News Release

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Hilton Head Island's Electric Bicycle (E-Bike) Ordinance Passes on First Reading

July 21, 2022

The Hilton Head Island Town Council has approved first reading of an ordinance allowing lower-speed electric bicycles, commonly referred to as E-bikes, on the Town's public pathways. The ordinance also requires that safety information regarding the usage of all bicycles be given to anyone who rents or purchases a bicycle on Hilton Head Island.

"E-bikes have many positive attributes that allow older individuals, individuals with disabilities, commuting workers, and people who may be new to biking the ability to ride a bicycle and enjoy the Town's recreational pathways. With input from our biking community, our staff was able to put together an ordinance that permits the use of E-bikes in a safe manner," said Mayor John McCann.

"The presence and use of E-bikes is growing at a rapidly increasing rate and has led to increased demand on the Town's pathways. This presents the need for education and regulations to ensure the continued safety of all bicyclists and pathway users," said Josh Gruber, Deputy Town Manager.

The proposed ordinance, as initially adopted at a Town Council meeting on Tuesday, July 19, would amend the existing Town code to permit the use of lower-speed, class 1 and class 2 electric bicycles.

To encourage safe operation of all E-bikes and regular bicycles, the ordinance requires businesses that sell and rent bicycles to provide consumers with a Town-issued safety and etiquette pamphlet. This pamphlet conveys important information to visitors and residents so they are aware of and adhere to local traffic laws, take precautions to remain safe when out riding their bicycles and know how to make their bicycle riding experience enjoyable for themselves and others. It will be made available on the Town's website once the ordinance is fully approved.

Pursuant to South Carolina law, any E-bike that is being operated on publicly owned pathways and roads within Town limits must also have a permanent label indicating the bike's horsepower and maximum assisted speed to ensure that it falls within the class 1 and class 2 limitations.

Second and final reading of the proposed ordinance will be on the Town Council's agenda at its meeting in August. Visit the Town's website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov to review the ordinance.

Contact
Carolyn Grant, Communications Director
843-341-4618
CarolynG@hiltonheadislandsc.gov