We’ve seen some really bad bicycle bills (here and here) but the pending legislation in NJ State Senate may be the most destructive for micromobility. S4132 would require low-speed electric bicycles and low-speed electric scooters to be registered with the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and to be insured. That means any Class 1 or Class 2 e-bike (20 mph max power assist) will be required with up to $35,000 of liability protection. If passed New Jersey would become the first state in the nation to require low-speed e-bike/e-scooter registration and insurance. New Jersey, which is one of the last states to regulate low-speed electric bikes and other wheeled vehicles the same as bicycles, could become the first in the nation to regulate them like motorcycles. 

On Thursday this bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Transportation Committee and has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. There is currently no Assembly bill so it is highly unlikely to pass in the current session which ends on January 9th. However, since it is the Senate Majority Leader’s bill, it is almost certain to be re-introduced in the 2024-2025 session of the State Legislature. We are watching this closely and will be asking you to take a quick action if it moves forward.

Update! The Bill has been reintroduced with a new companion bill in the Assembly.

Why is this bill a bad idea?

  • Class 3 bicycles are already considered motorized bicycles (mopeds) that require an operator’s license, insurance and registration. To our knowledge, the Motor Vehicle Commission has not registered any Class 3 bicycles because they do not have any guidance on how to register them.
  • E-bike and e-scooter laws nationwide have generally been ineffective or ignored, However, requiring insurance and registration will likely lead to more unwarranted police stops targeting BIPOC riders. 
  • Out-of-state bicyclists may be cited, particularly in resort communities along the Jersey Shore, where many visitors bring their e-bikes on vacation.
  • It puts an unfair burden on working cyclists such as food couriers. Many of them are gig workers earning less than the minimum wage.
  • The legislation may negatively affect bike share/scooter share programs, especially in smaller communities that may not have the funding or capacity to register their vehicles. 
  • It slows the conversion to e-bikes. While other states such as Connecticut and Colorado are offering e-bike incentives, New Jersey will be raising the barrier by increasing the cost of owning an e-bike.
  • Reducing the viability of e-bikes and e-scooters is in direct conflict with New Jersey’s climate goals.

What would a good e-bike/e-scooter bill look like?

  • Make Class 3 bicycles exempt from registration and licensing. Out of the 41 states using the 3-class e-bike system, New Jersey is the only one that excludes Class 3 e-bikes.
  • Set a maximum speed limit on paved shared-use paths and boardwalks – It’s much easier, equitable, and more effective to enforce speed singling out classes of e-bikes
  • Regulate high-powered e-bikes, e-motorcycles and e-scooters as motorcycles. Some of these vehicles can reach 60 miles per hour and can be bought online. Most are currently unregistered and sellers should be required to sell them legally (i.e. titled, VIN etc.).
  • Create a Point of Sale E-bike rebate program. There have been a couple of bills floating around the legislature giving a tax credit for e-bike purchases. Any new e-bike incentive bill should follow the model that Denver established by giving e-bike voucher holders instant discounts

What Can You Do?
Spread the word. The next 2024-2025 session of the new State Legislature will launch in January. Look for an action alert to go out shortly after the bill is reintroduced.


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