Tel Aviv Starts Enforcing Laws on Electric Bikes and Scooters

Bicyclists will receive stiff fines for riding on the sidewalks or while using cell phones, while pedestrians will pay up for walking on bicycle paths

A woman using headphones rides an electric bicycle on the sidewalk in Tel Aviv, June 18, 2017.
A woman using headphones rides an electric bicycle on the sidewalk in Tel Aviv, June 18, 2017. Moti Milrod

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality announced on Sunday that it will start enforcing a law designed to monitor and prevent the unlawful use of bicycles and scooters, including electric ones.

While the law has been on the books for some time, its enforcement has been lax.

During the first stage, city inspectors will only issue warnings, but fines ranging from 100 shekels to 1,000 shekels ($28 to $280) will be imposed on violators in the future.

The rules will be enforced on sidewalks, in bicycle paths, streets with a speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour and pedestrian walkways and crossings.

Tel Aviv's city hall clarified that the use of electric bicycles and scooters is restricted to people aged 16 or older, and is only permitted in designated paths. Riding such bikes on the city's sidewalks is prohibited. Where there are no designated bike paths, electric bikes can travel only on the right-hand side of the road. Regular bicycles are allowed on sidewalks when there are no designated bike paths and in streets with no speed limits for cars. In streets with a posted speed limit, bikes must be ridden in the street.

The municipality further noted that riders must dismount and walk across pedestrian crosswalks unless otherwise specified.

Riders cannot hold a cell phone in their hands or read and write messages as they cycle; the highest fine – 1,000 shekels – will be levied on people who use a phone while riding. Fines between 100 and 250 shekels will be given for sidewalk riding or for cycling in bike paths or pedestrian crosswalks in a manner that contravenes the law. Fines will be given for obstructing pedestrian traffic, for carrying another person on a bike or scooter or for using headphones while riding on a sidewalk.

Pedestrians breaking the law will also face stiff fines. They will have to pay 500 shekels for walking on a bicycle path.

In addition to imposing fines, inspectors will also be authorized to stop those who violate the rules or detain an offender if they believe there is a risk of him escaping. They will be allowed to confiscate the offending vehicle or to deflate its tires.