The Bend Police Department says it plans to start educating people about the rules of the road when it comes to e-bikes. It comes after the department says its been flooded with complaints about e-bike riders around town.
Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller explains what the community has been worried about.
“They’re concerned about some of the bike riders behaviors,” Miller said. “They’re concerned about the age of the riders that they’re not following the rules of the road.”
One rule some people may not know about — there is a minimum age requirement.
“E-bikes are illegal to ride if you’re under 16,” Miller said.
Another rule: You must ride on the road. E-bikes are not allowed on the sidewalk. And speeds must be kept to 20 mph and under.
Educating people on the rules is the next step.
“Over the next ten days, we’re posting to social media. We’re going to try and do some other things to get people’s attention,” Miller said. “We’re going to highlight that age requirement. We’re going to highlight some of the expectations around following the rules of the road.”
We spoke with the co-owner of Bend Electric Bikes, Sterling McCord. He said he’s had a few parents come in looking for bikes for kids under 16 — even after he’s explained the age minimum.
“At that point, if they are going to go ahead and do it, there’s a bit of a wink and a nudge between the family there,” McCord said. “Junior leaves, adult finishes up with an extra small or whatever and then they go on their way.”
McCord also says advertisers for bike producers are purposely going after children.
“There’s been marketing directed at those groups and younger and the middle school age to high school age groups have definitely been the target,” McCord said.
Bend Police will start an enforcement detail soon to confront e-bike riders who are breaking the law.
“Just asking people to take some responsibility,” Miller said. “Know what the rules are.”
Both Bend PD and Bend Electric Bikes say riders should wear a helmet, stay off the sidewalks, stay on the roads and stay on bike paths.