'The electric bike: Throttle up, and away you go'

EUGENE, Ore. - When pedaling becomes too much, motorized bicycles offer a boost with just the twist the throttle.

"There's been quite a bit of interest on these lately," said Bill Cole at Wheel Works.

Electric-assist bicycles don't require a drivers license.

They can be a less expensive way to travel, versus gasoline-powered vehicles.
And in Eugene, they can help people conquer the sometimes hilly terrain, regardless of their physical prowess.

"The electric bike: Throttle up," Cole said, "and away you go."

But there are rules of the road that govern power-assisted bicycles.

"You need to be 16, you don't need license or registration," explained Sgt. Alan Gilbert with the Oregon State Police. "You can't have a passenger. The max speed they should be capable of is 20 mph. You can ride on bike lanes. And you can be arrested for DUII on it."

And just like a regular scooter or moped, you need to put a helmet on.

"When you start getting up to speeds of 15, 20 mph," Gilbert said. "When something happens, it's going to be a lot worse than someone who's pedaling."