Electric bike in Tel-Aviv.
(photo credit: ARIEL COHEN)
Electric bicycle and scooter enthusiasts under the age of 16 will have to use their legs a bit more, after the Knesset Finance Committee on Wednesday set a minimum age for driving electric bicycles and scooters.
The new regulation, presented by Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, will require all electric cyclists and scooter riders to be at least 16 years of age and will bring electric scooters up to par with the guidelines regulating electric bicycles. Previous regulations for electric bicycles, last updated in September 2014, permitted riders as young as 14 to ride in bicycle lanes.
The updates regarding electric bicycles will come into effect in April, while the regulations for scooters will take effect in July.
Katz emphasized the importance of the updated regulations, since electric bicycles and scooters have become a “major player” in giving people an alternative to private vehicles, freeing up space on roadways, and cutting down on air pollution.
Israel first launched regulations regarding electric bicycle safety and use in 2010, but they expired in 2011 without renewal until September 2014. During much of that time without regulation, electric bicycles and scooters became wildly popular, with over 120,000 imported into the country between 2013 and 2015. They are especially popular with teenagers, who are often involved in accidents.
Following police recommendations made last June, electric scooters will fall in line with regulations governing electric bicycles. They will be limited to having a maximum power of 250 watts and will be forbidden from driving at speeds above 25 kilometers per hour. The maximum weight allowed for an electric scooter will be 30 kilograms. Electric scooter riders will also be required to wear helmets and wear reflective vests at night or when visibility is impaired.
They will also be forbidden from riding on the sidewalks.
According to the Transportation Ministry, each scooter will require a special tag containing the vehicle’s serial number, serving as proof that it is up to par with the guidelines and that the rider is at least 16 years of age.