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New California bill could prohibit kids under 12 from riding electric bicycles

bike shop
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 25, 2023

By this time next year, kids under 12 years old may no longer be able to ride electric bicycles in California.

Bill Bookout of the Pismo Beach Surf and Bike Rental Shop says he is on board with the idea.

“I think if they are under 12, they are probably not quite ready for an electric bike. Even some 12-year-olds are not ready for an electric bike,” Bookout said.

Under current law, kids under 16 are allowed to ride electric bikes but only those that stay under 28 miles per hour.

If Assembly Bill 530 passes, kids under 12 would be prohibited from riding any electric bike, regardless of speed.

“I think it is shocking because it seems like it is their choice, not yours. I think it should be the parents' choice,” said 11-year-old Aimee Gibson, who was visiting Pismo Beach from Auberry.

Bookout adds that in spite of the pending bill, his bike shop already sets the minimum e-bike age to 12.

“A bicycle is dangerous. A tricycle is dangerous. It is all on the training and the learning, and it doesn’t matter how much someone trains or learns, they are on the road, they are in the streets, we want safety,” he said.

Robert Napier, who cycles through Pismo Beach daily, says kids on e-bikes have not yet been a problem for him.

“I haven’t had any issues with kids on their bicycles. I wouldn’t support it. It is just another law that sacrifices our freedoms for safety,” he said.

As a measure to keep riders safe, Bookout says that regardless of age, e-bike renters are given the rules of the road before they head out for a spin.

“No riding on the sidewalks here in Pismo, no riding on the boardwalk. Use the bike lanes when possible, and always watch out for other people around you,” he explained.

If Assembly Bill 530 passes, those without a driver’s license may also be required to take e-bike courses and provide a state ID if they are looking to ride.

District 77 Assemblymember Tash Boerner’s chief of staff tells KSBY that the coming months will include outreach to local law enforcement agencies and electric bike stakeholders before AB 530 is put up for a vote next year.