An electric bicycle..
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Riding electric bicycles – which have become a familiar sight on streets and train carriages – is scheduled to finally become legal on September 1, when regulations approved in the Knesset on Monday take effect.
The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee and Transportation Minister Israel Katz approved a series of rules that aim to standardize and secure what has become an increasingly popular transportation mode. Under the regulations, electric bikes will be permitted a maximum power level of 250 watts and travel speed not exceeding 25 kph, the Transportation Ministry said.
In accordance with European standards, electric motors must stop operating when the bikes’ speed surpass the 25 kph limit, the ministry added.
Regulations regarding electric- bicycle safety and use briefly existed in 2010, but they expired in 2011 without renewal. These temporary rules maintained similar standards regarding maximum power and speed. Since their expiration, the National Road Safety Authority has been pushing for a reinstatement of regulations for the vehicles, and in May, Knesset Economic Affairs Committee chairman MK Avishay Braverman (Labor) determined that the Transportation Ministry would have until June 30 to submit the relevant regulations to his committee.
The regulations will also require the installation of a horn or bell, lights and reflectors, and riders will have to be over the age of 14.
Helmets are required for riders of all ages. The bikes must carry the officially notated and visible words “bicycle with motor assistance,” the ministry said.
Following the approval of the regulations, Katz stressed the great importance of integrating electric bicycles into the transportation system and their contribution to reducing road congestion and resultant air pollution.
“Like a normal bike, a bicycle with an electric motor allows flexibility in planning trips and is an effective and affordable solution for parking problems in city centers,” he said.
Katz called upon electric- bike riders, and young people in particular, to comply with the regulations and show responsibility on the road.
Braverman praised the passage of the regulations, adding that the Economic Affairs Committee “will closely follow upon on the enforcement of the regulations.”