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Guest Blog: Bend PD wants you to e-bike safely in town

E-biking in Bend, Oregon.

Tawna here. Well not here-here…I am currently on vacation. But since I’ve recently been commuting via e-bike around Bend, I know firsthand how we all could use some tips on e-bike rules and safety. Lucky for us, Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller agreed to write a guest blog. She knows the laws and e-bike best practices like they’re tattooed on her brain (spoiler alert: they are). Without further ado, here’s what Sheila shared about urban e-biking in Bend.



Guest Blog: Sheila Miller, Bend Police Communications Manager

E-biking in Bend, Oregon.

When using the bike lane, be sure to follow the rules of the road.

In my 16 years in Bend, I’ve learned some valuable lessons when it comes to our great outdoors. First, there’s always another trail and it’s probably just as pretty and way less crowded. Second, always bring backup gear, because a day can start with snowboarding, swing into a round of golf, and end with a river float. Third, and perhaps most important: getting out on two wheels is almost always far superior to seeing Bend through a windshield.

This time of year, riding your bike in the sunshine can feel downright decadent. There are plenty of ways for visitors to access bikes while exploring Bend. For starters, the city hosts a bike share program sponsored by Bird — you’ll see the bright blue e-bikes all over town. Get the Bird app and get pedaling. Bend also boasts plenty of bike shops that happily rent to all riders.

I want you to get in on the fun of biking in Bend! I also work for the local police department, and that means while I support your desire to have a blast here in Bend, I have a duty to make sure you know the rules!

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a big jump in the number of e-bikes on our streets. And no surprise, we’ve seen an increase in complaints about e-bikes too. One of the most common complaints we hear at the Bend Police Department is about people riding e-bikes in a dangerous way. Common concerns are that e-bike riders are not obeying the rules of the road, riding on sidewalks, traveling too quickly, and being too young to ride. We also respond to motor vehicle crashes that involve e-bike riders — and there’s no faster way to ruin a fun vacation than a bike crash.

E-biking in Bend, Oregon.

Making a turn? Don’t forget your arm signal!

Whether you are going to hop on one of the bike share programs or you brought an e-bike from home, here are a few important rules to know:


  • You must be 16 to legally operate an e-bike. Too young? More pedal power to ya, kid!
  • E-bikes are not allowed on sidewalks. In Oregon, you can ride regular bikes on sidewalks, but not e-bikes. That means you’ll need to ride in the bike lane or on the road with vehicles.
  • If you’re riding an e-bike, you need to obey the rules of the road just like other cyclists. Ride on the right side of the road and obey traffic lights. When you ride against the flow of traffic, drivers are less likely to see you.
  • When entering a roundabout on an e-bike, use the lane of traffic and act like a car, or travel through the crosswalks at a walking pace. Bend is the land of roundabouts, and if you are not used to them, they can be a little tricky to navigate. Yield to those already in the roundabout, signal out (using hand signals), and slow down!
  • E-bikes exceeding 20 MPH when not pedaling are not allowed in bike lanes, bike paths, or sidewalks. There are different classifications of e-bikes, and the speediest of them need to ride on the road like other vehicles.
  • Electric dirt bikes and many minibikes are not street-legal and should not be ridden on public roads. There are so many cool toys on the market these days, but many of them are definitely NOT e-bikes — they’re not street legal, they’re basically motorcycles, and they can’t be ridden on our roads!
  • You can only have passengers on e-bikes if your bike is designed and safely equipped for them.
  • Wear a helmet. In Oregon, kids under 16 are required to wear a helmet. But really, all bike riders (e-bike or not) should protect their noggins. It’s the smart thing to do.


Thank you to Sheila for that awesome inside scoop on e-bike rules around Bend. Looking for more info, including details on e-Bike rules for trails? You’ll find plenty of detail here.

Happy riding, all!



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