Electric Bikes Federal & Local Laws

3 minute read.

Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, are becoming increasingly popular as a convenient and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation. As technology continues to improve and prices continue to decrease, more and more people are turning to e-bikes as a way to get around. However, with the rise in popularity of e-bikes, it's important to understand the laws and regulations that govern their use. In this article, we will take a look at the laws that apply to e-bikes as of 2023.  ALWAYS check the local area you plan to ride for specific requirements and laws. 

Classification of Electric Bikes

The first thing to understand about e-bike laws is how e-bikes are classified. While the three class categories are commonly used to define ebikes, it is still best practice to contact your local or state authorities to find out more about which classes can be used and where.

Class 1

This is an electric bicycle pedal-assist bikes, which power the electric motor as your feet apply pressure to the pedals. There’s no throttle control on the handlebar to get the bike going; the electric part works only when the rider is pedaling, and the e-assist cuts off at speeds above 20 mph.

Class 2 

This is an electric bike that has an electric motor that works up to 20 mph, either while the rider is pedaling (pedal-assist) or with electric propulsion alone, via a throttle control.

Class 3 

This is an ebike equipped provides electric assist up to 28 mph. These faster, more powerful models might not be legal to ride in some areas, such as on bike paths.

FEDERAL LAW

Federal laws surrounding electric bikes have more to do with federal lands than it does the states; National Parks, Bureau of Land Management, and National Forests. The Forest Service and the National Parks Services prohibit the use of ebikes on trails and any natural surfaces. Their rule of thumb is, wherever motorized vehicles are prohibited, so are electric bicycles. As for the Bureau of Land Mgmt, ebikes are allowed on trails limited to bicycles and non-motorized travel only if a BLM Manager has issued a written decision authorizing the use of an ebike in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. So, if you ever plan to ride your ebike on certain trails or through a national park, you must confirm regulations for that location. Federal electric bicycle laws recommend the minimum age for riding an electric bike be the age of 16 but can differ by state. Again, check your local regulations. 

State and Local Laws

It's important to note that while federal laws provide a general framework for e-bike regulations, individual states and municipalities may have their own laws and regulations regarding e-bikes. These laws can vary widely from state to state, and even from city to city. For example, some states may require e-bike riders to have a driver's license, be of a certain age or wear a helmet, while others may prohibit the use of e-bikes on certain roads or trails.  Use this People for Bikes guide to state laws. 

It's important to check with your local government to understand any additional regulations or restrictions that may apply in your area. Many cities and states have websites that provide information on e-bike laws, so you can easily find the information you need.  We recommend always doing a pre-ride plan and know the rules of your ride and always wear a helmet.  

Conclusion

Electric bikes offer a convenient and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation and with the right knowledge of laws, they can be safely enjoyed by riders. However, it's important to remember that individual states and municipalities may have their own laws and regulations regarding e-bikes. It is highly recommended to check with your local government for any additional regulations or restrictions that may apply in your area before riding e-bike.

Shop E-Bikes

Related Blogs:

How to Choose the Best Electric Bike

Brand Profile: Aventon Electric Bikes!

Bikes over Cars: The Future of Transportation

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