Should it be legal for kids to ride ebikes?

rich c

Well-Known Member
Not under the age of 14 is my opinion. Even 16 year old brains aren't developed enough to make sound decisions in critical situations. Under 14 the decisions can really get them in trouble. They just have trouble with the concept of a decision could result in serious injury or death. I was raised on a farm and everything has a gas engine on it. I still have a couple of memories of a near horrible accident. I was very fortunate.
 

Chancelucky2

Active Member
There are a lot of electrically powered kid movers already: cars, minibikes, boards, etc. I'd point out that all of them have very low max speeds.
If they were to make e-bikes in kid sizes, I'd recommend that they have something like a 10mph speed limit and perhaps some device that won't let the bike
turn on unless the rider has a helmet on.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Anything that promotes more kids on bikes is a good thing... too many are hooked on their phones and video games. ;)
I'm with you all the way, until you get to the part where the kids THINK they know what they are doing. Even though they may be very competent, and have very quick reflexes, they haven't wrapped themselves around a tree yet (or witnessed a friend do that and waited for the ambulance to arrive), so they have a tendency to be WAY too brave (you have to see this to believe it!). That's where somebody needs to be there to yank on their chain......

I've watched and helped bring kids up to be really safe, competent mini bike, dirt bike, quad, and snowmobile riders. Been there, done that. You can't just turn them loose, but I would hate to be forced into a 10mph speed limit until they were 16. They CAN do a really good job if you hold the reins in for a bit and provide some training.
 
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PDoz

Well-Known Member
So how are kids supposed to develop risk analysis skills if they are left playing ipads until their bodies are teeming with hormones and stronger than their parents?

It'd be a fair bet that Rich C had better life skills by 12 than the majority of urban adults.

Rich - do you go around blaming the boss if you remove a safety guard and get injured? Is it the governments fault if you haven't saved so can't retire by 30 yo ? Those childhood memories left scars that made you a better person.

Sure, there has to be some compromise between putting a toddler on an overpowered thinly disguised motorbike and making them ride with lanyards attached to mum, but we shouldn't lose sight of the benefits of getting kids outside experiencing life.

My kids have been riding regularly since an early age, by 8/9 they were capable of 1-2 hour family tours. By 11 they could join me on intermediate mountain bike trails. I still ride behind my 11 yo and give feedback / guidance when the terrain gets more difficult , but he's already reached the stage where he'll slow down a couple of seconds before I'm about to remind him. He has asd , so fatigues easier and on longer rides we swap bikes uphill - I pump up his suspension and ride his bike , he zooms to the top then waits for me. If there was a light enough high quality emtb, I'd work out a way to buy it for him because the life skills and joy he gets is priceless.

This is him at 11 during covid stay at home restrictions....he's progressed from driving with me nervously sitting by his side ready to knock the car out of gear....to a stage where he can be trusted to drive his sisters around the paddock. He's not going near the tractor....but I have no concerns with him riding my ebike.
 

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Deleted member 4210

Guest
Maybe create a US Class 0 for kids between age of 10 and 18. Top speed of 15 mph, and no throttle. Like Europe. Seems like A lot more parents are buying ebikes for their kids this year. Some are simply calling them 'family' bikes, where they have enough around for anyone to go ride at anytime.
 

pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
When I was 10 or 11 some friends and I would ride the area on our bikes after school until dusk, hunt down the biggest hills and longest downhill runs and blast down them. (This was the early 90s when kids used to play outdoors. And parents would let them.) We'd hit 50-60 km/h no worries, helmet on but little else in the way of protection. We exercised a little common sense by posting a spotter on blind corners to warn of incoming cars. We survived.

Ebikes for kids? No problem as long as they've built up some skill and road sense on a non-motorised bike.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Maybe create a US Class 0 for kids between age of 10 and 18. Top speed of 15 mph, and no throttle. Like Europe. Seems like A lot more parents are buying ebikes for their kids this year. Some are simply calling them 'family' bikes, where they have enough around for anyone to go ride at anytime.
That sounds reasonable. Japan's speed for ebikes is restricted to 13.5 mph for all ebikes, all riders. No speed pedelecs there!
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
A Class 0 would be one way, maybe the easy (safest?) way out. Maybe for those that don't have the time, patience, inclination, or maybe even skill set, to bring a 'youngun up to speed on the more powerful (adult) e-bikes (among other things). Takes a ton of all those attributes, but I had a LOT of fun, spread out over many years, with a neighbor's 4 boys, now full grown adults. I love to believe these boys, by time they were 14 or so, had insight and experience many others will never have. Today, they can SAFELY outrun their dad easily, and I'm WAY back in the dust....

There's a saying, I forget it all, but it has to do with "standing on the shoulders of those that came before you".
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
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.
People outside of the Netherlands, Denmark, etc. always think theft is low, but it's not the case. Bike theft is a massive problem there.

Just one city:

Stolen bikes often end up in the canals:

 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
I'm sure everyone can think of examples on both sides of this argument. Not an easy answer, but maybe lower the age from 16 down to say 10 or 12. Maybe no throttles allowed on kids bikes and/or a speed limiter.

I can see how a child could get into trouble with the additional speed, but other children are really good on a bike. My son does a lot of mountain biking and by the time he was roughly 12 and a half he was a better bike handler than most adults. He was capable of doing gap jumps, wheelies, manuals, and had the skills required to ride double blacks on our local trails here in the lower mainland. So that includes the double blacks on our legendary north shore.

If he can handle that, he can certainly handle riding an ebike easily. A few times he snuck out on my Juiced CCS to go get a slurpee or Subway and he's never had a problem. I'm far more worried about him mountain biking than when he rides my Juiced.
 

GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
I figure most kids can pedal an easy 15 to 20mph, have way sharper reflexes and are at that prime age that might define how they decide to deal with personal transportation. So that said, legalize and encourage. :)
 

shiruba

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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イメージ:ティモ・I

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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)


It's not super common to see kids on Ebike so much as adults, but it is perfectly allowed. I think part of the difference is about what is considered an "Ebike" in different countries. The term Ebike is not really used here, but the things you showed in the photos are called electric pedal assist bike (I. E. Ebikes). They are pretty safe because they will only at most put out double the effort you put in, and will only do that up to 10kph. The assist level will drop off gradually to 0 at 24kph.

What this means is that it will help people get up hills without letting them go on a pedestrian killing rampage, and hence they are still considered standard bicycles, and a license is not required.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
It's not super common to see kids on Ebike so much as adults, but it is perfectly allowed. I think part of the difference is about what is considered an "Ebike" in different countries. The term Ebike is not really used here, but the things you showed in the photos are called electric pedal assist bike (I. E. Ebikes). They are pretty safe because they will only at most put out double the effort you put in, and will only do that up to 10kph. The assist level will drop off gradually to 0 at 24kph.

What this means is that it will help people get up hills without letting them go on a pedestrian killing rampage, and hence they are still considered standard bicycles, and a license is not required.
That's what I heard.

Japan has very weird definition of ebikes 🤔

The term "ebike" in Japan is exclusively used for electric bike from Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc.. and any other hobbyist / recreational ebikes.
In addition, Yamaha MTB and roadbike style ebikes are "ebikes" in Japan, but mamachari or utility based ebikes are "electric assisted bicycles" and not "ebikes"

NOT ebike
(These are electric motor assisted bicycles, NOT ebikes)
Yamaha ebikes | Electric Bike Forums - Q&A, Help, Reviews and Maintenance


さらに乗りやすくなった電動アシスト自転車 「アシスタシリーズ」新発売|ニュースリリース 2010 |ブリヂストンサイクル株式会社

Ebike
(These are ebikes, because they're meant for sports and recreation use)
New Trek Powerfly FS 2021 – introducing Trek's brand new tour-oriented  allrounder with the new Bosch Performance CX motor | E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine

YAMAHA DROPS A CLASS 3 ROAD BIKE – Electric Bike Action
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
That's what I heard.

Japan has very weird definition of ebikes 🤔

The term "ebike" in Japan is exclusively used for electric bike from Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc.. and any other hobbyist / recreational ebikes.
In addition, Yamaha MTB and roadbike style ebikes are "ebikes" in Japan, but mamachari or utility based ebikes are "electric assisted bicycles" and not "ebikes"

NOT ebike
(These are electric motor assisted bicycles, NOT ebikes)
Yamaha ebikes | Electric Bike Forums - Q&A, Help, Reviews and Maintenance


さらに乗りやすくなった電動アシスト自転車 「アシスタシリーズ」新発売|ニュースリリース 2010 |ブリヂストンサイクル株式会社

Ebike
(These are ebikes, because they're meant for sports and recreation use)
New Trek Powerfly FS 2021 – introducing Trek's brand new tour-oriented  allrounder with the new Bosch Performance CX motor | E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine's brand new tour-oriented  allrounder with the new Bosch Performance CX motor | E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine

YAMAHA DROPS A CLASS 3 ROAD BIKE – Electric Bike Action
Interesting definitions... thanks for the clarification.
 

Luto

Active Member
Seems OK to me, especially in Japan. Each country has its cultural expectations for public behavior. And likewise for their personal protections-responsibility and litigation response. I think Japan is fine on those three areas.
 

Roxlimn

Member
European spec ebikes that are defined as bicycles top out at 25 kph. My kids could do 25 kph at age 10. At age 14, I could absolutely go 30 kph if I was really pushing it. The weight is really more of an issue for the elder set. Kids have stronger or more pliable bones and they bounce back better from minor injuries and bone breaks. I don't think any age below 10 is an appropriate age for an ebike; but then I don't think that's also an appropriate age for them to go jumping off from cliffs either, and I see kids below 10 doing precisely that. I guess with supervision?
 

theemartymac

Active Member
Well, my crowd was riding mini bikes and dirt bikes when we were 7-8 yrs old, and unsupervised by the time we were maybe 10, and I had my first snowmobile at 12 that I rode to school and all over the back woods, so I can't see a reason to limit ebikes. Obviously the parents have a responsibility to ensure the bike fits, the kids are trained and reasonably responsible, and you aren't giving them a 1000w class 3, but to blanket rule it doesn't sit well with me.