Earlier this month, the Mill Valley Police Department and the Marin County Bicycle Coalition partnered to offer the first Teen E-Bike Safety Class for juveniles who were contacted by the Mill Valley Police Department. Following the enactment of the new Mill Valley Electric Mobility Device Ordinance, our officers have contacted e-bike riders they observe operating their e-bikes in an unsafe manner. Rather than issuing a citation that introduces the juvenile to the criminal justice system, officers instead refer them to an e-bike safety course that allows them to better understand the rules of the road and educates them on the importance of riding their bicycles safely to better avoid injuring themselves or others.
Our officers are often asked what the Police Department is looking for, as it relates to unsafe behavior. While the list is extensive, the majority of the issues we see are related to:
- Travelling at unsafe speeds
- Failing to stop at stop signs/red lights
- Riding on the sidewalk
- Not wearing a safety helmet
The Police Department was recently asked what it considers an unsafe speed on an e-bike to be. The answer to that question varies somewhat based on current e-bike regulations. Generally speaking, the speed limit for the roadway governs the speed at which an operator may travel. However, e-bikes that may be operated on the roadway in California fall into three classes: Class 1 and Class 2 have a top speed of 20 MPH and Class 3 has a top speed of 28 MPH. If an e-bike has a top speed that exceeds 28 MPH, it should not be on the road, as it falls outside of the three classes of street legal e-bikes. While the laws contained within the California Vehicle Code can be convoluted, it is important to note that we do see issues surrounding unsafe speeds, and our officers are taking action when those observations are made.
For those who have children operating these devices, we ask that you educate them on safe riding habits and the possible consequences of being involved in a collision. We would like to thank the community for their attention to e-bike safety, and to the many e-bike operators who ride their bicycles in a safe and lawful manner.