HONOLULU (KHON2) — Experts say electric bikes are motorized, and they can go up to 28 miles per hour. Anyone 18 and over can get a registration and bicycle laws apply.
“They only make it go so fast for that safety aspect,” said Reese Kato from the BikeFactory Hawaii.
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Although there are safeguards in place, there have been deadly crashes involving electric bikes. Last December, a 53-year-old Mililani woman died after falling off her e-bike. Last month, a 10-year-old and 12-year-old boy were in serious condition after being hit by a car while riding an e-bike. On Sunday, a 13-year-old boy’s life was cut short after veering into oncoming traffic in Waipahu.
Experts say it’s important for all drivers to follow the rules.
“You have to be 18 or older to have a bike registered so we don’t typically sell them to kids,” Kato said.
“The technology for these types of vehicles is new, and the existing laws do not address the many different types of electric bicycles and scooters that are being sold. HPD is currently working with legislators, to include coming up with the vehicle definitions, on updating laws to take into account factors such as battery size, horsepower, wattage and speed.”-Honolulu Police Department
In the meantime, experts say taking extra precautions is another way to protect each other.
“Safety wise with all bikes, we offer full safety gears,” said Kato. “So we have helmets of all different levels. We also have lights for the front and the rear, and have safety stuff too like vests and reflective gear.”
For drivers, navigating the roads and being aware of e-bikes is key. Motorists are advised to stay three feet away and always drive with caution when turning over bike lanes.
“They can keep up with the same speed as you are, and unlike mopeds they don’t make a lot of noise,” said Steven Wong of the Wong Way Driving Academy. “So you’ll hear a moped that’s driving next to you, whereas the e-bike is basically silent.”
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Experts say safety on the road for al can help prevent another tragedy.