Legislature(2023 - 2024)BUTROVICH 205

02/16/2023 01:30 PM Senate TRANSPORTATION

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01:31:16 PM Start
01:33:04 PM SB62
02:24:43 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconference --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                       February 16, 2023                                                                                        
                           1:31 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator James Kaufman, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator David Wilson, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Löki Tobin                                                                                                              
Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                             
Senator Robert Myers                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 62                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to electric-assisted bicycles."                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  62                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ELECTRIC-ASSISTED BICYCLES                                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) KAWASAKI                                                                                                 
02/08/23       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/08/23       (S)       TRA, STA                                                                                               
02/16/23       (S)       TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SENATOR SCOTT KAWASAKI, District P                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 62.                                                                                         
MATT LONGABAUGH, Staff                                                                                                          
Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided the sponsor statement  and detailed                                                             
sectional analysis for SB 62.                                                                                                   
JEFFREY SCHMITZ, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Motor Vehicles                                                                                                      
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Responded to questions about SB 62.                                                                       
LEE HART, Executive Director                                                                                                    
Alaska Outdoor Alliance                                                                                                         
Haines, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT: Provided  invited testimony  in favor  of SB
REID HARRIS, President                                                                                                          
Juneau Mountain Bike Alliance                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in favor of SB 62.                                                                     
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:31:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  JAMES KAUFMAN  called the  Senate Transportation  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:31  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were  Senators  Wilson,  Tobin,  Kiehl,  Myers  and  Chair                                                               
               SB  62-ELECTRIC-ASSISTED BICYCLES                                                                            
1:33:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KAUFMAN announced  the consideration of SENATE  BILL NO. 62                                                               
"An Act relating to electric-assisted bicycles."                                                                                
SENATOR  SCOTT KAWASAKI,  District P,  Alaska State  Legislature,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska, sponsor  of SB  62,  detailed the  bill and  its                                                               
history. He stated that SB  62 defines electric-assisted bikes in                                                               
statute. Similar  legislation was offered last  session by former                                                               
Representative  Adam Wool.  He noted  that SB  62 is  a companion                                                               
bill to HB 8. Currently,  electric-assisted bikes are not defined                                                               
and could  therefore be interpreted  as motor vehicles.  The bill                                                               
clarifies   that  electric-assisted   bikes   are  regulated   as                                                               
bicycles.  The  definitions are  outlined  in  the bill  and  the                                                               
sectional  analysis.  He  stated  that the  bill  is  limited  to                                                               
electric-assisted bikes  that reach a  maximum speed of  28 miles                                                               
per hour when a  rider is pedaling, and 20 miles  per hour when a                                                               
rider is not pedaling. The  total output of the electric-assisted                                                               
bicycle must not exceed 150  watts. The bill allows for electric-                                                               
assisted  bikes  to  be  used  wherever  bicycles  are  currently                                                               
allowed  while providing  the  necessary  regulations for  users,                                                               
municipalities and state agencies.                                                                                              
1:36:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MATT LONGABAUGH, Staff, Senator Scott Kawasaki, Alaska State                                                                    
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, read the sponsor statement for SB
                         Sponsor Statement                                                                                    
               "An act relating to electric bicycles."                                                                          
     Electric-assisted bicycles  (known colloquially  as "e-                                                                    
     bikes")  are   an  emerging  and  exciting   source  of                                                                    
     exercise, transportation, and  recreation for Alaskans.                                                                    
     Currently, Alaska does not have  any laws pertaining to                                                                    
     electric-assisted bicycles,  nor related  references to                                                                    
     operating licenses, safety  requirements, local traffic                                                                    
     laws,  or  related  definitions.  This  is  problematic                                                                    
     because  electric-assisted  bicycles do  not  currently                                                                    
     fit  into existing  definitions  of any  other type  of                                                                    
     vehicle.  A  new definition  in  statute  is needed  to                                                                    
     address electric-assisted bicycles  that should resolve                                                                    
     this  confusion  for electric-assisted  bicycle  owners                                                                    
     and retailers.                                                                                                             
     Forty-six  other states  define  electric bicycles  and                                                                    
     thirty-nine  of those  states classify  e-bikes with  a                                                                    
     three-tiered  industry  standard  definition.  Here  in                                                                    
     Alaska,  the  Municipality  of Anchorage  defined  low-                                                                    
     speed   electric   bicycles   in  2016.   Adding   this                                                                    
     definition to  statute will  regulate electric-assisted                                                                    
     bicycles  as a  bicycle, and  that any  current statute                                                                    
     related   to    bicycles   includes   electric-assisted                                                                    
     bicycles.   Additionally,  e-bikes are  not subject  to                                                                    
     the registration,  licensing or  insurance requirements                                                                    
     that apply to  motor vehicles and they  may be operated                                                                    
     where  regulations  currently   allow  bicycles  to  be                                                                    
     Additionally, this legislation has  passed the House in                                                                    
     the two  legislatures preceding  the 33rd.  Please join                                                                    
     me in supporting Senate Bill  62 to update our statutes                                                                    
     so  that  all  Alaskans  may enjoy  and  use  electric-                                                                    
     assisted bicycles.                                                                                                         
1:38:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LONGABAUGH offered the sectional analysis for SB 62.                                                                        
                    Senate Bill 62  Version A                                                                                 
                         Sectional Analysis                                                                                   
     "An act relating to electric bicycles."                                                                                    
     Section  1. (Page  1) Amends  AS 19.10.399(9)  to state                                                                  
     that   the  definition   of   motor  vehicle   excludes                                                                    
     electric-assisted bicycles.                                                                                                
     Section 2. (Page 1) Amends  AS 19.10.399(16) to clarify                                                                  
     that electric-assisted bicycles are  to be regulated as                                                                    
     bicycles  in regard  to operation  on a  way, path,  or                                                                    
     Section 3.  (Page 1-2) Amends AS  28.05.011(a) to state                                                                  
     that electric-assisted bicycles  should be regulated as                                                                    
     bicycles in  regard to the  rules of the road.  It also                                                                    
     includes electric-assisted  bicycles under  an existing                                                                    
     provision allowing  municipal ordinances  to separately                                                                    
     regulate in this area.                                                                                                     
     Section 4. (Page  3) Amends AS 28.10.011  to state that                                                                  
     an  electric-assisted bicycle  is  not  required to  be                                                                    
     registered as a vehicle.                                                                                                   
     Section  5. (Page  3-4) Amends  AS 28.90.990(a)(12)  to                                                                  
     state that  an electric-assisted bicycle does  not fall                                                                    
     under  the definition  of an  "electric personal  motor                                                                    
     Section  6.  (Page  4) Amends  AS  28.90.990(a)(18)  to                                                                  
     state that  an electric-assisted bicycle does  not fall                                                                    
     under the definition of "motor vehicle."                                                                                   
     Section 7 (Page 4)  Amends AS 28.90.990(a)(19) to state                                                                  
     that an  electric assisted bicycle does  not fall under                                                                    
     the definition of a "motorcycle."                                                                                          
     Section 8 (Page 4)  Amends AS 28.90.990(a)(20) to state                                                                  
     that an  electric-assisted bicycle does not  fall under                                                                    
     the definition of a "motor-driven cycle."                                                                                  
     Section  9  (Page  4-5) Amends  28.90.990(a)(33-36)  to                                                                  
     state   the    term   "bicycle"    includes   electric-                                                                    
     assisted bicycles in the three following classes                                                                           
     (34)  Class  1: bicycles  that  assist  only while  the                                                                  
     rider   is    pedaling   and   that    stop   providing                                                                    
     assistance at the speed of 20 miles per hour.                                                                              
     (35) Class 2:  bicycles that can propel  weather or not                                                                  
     the  rider   is  pedaling   and  that   stop  providing                                                                    
     assistance at the speed of 20 miles per hour                                                                               
     (36)  Class  3: bicycles  that  only  assist while  the                                                                  
     rider is  pedaling and  that stop  providing assistance                                                                    
     at the speed of 28 miles per hour.                                                                                         
     Section 9  Cont. (Page 4-5) Amends  AS 28.90.990(a)(37)                                                                  
     to define electric assisted bicycles  as a bicycle that                                                                    
     is designed to  travel with not more  than three wheels                                                                    
     in  contract  with  the  ground,  has  fully  operative                                                                    
     pedals  for  human  propulsion,  is  equipped  with  an                                                                    
     electric  motor that  has a  power output  of not  more                                                                    
     than  750 watts,  and includes  Class 1,  Class 2,  and                                                                    
     Class 3 electric assisted bicycles.                                                                                        
     Section 10 (Page  5) Amends AS 41.23.300  is amended by                                                                  
     adding a  new section that states  "bicycling" includes                                                                    
     the  use   of  electric-assisted  bicycles,   and  that                                                                    
     "electric-assisted bicycles" have  the meaning provided                                                                    
     for in the previous section.                                                                                               
1:42:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON asked  about the standards in the  bill related to                                                               
the  maximum  allowable  miles  per  hour.  He  asked  about  the                                                               
enforcement  of the  regulations  related to  speed. He  wondered                                                               
about electric-assisted bicycle modifications  and how that might                                                               
impact speed.                                                                                                                   
MR.  LONGABAUGH  answered that  a  person  riding downhill  might                                                               
exceed the  recommended speed  limit. He  noted that  some riders                                                               
with  traditional bikes  can travel  over 20  miles per  hour. He                                                               
spoke to electric-assisted bicycle  modifications. He stated that                                                               
the electric-assisted bike  must not exceed the 28  mile per hour                                                               
range,  whether modified  or not,  to meet  the electric-assisted                                                               
bicycle definition.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  WILSON  asked about  speed  categories  greater than  28                                                               
miles per hour. He asked  if the electric-assisted bicycles would                                                               
be considered  motorized vehicles if  they travel faster  than 28                                                               
miles per hour.                                                                                                                 
MR. LONGABAUGH  deferred the  question to  the Division  of Motor                                                               
1:45:38 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFFREY  SCHMITZ, Director,  Division  of  Motor Vehicles  (DMV),                                                               
Department  of Administration,  Anchorage,  Alaska, directed  the                                                               
question  to  law  enforcement.  He  stated  that  the  electric-                                                               
assisted  bicycles are  not defined,  classified or  regulated by                                                               
SENATOR WILSON struggled with the  concept of a speed cap without                                                               
a penalty.                                                                                                                      
1:47:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  LONGABAUGH   replied  that   the  Consumer   Product  Safety                                                               
Commission   (CPSC)  defined   electric-assisted  bicycles.   The                                                               
definition is based on an industry standard of safety.                                                                          
1:48:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  TOBIN appreciated  the  legislation  because she  enjoys                                                               
long  distance racing  and bike  commuting. She  wondered if  the                                                               
proposed   legislation   would   prohibit   municipalities   from                                                               
regulating electric-assisted bicycles. She spoke about a mixed-                                                                 
use   trail  in   Anchorage.  She   believed   that  the   second                                                               
classification allows  for the bike  to be  propelled exclusively                                                               
by  motor. She  hoped  that the  legislation  would not  prohibit                                                               
municipalities  from applying  additional  regulations to  ensure                                                               
community safety.                                                                                                               
MR. LONGABAUGH  pointed to  Section 3,  which amends  the statute                                                               
allowing  municipal ordinances  to separately  regulate electric-                                                               
assisted bicycles.                                                                                                              
1:50:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MYERS  asked  about the  regulatory  difference  between                                                               
electric-assisted   bicycles  and   mopeds.  He   wondered  about                                                               
approved travel locations and liability insurance.                                                                              
1:50:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  LONGABAUGH   responded  that   the  difference   between  an                                                               
electric-assisted bicycle  and a moped is  that electric-assisted                                                               
bicycles require operational pedals.                                                                                            
SENATOR  MYERS   replied  that  he  understood   the  operational                                                               
differences, but he wondered about regulatory differences.                                                                      
MR.  LONGABAUGH replied  that mopeds  are driven  on roads  while                                                               
electric-assisted   bicycles  can   travel  anywhere   bikes  are                                                               
typically allowed.                                                                                                              
1:51:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL asked  about electric-assisted  bicycle travel  on                                                               
federal land trails.                                                                                                            
SENATOR KIEHL restated the question.                                                                                            
MR. LONGABAUGH  replied that federal laws  supersede municipality                                                               
laws. He  pointed out that federal  regulations address electric-                                                               
assisted bicycles.                                                                                                              
SENATOR KIEHL asked about state  land managers. He pointed to the                                                               
last section  of the bill.  He referred to the  Goldstream Public                                                               
Use Area  where an  electric-assisted bicycle  is treated  like a                                                               
regular bicycle.  He asked  the committee how  they felt  about a                                                               
bicycle traveling 28 miles per hour on a trail near town.                                                                       
MR. LONGABAUGH  responded that federal  regulations apply  to the                                                               
SENATOR KIEHL  clarified that his question  involved state lands.                                                               
He pointed to the last section  of the bill. He opined that State                                                               
Land  Use  Management  could not  restrict  an  electric-assisted                                                               
bicycle differently than a regular bicycle.                                                                                     
MR. LONGABAUGH agreed with Senator Kiehl.                                                                                       
SENATOR  KIEHL   suggested  poling  members  from   the  impacted                                                               
1:56:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KAUFMAN commented that the  bike speed is determined by the                                                               
degree of assistance provided by the electric motor.                                                                            
SENATOR   TOBIN  suggested   a  friendly   amendment  prohibiting                                                               
specific  bicycle classes  in certain  areas.  She mentioned  the                                                               
different types of trails in Alaska.                                                                                            
MR. LONGABAUGH  appreciated the discussion and  offered to follow                                                               
up with the committee.                                                                                                          
SENATOR  WILSON  noted  concern about  electric-assisted  bicycle                                                               
access  on state  park land.  He asked  about the  feasibility of                                                               
off-road electric-assisted bicycles and their regulation.                                                                       
1:59:32 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
2:00:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KAUFMAN  reconvened  the  meeting  and  moved  to  invited                                                               
testimony on SB 62.                                                                                                             
LEE HART,  Executive Director,  Alaska Outdoor  Alliance, Haines,                                                               
Alaska, provided testimony about  electric assisted bicycles. She                                                               
spoke for  the Alaska Outdoor Alliance  (AOA) in favor of  SB 62.                                                               
She  mentioned a  new active  transportation coalition  seeded by                                                               
the  Alaska  Department  of  Health.  She  noted  that  electric-                                                               
assisted   bicycles  resemble   traditional   bicycles  in   both                                                               
appearance and operation. The electric  motor provides a boost to                                                               
climb hills, extends the trip  range and enables new recreational                                                               
options for some riders. She  spoke further about the benefits of                                                               
electric-assisted bikes.                                                                                                        
MS.  HART stated  that electric-assisted  bicycle sales  grew 300                                                               
percent  in the  past five  years. She  pointed out  a three-tier                                                               
definition  of  electric-assisted  bicycles.  She  applauded  the                                                               
sponsor and the members of  the committee for their leadership on                                                               
the  issue.  She agreed  with  Senator  Tobin's suggestion  of  a                                                               
friendly  amendment   restricting  class-three  electric-assisted                                                               
bicycles from operating in  designated, non-motorized areas. This                                                               
proposed friendly amendment addresses the speeding issue.                                                                       
2:06:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  TOBIN  asked  about the  considerations  and  challenges                                                               
electric-assisted  bicycles  bring to  multimodal  transportation                                                               
systems. She  asked how the  committee might help  the department                                                               
develop inclusive outdoor recreation options.                                                                                   
MS.  HART   responded  that  electric-assisted   bicycles  expand                                                               
outdoor  access,  which  levels   the  playing  field  to  better                                                               
accommodate Alaska's  senior and physically  impaired population.                                                               
She   stated   that   electric-assisted   bicycles   provide   an                                                               
alternative transportation option in urban areas.                                                                               
2:08:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  TOBIN asked  about infrastructure  expansions that  make                                                               
locations friendly for electric-assisted  bicycles. She asked how                                                               
the legislature might anticipate infrastructure expansions.                                                                     
Ms. HART  stressed the importance  of consistent  definitions for                                                               
consumers. Consumers require education  about appropriate use and                                                               
locations  for  electric-assisted  bicycles. She  pointed  to  an                                                               
example  of  electric-assisted  bicycles in  the  Alaska  tourism                                                               
industry.  She stressed  the importance  of  proper labeling  and                                                               
classification of  electric-assisted bicycles in the  tourism and                                                               
rental industries.                                                                                                              
2:10:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  TOBIN pointed  to the  zero fiscal  notes. She  wondered                                                               
about potential resources for the signage Ms. Hart proposed.                                                                    
2:11:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REID HARRIS,  President, Juneau  Mountain Bike  Alliance, Juneau,                                                               
Alaska,  provided information  about electric-assisted  bicycles.                                                               
He  explained that  the Juneau  Mountain  Bike Alliance  provides                                                               
stewardship for  Juneau mountain  bike trails. He  clarified that                                                               
the  bill  adds  a  statutory  definition  for  electric-assisted                                                               
bicycles.   The   proposed    legislation   defines   the   three                                                               
classifications  of  electric-assisted   bicycles.  The  alliance                                                               
conversed with  the City  and Borough of  Juneau and  the federal                                                               
government   about   the  classification   of   electric-assisted                                                               
bicycles.  He stated  that some  trails are  not appropriate  for                                                               
electric-assisted  bicycles.   He  spoke  about   prohibition  of                                                               
mechanized transport  in specially designated federal  areas. The                                                               
alliance  believes that  the decisions  about classification  and                                                               
allowability reside with the land managers.                                                                                     
2:16:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  HARRIS  spoke  to the  question  about  modifying  electric-                                                               
assisted  bicycles, which  might damage  the equipment  and drain                                                               
the battery quickly. He pointed to  page four of the bill and the                                                               
classifications. He stated  that each class of bike  is built for                                                               
a specific  use. The  Class 1  electric-assisted bicycle  is used                                                               
for  trail  riding. The  Class  2  bikes have  a  throttle-assist                                                               
option  that  is  popular  with  hunters. The  Class  3  bike  is                                                               
designed for commuting via roadways.  He opined that 20 miles per                                                               
hour was a safe speed for  trail riding. The alliance submitted a                                                               
letter of support for the legislation.                                                                                          
2:18:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MYERS wondered about an  urban commute and why mopeds and                                                               
electric-assisted bicycles are regulated differently.                                                                           
MR. HARRIS stated that the  previous bill had a presentation with                                                               
pictures of the various  electric-assisted bicycles. The pictures                                                               
compared the electric-assisted bicycles  to mopeds. He offered to                                                               
provide the committee with the  photo from the past presentation.                                                               
He was  unaware of  the exact differences  between a  class three                                                               
electric-assisted bicycle and  a moped. He mentioned  the lack of                                                               
helmet laws in Alaska.                                                                                                          
2:20:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON pointed  to Section 3, page 2, line  17 related to                                                               
the rights of  a bicycle rider. He mentioned public  use land and                                                               
certain motor vehicle requirements.                                                                                             
MR.  HARRIS  replied  that  the  legal  department  might  answer                                                               
questions about rights  and duties. He wondered  about the rights                                                               
and duties of the bicyclist.                                                                                                    
2:22:50 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON asked  if an electric moped would  be considered a                                                               
moped without a gasoline tank.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  KAUFMAN asked  committee  members to  work  with the  bill                                                               
sponsor to answer further questions.                                                                                            
SENATOR  KIEHL believed  that  an  electric-assisted bike  should                                                               
have pedals, but a moped is not required to.                                                                                    
2:23:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KAUFMAN held SB 62 in committee.                                                                                          
2:24:43 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair  Kaufman  adjourned   the  Senate  Transportation  Standing                                                               
Committee meeting at 2:24 p.m.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 62 Sponsor Statement Version A 2.15.23.pdf STRA 2/16/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 62
SB 62 Sectional Analysis Version A 2.15.23.pdf STRA 2/16/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 62
SB 62 Version A.PDF STRA 2/16/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 62
SB 62 Fiscal Note DOA 2.10.23.pdf STRA 2/16/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 62
SB 62 Fiscal Note DPS 2.10.23.pdf STRA 2/16/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 62
SB 62 Written Testimony JMBA 2.14.23.pdf STRA 2/16/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 62