton's untimely death last June, while navigating a sidewalk on his e-bike, catalyzed a community and legislative call to action to prevent similar tragedies.


The proposed legislation outlines three distinct classes of electric bicycles, differentiated by their motor type and maximum speeds. Class 1 e-bikes are designed to assist riders only while pedaling, with assistance ceasing at 20 mph. Class 2 models offer motorized propulsion without the need for pedaling and also have a maximum speed of 20 mph. The most advanced, Class 3 e-bikes, require pedaling, include a speedometer, and can reach speeds of up to 28 mph.


Amidst discussions, the bill underwent revisions from its original form. While initially proposing unrestricted Class 1 e-bike access and restricting Class 2 and Class 3 use for those under 16, the final House-passed version sets a minimum age of 16, with a driver’s license or permit required, for e-bike operation. This adjustment aims to align rider maturity with the responsibilities of handling higher-speed e-bikes.


Complementing House Bill 4103 is House Bill 4067, which mandates the formation of a task force dedicated to evaluating and recommending further e-bike, scooter, and moped regulations by the end of 2024. With a budget of $200,000, this initiative underscores Oregon’s commitment to integrating micromobility solutions safely into its urban fabric.


These legislative efforts in Oregon highlight the importance of adapting laws to keep pace with technological advancements in personal transportation. By establishing clear e-bike classifications and usage guidelines, Oregon not only honors the memory of Trenton Burger but also takes significant strides toward ensuring the safety of its cycling community.

Author: Benjamin Dai



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