E-bikes – Additional Safety Challenges

July 16, 2021

Bikers, please announce yourself to pedestrians you intend to pass. Say ‘bike on the left’ or ring your bell. The pedestrians can’t hear you approaching from behind. Let’s work together to keep everyone safe.

An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike or ebike, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor used to assist propulsion.

There are three different classes of e-bikes. Classes were created to determine how e-bikes should be used according to local e-bike laws. The classes include:

  • Class 1: The Class 1 e-bike provides assistance only when you pedal, and stops assisting when you reach 20 mph — great for bike lanes, bike paths, roads or anywhere you’d take a traditional bike.
  • Class 2: The Class 2 e-bike is equipped with a throttle which provides a boost without pedaling, and stops assisting at 20 mph.
  • Class 3: The Class 3 e-bike is equipped with a speedometer, and only assists until the bike reaches 28 mph — an excellent choice for commuters. The most popular bikes fit into Class 1 or Class 3 because riders still want to pedal.

Class 2 e-bikes are available for rent in Incline Village. These allow a rider to travel at speeds up to 20 MPH without pedaling.

There have been many complaints, near misses and a few injuries on our pathways due to the high speed of travel and additional weight of the e-bikes. Washoe County is in the process of evaluating the situation and determining the best approach to keep the shared use pathways safe for all users. Commissioner Hill is aware of the situation and is working to identify some solutions. You may contact Commissioner Hill at AHill@Washoecounty.us.

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