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California may soon have two new laws on the books that aim to make e-bike riding safer for kids. One outlines a program for training kids in safe riding practices and the other provides a training manual for them.

Assembly Bill 2259, which was introduced by State Assembly Member Tasha Boerner of Carlsbad, creates a comprehensive, online training manual for e-bike riders. The idea is that it is for e-bikes what the driver’s education manual is for drivers.

It is designed to work with another bill, AB 2234known as the San Diego Electric Bicycle Safety Pilot Program. The manual created by AB 2259 will serve as the curriculum for AB 2234.

If the measures pass, they would require children aged 12 and up to take the safety class in order to ride a Class 1 or 2 e-bike. You must be at least 16 years old to ride a Class 3 e-bike.

Assembly member Boerner’s office released a statement in support of the bills:

“With more e-bikes on the road, these injuries have occurred more frequently and resulted in severe injuries and even deaths. E-bike injuries have become more prevalent than traditional bicycle injuries, with children 13 years and under making up the majority of e-bike injuries requiring a hospital visit.

“According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, there were 3,945 e-bike injuries between 2011 and 2020. The e-bike injuries increased over time during the study period, with the 10-13 year old age group making up 44% of those injuries. Children under 14 comprised 72% of e-bike injuries over the study period.

“As a mother, I believe that we must act to prevent our youth from injuries and educate parents on the benefits and responsibility of e-bikes, and AB 2234 takes a step to increase their safety while sharing the road. Given the increase of e-bike incidents that have taken place in our communities, it becomes the responsibility of the community and the state to ensure not another one of our children is seriously injured,” she said. “Through education “and redirection, not punishment, we can teach young riders to take responsibility for their safety and the safety of others on the road.”

Not everyone believes the bills will result in the intended effect. According to the Encinitas Advocatelocal e-bike advocates—unnamed—have expressed concern that the bills will place an undue burden on parents who are already spread thin.

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