Talk:Electric bicycle laws

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Electric bicycle laws:
  1. Add sources from within the text to the bibliography
  2. Error check and correct American State law ensuring there are more clear summaries and fewer large quotes. Add sidewalk column to table.
  3. Repeat above with Canadian provinces.
  4. Repeat again with European Union Signatories.
  5. Update legal references so that they point not to DMV/OMV/BMV but to the appropriate legislative website or a legal host like those listed below in references wherever possible.


Good work finding the laws! I'm however worried that this article may turn into a regurgitation of "laws." Currently it appears we have a lot of "law" sections and subsections quoted. It is my belief that this should be a short summary to direct people into the correct place. For example, I consider myself an expert on Ontario law. I wrote that section. Instead of listing all the traffic offences and traffic regulations (ie.: turn left, turn right, etc...) I simply stated something along the lines of "they must comply to road signal and etc..." I had the same trouble when I first came to write this article and a lot of the information can be found now on wikisource. There is no real need to cite the entire law, not only is this bordering plagiarism, but it bogs down the article. The best thing to do is to summarize in your own words and then add the proper reference. Like I said I've done the same, it can even be found here. And another good support group is EVCO. I trust you will be able to cut some of your wonderful sourcing down. Nevertheless I'll get to it eventually. --CyclePat 14:00, 12 September 2006 (UTC)


There's some misleading information here about regulations in Canada and in BC.

1. The article claims that, for the BC law, "The engine must disengage when the operator stops pedaling". This isn't a requirement of the BC law. Hardly any bikes legally sold in BC have this feature. It is true that there's a clause in the BC law that apparently says this, but it seems to refer only to bikes whose motor is engaged by pedalling. The Canadian regulation is worded more clearly, saying:

"if it is engaged by the use of muscular power, power assistance immediately ceases when the muscular power ceases"

Note that the BC law also restricts the speed of the bike to 32km/h "on level ground without pedalling". This restriction would be nonsensical if the motor could not engage at all without the rider pedalling.

2. Presenting the Canadian and BC laws accurately to readers requires, I believe, pointing out that the laws have been worded very poorly or even inconsistently. The B.C. regulation mentioned above is a case in point.

Another case concerns the Canadian regulation that, "it [the motor] is incapable of providing further assistance when the bicycle attains a speed of 32 km/h on level ground".

At first sight, this appears to be similar to the European regulation, requiring the motor to disengage at 32 km/h (the limit is 25 km/h in Europe). The phrase "is incapable of providing further assistance" suggests that motor shuts off at that speed. But, under that interpretation, the words "on level ground" have no purpose. (There is no mention of level ground in the European regulation.) So the Canadian regulation probably means the same as the BC law, placing a limit to the maximum speed "on level ground without pedalling". In that case it's very poorly worded, however, as the BC law allows a motor to provide assistance above 32 km/h, as long as the rider is pedalling at the time.

BC's 32 km/h restriction is at least unambiguous, but it's also impossible to engineer a bike to comply with it, since the speed of a bicycle depends on many factors. The law seems to assume that the maximum speed of a bike on level ground is determined by the motor power. In fact, the wind speed and direction are critical, as are the size and riding position of the rider, the type of tires, the rider's clothing, etc. Roughly speaking, 32 km/h on level ground corresponds to a 300W power output, but by varying the wind direction, the rider, etc. the maximum speed at 300W could be anything from 15 km/h to 50 km/h or more.

--Richardajohns (talk) 00:41, 9 April 2015 (UTC)Richardajohns

Cleanup needed[edit]

Starting tonight, I'm going to start doing some massive cleanup on this article or attempt to anyway. It has sat here for months and months in this state and it shouldn't stay in this state any longer. Wikipedia is not a regurgitation of source material, which is essentially what this is right now. --Woohookitty(meow) 15:49, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

And what I mean to do is to integrate stuff a bit more and make it into an article. It's a relevant article. But in its current state, it's not even useful. --Woohookitty(meow) 15:57, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
Looks like clean-up is really needed! Extensive quoting, references in the middle versus at end. Fremte 22:42, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Yep. And honestly. We need to summarize the laws, not include the laws themselves. That's for Wikisource. --WoohookittyWoohoo! 05:42, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
I have extensively editted, a work in progress. The endless quotations of mostly irrelevant law or if relevant, just repeats what is elsewhere. The article needs a complete rewrite -- possibly the best thing would be to create a paragraph or two of common legal standard, list jurisdictions with a line that depart from that in minor ways, e.g., 500w versus 1000w, and then a second list of those which don't have laws. Something like this:

Places that allow ebikes

  • Antarctica - except motors up to 800w allowed, helmets not required, mittens required.

Places that don't allow ebikes

  • Antarctica - too cold.

Places that regulate ebikes with other vehicles

  • Antarctica - classifies them with snowmobiles.

:::I hope I don't annoy anybody with my ruthless editting so far. Fremte 01:28, 18 September 2007 (UTC) Fremte 01:28, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

No no. Be ruthless. :-D It's not something that's appropriate for all articles but it is for this one. It's pretty wretched. --WoohookittyWoohoo! 03:32, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

First clean-up round complete[edit]

  • removed excessive quotations
  • formatted references
  • a little bit of tidying of entries

To do[edit]

  • consider rewrite possibly along the lines of my Antarctica example above. A bigger job. Anyone can suggest anything else too please! Or help!!

Fremte 16:37, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

I tried to edit the clean-up banner - didn't seem right so undid it. Maybe too much trouble to figure out. Fremte 16:44, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
Second Round needed[edit]

I have been reviewing this article on and off for a few months. After a fair amount of research, I have located most of the Federal laws referred to as well as all pertinent state laws for LA, NJ, FL, and AL. That said, many of the interpretations presented in this article are wrong. I think to improve this article, where the US is concerned, we could do a few things.

  • delete all mentions of federal law from the state entries.
  • straighten and clarify the Federal Laws sections.
  • update legal references so that they point not to DMV/OMV/BMV but to the appropriate state's legislative website or a legal host like or Municode
  • carefully read though and correct older inaccurate legal entries

I will hopefully have some time in the up-coming week to help with this. If not I'll do a little here and there as I can.Executorvs (talk) 08:02, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

CA Law[edit]

Are e-bikes legal on CA off-road bike trails? 15:27, 24 April 2007 (UTC)


Err, any idea why Finland is mentioned (and a citation is neened)? Finland is a part of EU, so of course the 250W / 25 km/h rules apply here too. (talk) 15:23, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Finland deviates from the EU where age of use is concerned. I can't remember the specifics right now but will do something about it later. Executorvs (talk) 02:01, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Misleading information for US laws[edit]

The conflicting state entries, particularly Pennsylvania, are misleading because Public Law 107-319/HR 727 was signed into law in December, 2002. This law transfers jurisdiction over low-speed electric bikes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which already regulates consumer products such as bicycles. The law defines a low-speed electric bicycle as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 horsepower) and a maximum speed of 20 mph when ridden by an operator weighing 170 lbs. Further, the law clarifies that a low speed electric bicycle shall not be considered a motor vehicle, and therefore is not subject to motor vehicle safety standards and enforcement, but shall be subject to CPSC regulations. Under the law, CPSC has authority to promulgate new or additional regulations for such products. Finally,and most important to this point, the law supercedes any existing State laws that may be more stringent than the federal guidelines for such products. If you have questions about this issue, contact the Electric Drive Transportation Association in Washington, DC at 202.508-5995. (talk) 01:46, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

You are correct, but only to a point; CPSC regulations have no bearing on home-built power-assist/electric bicycles. Further, I can find absolutely no references to any NHTSA regulations - did/does anything exist? Erth64net (talk) 20:06, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
A distinction worth noting: CPSC has exclusive jurisdiction over electric bicycles as to consumer product regulations, but this does not change state regulation of the use of electric bicycles on streets and highways. This is little different from CPSC's long-standing regulation requiring a specific set of reflectors for night-time conspicuity of bicycles. Those reflectors are mandated by CPSC on bicycles sold as a consumer product, but complying with those regulations does not make a bicycle legal to operate in any particular state. States retain the power to regulate traffic, whether motorized or non-motorized, and most states do impose requirements beyond those CPSC imposes at the point of sale. CPSC regulations under the Consumer Product Safety Act have no bearing on traffic regulations under state vehicle codes.

Jmputnam (talk) 19:28, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Each city government spends million on building and maintaining roads for automobiles, what reason(s) there is no law passed to build roads or set aside safe space surfaces for bicycles that bicyclers can reach or shop? Simply drawing lines aside of drive road without fans actually caused a lot of injuries, there should be some new feature adding to the infrastructure. (beancube) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:18, 22 July 2008 (UTC)


The information for Colorado misrepresents The federal law. the entry also has no references to state law. Executorvs (talk) 01:23, 3 March 2009 (UTC)


The listing is correct for electric bicycles considered bicycles by Delaware law. However electric bicycles between 751 and 2000 Watts are considered mopeds under Delaware state law. They must be titled, registered, and operated by a licensed driver. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Federal Law[edit]

A number of statements about the Consumer Product Safety Act were gradually broadened to say that the federal law treats electric bikes as bicycles. The actual citations, however, only relate to the Consumer Product Safety Act, and other federal enabling statutes are silent about electric bikes. Moreover, the CPSA does not actually say that electric bikes will be treated as ordinary bicycles. Rather it provides that the bicycle rules apply to electric bikes as well, but also authorizes additional rules for electric bikes. The CPSC rules define bikes to include electric bikes only for that small section where doing so was mandatory, bot for all CPSC rules and certainly not for purposes of all federal law. I made corrections along those lines. Jimtitus (talk) 03:18, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

E-bikes for Hong Kong[edit]

I came across this article by Googling "ebike legislation" and have found it most useful -- sure glad it hadn't been deleted! I'm researching what goes on in other countries in preparation for seeing if we can't have some rational legislation regarding e-bikes here in Hong Kong, where they would be an environmentally-friendly addition to our transport mix. So... thanks to all those of you who have contributed to this work in progress and be assured, that for me at least, it's been an invaluable resource! (talk) 04:55, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Need to List all medical & religious helmet law exemptions[edit]

It is important to list all medical & religious exemptions in this article, people need to be educated and know what states, cities and countries have these exemptions as they exist:

"Medical Exemptions" are also a standard right in the State of Texas for motorcycles & even bicyclist through Texas's motorcycle helmet law (bicycle helmet laws from city oridances) is only required at 21 years old or younger to wear a helmet but that a medical exemption[1][2][3][4][5][6] written by certified licensed medical phyisican or licensed chiropractor are exempt from Texas's motorycle helmet law which as can be used for bicyclist if helmets are required can be exempt from wearing any helmet.

This sounds like it applies to normal bicycles too, in which case it probably shouldn't be included here. If it were we'd also have a whole load of other traffic laws for cyclists. Kallog (talk) 23:43, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm just wondering[edit]

If this article will ever be cleaned up. It's not really much better than where it started. --WoohookittyWoohoo! 10:36, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Perhaps we should follow the suggestion in "Misleading information for US state laws" and simply delete all the US state sections entirely. Perhaps that'll motivate someone to add any special cases that may occur. I don't know enough about those laws and which ones override which to decide this myself. Kallog (talk) 23:41, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

This is a very usaful article!

-_- —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dongleister (talkcontribs) 06:05, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

I would like to see more information about the legality of ebikes on trails. I have been looking all over for such information to little avail. It seems that most of the rules are for ebikes on roads. I'd like to include some information about the legality of ebike trail use on trailsnet but can't seem to find such information.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:32, 12 December 2011 (UTC) 

references for research and inclusion[edit]


It may make more sense to split this article into separate articles for the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, etc. Doc Quintana (talk) 15:12, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

I would argue against a split because it would lead to many stubs. As it stands this is a topic of limited breadth in any single locality. Also, a single article is easier to reference and search. Cleaning this article would go a long way towards fixing many of the issues in length. Executorvs (talk) 04:22, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Disagree Essential to have an international overview to compare with the arcane and bizarre lists of backwards US regulations (Just speaking as a US resident here!)--Lfrankbalm (talk) 21:46, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Removal of cleanup tag - October 20, 2010[edit]

The current version of this article is markedly different from the version tagged for cleanup in November 2006. The style and content appear to have been 'significantly' improved, and in-line citations have been tediously inserted. I feel the current state of the article generally complies with the WP: List of Guidelines, and so I have removed the cleanup tag.

-Idunno271828 (Talk | contribs) 01:40, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

ToC too long – remove US states?[edit]

Is it possible to remove all the US states from the table of contents? In my opinion the ToC is too verbose. Bjornte (talk) 10:31, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

NYS Law Corrected to Fact[edit]

The NYS law section was totally incorrect as written.. These bikes are actively being sold and operated. The reality in NYS is that these bikes are legal to sell under federal regulation and expressly illegal to operate on NYS roads. No ambiguity exists whatsoever with sources cited. --Lfrankbalm (talk) 21:47, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

NYS Law Corrected to Fact Again[edit]

No ambiguity exists in regards to NYS law. In this case, Federal law does not trump or replace NYS law. 1) Federal law is dissimilar to NYS law 2) Federal law pertains to consumer protection only 3) NYS law relates to legality of road use within the state. 4) You can buy an electric bicycle in NYS but you cannot legally operate it on NYS roads even if it conforms to the directives established in Federal regulation. Bias to wishful thinking: does not change fact, so please do not change this entry based on perception. The citation of NYS law, is explicit and no ambiguity exists whatsoever. NONE!--Lfrankbalm (talk) 21:52, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

The following is an opinion piece, but it does properly clarify the law;

"The other problem is that these federal regulations only affect the manufacture and first sale of these devices, not where, when, how, who and under what other conditions (age limits, licenses, insurance, registration etc.) they can be operated. The federal law has no “preemptive effect” over such state laws.

These issues have always traditionally been regulated by state laws and in some cases even county and city laws. This is also true for cars, trucks and traditional non-powered bikes. CPSC mandates how bicycles must be tested and sold and what standards bicycle helmets must meet in their testing and construction but it does not mandate that riders must use the helmets while riding bicycles. That is left up to states or cities to regulate. The same was true for bicycle headlights and tail lights. CPSC does not require them on bikes but most state laws do if riding on road at night. This issue was hotly contested in a serious injury case some years back."[7]--Lfrankbalm (talk) 22:03, 29 October 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lfrankbalm (talkcontribs)

NYS Bicycle Law Corrected to Fact Once Again.[edit]

It must be cognitive dissonance, vested interest, or plain old stupidity. NYS law could not be much clearer! These bicycles are being sold, but they are quite illegal to operate. $3,000 fines in NYC would be a clue. --Star Log, Lfrankblam, Kirk Out (talk) 03:02, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

NYS Semi Protection Requested to the following.[edit]

I have requested that the NYS portion of this article be semi-protected. It is very important that Wikipedia readers get factual information.

New York State (NYS) includes "motor-assisted bicycles" within its list of vehicles which cannot be operated on sidewalks, streets, or highways.[8]

Several bills have been sponsored to legalize electric bicycles for use on NYS roads, and several have overwhelmingly passed at the committee level, but none of these initiatives has been able to be heard and then passed in the New York State Senate. The latest bill S390A, "An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the definition of electric assisted bicycle. Clarifying the vehicle and traffic law to define electric assisted bicycles; establish that electric assisted bicycles, as defined, are bicycles, not motor vehicles; and establish safety and operational criteria for their use." has passed the Senate Transportation committee but most likely will not be heard on the floor of the Senate.[9]

The New York Bicycle Coalition has supported efforts to define electric bicycles in New York State,[10] but has so far been unable to win Legislative passage. New York City has repeatedly drawn media attention for its enforcement of a ban on electric bicycles in certain neighborhoods,[11] with fines of up to $3,000.[12]--Star Log, Lfrankblam, Kirk Out (talk) 14:53, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Fact is stated over and over again if you read the talk here;

CPSC has exclusive jurisdiction over electric bicycles as to consumer product regulations, but this does not change state regulation of the use of electric bicycles on streets and highways.--Star Log, Lfrankblam, Kirk Out (talk) 14:55, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

New York. Editorialization - Obscurification of Fact[edit]

Opinion does not trump fact David Henshaw and Richard Peace, authors of Electric Bicycles[13] write that “...New York State does not--in theory--allow electric bikes on state and city roads, but in practice they are without any practical problems or much attention from the police. A move was made to amend state law in line with the reality of electric bike use, but the senator proposing the amendment died and the impetus was lost.”

-The problem with the above quotation is as follows: "NYS does not in theory" --- The factual truth is that NYS does NOT allow them legally to operate.
-The latest bill in question simply died after being passed by committee. there are many bills.

Furthermore, “The reason for the apparently confused legal state of affairs is that in many states electric bikes appear to be caught unwittingly by legislation aimed at either cycles fitted with small petrol engines or small mopeds.”

-The legal state of affairs is not confused.
-Danger to replace fact with opinion.

--Lfrankblam (talk) 17:24, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

Seems to me there are two facts that deserve mention. The law as it is written is one fact. It is also a fact that in practice NYS does not enforce ebike laws. Opinion might come into it if we try to say why the laws are not enforced, so certainly let's leave out opinion. But enforcement is a very practical fact that readers need to know. We should add back the quotes from the book Electric Bicycles. They conform to Wikipedia's requirements for a reliable source: "books published by respected publishing houses", "author is an established expert", "sources that directly support the information presented in the article".

Lclarkberg (talk) 00:55, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

The law, as it is written, is factual and not subject to interpretation. Pending NYS legislation speaks to that issue.

In RE: NYS does not enforce ebike laws. They are enforced with $3000 fines! DMV expressly states the fact regarding the law and there are articles which support that fact that people are getting multi-thousand dollar tickets as well. FACT![14][15][16][17]

There are many people with vested interests "mis-interpreting something which is definitive." Someone researching on Wikipedia is entitled to the correct information, not ignorance and bias.. "Electric Bicycles" fits into the category of vested interest.

Are you arguing for ignorance? Would you like someone to get a $3000 ticket, arrested, or their property confiscated because they relied on Wikipedia to their detriment? Sorry judge, "I read that the law was not enforced in Wikipeida because it quoted some fellow selling electric bicycles."

When fact is available and clear you use fact, rather than bias.

As to selective sourcing; Almost any source can be found (or referenced {or mis-referenced} in such as way as to present a desirably predetermined conclusion). In this case the wrong conclusion creates confusion which is exactly which is what someone selling something legal to sell but illegal to operate would like you to have.

It would be more advantageous to tell the truth and work to change a repressive law, and that is my opinion on this matter.

Lfrankblam (talk) 20:00, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

Size of article[edit]

Pagesize says: 749Kb. Perhaps this article is to long, and should be shortened by putting the details of US law and perhaps other countries to main articles of their own, with a brief mention here. What do others think?


  1. ^ "Iron Horse Helmets - Your Motorcycle Helmets Source". Retrieved 15 September 2016. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws". Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  5. ^ "Links to Bicycle Helmet Law Exemptions". 2015-04-28. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  6. ^ "Texas Department of Public Safety - Courtesy, Service, Protection". Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  7. ^ "Legal analysis: Confusion over electric bike regulations | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News". Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  8. ^ "Motorized devices that cannot be registered in New York | New York State DMV". 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  9. ^ "NY State Senate Bill S390A". Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  10. ^ "Works to Clarify Legality of Electric Bicycles in New York". NYBC. 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  11. ^ "NYC DOT - Bicyclists - Commercial Bicycling". 2013-04-23. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  12. ^ Goff, Liz (2014-02-19). "Reminder: Electric Bikes Illegal, Carry $3G Fine | | Queens Gazette". Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  13. ^ "All you need to know about electric bikes in one book!". 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  14. ^ "New York City Clamps Down on Electric Bikes". Electricbike.Com. 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  15. ^ "Why is Riding an Electric Bike Illegal in New York City? | Inhabitat New York City". Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  16. ^ <%= data.time %> <%= data.meridian %> (2014-03-13). "Electric Bike Ban Roils Restaurant Workers". WNYC. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  17. ^ "Image: Smart ebike electric bicycle, size: 1024 x 768, type: gif, posted on: May 8, 2012, 1:52 am". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 

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