On May 13th NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that regulates the operation of low-speed electric bicycles and low-speed electric scooters.
The new law takes effect immediately.
Although E-Bikes have been in use in the state, their status was caught in legal limbo. NJ DOT and the State Police insisted that E-Bikes were motorized vehicles that had to be registered to be street legal and required the user to have a driver’s license but the division of Motor Vehicles refused to register them.
The new law specifically addresses Class 1 (pedal assist) and Class 2 (throttle assist) E-Bikes. E-Scooters are allowed with a top speed of 19 mph. The vehicles are allowed on shared use paths but are not permitted on natural surface trails unless that trail is authorized by the government agency with jurisdiction.
The original version of this legislation proposed banning bikes on sidewalks statewide. While that is understandable in large urban centers with lots of pedestrians most sidewalks in the state serve as a refuge from high-speed traffic on many suburban arterial roads in the state. Municipalities already have the option of restricting bikes on sidewalks.
This new law opens up the possibility of e-bike and e-scooter share programs. Micromobility data is still relatively new but recent evidence shows that E-bikes and E-Scooters rentals outpace the rental of standard bicycles. Jersey City will be adding e-bikes to their CitiBike program while Hoboken will be the first in the state to permit dockless e-scooters.