E-Bikes in Eugene
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) play an important role in Eugene's transportation landscape. They provide a low cost, energy efficient, and emission-free transportation option. They also provide physical and health benefits. Using an e-bike to complete daily trips, such as to the store or to a place of work, is a great way to help the City meet its goals for reducing community fossil fuel use and greenhouse emissions. Growing in popularity, they also help the City meet its goal of increasing the use of active modes of transportation!
Why E-Bikes / Benefits of E-Bikes
- Cheaper Than A Car: No need to pay for registration, insurance, or gasoline. Cost of maintenance and repairs is substantially lower for an e-bike than a car.
- Low Barriers: No insurance, license or registration required. Reduces physical exertion, making it easier to carry cargo and/or children, ride uphill, and go further faster.
- Low Emissions: E-Bikes emit approximately 96% less CO2 than gasoline-powered cars for the same distance traveled.
- Health Benefits: Riding an e-bike provides moderate exercise, which in turn improves cardiovascular and heart health, increases muscle tone and metabolism, boosts the immune system, reduces stress, and contributes to quality sleep.
Types of E-Bikes
An e-bike is a bicycle that has an electric assist motor that makes riding easier. Different models of e-bikes offer different options for assistance, with the most common being either throttle or pedal assist. The maximum speed an e-bike can achieve via assistance provided by the electric motor is 20 MPH (H.R. 727 - 107th).
- A throttle is a mechanism on the handlebars of the bike that activates the electric motor.
- Throttle is usually activated by either twisting one handlebar or pressing a lever with your thumb.
- Propels the rider forward without the rider needing to pedal.
- Electric motor is only activated while pedaling.
- Rider can choose level of assistance; similar to selecting which gear to ride on.
- Reduces physical exertion of pedaling, especially uphill.
Three Classes of E-Bikes
- Class 1: E-Bikes that are pedal assist only, have no throttle, and have a maximum speed of 20 MPH
- Class 2: E-Bikes that are throttle assisted and have a maximum speed of 20 MPH
- Class 3: E-Bikes that are pedal assist only, with a maximum speed of 28 MPH. Not street legal.
Oregon State E-Bike Laws
- Speed Limit: E-bikes may not exceed 20 MPH when being powered by the electric motor. It may exceed 20 MPH when being powered by human effort.
- Minimum Age: Age minimum for e-bike riders is 16 years old.
- Helmet Requirement: Helmets not required for e-bike riders.
- License and Registration: Riding an e-bike does not require a license, insurance, or registration.
- Where Allowed: E-bikes are considered a bicycle by Oregon Vehicle Code. They are allowed on any roadway, lane, or path that bicycles are allowed on, including bike paths. E-bikes are not allowed on sidewalks.
Eugene City Code
- Where Allowed: Oregon State Law applies, with the additional restriction that e-bikes are not allowed to operate within East Alton Baker Park while the electric motor is on. They are allowed in East Alton Baker Park if the electric motor is off and it is being powered by human effort.
Registering and Insuring Your Bike
- While it is not required to register or insure an e-bike, it is recommended
- In Eugene, for the year of 2020, 784 bikes were reported stolen; 121 were recovered
- Registry sites are free, convenient, and easy to use
- Insurance policies may be obtained through homeowner, renter, or motor vehicle insurance companies to help cover collisions, theft, and liability.
Shift to E-Bikes Workshops
Shift to e-bikes workshops were offered in April and May 2021 exploring the basics of e-bikes. Local e-bike experts covered topics such as:
- Different types of e-bikes
- Battery range and speed capabilities
- The benefits of owning an e-bike
- Cargo-carrying options
- Key considerations when shopping for an e-bike
Recordings of the two workshops are available to watch online. While the content is the same, questions posed by guests to our knowledgeable local e-bike shop representatives vary between the two workshops.