Anyone shopping for an Ebike knows there’s a great deal of confusion over what is legal on the road, and whether a license is needed to ride the bike or not. That is not helped by local law enforcement agencies who may be confused about the issue themselves.
Ebike Legislation in California and New York is moving forward and proposes to classify Ebikes into three separate types based on their usage:
Class I is a pedal assist bike with a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph which is 5 mph faster than European legislation. This is the most common type of Ebike on the market today.
Class II is a pedal assist bike with a throttle that allows the writer to accelerate the bike without peddling. This is a very common option for Ebike conversion kits on the market today.
Class III is also pedal assisted, however the top speed has a maximum of 28 mph. These are much less common and usually are created by enthusiasts who have modified off the shelf Ebike motors.
A class I or class II Ebike could be written on all roads, bridges, and pathways allowed for non-assisted bikes. There would also be no age, helmet, or license restrictions. It’s unclear at this time what will be required to operate a class III Ebike.
These proposals and legislation were set forth by the bicycle product suppliers Association and PeopleForBikes.
As mentioned earlier, the legislation is progressing and has passed a safe state assembly and is currently entering the State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. Although this current legislation is only for California and New York, Nebraska and Montana have already passed legislation to define E bikes and how they may be operated on public roads.
People for bikes are also lobbying for new ebike legislation in Ohio, Indiana, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, Utah, and Tennessee.