Late in this legislative season (53 2nd regular), an ebike bill has once again surfaced from Rep Worsley; this time as a “striker” in the former dark sky lighting special plates bill HB2266.
The bill is suddenly, as is always the case I guess with strikers, being heard, scheduled for 3/20/2018 in the senate where it passed unanimously…
… at the hearing Rep(?) Allen described it as “common sense” legislation. As of this writing (3/29) azleg.gov is showing it was voted on by the full (COW) sentate 3/28 with DPA (do pass, amended refers to the striker), but vote shows all zeros so not sure what that means.
It follows the three-class distinctions (a la CA) and makes it explicit that e-bikes are not motor vehicles; nor are they mopeds, motorized bicycles, motor-driven cycles, or motorcycles.
They are, by default, to be regulated as bicycles (with one exception, see below); which means things like there are no operator age restrictions, no licensing, no registration, no insurance requirements; nor any operator safety-equipment requirements (e.g. AZ has no helmet laws). There are no specific speed restrictions (the Basic Speed Law, ARS 28-701, of course applies).
They simply inherit bicycle rules, like lighting requirements. There are no additional equipment restrictions, e.g. last year’s bill would have required a speedometer on Class 3 e-bikes.
The one exception to being regulated identically as bicycles at the state level is that Class 3, by default, would be banned from “bicycle or multiuse path unless it is within or adjacent to a highway or roadway”.
Because of Arizona’s local-control statute; localities would be free to further regulate them however they please.
The not a motor vehicle thing should be helpful; as the intention is to operated like bicycles. See bicycles-are-not-motor-vehicles-and-why-it-matters.; though it’s plain in the law, there are still some who willfully misinterpret it; supplying their own personal biases and prejudice instead. The seems most common in mis-understanding and mis-applying slow-vehicle rules in general; for example these individuals seem to grasp that a truck driver going slowly (perhaps because of a heavy load, or a grade, or a street sweeper, or a piece of construction equipment) in the right-hand lane is NOT committing a violation; whereas for some reason, they believe, a bicyclist is.
I should note that although I like that the bill is very “clean”, it does not address the problems/traps with the existing (now just gas-powered) motorized bicycle law, relating to restricting gas-powered bikes to being operated at below 20mph. Some police have used this foible to cause, in my view, disproportionate punishment for motorized bicyclists.
Legal definitions of “paths”: The terms bicycle path and multiuse path aren’t really legally defined anywhere that I have found. See my handy list of related definitions.
In any event, the phrase relating only to Class 3 being banned from “a bicycle or multiuse path unless it is within or adjacent to a highway or roadway”. Is probably intended to allow class 3’s on things like cycletracks; or other separated infra. Like maybe for example the odd raised bike lane on Hardy.
I note that it would be a very bad idea to ride this type of infrastructure at anywhere near 28mph.
Homebrew? There are many available conversion kits to electrify a standard bicycle. It’s not clear to me how they would fit in.
Muddle over gas-powered motorized bikes not addressed: Another distinct loose end, in my view, is this bill does nothing to clear up the legal issues surrounding the original motorized bicycle law (especially the “operated at less than 20mph” bit); it simply leaves (gasoline powered) motorized bicyclists legally adrift. Gas-powered bicyclists seem to be a hated minority of a hated minority. I don’t “like” noisy, polluting, gas powered gizmos either, but that’s no excuse to persecute their users with novel interpretations of vague laws that are easily misused by police to unfairly punish somebody who’s simply riding their otherwise legal bikes at 20mph.
The Arizona legislature passed the bill 4/17/2018 and is awaiting an expected gov’s signature; according to BRAIN article.
Then on 4/20/2018 Gov. Ducey vetoed this bill along with many others in an unrelated spending battle involving teacher salaries.