Senate OKs bill clearing path for e-bikes in Wisconsin

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MADISON — Bikes with small rechargeable electric motors that are gaining in popularity would be regulated in a new way under a bill the Wisconsin Legislature has passed.

The measure changes how electric bikes, or e-bikes, are regulated under state law. Currently, they are treated as "motor bicycles," which subject them to regulations for old-fashioned gas-powered motor bikes.

For example, under current law e-bikes are banned from bike paths and operators must carry a valid driver's license.

But as sales of e-bikes have gone up, so has the effort to bring the regulation of them into line with their use. The bipartisan bill would treat e-bikes like regular bikes, while also giving local governments the ability to restrict their use on some bike paths.

The Senate passed the bill Tuesday on a voice vote. The Assembly approved it on a voice vote in June. It goes next to Gov. Tony Evers.

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