SOLANA BEACH — Elected leaders continue pursuing legislation to improve e-bike safety, with Assemblymember Tasha Boerner putting forward another bill this week that would require young e-bike riders statewide to take and pass a written safety test.
On Friday, Boerner, D-Encinitas announced the bill alongside North County and San Diego leaders at Earl Warren Elementary School in Solana Beach. She said the intent is to equip the rising number of young riders with a clear understanding of traffic rules and ensure both kids and their parents understand the responsibility of riding an e-bike.
“E-bikes provide that sense of freedom that so many kids and Californians are looking for, but it’s crucial that we ensure they know how to ride using the rules of our roads, and make safe and smart decisions when sharing the road with cars and pedestrians,” Boerner said.
Assembly Bill 2234 is an altered version of another bill introduced by Boerner early last year. AB 530 proposed requiring a license for all e-bike riders over 12 without a valid driver’s license issued through the DMV.
However, due to a DMV moratorium on any licensure changes until 2030, Boerner said they had to change tack. Instead of a license, the new bill proposes having students pass a written test based on the safety training issued by the California Highway Patrol last fall as part of AB 1946, also authored by Boerner.
Like AB 530, this bill would require a state-issued ID for those who pass the test.
“It’s kind of a workaround. That’s why you have the state-issued ID, and you have the written test,” Boerner said. “We introduced AB 530 last year to get the dialogue started, and we did AB 2234 so we have a clean slate this year.”
Leaders from San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and local school districts supported Boerner’s bill. Many of these cities have adopted stricter e-bike regulations in response to increased accidents over the past two years, with improved enforcement of bike laws and bike safety presentations in local schools.
Despite this, leaders say more consistent regulations are needed on the state level.
“I believe it is imperative that we seriously consider safety measures that can be implemented statewide,” said Del Mar Mayor Dave Druker.
San Dieguito Union High School District board president Rimga Viskanta described how she frequently drives by a memorial in Encinitas for 15-year-old Brodee Champlain Kingman, who was struck and killed while riding an e-bike last year.
After his death, the district began requiring students to complete bike safety training to ride an e-bike at school. However, nothing requires students to demonstrate that they understand bike safety laws.
“It still is not enough. We really need all hands on deck with this e-bike safety situation,” Viskanta said.
Boerner said equity will be a large focus of the bill. Those who violate e-bike rules will be diverted to bike traffic school and community service rather than face fines.
“With this bill, I hope to address this gap in education for young riders and keep the next generation of Californians safe on the road,” Boerner said.
The bill will now go to the Rules Committee, which will likely be transferred to the Assembly Transportation Committee for review.