Electric Bike Laws

Electric bikes are popping up all over the road. Since the craze hit so hard, laws are just now catching up to this new form of vehicle. There are several ebike laws that are already in effect. This guide will help you learn about the various electric bike laws that are uniform across the nation. We will also discuss how to look up electric bike laws by state. By the end, you should know everything you need in order to safely operate an electric bike in your area.

What Is The Legal Definition Of An Electric Bike?

The first step to understanding ebike laws is to learn how the government defines an electric bike. In their eyes, an electric bike is any bike that uses a combination of an electric motor and pedals to propel itself forward. The motor typically doesn’t exceed 750 watts of power. Most electric bikes travel between 20 and 30 miles. If your vehicle meets these qualifications, it is governed by e-bike laws.

Are E-Bikes Considered Mopeds?

While an e-bike is not technically considered a moped, it can be subject to the same laws. Many places across the United States don’t have specific electric bike laws in place just yet. In these jurisdictions, an electric bike is liable to be classified as a moped or motorcycle. In places with updated e-bike laws, an electric bike is considered a unique vehicle type. It is always best practice to check your local laws before riding an electric vehicle around town.

What Do I Need To Know Before Purchasing An Electric Bike?

The most important thing to learn before purchasing a ride is the laws specific to your state. You need to know exactly how your local government will see your new vehicle. Electric bikes are also broken down into three different classes. You want to make sure you know every law that pertains to the specific bike class you are considering. It is also worth noting the laws in communities close by. If you ever adventure into another region, you need to be sure you are legally able to ride there as well.

How Do I Check Electric Bike Laws By State?

There are tons of information sources online that can go over different laws. Areas with large e-bike communities will generally have ample info posted in their groups. If you live in an area with fewer riders, you can always go directly to the city hall and ask around. If you still need help, the Bike Law Network has attorneys that specialize in electronic bike laws throughout the country. If they can’t detail your specific state laws, then they can point you to someone who can.

What Are The Different Classes of E-Bikes?

In order to help manufacturers, buyers, and sellers of e-bikes, States have developed a classification system. Every e-bike falls into one of three different classes based on the technical specs of each model.

Class 1

Class 1 electric bicycles have low-speed motors and are always assisted by pedals. The motor only kicks in when the user is engaging the pedals. The motor is supposed to shut off if the bike exceeds a top speed of 20 mph. All of these specifications must be met in order for the bike to be labeled class 1.

Class 2

Class 2 electric bicycles have low-speed motors with throttles enabled. While some class 2 electric bikes still have pedals, most are controlled exclusively by a throttle on the handlebars. The throttle directly controls the speed of the motor. If the bike exceeds 20 mph, the throttle must deactivate on this class of bike. If all of these qualifications are met, the bike is considered class 2.

Class 3

A Class 3 electric bicycle is denoted by a high-speed pedaling system. These efficient pedals activate the motor whenever the user starts kicking. These bikes can reach speeds of 28 mph before the motor has to cut out. If a bike meets these criteria, it is determined to be in class 3.

Why Does The Classification System Help?

A classification system for e-bikes helps the whole industry move forward. It allows lawmakers to draft legislation in a more timely manner. It lets manufacturers know what targets they need to hit in order to be compliant with the law. It also helps consumers know what types of e-bikes are safe to purchase. As electric bikes become more mature, they are able to be regulated just like traditional bikes. This makes the world a much better place for e-bike enthusiasts.

Which States Have Developed The Most Electric Bike Laws?

Several states were quick to adopt e-bike legislation and a classification system. These states tend to be the most friendly to e-bike riders. If you want to live somewhere with a strong electric bike community, these states have you covered.


Cali is one of the first places to adopt an e-bike classification system. There is even a group called CalBike that records information about each classification. You can view which traffic laws pertain to each class of e-bike by visiting their website. People For Bikes have partnered with CalBikes to bring information sheets to both agencies and consumers alike.


Tennessee has worked tirelessly to define e-bikes across the state. They have a robust classification system, labeling requirements, and make all demands of each rider clear. E-bike owners can easily look up all the areas where it is safe to ride throughout the state. The Tennessee Department of Transportation has all of the details posted on its website.


Utah was one of the earliest states to recognize the difference between e-bikes and mopeds. They have a classification system that breaks down each vehicle type. If the legislation continues, Utah’s e-bike community will be just as vibrant as those in California and Tennessee.

Are E-Bikes Allowed At Races And Other Events?

Traditional bike racing has a strict no electric motor policy. However, many smaller local events have begun to accept e-bike racers. It is a great way to bring in a new demographic of riders. This new wave of bike events offers plenty of opportunities for local governments to provide their community with a unique revenue stream. Event organizers work closely with insurance companies to find the best way of holding these races. If you plan on attending any events, make sure your e-bike is allowed before you drive over.

What Happens After An E-Bike Crash When The State Has No E-Bike Laws?

If you crash an e-bike in a state with no legislation, a variety of things can occur. There is much room for debate when there are no predetermined laws. It is hard to pin any blame on an e-bike rider when they are no rules governing their use. This allows many riders to shirk any responsibility for their accident. The best course of action is to meet with an attorney immediately. A licensed professional has the most chance of navigating existing law in a way that benefits you most.