Wisconsin governor signs bill designed to bolster use of electric bikes

National Parks Electric Bikes
In this June 8, 2019 file photo, Gordon and Janice Goodwin show their electric-assist bicycles outside their home in Bar Harbor, Maine.
David Sharp | AP

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has signed into law a measure that changes how electric bikes, or e-bikes, are regulated in a move designed to increase rider safety.

The bikes with small rechargeable electric motors are gaining in popularity, creating some conflicts because current law treats them the same as old-fashioned gas-powered motor bikes.

Under current law, e-bikes are banned from bike paths and operators must carry a valid driver's license.

The increased popularity of e-bikes led to the effort to bring regulations into line with their use. The bill signed by Evers on Wednesday treats e-bikes like regular bikes, while also giving local governments the ability to restrict their use on some bike paths.

Evers says he was happy to sign the bipartisan bill to support the use of e-bikes, which he called a “more sustainable and accessible transportation option.”

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