What Parents Should Know About E-Bikes and E-Scooters

Should I Get My Child an E-Scooter?

If you’re looking to score big points by giving your child an electric scooter, be aware that California state law requires a driver’s license to operate an e-scooter. This means children younger than 16 cannot legally ride one. More:

  • Helmets are mandatory for electric scooter riders under the age of 18.
  • E-scooters cannot be ridden on sidewalks or multi-use trails.
  • The speed limit for scooters in bike lanes is 15 mph.
  • Riding tandem, with a buddy, is not allowed.
  • E-scooter riders must follow all the same rules of the road as drivers.

What About Getting an E-Bike for My Child?

For now, no law prohibits minors from riding Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes (those with maximum assist speeds of 20 mph). To operate a Class 3 e-bike, which can provide assisted speeds of up to 28 mph, riders must be at least 16 years of age, although a driver’s license is not required. Parents are advised to assess their child’s cycling skills and to consider their levels of experience and maturity before purchasing them an e-bike. More:

  • Children under the age of 18 are required to wear a bike helmet on any type of bike/e-bike, scooter, skateboard, or roller skates. (Adults are also legally required to wear a helmet on Class 3 bikes.)
  • In most cases, riding any type of bike on sidewalks (including e-bikes) is less safe than riding in the bike lane. Sidewalk riding is not permitted in most places.
  • The speed limit on multi-use trails for all bikes is 15 mph.
  • Parents: Be aware that many Class 2 e-bikes can be easily modified after purchase to go faster than 20 mph, allowing tech-savvy kids to travel at speeds unsafe for their level of experience.
  • E-bikes are heavier and harder to maneuver than traditional bicycles; it takes longer to stop them at higher speeds.

If you plan to get your child an e-bike or e-scooter, a parent (or experienced adult cyclist) is advised to ride with them to teach and demonstrate the rules of the road and safe riding techniques. If your young rider cannot maintain control, rides unpredictably, or has trouble handling their new wheels in various types of conditions, it may be too soon for them to graduate from their traditional, non-motorized bike or scooter.

Schools Can Register for 2023’s International Walk & Roll to School Day

International Walk & Roll to School Day is October 4th, 2023 (or October 18th for schools with fall breaks). Walking, biking, skating, and scooting are great ways to get to school. An active commute sets students up for a healthy and on-time start for a successful school day.

Healthy Bodies & Healthy Communities

Most of us know that getting exercise by walking or biking to school improves the physical, social, and emotional health of students, but the benefits can extend to the entire neighborhood as well. When families walk, neighbors get to know each other and no longer feel like strangers. When people see other families’ children walking to school, perceptions of safety can increase which can lead to more parents allowing their own kids to walk. Plus, with fewer cars on the road, neighborhood air quality improves, and traffic congestion lessens.

Safe & Healthy Habits

Studies show that active children tend to become active adults. Building a daily routine of walking or biking to school is one way to ingrain exercise as a normal, everyday activity. (Your children will thank you for this healthy habit when they’re older!)

Teach your children how to walk and bike safely. Plan and practice using a safe route to school and talk with your kids about what to do in an emergency. Learning to navigate the environment is an important part of growing up, and walking to school builds independence, character, and good decision-making skills. Getting to know neighbors along the route also gives students plenty of support options between home and school, if needed. Some parents feel safer walking with their children (and also benefit from the exercise and shared quality time). Team up with neighbors and learn how to form a Walking School Bus.

International Walk and Roll to School Day Is in October

Schools can host a Walk and Roll to School event this October, on October 4th (or October 18th for schools with fall breaks), or on another day of their choosing. Street Smarts Diablo will provide free promotional materials and participation prizes for schools that register by Sept 15th. Click the button below or send questions to kirsten@streetsmartsdiablo.org.

Back-to-School Safety Reminders

This year, try walking or biking to school. It’s a great way to get daily exercise, lets you avoid traffic, and saves you gas money… plus, it’s a lot of fun. Before the first day of school, practice walking or biking to school with your student. If you’re walking, choose a route with sidewalks and demonstrate how to cross safely. If biking, wear a helmet and always ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road. Whether biking or walking, remind students to stay aware of their surroundings and avoid distractions by keeping phones in backpacks.

If driving, DO follow your school’s drop-off/pick-up rules, stay alert for cyclists and pedestrians, and obey school zone speed limits. DON’T block sidewalks, park in red zones, or make U-turns near campus. We all play a part in school zone safety!