DeLand, FL - County leaders take a step towards allowing electric bikes and other electric motorized devices to operate on parts of Volusia's beaches.
The Volusia County Council voted unanimously Tuesday morning (February 16th) to change to the county's current beach policies, but this preliminary action must come back to the council for a vote on an ordinance amendment in order for the change to become official.
"We have a tremendous opportunity to actually introduce some fun back to the beach," said Council Chair Jeff Brower. "It makes us a better attraction."
At the moment, Volusia County's beach code prohibits anything but cars, trucks, motorcycles and other motor vehicles from operating on the drivable portions of the beaches as long as they are registered and titled by the state. Since E-bikes and similar devices can't be titled or registered, they are prohibited.
However, changes in state legislation made in 2019 and 2020 granted E-bike and electric scooter operators the same rights and duties as bicyclists. With that in mind, a majority of council members agreed that e-bikes and motorized scooters should be allowed on the beaches, but with the understanding that they will have to follow the rules and operate in a safe manner.
"We need to acknowledge this and welcome these kinds of things," said District 4 Representative Heather Post. "We can't not move forward over fear of people acting poorly."
Following their decision, the council directed its legal staff to bring back an ordinance making the change. Under this new ordinance, these devices will be allowed on county beaches as long as they follow all other vehicle regulations such as speed and times for use on the beach.
The ordinance will also allow the devices to operate in and outside of the beach driving lanes as well as in the traffic-free zones outside of natural areas. Additionally, E-bikes and other devices will not be permitted in the dunes or the natural, or conservation areas of the beach that are already off limits to other vehicles.
Before the council votes on the ordinance, the county’s legal staff will work with Volusia County Beach Safety in order to develop enforcement language that defines the safety standards for e-bikes. They will also develop enforcement that deals with prohibited actions, such as careless operation and weaving in between beach patrons.