A bill set to make its way into the short session of the Oregon Legislature that begins next month would create a new statewide task force on electric bikes, scooters, and other small, motorized vehicles.
Currently in draft form as LC 164 (“LC” stands for legislative council, where bills go for final edits and drafting before being given an official bill number), the bill was shared with advocates in Portland this week and was the topic of discussion at the monthly meeting of Electric Bikes For All, a coalition of e-bike advocates that meets monthly via Zoom.
According to minutes from that meeting, this bill will be sponsored by Rep. Hoa Nguyen, a Democrat who represents District 48 (outer southeast). You might remember Rep. Nguyen as the force behind the successful “Bike Bus Bill” that was signed into law last session.
LC 164 is considered a bill that will help lay educational and political groundwork for a more substantive electric bicycle bill that will be floated in the 2025 session. That bill will likely be some version of Eugene House Rep. Emerson Levy’s “Trenton’s Law” that we covered late last year. I’ve reached to both Nguyen and Levy for more background and comment on LC 164 but haven’t heard back.
If LC 164 passes, a new Task Force on Electric Micromobility would be created. It would have 19 members appointed by the director of the Oregon Department of Transportation (currently Kris Strickler). Here’s how the membership would have to be broken down:
- Two members who represent the Department of Transportation.
- One member who represents the State Parks and Recreation Department.
- Three members who represent electric micromobility device operators, manufacturers or businesses.
- Two members who represent law enforcement and emergency medical services.
- One member who represents a city transportation department.
- One member who represents a county government. (g) One member who represents a metropolitan planning organization.
- One member who represents a public university.
- One member who represents the insurance industry.
- One member who represents a nonprofit organization with statewide experience on transportation electrification and micromobility.
- One member who represents roadway users with disabilities.
- One member who represents roadway users.
- Two members who represent active transportation organizations.
- One member who represents off-road vehicle and trail users.
And here’s the charge of the task force:
- Review the existing Oregon laws relating to micromobility and personal mobility devices;
- Examine whether safety and education requirements should be required for motor vehicle users, electric micromobility device manufacturers, retailers and user groups;
- Examine how electric micromobility devices can be best utilized to promote equity, safety and climate goals in the transportation sector;
- Examine best practices for the use of electric micromobility devices, including but not limited to use on highways, bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, public lands, public spaces and mixed-use trails;
- Examine statutory definitions of electric micromobility devices;
- Address electric micromobility devices for commercial use;
- Examine provided education and certification programs relating to electric micromobility devices; and
- Seek input from a broad range of community partners, including but not limited to community partners from institutions of higher education, consumer advocacy groups and small, medium and large businesses.
The State of Oregon isn’t new to the concept of electric micromobility. In January 2023, ODOT published a report on the topic as part of a follow-up to their Transportation Electrification Infrastructure Needs Analysis study. When the TEINA effort first emerged, it had a notable lack of focus on electric bikes so this task force would be another step toward amplifying this particular segment of transportation electrification policy.
Legislative concepts will be made public tomorrow (Friday, January 12th) and the session officially begins February 5th. In order for a bill to have a chance of passing, it must be pushed out of its originated committee by the end of the first week. The short session ends March 10th.