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The rise of e-bikes among middle and high school students in Ventura

Rihanna Samples
In the past few years, rather than opting for more traditional ways to get around town, pre-teens and teenagers around Ventura, Calif. have chosen electronic bikes (e-bikes) as their preferred mode of transportation. The rise of e-bikes in Ventura County has lead to some serious concerns among citizens in regard to how these newly popular motorized bicycles should be treated and which laws should apply to their use.

The streets of Ventura, Calif. have seen a large increase in the use of electric bikes (e-bikes). Among the city’s youth, especially middle and high school students, e-bikes have become a common sight and a convenient mode of transportation for those without a driver’s license. However, alongside their rise in popularity come legitimate concerns about safety.

E-bikes come in many different styles, colors and features, including varying speeds and battery life. The accessory options for these bikes seem nearly limitless, ranging from practical add-ons like baskets and extra seats to more modern conveniences like cell phone mounts and water bottle holders. There are many different companies that have produced e-bikes, including but not limited to Lectric eBikes, Aventon, Rad Power Bikes, Ride1Up and Ariel Rider. These bikes’ prices range from approximately $500 to $2500.

In recent years, the number of electronic bike (e-bike) riders among high school and middle school students has skyrocketed. It’s a new and fast mechanism of transportation that the youth in Ventura, Calif. can ride without a drivers license. (Claire Hadley)

There are multiple reasons why e-bikes have become such an enormous hit with middle and high school students. Not only are they a source of fun, but they also provide a very practical way to get to school or around town without a driver’s license. Students from multiple high schools in Ventura share similar views about e-bikes.

Paisley Belchere ‘27, a student from Ventura High School (Ventura High), said, “They are super fun to ride on … and are really good transportation if you don’t have a car.” Many also shared that e-bikes are more popular than regular bikes because, as Buena High School (Buena High) student, Presley Bosh ‘27, put it, “They require less physical effort than normal bikes.”

Despite their popularity within the city of Ventura, the presence of e-bikes at local high schools has varied greatly. Kaia Kennedy ‘25 at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) said, “I’ve only seen a few e-bikes at school. They don’t seem to be as popular here [at Foothill Tech].”

Similarly, Bosh shared, “At [Buena High], I haven’t seen many kids riding e-bikes to school because a lot of people have cars or take public transportation.” In contrast, the e-bike scene at Ventura High has proven to be different. Belchere had mentioned how the bike racks at Ventura High are overflowing with electric bikes, and that she rarely sees a regular bike anymore.

Due to such an increase in popularity, e-bikes have become a hot topic within many communities. Consequently, laws have been established to promote the safety of e-bikes.

The state of California has raised its concerns on e-bikes. Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner introduced the California Assembly Bill 2234, which, if passed, would ban children under 12 from riding e-bikes, and would require individuals 12 years and older to have a valid driver’s license or proof of completing an e-bike safety course, in addition to valid photo identification.

Students have also weighed in on the topic of e-bike safety with specific regard to middle and high school students. Bosh stated that e-bikes are “definitely not safe for middle school kids because they try to show off too much,” and continued by saying, “I have seen the middle school boys riding without helmets and doing wheelies on busy streets.” Furthermore, Kennedy added, “Some e-bikes go just as fast as cars, and some riders don’t seem very careful.”

Even with the growing safety concerns created by an increase in e-bike sales, e-bikes continue to be a common sight when cruising around Ventura. Whether it be students on a ride to Starbucks or a joy ride through the neighborhoods of Ventura, there is little doubt that the e-bike craze will be ending anytime soon.

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About the Contributors
Ella Asher
Ella Asher, Reporter
A junior who loves the ocean and chai lattes.
Claire Hadley
Claire Hadley, Photographer
Short girl who is addicted to the beach, chugging tea, watching "Grey's Anatomy" and manufacturing random concoctions in the kitchen.
Rihanna Samples
Rihanna Samples, Multimedia Editor
A junior who is constantly looking at the world through the lens of a camera.

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