Electric bikes on the move in Pennsylvania

Published Feb 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm (Updated Feb 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm)

The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved state Sen. Matt Smith’s (D-Allegheny/Washington) legislation legalizing pedal-assist electric bicycles.

Senate Bill 997 would legalize pedal-assist electric bicycles, which are primarily operated by pedals, but allow for an electric motor to assist the rider, within the state vehicle code.

Smith points to the economic benefits of SB 997.

“This opens the door for small businesses across the state, especially Adam Solar Rides, a retailer located in my district, to fully market these bicycles and promote them as an acceptable transportation option in Pennsylvania.”

Adam Rossi of Adam Solar Rides in South Fayette Township said, “People looking for a better way to exercise, commute, or that have disabilities can now ride with assist and confidence that they are within their legal right to do so. Our business has been steadily picking up through the winter, and I can only imagine how busy we’ll be on the first nice days of spring.”

“These are first and foremost a bicycle, but a gap in state law was restricting new products that have been growing in popularity, nationally and internationally, for years,” Smith said. “These bikes offer assistance for individuals with mobility issues, help the rider tackle our hilly terrain, and provide a great transportation alternative for all users.”

Pedal-assist electric bicycles under Smith’s bill are defined as bicycles equipped with operable pedals, an electric motor 750 watts (1 horsepower) or less, weighing 100 pounds or less, and capable of a maximum speed of not more than 20 mph. The legislation also requires that the rider be at least 16 years of age.

“I want to thank Chairmen Rafferty for considering this legislation that will benefit consumers, small businesses, communities, and the environment,” Smith said. “This enhances existing state efforts to promote multi-modal transportation and updates Pennsylvania law for innovative technology.”

The measure now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

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