Across the country, parents are expressing a mix of enthusiasm, contrition and uncertainty about the trendy mode of transportation.
A person in shorts, a T-shirt and a helmet rides a black e-bike on a paved pathway beside a sunny beach in California. With e-bikes soaring in popularity, regulators have been unable to keep up with the quickly-evolving market. Safety and law enforcement officials note that many models marketed to children and teenagers exceed legal speed limits and more closely resemble motor vehicles, which require a license and registration to operate.
For the moment, the power to decide what teenagers may or may not ride falls to a nongovernmental authority: parents. Across the country, they are expressing a mix of enthusiasm, contrition and uncertainty about the trendy mode of transportation.
Some parents who initially embraced e-bikes now say their enthusiasm has waned with news of recent crashes involving teenagers .
“Initially, it was a godsend,” said Julie Wood, whose daughter Sawyer, 14, got an e-bike this past spring. “She’s a teen — she wants to go everywhere.”
For Ms. Wood of Boulder, Colo., that meant less time carting Sawyer in the car. But she had a firm rule that Sawyer wear a helmet.
In early August, Sawyer crashed while riding her e-bike without a helmet. She did not tell her mother, fearing disciplinary repercussions, even though she was experiencing headaches and nausea and did not want to get out of bed. Several days after the crash, she had a seizure and underwent […]