E-Bikes | WA State Enacts New Law

Washington State has passed a new law (SB 6434) pertaining to the category and use of electric assist bicycles (e-bikes) within the state. The law went into effect on June 7th of this year.  

At this time, e-bike use on the Olympic Discovery Trail has not been addressed by each of its local jurisdictional authorities, so where no local regulations exists, e-bike use on the ODT is governed by the newly passed law.  

In part, SB 6434 does the following: 

Establishes three classifications of electric bicycles based on top speeds.
Eliminates age minimums for use of slower e-bikes (class 1 and class 2).
Defines where each classification is allowed to be operated.
Grants multi-use trail access to class 1 and class 2 e-bikes.
Restricts motor output for all e-bike classes to 750 watts.
Gives local jurisdictions the authority to supplement the state law.
Requires consistency for local regulations pertaining to shared-use paths crossing two or more jurisdictional boundaries.
Restricts e-bikes from operating on natural-surfaced, non-motorized use trails, unless authorized by local jurisdictions.

E-bike classifications established by SB 6434:

Class 1 electric-assisted bicycle means an electric-assisted bicycle in which the motor provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of twenty miles per hour.

Class 2 electric-assisted bicycle means an electric-assisted bicycle in which the motor may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle and is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of twenty miles per hour.

Class 3 electric-assisted bicycle means an electric-assisted bicycle in which the motor provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of twenty-eight miles per hour and is equipped with a speedometer.

Operating location restrictions for e-bikes, set in place by SB 6434:

All classes of electric-assisted bicycles may be operated on a fully controlled limited access highway.
Class 1 and 2 electric-assisted bicycles may be used on a sidewalk. 
Class 3 electric-assisted bicycles may not be used on a sidewalk unless there is no alternative to travel over a sidewalk as part of a bicycle or pedestrian path. 
Class 1 and 2 electric-assisted bicycles may use a shared-use path or any part of a highway designated for the use of bicycles, such as a bicycle lane.
Class 3 electric-assisted bicycles may be operated on facilities that are within or adjacent to a highway; however, they may not be operated on a shared-use path.

For further detail see the full SB 6434, attached below. RW

SB 6434-S.PL