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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