The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, chaired by MK Eitan Cabel, today approved in increase in the minimum age for riding electric bicycles from 14 to 16. The increase is contained in regulations submitted to the committee by the Ministry of Transport. Among other things, these regulations are designed to set rules for using an electric scooter, including enforcement, and registration and licensing of the electric bicycles. The new regulations will become effective in just over a month.
The new regulations approved limit electric scooters to 30 kilograms, 250 watts, and a maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour. The rules state that a rider must be over 16, and riders of any bicycles and all ages must wear a helmet, and after darkness an illuminated jacket. Riding will be permitted solely on bicycle paths or on the road, and only one person can ride a scooter or bicycle. No registration or licensing will be required for electric scooters, but the scooters must bear a sticker with the manufacturer's name, the number and weight of the scooter, the rider's maximum weight, the maximum capacity and speed, and the air pressure in the tires.
In the discussion preceding the vote, Ministry of Transport director general Uzi Itzhaki presented the principles of the arrangement formulated by his ministry at the committee's demand. He noted that the Ministry of Transport would invest NIS 250 million in the coming years in building a network of bicycle paths connecting all the municipal authorities in the Greater Tel Aviv area.
Mordecai Feder, chairman of the Living Moderately organization, said, "The new bicycles and scooters are dangerous and unnecessary." He asked that they be banned until a general solution is found for all the problems not covered by the regulations. In response, Cabel said, "This train left the station long ago, and regulations that are unenforceable should not be passed. If we wait until a solution is found, we'll never get started."
Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Meital Lehavi called for the regulations to apply to all vehicles, regardless of whether they have one, two, or three wheels. She added that instead of using the surpluses discovered in the Karnit Road Accident Victim Compensation Fund to reduce the price of private vehicle insurance, it should be used to encourage and regulate the use of other means of transportation, such as bicycles.
Bicycle importers also sent representatives to the committee, who mainly opposed the increase in the riding age. Importer Yuval Ginsberg said, "Raising the age for riding is unenforceable," asserting that half of the riders were under 16. Another importer added, "You're abandoning all the children under 16." Israeli Bicycle Importers Forum manager Gadi Mintz summed up by saying, "Raising the riding age is a death sentence for the electric bicycle sector."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 9, 2016
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