Should it be legal for kids to ride ebikes?

Timpo

Well-Known Member
What do you think?
Apparently kids in Japan are riding ebikes to go to school.

In the US and Canada, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to ride ebikes. (law varies by state or province, obviously)

Here's the school system in Japan:
Elementary - Gr. 1-6
Jr. High - Gr. 7-9
High School - Gr. 10-12

Although elementary schools are usually within walking distance, as soon as they enroll in junior high (Grade 7), they typically ride bicycles to go to school.
Parents are buying their kids ebikes, and the Japanese ebike companies, Bridgestone, Panasonic and Yamaha are marketing their ebikes for grade 7 kids entering junior high.

These ebikes are approx.100,000 yen ($935) give or take.

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ブリヂストンサイクルが“両輪駆動”を搭載した新型の電動アシスト自転車「アルベルトe」を発売する。発表会にはアルベルトのイメージキャラクターの大友花恋さんが出席した

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ヤマハ発動機、シティタイプの電動アシスト自転車「PAS RIN(パス リン ...
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Can you imagine this in US or Europe.
The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland are countries where everybody rides bike (and the theft level is very low there). Not necessarily e-bike, because distances to cover are far shorter there than they are in North America. The UK is quite a specific country so I understand your remark Neil.
 
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Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
In the US and Canada, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to ride ebikes. (law varies by state or province, obviously)

The law varies enough state-by-state to make the statement not true. Some states have no law prohibiting children from riding an e-bike. The age varies from 14 to 16 in others, and many only prohibit 16 and under from riding class 3 e-bikes. If you want to check your state's laws, visit People for Bikes.

I suspect the enforcement of such laws is rather lax. Never mind that there are very few e-bikes that would fit kids (as opposed to teens).
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I think it depends on the individual child - and as much as that at least - the training and support available from an adult. Doesn't necessarily need to be mom or dad, just needs to be somebody that's accessible....
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
The law varies enough state-by-state to make the statement not true. Some states have no law prohibiting children from riding an e-bike. The age varies from 14 to 16 in others, and many only prohibit 16 and under from riding class 3 e-bikes. If you want to check your state's laws, visit People for Bikes.

I suspect the enforcement of such laws is rather lax. Never mind that there are very few e-bikes that would fit kids (as opposed to teens).
Looks like Haibike makes kids ebikes.

It was filmed in Vancouver, Canada (British Columbia). Where ebikes are prohibited for persons under 16. 😑

In my opinion, it doesn't make sense. It didn't look dangerous at all.
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
I think the problem with ebikes is how expensive they are.
They need to be sub $1000 in order for parents to afford them.

This one looks cheaper.

Easy E-Biking - boy riding e-bike for kids, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

If you're intending letting a child blast around at speed - invest in a decent bike.

My kids acoustic bikes are worth as much as my emtb. Good brakes, suspension, modern geometry - it's an investment in parental sanity.
 

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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Why not? As far as being safe ,I see no difference between an Ebike and a regular bike.

I can think of one difference. Speed. The potential for grabbing a bit more throttle than fits a situation? It's not like they have e-bikes equipped with training wheels.

Once properly acclimated, they can become skilled and are likely going to be absolutely fearless (due to lack of experience) - which can come back to bite them (badly). Early on, they need an adult around in my opinion.
 

Gordon71

Active Member
I can think of one difference. Speed. The potential for grabbing a bit more throttle than fits a situation? It's not like they have e-bikes equipped with training wheels.

Once properly acclimated, they can become skilled and are likely going to be absolutely fearless (due to lack of experience) - which can come back to bite them (badly). Early on, they need an adult around in my opinion.
Good point and I guess my state (Maine) has that covered. If you are under 16 you can only ride class 1.
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
I can think of one difference. Speed. The potential for grabbing a bit more throttle than fits a situation? It's not like they have e-bikes equipped with training wheels.

Once properly acclimated, they can become skilled and are likely going to be absolutely fearless (due to lack of experience) - which can come back to bite them (badly). Early on, they need an adult around in my opinion.

To be honest, my concern is weight. Ebikes are heavier and can be less forgiving when physics decides to educate. Much harder to throw around

Over summer my 3 kids were riding a rail trail, the 2 girls on accoustics and my son on my ebike. There was a snake soaking up the sun and my girls were able to bunny hop / swerve but the heavier ebike slowed down my sons reaction and he , er, woke that snake up ....
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Good point and I guess my state (Maine) has that covered. If you are under 16 you can only ride class 1.

I guess I'm thinking of an unsupervised 7-10 year old. A Class 1 is PLENTY fast enough for somebody like that to get in over their head - especially if they THINK they know how to ride a bike. Just something like loose gravel on a paved sub division street intersection. Let alone a trail side tree on a MUS.
 

Gordon71

Active Member
I guess I'm thinking of an unsupervised 7-10 year old. A Class 1 is PLENTY fast enough for somebody like that to get in over their head - especially if they THINK they know how to ride a bike. Just something like loose gravel on a paved sub division street intersection. Let alone a trail side tree on a MUS.
Is a class 1 any faster than a regular bike? Up a hill yes ,depending on how good a shape you're in, but on flats and down hill I would think they would be the same.