Pages Electric Bike Regulations Per State

 

                  

 

Table of Contents

Defining an Electric Bicycle
General Classifications of E-Bikes
Why Do E-Bikes Need Regulation Anyway?
The Big List
A Final Word: the E-Bike Numbers Revolution
    

The United States is a pretty big country. Not every state in the Union has identical laws, especially when it comes to how they regulate e-bikes! Not complying with these e-bike regulations could see you being slapped with some pretty hefty fines and penalties, so we’ve collected all the pertinent rules and regulations for all 50 states - plus Washington, DC - to make it easy for you to see what will be expected of you in just a glance. Let’s get started!

    Defining an Electric Bicycle

    While every state jurisdiction is different, for the most part an “electric bicycle” is simply that - a bicycle that has an electric motor on the frame that provides power to the wheels. This means that in the majority of states, e-bikes are subject to many of the same laws that traditional bicycles are.

    This has some important implications. In states where e-bikes fall under the definition of bicycle, there are typically no requirements for things such as licensing, registration, or insurance coverage. However, in states where e-bikes are defined not as bicycles but instead as motorcycles, mopeds, or other motor vehicles, these rules are often much different.

    General Classifications of E-Bikes

    While states are free to regulate e-bikes as they wish, many of these states have adopted a specific industry standard in their e-bike regulations (State Electric Bicycle Laws | A Legislative Primer, n.d.). This standard includes three different classes of e-bikes, and these classes then inform each state’s policy by allowing some classes of e-bikes to be used in places and situations where others are not. These three classes are:

    • Class 1: Bicycles equipped with motors that provide assistance only when pedaling, and turn off after the e-bike reaches 20 mph.
    • Class 2: Bicycles equipped with throttle-actuated motors that turn off after the e-bike reaches 20 mph.
    • Class 3: Bicycles equipped with motors that provide assistance only when pedaling, and turn off after the e-bike reaches 28 mph.

    Again, not every state uses these classifications, but many of them have adopted them either partially or in full. This provides some welcome standardization between states for harried e-bike owners that just want to enjoy their bikes!

    Why Do E-Bikes Need Regulation Anyway?

    With e-bikes being only a bit faster than traditional bicycles, many might consider the idea that regulating electric bikes is not that necessary. There are already many regulations on state books concerning non-motorized bicycles - why provide additional ones?

    In a word - safety. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), about 2 percent of motor crash deaths are cyclists - in 2019 alone, that translated to 843 bike riders who lost their life (Fatality Facts 2019: Bicyclists, 2020). Meanwhile, that same year, Reuters reported that the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) reported that e-bike riders were at a considerably higher risk of injuries than non-motorized bike riders (Chander, 2019).

    The combination of these two factors speaks volumes when it comes to the safety of e-bike riders. While it may not ever be possible to completely eliminate the possibilities of getting into an accident and becoming injured while riding an e-bike, states have put regulations in place to mitigate some of the chances of such an accident. This not only keeps citizens safer and healthier, but also reduces costs associated with hospitalizations and insurance claims. In other words, these regulations might seem like a hassle to comply with, but they’re there for a good reason - to protect riders and everyone else that shares the road.

    The Big List

    Without further ado, here’s our list of states and their most relevant e-bike regulations. Please be aware that while these are accurate as of time or writing, like all laws they’re subject to change over time. It’s recommended to check your specific state’s laws as they stand now to ensure they haven’t changed since this guide was published.

    State

    Regulation

    Alabama

    • Every bicycle with a motor attached is defined as a motor-driven cycle
    • The operation of a motor-driven cycle requires a class M driver license
    • Class M Licenses are available to residents ages 14 and older
    • Motorcycle helmet required

    Alaska

    • Every bicycle with a motor attached is defined as a motor-driven cycle
    • The operation of a motor-driven cycle requires a class M driver license
    • Class M Licenses are available to residents ages 14 and older

    Arizona

    • No operator’s license required for e-bikes with a max speed of 20 MPH or less

    Arkansas

    • No regulations that specifically address e-bikes
    • A gas-powered motorized bicycle requires require either a certificate to operate a motorized bicycle, a motorcycle license, a motor-driven cycle license, or a license of class A, B, C or D
    • No riders below age 10 

    California

    • Not considered motor vehicles, no permits or licenses necessary
    • 3 classes of e-bike, based on pedal assist; bike class must be displayed prominently on frame

    Colorado

    • No regulations for e-bikes with a max speed of 20 MPH or less

    Connecticut

    • Max speed of 30 MPH
    • Requires a Driver’s License; no registration required
    • Minimum age of 15
    • Helmet required

    Delaware

    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • Max speed of 20 MPH
    • No age minimum; riders under 18 must wear a helmet

    Florida

    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • Max speed of 20 MPH
    • No age minimum; riders under 16 must wear a helmet

    Georgia

    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Must be 15 or older for a class 3 e-bike
    • Helmets must be worn by all riders/passengers

    Hawaii

    • Max speed 20 MPH
    • Requires a $30 registration
    • Registrants must be 18 years or older
    • No riders younger than 15; these riders require helmets

    Idaho

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3

    Illinois

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3; no riders under age 16

    Indiana

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Class 3 e-bikes not allowed on bike trails, no riders under 15, and helmets required for riders 18 or younger

    Iowa

    • No license or registration requirements
    • Max speed 20 MPH
    • No age minimum or helmet requirement

    Kansas

    • No license or registration requirements
    • Max speed 20 MPH
    • No age minimum or helmet requirement

    Kentucky

    • No license or registration requirements
    • No age minimum or helmet requirement

    Louisiana

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Helmets required for class 3 e-bikes
    • No riders under 12 on class 3 e-bikes

    Maine

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Class 3 e-bikes not permitted on most bike trails
    • Helmets required for riders under 16
    • No riders under 16 for Class 2 and 3 e-bikes

    Maryland

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Class 3 e-bikes not permitted on most bike trails
    • Helmets required for riders under 16
    • No riders under 16 for class 3 e-bikes

    Massachusetts

    • Max speed of 25 MPH
    • Requires operator’s license and registration
    • Not permitted on bike trails
    • Helmets required
    • Age minimum of 16

    Michigan

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Class 2 or 3 e-bikes not permitted on most bike trails
    • Helmets required for riders under 18 on class 3 e-bikes
    • No riders under 14 for class 3 e-bikes

    Minnesota

    • Max speed 20 MPH
    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • No helmet requirement
    • Must be age 15 or older
    • Not allowed on bike paths

    Mississippi

    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • No helmet requirement
    • No age requirement
    • Allowed on bike paths

    Missouri

    • Max speed 30 MPH
    • Operator’s license required
    • No helmet requirement
    • 16 year age minimum

    Montana

    • Max Speed 20 MPH
    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • No helmet requirement
    • No age minimum

    Nebraska

    • Max Speed 20 MPH
    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • No helmet requirement
    • No age minimum
    • Permitted on bike paths

    Nevada

    • Max Speed 20 MPH
    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • No helmet requirement
    • No age minimum
    • Permitted on bike paths

    New Jersey

    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • No license or registration requirements for class 1 or 2 e-bikes
    • Class 3 e-bikes not permitted on most bike trails
    • No riders under 15 for class 3 e-bikes

    New Hampshire

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Class 3 e-bikes not permitted on bike trails
    • Helmets required and minimum age of 18 for class 3 e-bikes

    New Mexico

    • Defined as mopeds
    • Licensing and registration required
    • Minimum age of 15

    New York

    • No licensing or registration required
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 25 MPH for class 3
    • Access to some bike trails
    • Must ride single file
    • Permitted on roads with 30 MPH speed limits or less

    North Carolina

    • Max Speed 20 MPH
    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • No helmet requirement
    • Age minimum of 16
    • Permitted on most bike paths

    North Dakota

    • Licensing and registration required
    • Age minimum of 14
    • Bike path permission on a city-by-city basis

    Ohio

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Helmets required for class 3 e-bikes
    • Permitted on bike trails

    Oklahoma

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Helmets required for class 3 e-bikes
    • Class 3 e-bikes not permitted on bike trails
    • Age minimum of 16 for class 3 e-bikes

    Oregon

    • Max Speed 20 MPH
    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • Minimum age of 16
    • Permitted on bike paths
    • No helmet requirement

    Pennsylvania

    • Max Speed 20 MPH
    • No licensing or registration requirements
    • Minimum age of 16
    • Permitted wherever bicycles are
    • No helmet requirement

    Rhode Island

    • Max speed of 25 MPH
    • No registration requirement
    • Bike path permission on a city-by-city basis

    South Carolina

    • No licensing and registration requirements
    • Motors must be less than 750 watts
    • Bike path permission on a city-by-city basis

    South Dakota

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Class 3 e-bikes not permitted on bike trails
    • Minimum age of 16

    Tennessee

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Minimum age of 14 for class 3 e-bikes
    • Helmets required for class 3 e-bikes

    Texas 

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Minimum age of 15 for class 3 e-bikes
    • Bike path permission on a city-by-city basis

    Utah

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Allowed on bike trails

    Vermont

    • No license or registration requirement
    • Max speed of 20 MPH
    • Bike path permission on a city-by-city basis

    Virginia

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Allowed on bike trails
    • Minimum age of 14 for class 3 e-bikes
    • Helmets required for class 3 e-bikes

    Washington (state)

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Class 3 e-bikes not allowed on bike trails
    • Minimum age of 16 for class 3 e-bikes

    Washington, DC

    • No license or registration requirements
    • Max speed of 20 MPH
    • Minimum age of 16

    West Virginia

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 2 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Does not recognize class 2 bikes
    • Class 3 e-bikes not allowed on bike trails
    • Helmets required for riders 15 and under
    • Minimum age of 16 for class 3 e-bikes

    Wisconsin

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • Bike path permission on a city-by-city basis
    • Minimum age of 16 for class 3 e-bikes

    Wyoming

    • No license or registration requirements
    • 3 classes of e-bike
    • Max speed of 20 MPH for classes 1 & 2
    • Max speed of 28 MPH for class 3
    • All classes permitted on bike trails

    A Final Word: the E-Bike Numbers Revolution

    Bicycles have always been a popular mode of transportation in the United States. This isn’t going to change any time soon. However, the popularity of e-bikes is rising as well! According to scholarly data published in 2017, a state-by-state survey found that around 84% of Americans owned a bicycle, and that bicycles were highly popular in states with large metropolitan cities. This makes sense, considering bicycles have so many advantages to cars when it comes to commuting to and from work in city environments (Ling et al., 2017).

    However, this same data showed that 48% of respondents, also more prevalently in states with large metro areas, owned an e-bike as well. Some owned e-bikes in addition to a traditional non-motorized bike; others chose an e-bike instead of a regular one. That’s hardly an insignificant number - and that means that regulating e-bikes is going to continue in the future. Be sure you keep up with these regulations to stay on the right side of the law - and to stay safe!

    Chander, V. (2019, December 25). E-bikes show distinct pattern of severe injuries. U.S. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-ebike-injuries/e-bikes-show-distinct-pattern-of-severe-injuries-idUSKBN1YT0MV

    Fatality Facts 2019: Bicyclists. (2020). IIHS-HLDI Crash Testing and Highway Safety. https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/bicyclists

    Laws and Policies for e-bikes. (n.d.). SUPER73. Retrieved June 7, 2021, from https://super73.com/pages/laws-and-policies-for-e-bikes

    Ling, Z., Cherry, C., MacArthur, J., & Weinert, J. (2017). Differences of Cycling Experiences and Perceptions between E-Bike and Bicycle Users in the United States. Sustainability, 9(9), 1662. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091662

    State Electric Bicycle Laws | A Legislative Primer. (n.d.). The National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved June 7, 2021, from https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/state-electric-bicycle-laws-a-legislative-primer.aspx