7/16/2020

KICA Board Opens Discussion of E-bikes on Kiawah

Posted In Community

At its July 13 meeting, the Kiawah Island Community Association Board of Directors opened discussion of electric bicycle use on Kiawah Island. In summary, KICA currently prohibits the use of all motorized bicycles on the island, but several community members have expressed interest in allowing some electric bicycles. The primary argument for e-bikes is that they have a pedal-assist feature which enables a more enjoyable ride for the older demographic. However, there are concerns that these e-bikes are able to reach speeds that could present safety issues on the leisure trails. Director David DeStefano proposed some potential guidelines for the community to consider and provide their feedback to the board.

DeStefano suggested that KICA amends its rules to permit the use of Class 1 electric bicycles, with some restrictions. Class 1 e-bikes will engage an electric motor when the rider is pedaling. These bikes can achieve a max speed of 20 mph. Class 2 bicycles have a throttle in addition to pedal-assist and Class 3 bicycles can achieve 28 mph, so these two types would be prohibited. To address the speed concern, DeStefano suggested restricting the Class 1 e-bikes to those with a maximum of 250 watt motor and implementing an age minimum. Only KICA members would be authorized to use e-bikes, and they would be required to register with the association. No e-bike rentals would be allowed. To enable enforcement, the e-bikes must display the KICA registration decal, and Class 1 must be clearly marked on the bike.

Thank you to those who provided comments on this topic at the July board meeting. If you’d like to provide your feedback to the board, email board@kica.us.