An update on the New Jersey Electric Bicycle Legislation.
Who goes faster…
…a 70kg person on an electric bicycle with a 750 watt motor that disengages at 32 kph (20 mph) or,
…a 100kg person on an electric bicycle with a 5000 watt motor that disengages at 32 kph (20 mph), and; both on a level path and neither pedaling to assist the bicycle?
Of course, we know the answer- especially as riders and aficionados of the Electric Bicycle Revolution. It’s pretty simple: they both can only go 20 mph. One may get there quicker than the other, but if we consider speed as a point in time, they are ultimately just as fast as each other.
Why the silly question? Speed and wattage are at the center of Electric Bicycle laws and regulations across the nation and around the globe. They represent the best of what the burgeoning electric bicycle industry brings to the consumer: ability and enjoyment, health and well-being. An eBike.
Pioneers in the industry and riders groups have paved the way for excellent legislation that promotes safety and the integration of electric bicycles into robust sport and transportation markets. I have been most fortunate to be able to work with the premier organization People for Bikes and my hat’s off to Alex and his Team. I am grateful for the alliance and support as we address the current legislation in New Jersey.
I get many questions about the current legal status of electric bicycles here in New Jersey and have enjoyed a number of discussions as Assemblyman Tim Eustace’s important electric bicycle legislative initiative A4663 passed the full Assembly with a vote of 74-0 on June 22, 2017. A companion bill, S3510 has been introduced in the Senate by Hon. Linda Greenstein, which provides the necessary legislative process.
Although the legislation was very well received in the last Term, there was simply not enough time before the change of administration to see S3510 move through the Senate and enacted into law.
We are very optimistic about the new administration’s objectives and priorities here in New Jersey. Thanks to the continuing hard work and dedication of many, instead of “dying on the vine,” this important legislation has been reintroduced by Assemblyman Tim Eustace in the 2018-2019 legislative term as Assembly Bill No. 1810.
So then… are eBikes, trikes and scooters legal to operate now in New Jersey or not?
A professorial answer might be: it depends. Because it does. But that does not help much.
There are a number of current provisions in New Jersey law that appear to render eBikes illegal. Some argue that it is a matter of interpretation and others believe it is a matter of enforcement. Either way, the pending legislation in New Jersey will clearly subject electric bicycles in New Jersey to the same rules and regulations as all bicycles and no more. One thing is for certain: it is not illegal to sell, purchase or otherwise own and eBike in the Garden State.
Watts or no watts, 20mph or 28mph, throttle or pedal assisted, the New Jersey Legislation (don’t forget the amendments!) is sure to promote growth of the industry, small business opportunities, green and healthy transportation alternatives, tax revenue, create jobs and careers. It’s a winner.
And not to mention the ride….
So…. what do you think?