House approves Rep. Boylan’s e-bike bill


STATE HOUSE — The House voted today to approve Rep. Jennifer Boylan’s bill to expand the legal use of electric bicycles in Rhode Island by modernizing their classification and regulation.

“As e-bikes have exploded in popularity, Rhode Island’s regulations have lagged behind,” said Representative Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence). “Modernizing our regulations will allow people to use e-bikes safely, getting cars off the road while simultaneously limiting the use of certain electric bicycles on our bike paths.”

This legislation (2024-H 7713A) would update Rhode Island regulations of electric bicycles in four main ways. First, it would define three classes of electric bicycle, consistent with national standards. Second, it would allow Class 1 electric bicycles, which provide assistance only when the rider is pedaling and cease to provide assistance when the electric bicycle reaches 20 miles per hour, to use state bike paths. Third, it would allow the Department of Environmental Management to set guidelines governing the use of electric bicycles at all properties it manages. And finally, it would require Rhode Islanders under 21 to wear a helmet while riding an electric bicycle.

“It’s important that as e-bike usage grows, it growly safely,” said Representative Boylan. “Adding the helmet requirement and limiting bike path usage to the slower Class 1 e-bikes will keep both riders and the pedestrians and other cyclists around them safe.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration where Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) has introduced companion legislation (2024-S 2829).