The City of Bend, working with Rep. Emerson Levy, D-Bend, held a roundtable on e-bike safety Tuesday. Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang says the discussion was motivated by the tragic e-bike accident that killed a 15-year-old boy last month.
“What I’ve been hearing the last few days is mainly concerns about people who are riding in the wrong places or riding too fast, riding without helmets. Sometimes people carrying multiple people on one bicycle,” Chang said.
Bend City Councilor Megan Perkins says the city wants to amplify e-bike education.
“How can we help amplify the message? How can we create resources for our community so that they understand how we can all be safer on the roads? I think secondly is infrastructure. That is the city’s responsibility. Those are the city’s roads,” Perkins said.
Bend resident and Sotheby’s Real Estate Broker Ryan Sandstrom says the main issues he sees are children using e-bikes.
“In general, people know what they’re doing. But a lot of the time when I see younger kids, the challenge they’re having is ‘Am a I vehicle in the road or am I a pedestrian riding on the sidewalk?’” Sandstrom said. “When you’re driving, you just aren’t sure with kids and which way are they are gonna go and what they’re choosing to do.”
Levy says she’s focused on updating and clarifying e-bike law, especially for young riders.
“This will allow us to go into our schools and to educate our students and to make sure they’re wearing helmets, they’re on the right side of the road, they know the rules about sidewalks,” Levy said.
Levy says Oregon’s e-bike law has not been updated since 1997.
Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler says there are no plans to introduce new ordinance or policy at the city level, but discussions are only just beginning.