Understand the complex and different e-bike laws in the U.S.

the complex e-bike laws in the U.S.

Over the past decade, the number of e-bikes in the United States has grown significantly, and with it, e-bike laws are also in the limelight.

SAMEBIKE, as a brand focused on e-bikes, has many high-powered models suitable for cross-country and mountain riding.

We are also concerned about the development of e-bike laws, especially in the United States where the audience is quite large.

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    Federal legislation defines e-bikes as those powered by motors alone (“throttle-assisted” e-bikes) and those powered by a combination of motors and human power (“pedal-assisted” e-bikes).

    But state traffic laws and vehicle regulations remain the domain of states and state legislatures.

    Many states have onerous licensing, registration or equipment requirements for e-bikes, and the general trend is to create a three- or four-tier classification system.

    What is a three-tier system of e-bike laws?

    ① Class 1:Electric bike with pedal assist only, no throttle, and a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour.

    ② Class 2: Electric bike with a maximum speed of 20 mph, but with throttle assist.

    ③ Class 3: An electric bike with pedal assist only, no throttle, and a maximum assist speed of 28 mph.

    What is a three-tier system

    Motor power is limited to 750W for all classes.

    As of 2021, there are 36 states across the U.S. that have a Class 3 classification for e-assist bikes (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Formosa, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming), but in terms of specific e-bike laws, these state laws on power, helmets, minimum driving age, and license class are somewhat different.

    There are also currently Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. that do not have a three-tiered classification for e-bikes, but do have other regulations for bicycles or e-bikes, such as in Hawaii.

    E-bikes in Hawaii are classified as light motorcycles, and the law requires e-bikes to be at least 18 years old and licensed, and to wear a helmet while driving.

    Is there an age limit and driver's license requirement for electric driving?

    According to e-bike laws. usually for Class 1 e-bikes, state laws do not overly regulate them, while for Class 2 and 3 e-bikes, the law sets a minimum age for riding, most of which are 14 and older.

    For example, Virginia currently requires you to be 14 to be able to ride alone on the road, while California requires you to be 16 to ride a Class 3 bike.

    Different states have different e-bike laws. Most states do not require the registration of e-bikes, but some do require the registration and payment of e-bikes.

    Is there an age limit and license requirement for electric driving

    As of 2022, the states with mandatory registration requirements for electric bicycles are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Tennessee.

    Electric bikes usually require a rider’s license to be on the road when they are classified as light motorcycles, or when your motor exceeds power and speed limits (regulated as a motor vehicle by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)), and the states that classify electric bikes in the three classes vary.

    Do I need to wear a helmet to ride an electric bike?

    Countries with three levels of classification for electric bicycles basically require Class 3 riders to wear helmets on a mandatory basis.

    Currently, only Alabama and Massachusetts require helmets for all classes and ages of riders, while other states vary by class and age.

    California, for example, requires helmets for all Level 1 & 2 riders under 18, as well as mandatory helmets for Level 3 riders of all ages.

    Do I need to wear a helmet to ride an electric bike

    Switching to a new safety standard

    With the popularity of electric bikes, lithium battery fires are becoming one of the major safety hazards in Europe and the United States. It is important to know the e-bike battery safety.

    The New York City Council is passing legislation to address lithium battery safety by banning the sale and assembly of refurbished or used batteries, and requiring batteries to have a safety certification label before they can be sold.

    The bill was signed into law by New York Mayor Eric Adams and will be implemented 180 days after enactment.

    Government agencies can then impose fines of up to $1,000 per SKU on retailers selling e-bikes or batteries that do not meet the relevant UL standards.

    A fine of up to $1,000 per SKU will be imposed.

    Switching to a new safety standard

    Insurance issues and incentive programs

    There are very few e-bike laws that require electric bicycles to be insured before they are put on the road, but we still recommend that you get a special insurance policy to avoid damage to your property in case of injury.

    There are also states that encourage the purchase and use of e-bikes, whether for environmental improvements or to address traffic congestion, and incentive programs for e-bikes give us hope for the future of e-bikes.

    States that define an electric bike

    For example, California’s nationwide electric bicycle incentive program will launch in the second quarter of this year.

    And as long as they meet the eligibility requirements, they will receive vouchers to purchase electric bicycles designed to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

    Take California e-bike laws, for example.

    Here’s a detailed look at California’s e-bike laws, using the state as an example.

    In this very bike-friendly city, electric bikes are classified as Class III and do not require registration, driver’s license, or insurance, as described below:

    California e-bike laws

    Final words

    It is important to note that due to the changing e-bike laws, some states have their own electric bicycle laws.

    If you need to learn more about local electric bicycle laws and restrictions, you can visit the local official information.

    By keeping abreast of the rules set by state and local governments, manufacturers can tailor marketing strategies and vehicle configurations.

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