New law will exempt low-power e-bikes from regulation


Low-power electric bicycles would be exempt from state regulation under a bill passed by the Alaska Legislature and on its way to the governor for signature into law.

The state Senate and House each approved the measure by wide margins, with only two no votes among the 60 legislators. Final legislative approval came May 11 for House Bill 8, sponsored by Fairbanks first-term Rep. Ashley Carrick.

If the governor signs the measure, the new law will clarify that bicycles with electric motors generating less than 750 watts of power are not classified as motor vehicles. That would allow them to be used on sidewalks and formally exempt them from registration as motorcycles.

Alaska is just one of four states that have no reference in its statutes to e-bikes. If signed into law, Alaska will become the 40th state to pass similar legislation.

The number of electric-assist bicycles sold in the United States has exploded in recent years, benefiting from the same technological developments that have boosted the growth of electric cars.

E-bikes feature a battery pack and small electric motor that provides additional momentum when the user pedals the bike.

In 2021, Americans bought 880,000 e-bikes, according to figures published by the Wall Street Journal last summer.

The Alaska Beacon is an independent, donor-funded news organization.


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