Huntington Beach cracks down on misuse of e-bikes - Here's what's changing

Huntington Beach will now allow police officers to issue various citations.

ByDavid Gonzalez KABC logo
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Huntington Beach cracks down on misuse of e-bikes
Huntington Beach will now allow police officers to issue various citations for misusing e-bikes, or even impound them.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Many people in Huntington Beach enjoyed the last full day of summer by cruising up and down the coast. For many like Tamara Doss of Riverside, the most popular way to get around is on electric bicycles.

"We love it. We cruise. We can get places fast, and we can go places we probably wouldn't go," she said.

However, the popular bikes have also created a new level of danger for drivers, pedestrians and other bicyclists.

"We were downtown Main the other day and there was a kid that came flying through the intersection on an e-bike and almost got hit by a car," Doss said.

This week, the Huntington Beach City Council passed an ordinance to address issues with e-bikes.

"We went from zero e-bikes to everybody's got an e-bike very quickly," said Councilmember Dan Kalmick. "This just helps us to regulate and give folks education first, which is what we really want to do. We want to educate."

The new ordinance gives the Huntington Beach Police Department the discretion to issue tickets to riders breaking the law.

"They can pull that person over and issue them a civil citation for $150 for the first instance or a criminal citation, which is an infraction, a ticket. The judge fees are about $450," Kalmick said.

"Anytime we see someone doing something that is clearly unsafe, or that we can articulate is clearly unsafe, or if it's something that's already established in the vehicle code, like running a red light, running a stop sign, speeding, changing lanes without discretion for anyone around them," said HBPD Lt. Thoby Archer.

Archer said officers would also be able to confiscate e-bikes from underaged riders and return them to their parents.

The city said it's shifting their focus to enforcement, which Doss agrees with.

"I think there has to be a little bit of a learning curve though to know, number one, they're serious about it, and number two, to change a habit that they've already kind of created," Doss said.

Archer said every patrol officer dedicates two hours of their shifts keeping an eye out on e-bikes outside of schools, businesses and the beach to make sure everyone is following the rules and staying safe.