Hilton Head Island
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August 17, 2022
The Hilton Head Island Town Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance allowing lower-speed electric bicycles, commonly referred to as e-bikes, on the Town’s public pathways.
The ordinance, which is now in effect, 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.
"I'm glad we were able to pass this ordinance allowing the use of e-bikes on our pathways. It gives guidance for bike rental businesses and those who appreciate the benefits of riding e-bikes for recreation or as their personal form of transportation," said Mayor John McCann.
Deputy Town Manager Josh Gruber said the presence and use of e-bikes has placed more demand on the Town's pathways, prompting a need for education and regulations to ensure the continued safety of all bicyclists and pathway users. "The Town has 65 miles of public pathways that people use for walking and bicycling. With that, we sought to have guidance in place to help people have an enjoyable riding experience and exercise caution for themselves and others," he said.
The adopted ordinance amends the existing Town code to permit the use of lower-speed, class 1 and class 2 electric bicycles. 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.
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.
The Bike and E-bike Etiquette pamphlet, frequently asked questions and other resources for bicycling are available on Town's website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov/pathways/ebikes/.
For more information, contact the Town’s Communications Office at 843-341-4618.
Carolyn Grant, Communications Director
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