While hesitant to recommend following other Southern California cities’ actions concerning electric bicycles, the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, Sept. 26, declared an intention to return to its next meeting prepared to provide traffic safety recommendations to the City Council.
Tuesday’s discussion marked another step as the committee adheres to the council’s expressed desire to receive feedback on potential safety measures on e-bikes, as part of a continued effort that first arose in the committee’s 2021-2022 work plan.
The committee reviewed the City of Carlsbad’s ordinance that restricted transporting people on any areas not designated for passengers and the use of “regulated mobility devices,” such as e-bikes and motorized scooters, on sidewalks and other public facilities.
Additionally, the group assessed the Huntington Beach City Council’s consideration of further enforcement options and whether to require e-bike riders to possess a license for operating electric bicycles within city limits, unless a person already has a driver’s license.
Deputy Community Development Director Adam Atamian spoke to the items in front of the committee members, saying their presence was only to help facilitate the discussion.
“It’s up to the committee what the recommendations are, but that’s a specific council request to return with recommendations to them,” Atamian said.
Councilmember Rick Loeffler, who was formerly a member of the committee, also spoke Tuesday about the council’s desire to hear tangible solutions from the PSC.
“We’re throwing (this matter) to the subject experts, but I would advise against just coming back and saying, ‘You know what? The state will probably do something,’ ” Loeffler said.
During the debate, committee member Mark Rhoden voiced apprehension toward creating a full section of definitions in the city’s municipal code, as Carslbad did, and supported making smaller addenda in the code instead of “reinventing the wheel.”
San Clemente Chief of Police Services Capt. Jay Christian agreed with Rhoden’s statement, saying bikers already need to follow the rules of the road and that law enforcement can enforce what’s in the California Vehicle Code.
“There’s a lot of legislation going on,” Rhoden said. “I think our tactic should be, ‘Let’s see how it pans out.’… If there’s some weird loophole in the law, then I think we can address it at that point.”
Committee member Scott Roeber agreed that e-bikes would be addressed at the state level and advocated for letting the state’s vehicle code “do its job.”
The next Public Safety Committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, at 910 Calle Negocio.