Alaska in Brief

Alaska Legislature votes to deregulate e-bikes

By: - May 8, 2023 3:56 pm
A man stands next to an electric bike

An employee of Alaska eBike in Anchorage stands next to an electric bicycle in early 2023. The Alaska Legislature has voted to approve a bill deregulating e-bike use. (Photo by Sophia Carlisle)

Low-power electric bicycles would be exempted from regulation under a bill passed by the Alaska Legislature.

The state Senate approved House Bill 8 by an 18-1 vote Monday; the House previously voted 39-1 to approve the bill on April 17.

The bill now returns to the House for a procedural vote; the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ashley Carrick, D-Fairbanks, said she does not expect any problems with that vote, which will send the bill to Gov. Mike Dunleavy for final approval.

If the governor approves, bicycles with electric motors that generate less than 750 watts of power will not be classified as motor vehicles. 

That would allow them to be used on sidewalks and formally exempt them from registration as motorcycles. The deregulation program will come at no cost, state agencies told lawmakers.

The number of electric-assist bicycles sold in the United States has exploded in recent years, benefiting from the same technological developments that have boosted the growth of electric cars.

E-bikes feature a battery pack and small electric motor that provides additional momentum when the user pedals the bike. 

In 2021, Americans bought 880,000 e-bikes, according to figures published by the Wall Street Journal last summer.


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James Brooks
James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected].