Nebraska’s definition of a bicycle would be expanded to include those with electric motors under a bill advanced from general file Jan. 26.
Introduced by Papillion Sen. Jim Smith, LB95 would add electric-assist bicycles, or e-bikes, to Nebraska’s definition of bicycles. The new definition would include two- or three-wheeled vehicles that can be propelled by pedaling or by an electric motor no larger than 750 watts, producing up to one brake horsepower, with a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.
Smith said the current definition of e-bikes inaccurately classifies them as mopeds or motor vehicles, subjecting them to licensing and helmet restrictions. Additionally, he said the change is needed to ensure that riders of electric-assist bicycles be allowed to follow the same rules of the road and be accepted on the same paths as traditional bicycles.
“An e-bike is not a motor scooter or moped,” Smith said. “It is a bike and should be regulated as such.”
He added that because Nebraska’s aging population is more active and health conscious, e-bikes likely will increase in popularity.
Sen. Mike Gloor of Grand Island agreed. He spoke in support of the bill, saying it would help encourage bike enthusiasts like himself to continue riding as they age.
Senators advanced the bill to select file 33-0.