Illegal to use Electric Bikes on Sidewalks
In the State of Washington, it is illegal to use Electric Bikes on Sidewalks. Localities may choose to ban Electric Bikes on Trails as well (electric bikes are banned on trails in King County). Full text of state regulations regarding electric bikes (and motorized scooters, mopeds, etc.) follows.
Mopeds, EPAMDs, electric-assisted bicycles, motorized foot scooters — General requirements and operation.
(1) No person shall operate a moped upon the highways of this state unless the moped has been assigned a moped registration number and displays a moped permit in accordance with the provisions of RCW 46.16.630.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a moped may not be operated on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail.
(3) Operation of a moped, electric personal assistive mobility device, or an electric-assisted bicycle on a fully controlled limited access highway is unlawful. Operation of a moped or an electric-assisted bicycle on a sidewalk is unlawful.
(4) Removal of any muffling device or pollution control device from a moped is unlawful.
(5) Subsections (1), (2), and (4) of this section do not apply to electric-assisted bicycles. Electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters may have access to highways of the state to the same extent as bicycles. Subject to subsection (6) of this section, electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters may be operated on a multipurpose trail or bicycle lane, but local jurisdictions may restrict or otherwise limit the access of electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters, and state agencies may regulate the use of motorized foot scooters on facilities and properties under their jurisdiction and control.
(6) Subsections (1) and (4) of this section do not apply to motorized foot scooters. Subsection (2) of this section applies to motorized foot scooters when the bicycle path, trail, bikeway, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail was built or is maintained with federal highway transportation funds. Additionally, any new trail or bicycle path or readily identifiable existing trail or bicycle path not built or maintained with federal highway transportation funds may be used by persons operating motorized foot scooters only when appropriately signed.
(7) A person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD) shall obey all speed limits and shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and human-powered devices at all times. An operator must also give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian. Except for the limitations of this subsection, persons operating an EPAMD have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian.
(8) The use of an EPAMD may be regulated in the following circumstances:
(a) A municipality and the department of transportation may prohibit the operation of an EPAMD on public highways within their respective jurisdictions where the speed limit is greater than twenty-five miles per hour;
(b) A municipality may restrict the speed of an EPAMD in locations with congested pedestrian or nonmotorized traffic and where there is significant speed differential between pedestrians or nonmotorized traffic and EPAMD operators. The areas in this subsection must be designated by the city engineer or designee of the municipality. Municipalities shall not restrict the speed of an EPAMD in the entire community or in areas in which there is infrequent pedestrian traffic;
(c) A state agency or local government may regulate the operation of an EPAMD within the boundaries of any area used for recreation, open space, habitat, trails, or conservation purposes.
[2003 c 353 ß 10; 2002 c 247 ß 7; 1997 c 328 ß 5; 1979 ex.s. c 213 ß 8.]
Effective date — 2003 c 353: See note following RCW 46.04.320.
Legislative review — 2002 c 247: See note following RCW 46.04.1695.