“E-bikes are the future!” That’s what Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone proclaimed at a forum earlier this week. Iannarone is bullish on e-bikes not just because she’s an expert on innovative transportation solutions (thanks in part to her work at First Stop Portland), but because she rides an e-bike herself.
Many that ride e-bikes quickly become evangelists like Iannarone and start using words like “transformational” and “revolution”.
Now a Portland State University research project wants to add more science to back up all the excitement. And they’re looking for subjects. [Read more…]
Thankfully, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) acknowledged the outdated rules and the State Parks Commission recently approved new ones that explicitly permit e-bike use on their facilities.
Now it appears the City of Portland might have the same problem. [Read more…]
At the time, OPRD acknowledged that they never intended to exclude e-bike riders from popular paths like the Historic Columbia River Highway and Banks-Vernonia Trail. The situation, they felt, was a matter of the law not keeping up with the times. Oregon’s vehicle code recognizes e-bikes as bicycles; but OPRD facilities are managed with Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) which didn’t mention e-bikes at all. This meant they fell into the category of “motor vehicles” and were managed as such.
In response to public pressure to address the issue, OPRD began the process to amend their rules last September. Today we confirmed with agency staff that the State Parks Commission has approved a rule change that explicitly allows electric-assisted bicycles on all paths and trails eight-feet and wider unless otherwise posted.
Among those products are electric bicycles and e-bike motors. Bikes imported from China previously had no tariff. The tariff on motors will be 29 percent as the new tariff will be added to the existing one 4 percent. People for Bikes, a national bike industry advocacy group, fought the move, but has so far been unsuccessful.
This is bad news for the e-bike market. As we shared last week, sales of the pedal-assisted bikes have been a major bright spot for bike companies and retail shop owners. Here in Portland, we have a thriving e-bike scene and shop owners report brisk sales. There’s been a sense that — after years of challenges due to an educational and cultural bottleneck — the U.S. market for e-bikes had finally matured. And like many bike trends, Portland is at the tip of the spear.
Here are reactions to the new tariffs from three local shop owners: [Read more…]
Electric scooters are hogging headlines right now; but e-bikes are Portland’s quiet transportation revolution. In the past few years the number of people riding with pedal-assisted motors has skyrocketed and local shops have seen a big increase in sales.
While e-bikes have carved out a safe space in Portland’s street culture, they — like their unmotorized brethren — still exist in somewhat of a legal Twilight Zone. Are they bicycles or “motorized vehicles”? Can they be ridden on sidewalks? Those are just some of the questions people often have about them.
A new legal guidebook by the law firm of Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost aims to answer those questions.
Oregon E-Bike Rights: A Legal Guide for Electric Bike Riders was written by Ray Thomas, Cynthia Newton, Jim Coon, and Chris Thomas. You might recognize that first name as the lawyer behind Pedal Power: A Legal Guide for Oregon Bicyclists, which is now in its 10th printing and is widely considered Oregon’s bike law bible. Thomas and Newton are also BikePortland contributors (and the firm is a major supporter of bike advocacy in Portland, including a sponsor of our work).
TCNF’s 49-page guide is a comprehensive look at laws that govern the use of electric bikes in Oregon. In addition to a rundown of the relevant Oregon Revised Statutes, the guide also covers insurance policy questions, advocacy efforts to change existing e-bike laws and create better ones, and offers a resource guide if you want to probe further. [Read more…]
E-bikes are currently illegal on paths like the Banks-Vernonia. A new rule would change that. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department wants to update their rules regarding electric bicycles.
As we were first to report last summer, electric bikes are not currently legal to ride on paths in Oregon State Parks. That’s because park paths are governed by Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), which currently classify electric bicycles as “motor vehicles” — thereby prohibiting their use. (Note that roads outside of state parks are governed by Oregon Revised Statutes which define e-bikes as bicycles). With the rising popularity of pedal-assisted e-bikes, State Parks officials recognize that the OAR is outdated.
The most that I’ve ridden a bike was this summer when I had a GenZe bike. I have chronic pain, and I have arthritis. I know that there are other people out there with similar experiences. Having an e-bike allowed me to ride comfortably in a way that suited my body’s needs. It’s unfortunate that e-bikes are so expensive. Since I had to give mine back, I haven’t been riding.
A scene from the 2016 event. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Hysteria around the total solar eclipse that will make its way through Oregon two weekends from now has caused a major bike event to cancel its plans.
Organizers of the Electric Bike Expo had planned to bring their event to Portland on August 18th through the 20th. But when they started calling around for essential services like tents, fencing, port-a-potties, and backup power generators, they quickly noticed something was wrong. With concerns over historic levels of traffic and camping due to the millions of people expected to flood Oregon for Monday’s celestial show, providers were unable to guarantee availability of the aforementioned services.
This realization sent Ray Verhelst and Bill Sell of the Electric Bike Assocation scrambling. They tried to reschedule the event for the following week — a move that also meant they had to find a different venue because the planned location at Portland Meadows Racetrack wouldn’t be available. They then considered moving the event to October but worries about bad weather tanked that idea.
But with such late notice and with many of their vendors and customers having already made travel plans, Sell and Verhelst announced this morning that they’ve cancelled the event. [Read more…]
Riders on the Historic Columbia River State Trail. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Last week we posted a story about how electric bicycles have opened up new riding opportunities in the Columbia River Gorge. But it turns out it’s illegal to ride an e-bike on the Historic Columbia River State Trail — or on any other paved bike path within the Oregon State Parks system.
We’ve since updated that story with a note after learning about the issue from a commenter (Park Chambers, who happens to own Fat Tire Farm and Hood River Bikes) and then confirming the facts in a phone call with an Oregon State Parks spokesperson.
This prohibition of e-bikes on paved trails caught me off-guard. As pedal-assisted bikes gain in popularity, I think the issue merits a closer look. [Read more…]
(Please see note about legality of e-bikes on Gorge paths at end of this story. – Jonathan)
“Everybody comes back loving it,” says Stephen Demosthenes, about his new e-bike rental business in Mosier.
Stephen’s the longtime owner of Route 30 Classics on the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH). In the multi-preneurial way of Northwesterners, he sells vintage Porsches and tee shirts, serves ice cream, espresso and Mosier-made sandwiches (in season), and now rents e-bikes. [Read more…]