Electric bicycle laws
Many countries have enacted electric bicycle laws to regulate the use of electric bicycles. Countries such as the United States and Canada have federal regulations governing the safety requirements and standards of manufacture. Other countries like the signatories of the European Union have agreed to wider-ranging legislation covering use and safety of their term EPAC (electric pedal-assisted cycles).
However, confusion remains regarding the various laws involving electric bicycles. This stems from the fact that while some countries have national regulations, the legality of road use is left to states and provinces, and then complicated further by municipal laws and restrictions. Furthermore, there is a range of classifications and terms describing them – "power-assisted bicycle" (Canada) or "power-assisted cycle" (United Kingdom) or ”electric pedal-assisted cycles” (European Union) or simply "electric bicycles" – and as such in some cases have varying laws according to their respective classifications in some places.
- 1 Australia
- 2 Canada
- 3 China
- 4 Europe
- 5 Hong Kong
- 6 India
- 7 Israel
- 8 Japan
- 9 New Zealand
- 10 United States
- 10.1 Federal laws and regulations
- 10.2 State requirements for use
- 10.2.1 Comparison of state rules and regulations
- 10.2.2 Alabama
- 10.2.3 Arizona
- 10.2.4 Arkansas
- 10.2.5 California
- 10.2.6 Colorado
- 10.2.7 Connecticut
- 10.2.8 District of Columbia
- 10.2.9 Florida
- 10.2.10 Georgia
- 10.2.11 Hawaii
- 10.2.12 Illinois
- 10.2.13 Indiana
- 10.2.14 Iowa
- 10.2.15 Kentucky
- 10.2.16 Louisiana
- 10.2.17 Maryland
- 10.2.18 Massachusetts
- 10.2.19 Michigan
- 10.2.20 Minnesota
- 10.2.21 Mississippi
- 10.2.22 Missouri
- 10.2.23 Montana
- 10.2.24 Nebraska
- 10.2.25 Nevada
- 10.2.26 New Jersey
- 10.2.27 New York
- 10.2.28 Ohio
- 10.2.29 Oregon
- 10.2.30 Pennsylvania
- 10.2.31 Tennessee
- 10.2.32 Texas
- 10.2.33 Utah
- 10.2.34 Virginia
- 10.2.35 Washington
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The ADRs contain the following definitions for bicycles and mopeds:
- 4.2. Two-Wheeled and Three-Wheeled Vehicles
- 4.2.1. PEDAL CYCLE (AA)
A vehicle designed to be propelled through a mechanism solely by human power.
- 4.2.2. POWER-ASSISTED PEDAL CYCLE (AB)
A pedal cycle to which is attached one or more auxiliary propulsion motors having a combined maximum power output not exceeding 200 watts.
- 4.2.3. MOPED - 2 Wheels (LA)
A 2-wheeled motor vehicle, not being a power-assisted pedal cycle, with an engine cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 ml and a ‘Maximum Motor Cycle Speed‘ not exceeding 50 km/h; or a 2-wheeled motor vehicle with a power source other than a piston engine and a ‘Maximum Motor Cycle Speed‘ not exceeding 50 km/h.
(Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule – Definitions and Vehicle Categories 2005 Compilation 3 19 September 2007).
There are no ADRs applicable to AA or AB category vehicles. There are ADRs for lighting, braking, noise, controls and dimensions for LA category vehicles, mostly referencing the equivalent UN ECE Regulations. An approval is required to supply to the market any road vehicle to which ADRs apply and an import approval is required to import any road vehicle into Australia.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, motor assisted pedal cycles with electric or petrol engines only does not need to be registered if the maximum engine output is less than 200 watts. Riders of cycles exempt from registration must follow the same rules as for cycles without motors, and vehicles requiring registration (mopeds) are treated as motorcycles. fdd
A bicycle, which is designed to be propelled by human power using pedals, may have an electric or petrol powered motor attached provided the motor's maximum power output does not exceed 200 watts.
As of 18 September 2012, the Victorian road rules have changed to enable a pedelec to be used as a bicycle in Victoria. The change will allow more options of power assisted pedal cycles under bicycle laws.
A pedelec is defined as meeting EU standard EN15194, has a motor of no more than 250w of continuous rated power and which is only to be activated by pedalling, when travelling at speeds of between 6kph and 25kph.
Since 2000, Canada's Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR) have defined Power Assisted bicycles (PABs) as a separate category, and which require no license to operate. PABs are currently defined as a two- or three-wheeled bicycle equipped with handlebars and operable pedals, an attached electric motor of 500W or less, and a maximum speed capability of 32 km/h from the motor over level ground. Other requirements include a permanently affixed label from the manufacturer in a conspicuous location stating the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle under the statutory requirements in force at the time of manufacture. All power-assisted bicycles must utilize an electric motor for assisted propulsion.
A power-assisted bicycle may be imported and exported freely within Canada without the same restrictions placed on auto-mobiles or a moped. Under federal law, power-assisted bicycles may be restricted from operation on some roads, lanes, paths, or thoroughfares by the local municipality.
Bicycle-style PABs are permitted on National Capital Commission's (NCC) Capital Pathway network, but scooter-style PABs are prohibited. All PABs (bicycle- and scooter-style) are permitted on dedicated NCC bike lanes. All PABs are prohibited in Gatineau Park's natural surface trails.
Provincial requirements for use
Alberta identifies e-bikes as "power bicycles" and is consistent with the federal definition of "power-assisted bicycle" in MVSR CRC, c 1038 s 2. Motor output must not exceed 500 W (0.671 hp) and e-bikes cannot travel faster than 32 km/h (20 mph). Fully operable pedals are required. No driver's license, vehicle insurance, or vehicle registration is required. Operators must be 12 years of age or older. All operators are required to wear a motorcycle helmet meeting the standards set in AR 122/2009 s 112(2). A passenger is permitted only if the e-bike is equipped with a seat designated for that passenger.
An e-bike is identified as a "motor assisted cycle" (MAC) in British Columbia, which differs from electric mopeds and scooters, which are "limited-speed motorcycles." Motor assisted cycles must: have an electric motor of no more than 500 W; have fully operable pedals; not be capable of propelling the device at a speed greater than 32 km/hr [19.9 mph]. The engine must disengage when the operator stops pedaling. A driver's license, vehicle registration, and insurance are all not required. A bike helmet must be worn.
E-bikes in British Columbia must comply with all standards outlined in Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation, BC Reg 151/2002.
See documentary: Electric Bicycles in Vancouver
Ontario is one of the last provinces in Canada to move toward legalizing power-assisted bicycles (PABs) for use on roads, even though they have been federally defined and legal in Canada since early 2001. In November 2005, "Bill 169" received royal assent allowing the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to place any vehicle on road. On October 4, 2006, the Minister of Transportation for Ontario Donna Cansfield announced the Pilot Project allowing PABs which meet the federal standards definition for operation on road. PAB riders must follow the rules and regulations of a regular bicycles, wear an approved bicycle helmet and be at least 16 years or older. There are still a number of legal considerations for operating any bicycle in Ontario.
On October 5, 2009, Ontario brought in new safety requirements for electric bikes. E-bikes, which can reach a speed of 32 kilometres per hour, are allowed to share the road with cars, pedestrians and other traffic throughout the province. The new rules limit the maximum weight of an e-bike to 120 kilograms, require a maximum braking distance of nine metres and prohibit any modifications to the bike's motor that would create speeds greater than 32 kilometres per hour. Also, riders must be at least 16 years of age, wear approved bicycle or motorcycle helmets and follow the same traffic laws as bicyclists. Municipalities will be able to decide where e-bikes may be used on their streets, bike lanes and trails. E-bikes will not be permitted on 400-series highways, expressways or other areas where bicycles are not allowed. Riding an e-bike under the age of 16 or riding an e-bike without an approved helmet carries fines ranging from $60 to $500. For all other traffic offences, e-bike riders will be subject to the same penalties as cyclists.
To be allowed on the road it needs wheel rims larger than 9 inches, have a headlight for night, a seat at least 27 inches off the ground.
New Brunswick’s Policy on Electric Motor Driven Cycles and Electric Bicycles
The Registrar will permit an electric motor driven cycle to be registered if it meets Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) as a Limited Speed Motorcycle, or Scooter as is done with gas powered motor driven cycles. If the vehicle was manufactured after 1988 it will bear a compliance label stating that it meets these standards. The operator will be subject to all the requirements placed on operators of motor driven cycles.
If the vehicle is able to powered by human force and has a motor 500W or less, and the motor is not capable of assisting when the vehicle is traveling at a speed greater than 32 km/h then it can be considered a bicycle and all the requirements placed on bicyclists are applicable.
It is important to note that if a vehicle has an electric motor greater than 500 watts and is capable of powering the vehicle when traveling at a speed greater than 32 km/h and it does not have a CMVSS compliance label it cannot be registered unless the owner can prove, by having the vehicle certified by an engineer, that it is safe for operation on NB highways. Also, not all vehicles are suitable for operation on NB highways and it could be that the vehicle in question may not be a motor driven cycle or a bicycle and cannot be operated on the highway at all.
Power Assisted Bicycle Label:
Manufacturers of e-bikes must permanently affix a label, in a conspicuous location,stating in both official languages that the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle as defined in the regulations under the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Homemade e-bikes will not have this label.
NOTE 1: The previous version of the policy had a section on it needing to "look like a bike" or a "bike style frame" but never defined what those were. That has been dropped and is no longer part of the new policy.
NOTE 2: The top speed of the bike if propelled by human power is the posted speed limit, but the motor is only allowed to get you up to and keep you at 32 km/hr. If the posted limit is under 32 then the posted limit is the limit allowed.
NOTE 3: There is no maximum weight limit.
NOTE 4: Ebikes are allowed to use cargo trailers/kid trailers.
NOTE 5: There is no minimum age set.
http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/services/services_renderer.200814.html The last sentence of the Electric Motor Driven Cycle Section.
In Nova Scotia power-assisted bicycles are classified similarly to standard pedal bicycles. The Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act defines a power-assisted bicycle as a bicycle with an electric motor of 500 watts or less, with two wheels (one of which is at least 350 mm) or four wheels (two of which are at least 350mm). PABs are permitted on the road in the province of Nova Scotia as long as you wear an approved bicycle helmet with the chinstrap engaged. They do not have to meet the conditions defined within the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations for a motorcycle (they are not classed as "motor vehicles"), but they do have to comply with federal regulations that define Power Assisted Bicycles.
Prince Edward Island
Are treated as Mopeds and will need to pass inspection as a moped.
In Quebec power-assisted bicycles are often classified similarly to standard pedal bicycles. They do not have to meet the conditions defined within the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (they are not classed as "motor vehicles"), but they do have to comply with federal regulations that define Power Assisted Bicycles. The Quebec Highway Safety Code defines a power-assisted bicycle as a bicycle with an electric motor. PABs are permitted on the road in the province of Quebec, but riders have to be 14 and over to ride the electric bicycle and if they're under the age of 18, must have a moped or scooter license.
Power assisted bicycles are classified in two categories in Saskatchewan. An electric assist bicycle is a 2 or 3-wheeled bicycle (sic.: 3-wheeled bicycle) that uses pedals and a motor at the same time only. A power cycle uses either pedals and motor or motor only. Both must have engines with 500 watt power or less, and must not be able exceed 32 km/h (20 mph), i.e., electric motor cuts out at this speed or cycle is unable to go this fast on a level surface. The power cycle has to meet the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) for a power-assisted bicycle. The power cycle requires at least a learner's driving licence (class 7), and all of the other classes 1-5 may operate these also. The electric assist bicycle does not require a licence. Helmets are required for both. Both are treated as bicycles regarding rules of the road. Gas powered or assisted bicycles are classified as motorcycles regardless of engine size or if using pedals plus motor. Stickers identifying the bicycle's compliance with the Federal classification may be required for power cycles by some cities or municipalities.
Electric powered bicycles slower than 20 km/h without pedaling are legally recognized as a non-mechanically operated vehicle in China. According to "TECHNOLOGY WATCH", this should help promote its widespread use. Electric bicycles were banned in some areas of Beijing from August 2002 to January 2006 due to concerns over environmental, safety and city image issues. Beijing has re-allowed use of approved electric bicycles as of January 4, 2006. Some cities in China still ban electric bikes.
European Union directive 2002/24/EC exempts vehicles with the following definition from type approval: "Cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of 0.25 kW, of which the output is progressively reduced and finally cut off as the vehicle reaches a speed of 25 km/h or if the cyclist stops pedaling.” This is the de facto definition of an electrically assisted pedal cycle in the EU. As with all EU directives, individual member countries of the EU are left to implement the requirements in national legislation.
European product safety standard EN 15194 was published in 2009. The aim of EN 15194 is "to provide a standard for the assessment of electrically powered cycles of a type which are excluded from type approval by Directive 2002/24/EC".
Signatories' requirements for use
A bicycle can have a 250 W electric motor providing the top speed is limited to 25 km/h. Also the motor can only assist, rather than replace pedalling.
See Electric Bicycle and Electric Scooter Public Charging Station
Being member of European Economic Area (EEA), Norway implemented the European Union directive 2002/24/EC. This directive defined legal ebikes for all EU and EEA countries to "Cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of 0.25 kW, of which the output is progressively reduced and finally cut off as the vehicle reaches a speed of 25 km/h or if the cyclist stops pedaling.” The definition became part of Norwegian vehicle legislation in 2003. A more detailed specification will become effective when the new European ebike product safety standard EN 15194 is published in 2009.
Despite the more recent EU directive and standard, the UK’s Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Regulations 1983 (SI 1983/1168) have not been rescinded and still apply. These require that the motor has an average power output limited to 200 W (250 W for tricycles and tandems), weight limited to 40 kg (60 kg for tricycles and tandems), and a maximum speed when power-assisted of 15 mph. For electric cycles meeting these requirements, the vehicle does not require registration or periodic road worthiness assessment, and operators do not require a licence or insurance. (Operators must be at least 14 years of age.) However, since 2006, when Statutory Instrument 2935 brought EU Directive 2002/24/EC into UK law, vehicles that don't meet the EU definition of an electric cycle have required type approval. This overlap of requirements has certain effects, as described below.
The following features of an EU-definition electric cycle are not legally available in the UK:
- upper power outputs between 201 W and 250 W on bicycles
- maximum speeds between 15.01 mph and 15.53 mph'
- weights above 40 kg for bicycles and 60 kg for tricycles and tandems
The following features of a UK-definition electric cycle make a vehicle subject to type approval:
- the application of motor power without use of the pedals
- the application of motor power without progressive reduction to zero at 15.53 mph (meaning that at the maximum UK speed of 15 mph some residual supply of power is permitted)
There are no known cases of enforcement of the requirement for type approval. This could be because compliance with type approval is declared when a vehicle is first registered for use on the road, and UK-definition electric cycles are exempt from such registration by the 1983 UK regulations.
Hong Kong has independent traffic laws from mainland China. Electric bikes are considered motorcycles in Hong Kong, and therefore need type approval from the Transport Department, just as automobiles. All electric bikes available in Hong Kong fail to meet the type approval requirement, and the Transport Department has never granted any type approval for an electric bike, making all electric bikes effectively illegal in Hong Kong. Even if they got type approval, the driver would need a motorcycle driving license to ride. As a side note, Hong Kong doesn't have a moped vehicle class (and therefore no moped driving license), and mopeds are considered motorcycles too.
Indian law requires that all electric vehicles have ARAI approval. Vehicles with below 250W and speed of less than 25 km get this very easily, whereas more powerful vehicles need to go through a full testing process following CMVR rules. This can take time and cost money and has been holding up the EV market in India for some time now.It can not be used in free way.
The Israeli Ministry of Transportation is reviewing some options, currently between the US, Canada and the EU legislation, the EU is most favored but the legislation has not yet to be finally determined.[clarification needed]
Israeli authorities passed legislation, as of December 2009, that allows electric bicycles to be legal for street use in the country under the following criteria:
- The maximum power of the electric engine isn't higher than 250W.
- The electric motor is activated by the rider's pedalling effort and it has to cut out completely when the rider stops pedalling.
- The electric motor power decreases with the advance of the bicycle speed and it must cut out completely whenever the bicycle reaches a speed of 25 km/h.
- The electric bicycle has to comply with the European standard - BSEN 15194.
Electric-assisted bicycles are treated as human-powered bicycles, while bicycles capable of propulsion by electric power alone face additional registration and regulatory requirements as mopeds. Requirements include electric power generation by a motor that cannot be easily modified, along with a power assist mechanism that operates safely and smoothly. In December 2008, The assist ratio was updated as follow:
- Under 10 km/h; 2
- 10–24 km/h; 2-(Running speed - 10) / 7
- Over 24 km/h; 0
Vehicles with an electric power and power of less than 300W are classified as "not a motor vehicle". Such electric bicycles must comply with the same rules as bicycles. You must wear a helmet even on a scooter or bike under 300W. If the power is over 300W or a combustion engine is used it is a "low powered vehicle" and the moped rules apply. Specifically, a drivers license and registration are required.
Federal laws and regulations
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Act states that electric bicycles and tricycles meeting the definition of low-speed electric bicycles will be considered consumer products to be regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)  The Act provides that electric bikes are subject to the pre-existing rules for ordinary bicycles, and that the CPSC can promulgate additional rules to protect people who ride electric bikes. They are not considered motor vehicles under U.S. DOT and NHTSA regulations.
In conformance with legislation adopted by the U.S. Congress defining this category of electric-power bicycle (15 U.S.C. 2085(b)), CPSC rules stipulate that low speed electric bicycles (to include two- and three-wheel vehicles) are exempt from classification as motor vehicles providing they have fully operable pedals, an electric motor of less than 750W (1 hp), and a top motor-powered speed of less than 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) when operated by a rider weighing 170 pounds. An electric bike remaining within these specifications is subject to the CPSC regulations for a bicycle. Commercially manufactured e-bikes exceeding these power and speed limits are regulated by the federal DOT and NHTSA as motor vehicles, and must meet additional safety requirements. However, such requirements do not apply to e-bikes assembled from parts or kits by an individual. The use of home-built or kit-assembled e-bikes are instead governed by state and local laws, as federal law does not preempt state and local jurisdictions from enacting their own laws governing the operation of such vehicles on public streets and roadways. The legislation enacting this amendment to the CPSC is also known as HR 727. The text of HR 727 includes the statement: "This section shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements."
Where federal funds have been used in the construction of bicycle or pedestrian paths, electric bicycles (defined as "any bicycle or tricycle with a low-powered electric motor weighing under 100 pounds, with a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 miles per hour" (23 U.S.C. § 217(j)(2)) ) are permitted unless state or local regulations prohibit. Title 23, U.S. Code § 217(h)(4).
State requirements for use
Comparison of state rules and regulations
- Identity: How exactly does legislation identify the electric bicycle?
- Type: How does the law define vehicle type?
- Max Speed: Maximum speed when powered solely by the motor.
- Max Power: Maximum motor power, or engine size, permitted.
- Helmet: Is usage of a helmet mandatory?
- Minimum Age: Operator's minimum age.
- License: Is a license or endorsement required?
|State||Identity||Type||Max speed (mph)||Max power||Helmet||Min age||License|
|Arizona||Motorized electric bicycle or tricycle||Motor-propelled or pedal-assist||19.9||48cc or less||No||No|
|Arkansas||Motorized bicycle||?||?||50 cc||?||10||Yes|
|California||Motorized Bicycle||Bicycle||20||1,000 W||Yes||16||No|
|Colorado||Low Powered Electric Bicycle||Bicycle||20||1 hp (750 W)||No||No|
|Connecticut||Bicycle with helper motor||40||2.0 bhp (1.5 kW) or 50 cc||yes||15||yes|
|Delaware||Bicycle||Bicycle||20||<750 watts||Under 16|
|District of Columbia||Motorized bicycle||35||1.5 hp (1.1 kW) or 50 cc||?||18||Yes|
|Georgia||Electric bicycle||Bicycle||20||1,000 W||Under 16||No|
|Illinois||Low‑speed bicycle||Bicycle (625 ILCS 5/11‑1516)||20||None||No||16||No|
|Iowa||Electric Bicycle||Bicycle||20, unless pedaling||750 watts||No||None||No|
|Kentucky||Motorized bicycle||Moped||30||2.0 brake hp or 50 cc||No||16||Yes|
|Maine||Motorized bicycle or tricycle||25||1.5 break hp||Yes|
|Maryland||Moped||30||1.5 brake hp (1.1 kW) or 50 cc||Yes||Yes|
|30||2.0 bhp and <=50cc||No||?||?|
|Nebraska||Moped http://www.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=60-122&print=true||Motorized Bicycle with Pedals http://www.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=60-122&print=true||30 http://www.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=60-122&print=true||50cc or 2 bhp, whichever is less http://www.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=60-122&print=true||Yes http://www.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=60-6,279&print=true||Yes http://www.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=60-6,310&print=true|
|New Hampshire||Low-Speed Electric Bicycle||Bicycle||20||750 watts||Required Under 16||14||No|
|Oregon||Electric assisted bicycle||Bicycle||20||1000 W||Under 16||16 and below must have permit||No|
|State||Identity||Type||Max speed (mph)||Max power||Helmet||Min age||License|
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. Restricted class M driver licenses are available for those as young as 14 years of age.
Under Arizona law, motorized electric bicycles and tricycles meeting the definition under the applicable statute are not subject to title, licensing, insurance, or registration requirements, and may be used upon any roadway authorized for use by conventional bicycles, including use in bike lanes integrated with motor vehicle roadways. Unless specifically prohibited, electric bicycles may be operated on multi-use trails designated for hiking, biking, equestrian, or other non-motorized usage, and upon paths designated for the exclusive use of bicycles. No operator's license is required, but anyone operating a bicycle on Arizona roads must carry proof of identity. A "motorized electric bicycle or tricycle" is legally defined as a bicycle or tricycle that is equipped with a helper motor that may be self-propelled, which is operated at speeds of less than twenty miles per hour. Electric bicycles operated at speeds of twenty miles an hour or more, but less than twenty-five miles per hour may be registered for legal use on the roadways as mopeds, and above twenty-five miles per hour as a registered moped with an 'M' endorsement on the operator's driving license. However, mopeds in Arizona are prohibited from using bike lanes on motor vehicle roadways. The Arizona statute governing motorized electric bicycles does not prohibit local jurisdictions from adopting an ordinance that further regulates or prohibits the operation of motorized electric bicycles or tricycles.
Arkansas does not define E-bikes. The following definition describes a combustion engine. E-bikes being electric do not have a cylinder capacity and thus this law is not technically applicable. The state defines a "Motorized bicycle" as "a bicycle with an automatic transmission and a motor of less than 50cc." Riders 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. Certificates cannot be issued to riders under 10 years of age.
Electric Bicycles are defined by the California Vehicle Code. In summary, electric bicycles are to be operated like conventional bicycles in California. There are several exceptions to this. A person must be at least 14 years old, and anyone riding an electric bicycle must wear a bicycle helmet. The e-bikes must have an electric motor that has a power output less than 1,000 watts, is incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground, is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour, operates in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or ceases to function when the brakes are applied, or operates in a manner such that the motor is engaged through a switch or mechanism that, when released, will cause the electric motor to disengage or cease to function.
Driver's licenses, registration, insurance and license plate requirements do not apply. An electric bicycle is not a motor vehicle. An electric bicycle may only be operated by a person 14 years of age or older. Drinking and driving laws apply. Motorized bicycles may not be operated on dedicated bicycle paths unless it is within or adjacent to a roadway or unless allowed by local government ordinance. Additional laws or ordinances may apply to the use of electric bicycles by each city or county
Ebike definition in Colorado follows the HR 727 National Law: 20 mph (30 km/h) e-power and 750 W (1 hp) max, 2 or 3 wheels, pedals that work. Legal low-powered ebikes are allowed on roads and bike lanes, and prohibited from using their motors on bike and pedestrian paths, unless overridden by local ordinance. The city of Boulder is the first to have done so, banning ebikes over 400W from bike lanes. Bicycles and Ebikes are disallowed on certain high speed highways and all Interstates unless signed as "Allowed" in certain rural Interstate stretches where the Interstate is the ONLY means of travel.
Regulations appear to deal with Bicycles with helper motors. It is not necessary to register a Bicycle with a "helper motor" with the DMV. There are currently no mandates governing the acceptable speed provided the vehicle has pedals and operates without the use of a gas powered motor. Bicycles with "helper motors" are to be treated as normal Bicycles with regards to municipal traffic laws.
Bicycle includes all vehicles propelled by the person riding the same by foot or hand power or a helper motor;
On October 1, 2008, there were changes in the law that may affect whether you must register your scooter, moped or other motorbike as a motorcycle.
Motor Driven Cycles: If you have a motor scooter, moped or motorbike having a motor that produces 5 brake horsepower or less (or 3.7 kW or less) and a seat height of at least 26 inches, you may operate it on the roadway without registering it. If the maximum speed of your cycle is less than the speed limit of the road that you are on, you must operate in the right hand lane available for traffic or upon a usable shoulder on the right side of the road unless you are making a left turn. As of October 1, 2008, these vehicles are referred to as “motor driven cycles.”
District of Columbia
Electric-assist and other "motorized bicycles" must be registered and inspected, and must have insurance. The vehicle, which may have two or three wheels, may not exceed 35 miles per hour on level ground and may not have an engine which exceed 1.5 brake horsepower. Wheels must be at least 16 inches in diameter. The driver must be licensed and at be least 18 years old. DC law prohibits motorized bicycles from traveling anywhere a car would be prohibited. DC Regulation 18-1201.18 provides: "Except as otherwise permitted for a motor vehicle, no person shall operate a motorized bicycle on any sidewalk or any off-street bikepath or bicycle route within the District. This prohibition shall apply even though the motorized bicycle is being operated solely by human power." So, if cars are prohibited in a particular place, motor-assisted bikes are also prohibited.
Florida DMV Procedure RS-61 II. "(B.) Dirt bikes noted for off road use, motorized bicycles and Go-Peds are not registered." 
Electric Helper-Motor Bicycles
If you are at least 16 years old, a person may ride a bicycle that is propelled by a combination of human power (pedals) and an electric helper-motor that cannot go faster than 20 mph on level ground without a driver license.
Motorized Bicycles and Motorized Scooters
Under Title 23, Chapter 316 of the code, bicycles and motorized bicycles are defined as follows: Bicycle—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle. Motorized Scooter—Any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
In addition to the statutory language, there are several judicial rulings on the subject.
Georgia Code 40-1-1 Part 15.5 (15.5) 'Electric assisted bicycle' means a device with two or three wheels which has a saddle and fully operative pedals for human propulsion and also has an electric motor. For such a device to be considered an electric assisted bicycle, it shall meet the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as set forth in 49 C.F.R. Section 571, et seq., and shall operate in such a manner that the electric motor disengages or ceases to function when the brakes are applied. The electric motor in an electric assisted bicycle shall:
(A) Have a power output of not more than 1,000 watts;
(B) Be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground; and
(C) Be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device at or more than 20 miles per hour.
An electric bicycle in Hawaii is considered an illegal motorized vehicle. However, an electric "Moped" that complies with federal motor vehicle safety standards and which meets the definition of a moped under the statute is legal. All electric bicycles are illegal motorized vehicles under state law, however federal law HR 727 requires states to regulate low-powered electric bicycles as they would ordinary bicycles without motors. HR 727 states that a low-powered electric bicycle has "an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph." This federal law "shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements" according to govtrack.us.
"Bicycle" means every vehicle "propelled solely by human power" upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any vehicle generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels except a toy bicycle. 
"Moped" means a device upon which a person may ride which has two or three wheels in contact with the ground, a motor having a maximum power output capability measured at the motor output shaft, in accordance with the Society of Automotive Engineers standards, of two horsepower (one thousand four hundred ninety -two watts) or less and, if it is a combustion engine, a maximum piston or rotor displacement of 3.05 cubic inches (fifty cubic centimeters) and which will propel the moped, unassisted, on a level surface at a maximum speed no greater than thirty miles per hour; and a direct or automatic power drive system which requires no clutch or gear shift operation by the moped driver after the drive system is engaged with the power unit.
Under the statute, mopeds must be registered. To be registered under Hawaii law a moped must bear a certification label from the manufacturer stating that it complies with federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS). A moped must also possess the following equipment approved by the D.O.T. under Chapter 91: approved braking, fuel, and exhaust system components; approved steering system and handlebars; wheel rims; fenders; a guard or protective covering for drive belts, chains and rotating components; seat or saddle; lamps and reflectors; equipment controls; speedometer; retracting support stand; horn; and identification markings.
(625 ILCS 5/11‑1516)
- Sec. 11‑1516. Low‑speed bicycles.
- (a) A person may operate a low‑speed electric bicycle or low‑speed gas bicycle only if the person is at least 16 years of age.
- (b) A person may not operate a low‑speed electric bicycle or low‑speed gas bicycle at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour upon any highway, street, or roadway.
- (c) A person may not operate a low‑speed electric bicycle or low‑speed gas bicycle on a sidewalk.
- (d) Except as otherwise provided in this Section, the provisions of this Article XV that apply to bicycles also apply to low‑speed electric bicycles and low‑speed gas bicycles.
(Source: P.A. 96‑125, eff. 1‑1‑10.)
A motorized pedalcycle requires a driver's license and is limited to 2 horsepower and 30 MPH over a 1 mile stretch.
In 2006 a bill was passed that changed the definition of a bicycle to include a bicycle that has an electric motor of less than 1 hp (750 watts). The new definition, found in Iowa Code section 321.1(40)c states:
"Bicycle" means either of the following: (1) A device having two wheels and having at least one saddle or seat for the use of a rider which is propelled by human power. (2) A device having two or three wheels with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (one horsepower), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden, is less than 20 miles per hour.
Electric bicycle fits under the definition of "moped" under Kentucky law. You don't need tag or insurance, but you need a driver's license. "Moped" means either a motorized bicycle whose frame design may include one (1) or more horizontal crossbars supporting a fuel tank so long as it also has pedals, or a motorized bicycle with a step-through type frame which may or may not have pedals rated no more than two (2) brake horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty (50) cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission not requiring clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged, and capable of a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour Helmets are required.
Louisiana Revised Statute R.S. 32:1(41) defines a motorized bicycle as a pedal bicycle which may be propelled by human power or helper motor, or by both, with a motor rated no more than one and one-half brake horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and which produces a maximum design speed of no more than twenty-five miles per hour on a flat surface. Motorized bicycles falling within this definition must be registered and titled under Louisiana law. Additionally, a motorized bicycle operated upon Louisiana roadways or highways by a person fifteen years of age or older and producing more than five horsepower must possesses a valid driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement and adhere to laws governing the operation of a motorcycle, including the wearing of approved eye protectors or a windshield and the wearing of a helmet. The statute also states that "Motorized bicycles such as pocket bikes and scooters that do not meet the requirements of this policy shall not be registered."
As R.S. 32:1(41) refers to motorized bicycles using "an automatic transmission" with helper motors rated in horsepower and cylinder capacity, not by watts or volts, the statute arguably does not cover bicycles powered by an electric motor(s), whether self-propelled or pedal-assist designs.
Maryland generally classifies an electric bicycle as a moped. "Moped" means a bicycle that: (1) Is designed to be operated by human power with the assistance of a motor; (2) Is equipped with pedals that mechanically drive the rear wheel or wheels; (3) Has two or three wheels, of which one is more than 14 inches in diameter; and (4) Has a motor with a rating of 1.5 brake horsepower or less and, if the motor is an internal combustion engine, a capacity of 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement or less. (§11-134.1 of the Maryland Transportation Code)
Mopeds are specifically excluded from the definition of "motor vehicle" per § 11-135 of the Maryland Transportation Code.
Effective October 1, 2012, mopeds and motor scooters are required to be titled and display a decal in Maryland. In addition, operators of the vehicles are required to possess a valid license or moped permit, carry proof of insurance, and wear a protective head and eye device.(Department of Transportation) A drivers license from Maryland or another state, or a moped operator's permit is required. Parental consent is required to obtain a moped operator's permit for operators under age 18.
Mopeds may not be operated sidewalks, trails, roadways with posted speeds in excess of 50 mph, or limited-access highways.
Standard requirements for bicycle lighting, acceptable bicycle parking locations, and prohibitions on wearing earplugs or headsets over both ears apply.
Massachusetts General Laws define three classes of motorized two-wheeled vehicles: Motorcycle, Motorized bicycle, and Motorized scooter. Although the definition of motorized scooter includes two-wheeled vehicles propelled by electric motors with or without human power, motorized scooter specifically excludes anything which falls under the definitions of motorized bicycle and motorcycle. Motorized bicycle is a pedal bicycle which has a helper motor, or a non-pedal bicycle which has a motor, with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and which is capable of a maximum speed of no more than thirty miles per hour. Motorcycle includes any bicycle with a motor or driving wheel attached, with the exception of vehicles that fall under the specific definition of motorized bicycle. Thus, a pedal bicycle with an electric motor or a non-pedal bicycle with an electric motor, automatic transmission, and maximum speed of 30 miles an hour would fall under the definition of motorized bicycle. An electric bicycle that did not meet those restrictions would be either a motorized scooter or motorcycle, depending on specific characteristics.
A motorized bicycle shall not be operated by any person under sixteen years of age, nor at a speed in excess of twenty-five miles per hour, upon any public highway, private way laid out under authority of statute, way dedicated to public use, or way under the control of park commissioners or body having like powers, within the commonwealth . A motorized bicycle shall not be operated on any way by any person not possessing a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit. Every person operating a motorized bicycle upon a way shall have the right to use all public ways in the commonwealth except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted, and shall be subject to the traffic laws and regulations of the commonwealth and the regulations contained in this section, except that the motorized bicycle operator may keep to the right when passing a motor vehicle which is moving in the travel lane of the way, and the motorized bicycle operator shall signal by either hand his intention to stop or turn. Motorized bicycles may be operated on bicycle lanes adjacent to the various ways, but shall be excluded from off-street recreational bicycle paths. Every person operating a motorized bicycle or riding as a passenger on a motorized bicycle shall wear protective headgear conforming with such minimum standards of construction and performance as the registrar may prescribe, and no person operating a motorized bicycle shall permit any other person to ride a passenger on such motorized bicycle unless such passenger is wearing such protective headgear.
Rose Heyer and Josie Tabor of Dept Tech, Department of State Information Center, the Secretary of State and the office of Rock and Borgelt, P.C., Attorneys at Law, Dearborn Heights, Michigan, determined electric bicycles are considered mopeds and need to be registered and licensed. In order to operate an electric bicycle on public streets, the driver must have a valid operator, chauffeur, or special moped license. However, not all electric bicycles are street legal unless they have the following safety equipment: operating brake light, headlight, and turn signals. The local police department must inspect the bicycle using Form TR-54 which is taken with proof of purchase to the Secretary of State's Office. The fee for the plate is $15 for a three year decal, whereas the fine for no decal is $150 per incident.
Electric-assisted bicycles, also referred to as “e-bikes,” are a subset of bicycles that are equipped with a small attached motor. To be classified as an “electric-assisted bicycle” in Minnesota, the bicycle must have a saddle and operable pedals, two or three wheels, and an electric motor of up to 1,000 watts, as well as meet certain federal motor vehicle safety standards. The motor must disengage during braking and have a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour (whether assisted by human power or not). Minn. Stat. §169.011, subd. 27.
Legislative changes in 2012 significantly altered the classification and regulatory structure for e-bikes. The general effect was to establish electric-assisted bicycles as a subset of bicycles and regulate e-bikes in roughly the same manner as bicycles instead of other motorized devices with two (or three) wheels. Laws 2012, ch. 287, art. 3, §§ 15-17, 21, 23-26, 30, 32-33, and 41. The 2012 Legislature also modified and clarified regulation of e-bikes on bike paths and trails. Laws 2012, ch. 287, art. 4, §§ 1-4, 20.
Following the 2012 change, electric-assisted bicycles are regulated similarly to other bicycles. Most of the same laws apply. Minn. Stat. § §169.011, subd. 27; 169.222.
The bicycle does not need to be registered, and a title is no longer necessary. Minn. Stat. §§ 168.012, subd. 2d;168A.03, subd. 1 clause(11)
A license plate is no longer required to be displayed on the rear. See Minn. Stat. § 169.79, subd. 3. It is not subject to motor vehicle sales tax (the general sales tax would instead be owed on e-bike purchases).
A driver’s license or permit is not required. Unlike a nonpowered bicycle, the minimum operator age is 15 years old. Minn. Stat. § 169.222, subd. 6a.
The device does not need to be insured. See Minn. Stat. § 65B.43, subds. 2, 13.
Electric-assisted bicycle operators must follow the same traffic laws as operators of motor vehicles (except those that by their nature would not be relevant). The bicycles may be operated two abreast. Operators must generally ride as close as is practical to the right-hand side of the road (exceptions include when overtaking another vehicle, preparing for a left turn, and to avoid unsafe conditions). The bicycle must be ridden within a single lane. Travel on the shoulder of a road must be in the same direction as the direction of adjacent traffic.
Some prohibitions also apply, such as on: carrying cargo that prevents keeping at least one hand on the handlebars or prevents proper use of brakes, riding no more than two abreast on a roadway or shoulder, and attaching the bicycle to another vehicle. Minn. Stat. § 169.222, subds. 3-5. The vehicles may be operated on a sidewalk except in a business district or when prohibited by a local unit of government, and must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk. Minn. Stat. § 169.223, subd. 3. By default, electric-assisted bicycles are allowed on road shoulders as well as on bicycle trails, bicycle paths, and bicycle lanes.
A local unit of government having jurisdiction over a road or bikeway (including the Department of Natural Resources in the case of state bike trails) is authorized to restrict e-bike use if: the use is not consistent with the safety or general welfare of others; or the restriction is necessary to meet the terms of any legal agreements concerning the land on which a bikeway has been established.
Electric-assisted bicycles can be parked on a sidewalk unless restricted by local government (although they cannot impede normal movement of pedestrians) and can be parked on streets where parking of other motor vehicles is allowed. Minn. Stat. § 169.222, subd. 9.
During nighttime operation, the bicycle must be equipped with a front headlamp, a rear-facing red reflector, and reflectors on the front and rear of pedals, and the bicycle or rider must have reflective surfaces on each side. Minn. Stat. §169.222, subd. 6. An electric-assisted bicycle can be equipped with a front-facing headlamp that emits a flashing white light, a rear-facing lamp that has a flashing red light, or both. The bicycle can carry studded tires designed for traction (such as in snowy or icy conditions).
Helmets are no longer required for e-bike use.
In Opinion No. 2007-00602 of the Attorney General, Jim Hood clarified that a "bicycle with a motor attached" does not satisfy the definition of "motor vehicle" under Section 63-3-103. He stated that it is up to the authority creating the bike lane to determine if a bicycle with a motor attached can be ridden in bike lanes. No specifications about the motor were made.
In Opinion No. 2011-00095 of the Attorney General, Jim Hood stated that an operator's license, helmet, safety insurance, title, registration, and safety inspection are all not required of bicycles with a motor attached.
Electric bicycles appear to be considered as "motorized bicycles" under Missouri law. (307.180 RSMo).
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has this policy for electric bicycle use on the Katy Trail, the state's longest trail partially funded with federal funds:
- All motorized equipment is prohibited except official and emergency vehicles. Electrically assisted pedal-powered bicycles and tricycles (maximum speed of 20 mph) as well as electrically powered-mobility devices for persons with disabilities such as motorized wheelchairs and scooters are allowed.
Electric bicycles are considered as "bicycles" under Montana law as the law defines bicycles in a two part definition where the first part of the definition describes a conventional bicycle propelled solely by human power and the second part of the definition describes a bicycle equipped with an independent power source for propulsion in addition to foot pedals to permit muscular propulsion. (Montana Code 61-8-102).
61-8-102.(2)(b) "Bicycle" means:
(i) a vehicle propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride and that has two tandem wheels and a seat height of more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is raised to its highest position, except scooters and similar devices; or
(ii) a vehicle equipped with two or three wheels, foot pedals to permit muscular propulsion, and an independent power source providing a maximum of 2 brake horsepower. If a combustion engine is used, the maximum piston or rotor displacement may not exceed 3.05 cubic inches, 50 centimeters, regardless of the number of chambers in the power source. The power source may not be capable of propelling the device, unassisted, at a speed exceeding 30 miles an hour, 48.28 kilometers an hour, on a level surface. The device must be equipped with a power drive system that functions directly or automatically only and does not require clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged.
It should be noted that the definition as written does not define the power of the motor in Watts as is conventionally done for electric bicycles but rather in brake horsepower. Thus for an electric bicycle, motor kit, or electric bicycle motor that is not rated by the manufacture in brake horsepower but rather in Watts a conversion must be made in the units a conversion which is not given in the code of the law and thus the court will have to consider a factor of conversion that is not directly encoded in the law. Industry standard conversion for Watts to horsepower for electric motors is 1 horsepower = 746 watts. Acceptance of that conversion factor from industry, however, as interpretation of the law is subject to the process of the courts since it is not defined specifically in the law.
In addition the specific wording of the law may or may not prohibit the use of a "mid-drive" or "crank-drive" motor set-up where the motor drives the rear wheel of the bicycle through the existing chain drive of a bicycle that has multiple gears depending on several points of interpretation of the law. Specifically the interpretation of the wording, "does not require clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged". A "mid-drive" or "crank-drive" motor set-up on an electric bicycle does indeed allow the operator to change gears in the power drive system between the motor and the rear wheel of the bicycle. Whether or not such a mechanism which allows the operator to change gears satisfies the wording that requires the operator to change gears is a matter of legal interpretation by the courts. Just as "shall issue" and "may issue" (as in laws governing the issuing licenses) in application of the law have two different meanings (in the first case if you meet the requirements they have to give you the license and in the second they don't have to if they decide not to even if you meet the requirements for the license) whether or not "does not require shifting" outlaws electric bicycles where shifting is possible but is not necessarily required is a matter of interpretation. Thus the legality of electric bicycles equipped with a "mid-drive" or "crank-drive" motor set-up in the U.S. state of Montana is not clearly defined.
Nebraska defines a Moped as "a bicycle with fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, an automatic transmission, and a motor with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters which produces no more than two brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the bicycle at a maximum design speed of no more than thirty miles per hour on level ground." http://www.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=60-122&print=true
As of May 19, 2009, Nevada amended its state transportation laws to explicitly permit electric bicycles to use any "trail or pedestrian walkway" intended for use with bicycles and constructed with federal funding, and otherwise generally permits electric bicycles to be operated in cases where a regular bicycle could be. An electric bicycle is defined as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals with an electric motor producing up to 1 gross brake horsepower and up to 750 watts final output, and with a maximum speed of up to 20 miles per hour on flat ground with a 170 pound rider when powered only by that engine. (AB441, amending NRS 480, 482 and other sections)
Under New Jersey law a motorized bicycle is "a pedal bicycle having a helper motor characterized in that either the maximum piston displacement is less than 50 cc, the motor is rated at no more than 1.5 brake horsepower, or it is powered by an electric drive motor and the bicycle is capable of a maximum speed of no more than 25 miles per hour on a flat surface." This would include E-bikes, meaning they must be titled and registered. However, only Mopeds approved by Motor Vehicle Services can be titled and registered.
When last checked, no E-bikes satisfied this requirement, so ebikes cannot be registered in New Jersey. However, NJ Bill A2581, introduced March 22, 2010, would permit the use of low-speed electric bicycles upon the roadways and bicycle paths in NJ, where a low-speed electric bicycle is defined as a two-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals for human propulsion and an electric motor of less than 100 pounds and 750 watts, whose maximum speed on a paved level surface is less than 20 miles per hour. The bill has been referred to the state's Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee. But this is allowed on streets and sidewalks if under 20 mph.
Electric bicycles are unregulated in New York State at the state level, so the Federal definition of ebikes applies. While there are NY DMV laws banning "motor-assisted bicycles" per nys dmv technical services 518 474-5282, they do not apply because by the federal definition of an ebike it is not considered a "motor vehicle". These DMV laws predate the federal definition and were probably intended to regulate gasoline-powered bicycles. There is a proposed bill to explicitly define ebikes at the state level, Bill S00390A ("Defines the term electric assisted bicycle") and its corresponding Bill A01618. The NYS definition of ebikes in this bill is almost exactly the same as the Federal definition that currently applies.
As long as the electric bicycle meets three criteria it is considered a low-speed electric bicycle, or simply a "bicycle." First, it must travel less than 20 mph on flat ground without pedaling. Second, the bicycle must have functional pedals and finally the motor must be less than 750 watts. This is the same criteria as Federal Public Law 107-319.
A low-speed electric bicycle does not require registration, insurance, license plates (tags), or a driver's license. The rules of an electric bicycle are the same as a traditional bicycle.
There is some confusion caused by Ohio interchanging the word Moped with "motorized bicycle." If a dealer sells you a bike that follows the guidelines of Federal Public Law 107-319, then you have a bicycle. If the bike has no pedals or has a higher wattage motor than 750 watts or can travel faster than 20 mph it is classified as a moped or scooter; Ohio requires tags and registration for mopeds and scooters.
Oregon Law (ORS 801.258) defines an electric assisted bicycle as an electric motor-driven vehicle equipped with operable pedals, a seat or saddle for the rider, no more than three wheels in contact during travel. In addition, the vehicle must be equipped with an electric motor that is capable of applying a power output of no greater than 1,000 watts, and that is incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour on level ground.
In general, electric bicycles are considered "bicycles", rather than motor vehicles, for purposes of the code. This implies that all bicycle regulations apply to electric bicycles including operation in bike lanes. Exceptions to this include a restriction of operation on sidewalks and that a license or permit is required if the rider is younger than 17 years of age(ORS 814.405 and 814.410).
State law defines a motorized pedalcycle as a motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals, a motor rated at no more than 1.5 brake horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and a maximum design speed of no more than 25 miles per hour. Subchapter J of Publication 45 spells out the vehicle requirements in full.
The definition was clearly written with gasoline-powered pedalcycles in mind. The requirement of an automatic transmission is troublesome for those who just want to add an electric-assist motor to a bicycle, for almost all bicycles have transmissions consisting of chains and manually shifted sprockets. The registration form asks for a VIN, making it difficult to register some foreign-made ebikes. The fine for riding an unregistered electric bike is approximately $160.00 per event as of 2007.
On February 4, 2014, SB997 was introduced by Senator Matt Smith, which seeks to amend PA Vehicle Code to include "Pedalcycle with Electric Assist." In a memo addressed to all senate members, Smith said the definition shall include "bicycles equipped with an electric motor not exceeding 750 watts, weighing not more than 100 pounds, are capable of a maximum speed of not more than 20 mph, and have operable pedals."
Tennessee has not passed any legislation that specifically defines electric bicycles. The state does regulate 'motorized bicycles'. However, a 'motorized bicycle' under state law is defined as "a vehicle with two (2) or three (3) wheels, an automatic transmission, and a motor with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters (50cc) which produces no more than two (2) brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the vehicle at a maximum design speed of no more than thirty miles per hour (30 mph) on level ground." If the motorized bicycle statute (T.C. 55-8-101) is held by a court not to apply to electric bicycles, this would arguably exempt persons over 16 years of age from the driver's license and mandatory helmet requirements required of operators of motorized bicycles using internal combustion engines.
Under Tennessee law, a 'motorized bicycle' as defined does not have to be registered nor does a certificate of title need to be obtained. An owner may register the vehicle under regulations issued by the Commissioner of Safety. No endorsement is required on a driver license in order to operate a motorized bicycle, thus the motorized bicycle may be operated by anyone with a valid driver license. Goggles, windshields and other special equipment required for motorcycles and motor-driver cycles are not required for operation of a motorized bicycle. However, crash helmets are required regardless of the operator's age. Minors between the ages of 14 and 16 may apply for a restricted license to operate a motorized bicycle, just as they would to operate a motor-driver cycle. For instance, they must take a written test, vision tests and demonstrate their ability to operate the motorized bicycle. The license issued will be restricted to a motorized bicycle only. The license is valid only during daylight hours and within a seven-mile (11 km) radius of the driver's home. Applicants for any type of license less than eighteen (18) years old, must complete a Minor/Teen-age Affidavit and Cancellation form making the parent or legal guardian financially liable for the applicants action.
"Bicycles" and "Electric Bicycles" are legally defined in the Texas Transportation Code Title 7, Chapter 551 entitled "Operation of Bicycles, Mopeds, and Play Vehicles" in Subchapter A, B, C, and D. Under Chapter 541.201 (24), "Electric bicycle" means a bicycle that is (A) designed to be propelled by an electric motor, exclusively or in combination with the application of human power, (B) cannot attain a speed of more than 20 miles per hour without the application of human power, and (C) does not exceed a weight of 100 pounds. The department or a local authority may not prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway that is used primarily by motor vehicles. The department or a local authority may prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway used primarily by pedestrians.
"Medical Exemptions" are also a standard right in the State of Texas for motorcycles & even bicyclists. Through Texas's motorcycle helmet law (bicycle helmet laws from city ordinances), it is only required for those 21 years old or younger to wear a helmet. However, a medical exemption, written by a certified licensed medical physician or licensed chiropractor, which exempts one from wearing a helmet, can be used for bicyclists if helmets are required.
According to Utah Code <http://publicsafety.utah.gov/dld/documents/MotorcyclesandSimilarVehicles9-08.pdf> a motor-driven cycle means:
Electric assisted bicycle – A moped with an electric motor with a power output of not more than 1,000 watts and is not capable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 MPH on level ground, or increasing the speed of the device when human power is used.
A driver license is required to operate a motorized bicycle; however a motorcycle endorsement is not.
"Electric power-assisted bicycle" means a vehicle that travels on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground and is equipped with (i) pedals that allow propulsion by human power and (ii) an electric motor with an input of no more than 1,000 watts that reduces the pedal effort required of the rider. For the purposes of Chapter 8 of this title, an electric power-assisted bicycle shall be a vehicle when operated on a highway.
Every person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, or an animal or driving an animal on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter and shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, unless the context of the provision clearly indicates otherwise.
"Electric-assisted bicycle" means a bicycle with two or three wheels, a saddle, fully operative pedals for human propulsion, and an electric motor. The electric-assisted bicycle's electric motor must have a power output of no more than one thousand watts, be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than twenty miles per hour on level ground, and be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device beyond twenty miles per hour.
No person may drive either a two-wheeled or a three-wheeled motorcycle, or a motor-driven cycle unless such person has a valid driver's license specially endorsed by the director to enable the holder to drive such vehicles. No driver's license is required for operation of an electric-assisted bicycle if the operator is at least sixteen years of age. Persons under sixteen years of age may not operate an electric-assisted bicycle. Persons operating electric-assisted bicycles shall comply with all laws and regulations related to the use of bicycle helmets. Electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters may have access to highways of the state to the same extent as bicycles. Electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters may be operated on a multipurpose trail or bicycle lane, but local jurisdictions may restrict or otherwise limit the access of electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters, and state agencies may regulate the use of motorized foot scooters on facilities and properties under their jurisdiction and control.
See the fact sheet released by Washington State.
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- California department of motorized vehicles
- Colorado memo about ebikes[dead link]
- Complete Connecticut State Law Title 14 Section. 14-286 Through 14-289
- Florida Driver License Information
- Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes :->2006->Ch0316->Section 003 : Online Sunshine
- port saint lucie in florida court ..trying to classifie my eb as an unregisterd motor v | V is for Voltage electric vehicle forum
- PART I
- Iowa Code
- Kentucky law: Sect. 186.010
- Kentucky cycling club law review
- Massachusetts General Laws Motor Vehicles and Aircraft; Definitions
- Massachusetts General Laws Motor Vehicles and Aircraft; Motorized bicycles; operation regulations
- 39:1-1 Words and phrases defined. - New Jersey 39:1-1 Words and phrases defined. - New Jersey Code :: Justia
- State of New Jersey - Motor Vehicle Commission
- http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/A3000/2581_I1.HTM ASSEMBLY, No. 2581 STATE OF NEW JERSEY 214th LEGISLATURE - INTRODUCED MARCH 22, 2010
- New York state law
- New York State DMV's "Frequently Asked Questions" fyi neither the dmv website or state website specified the type of motor
- NY Assembly Bill S00390A
- Oregon DMV Fact Sheet for Mini-Motorbikes/Scooters
- Pennsylvania law
- Tennessee Code 55-8-101 http://michie.lexisnexis.com/tennessee/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp=
- Title 55, Part 3, Section 55-9-302(a): The driver of a motorcycle, motorized bicycle as defined in chapter 8 of this title, or motor-driven cycle and any passenger thereon shall be required to wear a crash helmet of a type approved by the Commissioner of Safety.
- Electric Bicycles in Tennessee
- Texas Transportation Code Sec. 551
- Under Texas law Sec. 541.302, a 'highway' means any publicly maintained way, any part of which is open to the public for vehicular travel.
- Iron Horse Motorcycle Helmets Texas TX State Motorcycle Laws
- Texas Motorcycle Helmet Law
- Mandatory Helmet law
- Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws
- Links to Bicycle Helmet Law Exemptions
- Virginia Law
- WASHINGTON STATE LAWS as of Jan 2005
Advocacy and peer support resources
- LaFree Electric Bicycles community forum
- Electric Bicycles UK community forum
- Dealers of YASH ebike community forum
- V is for Voltage electric bicycle section
- Endless Sphere Technology Electric Bicycle Community Forum(all types, reviews, etc.)
- UK Electric Bike Forum
- Forum for owners of Panasonic-powered electric bikes
- EVFuture, Portal with interesting information and discussions about electric bikes in India
- Electric Bicycles
- Electric bicycle guide - Laws