Electric Bikes can be used on the American River Bike Trail

California Assembly Bill 1096 became state law on January 1, 2016 and clarifies the legal questions regarding the use of electric bikes in California.

1. Defines what an “Electric Bike” is and clarifies that an e-bike is not a Motor Vehicle, Moped or Motorized Bicycle. An “electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.

2. Established three “Classes” of e-bikes, and where those types are allowed to be used.

The following table provides further information regarding the California Electric Bike Law referenced above:

Manufacturers and distributors are required to apply a permanent label in a prominent location to each electric bicycle that specifies which Class Number, Top Assisted Speed and the Motor Wattage.

Note: There are many online article related to California Electric Bicycle Assembly Bill #1096 on the Internet.   We encourage anyone that is interested in learning more about the details of this legislation to conduct an online search using his or her favorite search engine. 

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5 Responses to Electric Bikes can be used on the American River Bike Trail

  1. John Phillips says:

    The vast majority of road bike riders do not know about AB1096 and the signs still say no motors. Some e-bikes ok could be added to the signs.

  2. Claire Warshaw says:

    Martin – It does seem to be a problem with our society today. Many people seem not to be able relate to injuries and/or elderly conditions well. Also, I think some of our fast paced human powered road bicyclists, among the vast numbers of younger spry people, do not mind heckling people. I was riding on Saturday and at least 2 bicyclists passed me commenting little quips of their opinions (and I was riding a non-motorized bicycle). I met a couple at a CalBike organization meeting last fall whom ride from Davis to Sacramento on e-bikes. I might guess that this couple use to ride non-motorized bicycles, but eventually could not do that much cycling. I think there must be a valid plea for why regulated e-bicycles need to be accepted. I do not like motorized vehicles on the bicycle trail, but in this case if there is more knowledge about how this does not impact others badly, more people might understand. E-vehicles are quieter and non-polluting – perhaps e-bicycles are the same? I would guess yes.

  3. Martin Cline says:

    Why are the road bikers soo rude. Took my legal e-bike on the trail only to be heckled “no motors” by some passing road biker. I bought an e-bike due to health conditions, bone spurs on knee and recent spinal cord surgery. So I need the pedal assist. Yea, some day these road bikers will get old too. What gives these guys the self-proclaimed power to tell other people how to use the bike trail.

    • Nick says:

      Great points! I recently rode an e-bike along the trail and heard some similar negative comments from other cyclists. Some folks feel a motorized bike is a threat to their safety. But, I have seen some others wiz by at very high speeds (ignoring the posted speed limits) evidently training for some cycling race event. Make a rookie move when they come by and you can be subject to a collision with serious injury.

      I suppose some of the complaints are related to e-bikes being relatively new. However, as with most new changes, people get use to the changes as time passes.

    • Philip Agur says:

      Martin, I may not be far behind you, but for now, I cover 1800+ miles on a hybrid bike mostly on the ARBT. Most of the folks I ride with are on road bikes, and there were 50 of us on today’s ride.

      IMHO the problem with e-bikes under AB1096 is the wattage they made legal. I made an average of 200 watts over 22.5 miles today. The problem comes when someone who has just ridden 20 miles and climbed 1200+ feet sees an e-bike go by like they’re an Olympic rider (650 watts) because someone sold them a 750-watt e-bike instead of a more appropriate 200-350 watt e-bike.

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