Electric Bike Legislation in Utah

Electric Bikes Get More People on Bikes

Over the past 40 years in the United States cycling has become a popular means of recreation and fitness.  As a country and as a state we have made significant progress in the acceptance of cycling and investment in cycling infrastructure.  However, there are many who are unable to participate in the benefits of cycling.

10 Reasons Why People Don’t Ride Bikes

Less than 10% of the U.S. population are active cyclists, yet 56% of the population are interested in riding bikes more but are concerned enough to keep them from getting on a bike.  The reasons given for these concerns are:

1.     Safety

2.     Lack of infrastructure

3.     Weather

4.     Inconvenience

5.     Logistic issues

6.     Lack of fitness or physical limitations

7.     Lack of time

8.     Too much effort

9.     Can’t carry what you need

10. Lack of confidence

How eBikes Get More People On Bikes

For many of these 56% “concerned” riders, electric bikes (ebikes) offer a solution.  The average ebike rider is 45 to 65 years old and, for many of them, riding a conventional bike is not an option.  The ebike gives them the freedom to ride a bicycle, to enjoy the recreational and fitness benefits of a bicycle as well as the transportation benefits.

There are many other reasons peoples use ebikes.  Ebikes expand the option of cycling to thousands of commuters that wouldn’t normally consider cycling to work.  They also provide a legitimate alternative to driving the car to the grocery store or to take kids to school.   Ebikes bring riders together by equalizing abilities and skill levels, allowing friends, couples, and families to enjoy the sociality of cycling that wasn’t available to them before.

Modeling eBike Trends in Europe

For those in the cycling community, we look to Copenhagen, the Netherlands, Germany, and many other European countries as examples of what our communities could be with more people on bikes.

In these countries and throughout the world ebikes have become a popular and successful mode of transportation and recreation.  This is because ebikes not only expand the ability of riders but also invite new riders to ride.

Europe is embracing ebikes.  It is estimated that in 2014 there were more ebikes sold in Germany than conventional bikes or cars.

eBikes in Utah

For years the cycling community has worked to improve cycling in Utah. The state and local municipalities have invested hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars into infrastructure and bicycle programs, all for the purpose of encouraging more people on bikes.

Ebikes offer a way to increase bicycle ridership in the state significantly, helping to achieve our goals for better transportation, cleaner air, and a healthier Utah.

Ebikes don’t
take anything away from the progress we have made as a cycling community; they add to it and build upon it.   eBikes get more people on bikes.


Utah Senate Bill 121

Utah Senate Bill 121 clarifies the definition of ebikes in Utah and establishes a solid foundation for the appropriate use of ebikes moving forward.

Similar to the introduction of snow boarding into a skiing community many years ago, there will be resistance and confusion as ebikes integrate into our existing cycling community.  We ask for civil and respectful discussion regarding the concerns surrounding the appropriate use of ebikes in Utah.

We encourage the cycling community and Utah lawmakers to support Senate Bill 121, clarifying the definition of ebikes and giving all Utahns the freedom to ride.

References and Resources

  1. MacArthur, J., Dill, J. and Person, M.  E-bikes in the North America: Results from an online survey. 93rd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, January 12-16, 2014.
  2. McGuckin, N. and J. Lynott. Impact of Baby Boomers on US Travel, 1969 to 2009. Insight on the Issues, Vol. 70, 2012.
  3. Bernhoft, I., L. Hansen, H. Johansen, and L. Larsen. Mortal Accidents with Cyclists – Minute Analysis of Frequent Types of Accidents. Notat, Vol. 4, 1993, pp. 1986-1990.
  4. Gojanovic, B., J. Welker, K. Iglesias, C. Daucourt, and G. Gremion. “Electric Bicycles as a New Active Transportation Modality to Promote Health.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 43, no. 11 (2011): 2204-10.
  5. Sperlich, B., C. Zinner, K. Hebert-Losier, D. P. Born, and H. C. Holmberg. “Biomechanical, Cardiorespiratory, Metabolic and Perceived Responses to Electrically Assisted Cycling.” European Journal of Applied Physiology 112, no. 12 (Dec 2012): 4015-25.
  6. Louis, J., J. Brisswalter, C. Moriio, C. Barla, and J. J. Temprado. “The Electrically Assisted Bicycle: An Alternative Way to Promote Physical Activity.” [In eng]. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 91, no. 11 (Nov 2012): 931-40.