Carlsbad Lays Down The Law On E-Bikes

by The Editors on March 25, 2022

The City of Carlsbad is apparently cracking down on the roving gangs of e-bikers who continually swerve through our city streets by adding some new rules of the road for the underage electric motorcycle riders.

What are these new rules? Well, things like “always ride with care,” no passengers “on handlebars,” don’t ride “on sidewalks,” and rather than scaring the bejeezus out of dog-walking pedestrians by blasting past them on the city’s trail systems, e-bikers must now “get off their e-bike on trails less than 5 feet wide when they’re within 50 feet of a pedestrian.” Get out your tape measures.

It will be interesting to see how the Carlsbad Police department will enforce these new rules. For the official word from the City along with a list of e-bike info sources, please follow the jump.

New e-bike rules to address concerns

The Carlsbad City Council voted to update is local laws to make it easier to enforce the safe and considerate use of e-bikes, scooters and other similar ways of getting around town. The changes allow police to issue citations, but also allow first time violators to avoid penalty if they agree to take a safety course put on by the Police Department.

Who is affected?
The updated ordinance covers a variety of motorized mobility devices including e-bikes, electrically motorized boards, low-speed vehicles, motorized scooters, shared electric scooters and other similar vehicles. It doesn’t apply to the type of mobility devices that people with disabilities use to get around.

What are the rules?
Specifically, the ordinance says riders
Have a duty to always ride with care and to reduce speed when needed for safety
Can’t have passengers on handlebars or back bike racks that aren’t specifically made for additional riders
Can’t operate or ride an e-bike or similar motorized device on sidewalks, public drainage facilities, culverts, ditches, channels, or any public athletic or sports court or gymnasium in the city
Must get off their e-bike on trails less than 5 feet wide when they’re within 50 feet of a pedestrian

Why the change?
As the use of e-bikes has increased in Carlsbad over the past few years, so have the number of accidents.
There were 186 traffic collisions involving bicycles or e-bikes between January 2019 and December 2021. In 163 of those accidents, one or more people were injured.
The City Council, Carlsbad Police, city staff and community members have all observed people riding e-bikes unsafely or violating traffic laws and have raised concerns about the impact on public safety.
The updated ordinance gives the city more latitude to prohibit a broad range of careless behavior on e-bikes.
It also allows the city to be in charge of enforcement rather than referring all cases for prosecution in court.
For instance, the city could choose to offer a safety course to offenders instead of a citation and a court-ordered fine. The course may do more to impact future behavior, especially on younger riders who would have to complete it.

More e-bike safety efforts
The City of Carlsbad and Carlsbad Police have implemented several other initiatives in the past few years to enhance e-bike safety, including several that are ongoing.
More enforcement of traffic safety rules and vehicle code violations
Created resources to explain laws governing e-bikes and provides safety tips
Hosted and promoted e-bike safety webinars and classes
Created public service announcements and social media campaigns promoting safety and the rules of the road
Worked with schools and the San Diego County Bike Coalition to promote bicycle and e-bike safety, including through free classes. The coalition’s next virtual Smart Cycling class, which includes specific information on operating e-bikes, will be held April 5 and is free for all community members to attend.

Next steps
The updated ordinance will come back to the City Council for final approval on April 5 and take effect May 5.
The city will inform residents about the changes and continue to promote e-bike safety.

More information
City’s e-bike webpage
Ebike rules of the road
San Diego County Bike Coalition classes and events

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: