Electric Bikes Popularity, Regulation Updates, Where to Get Them, and How to Charge Them
E-bikes have become increasingly popular. E-bikes make it possible for people of all ages and fitness levels to enjoy biking. They can offer a boost for people who want to bike more, but are faced with some biking challenges they want to overcome–a hilly neighborhood, health limitations, keeping up with a faster riding buddy, or just wanting to sweat less on the commute to work. Many people have started using e-bikes as an alternative to public transit and e-bikes are now replacing car trips for commuting, running errands, and visiting family and friends.
According to the NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center, electric bikes come in two forms: throttle and pedal assist. The pedal assist model gives you extra power while you are already pedaling, while the throttle model can help you move by using only the motor. If you are using an e-bike, you need to be aware of the laws governing the use of low-speed electric bicycles and motorized bicycles. Low speed electric bikes have an electric motor of less than 750 watts and the maximum speed is less than 20 miles per hour. E-bikes may be parked on sidewalks if they are not blocking pedestrian traffic, must follow the laws applicable to bikes, you are not required to have a license, insurance or registration, and may be pedal assist or throttle. Motorized bicycles are powered by an electric drive motor and are capable of a maximum speed of no more than 25 miles per hour. They require driver license, registration, and insurance and require helmet use.
Why get one? Here are a few reasons according to a local bike shop:
- “Electric bicycles are fun to ride while exercising, touring, doing errands, going to work and transporting kids. One customer purchased an e-cargo bike and plans to use it to commute to work on the Lawrence Hopewell Trail and drop his daughter off at kindergarten along the way.
- They are environmentally friendly when used for commuting, errands and other transportation needs.
- E-bikes are easy to use and maintain. E-bike parts are surprisingly easy to find and not too expensive. Many car manufacturers have gotten into e-bike parts
- When people come back from testing an e-bike, they are all smiling”
Where can you get one? Your local bike shop is a great place to try and purchase an e-bike. You can find a list of local shops here. One of the local bike shops, Princeton ebikes, will donate all their profits to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County We are fans of the Mercer County Boys and Girls Club Trenton Bike Exchange and their work and this year during Bike Month campaign you helped us raise $200 for them. Many thanks to all who registered.
How do you charge an electric bike? Charging may vary depending on the manufacturer, however, make sure the battery pack is switched off and remove the battery from the bike. For some e-bikes the battery can recharge while you are riding, lithium batteries can stop charging before fully charged, and you can buy more than one battery if you want back up. The life of a battery is between 10,000 and 30,000 miles. There are ways you can make your battery go further, check out this article to learn more about batteries and other tips. If you have questions about maintenance and charging, your local bike shop can help.
To find more information on NJ Biking regulations here and on e-bikes regulations here.
Have fun riding and stay safe!