As the sales of electric bikes are skyrocketing, more and more riders in the US have come to understand the definitions and the 3 basic classifications of ebikes. Right now, Washington DC and other 50 states have defined what electric bikes are. However, not all those definitions and rules are the same in America. According to a survey, there are totally 36 states categorizing electric bikes into 3 classes, while other states regard electric bikes as regular and standard bikes which come without motors. This categorization is called “non-tiered” as well. Usually, legislators in each state will primarily concentrate on the classification like whether those electric bikes for adults are taken as scooters, mopeds or traditional bicycles. Thus, if you are planning to purchase an electric bicycle, it is absolutely necessary for you to understand all about the electric bike laws by state , for they are changing as time goes by.
3 Class Classification
This category is known to most riders. Totally, in the whole US, there are 36 states that employ this category for ebikes, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, etc. For the rest of them, you can check your electric bike laws by state.
There is a growing number of states in the United States that are starting to accept a different way of categorization. Simply, 3 classes means that there is class 1, 2, 3 for electric bicycles. If you are riders who prefer an easy and relaxing riding experience, you can get the best of class 1 and 2 electric bikes. As for the class 3 ebikes, you may use it when you are riding off-road or on those bumpy roads. Usually, they can take the place of motorcycles and mopeds.
This 3-class category is created because ebikes can be various in terms of many aspects like their power, models, etc. For those 36 states that apply to this classification, they can treat electric bikes almost in the same and similar way.
Except for the 36 states, there are 14 US states that make use of quite special rules to categorize electric bikes, abandoning the 3-class category. Also, it could be diverse among the 14 states. For example, in New Mexico, people just regard electric bikes as traditional non-powered bikes, however, in Massachusetts, there is no so-called ebike classification, but some necessary electric bike laws by state for riders still exist. Therefore, if you inhabit these states, you have to have a good understanding of electric bike laws by state before taking your ride. I will list the non-tiered states below and give you some tips.
In Alaska, electric bikes are regarded as motor-driven cycles, and riders are asked to get a license before going for that ride, but they are not required to register or pay for insurance. Also, helmets are not mandatory, but electric bikes are limited to those aged above 14. Ebikes are not allowed on bike trails.
Delaware has treated ebikes as regular bikes only if they can go up to a maximum speed of 20mph and have pedals and motors that are not as powerful as above 750 watts. Compared with Alaska, ebikes in Delaware are allowed on bike trails and there is no age limit.
The rules and regulations for electric bicycles are quite strict in Hawaii. Normally, electric bikes will be treated as mopeds. In this case, ebikers are required to register their ebikes and have a license. And for those aged under 18, helmets are necessary.
E-bikes are not allowed on interstates and county highways but are permitted on city streets and bike trails.
In Kentucky, electric bikes and traditional bikes share the same road regulations, which means that electric bikes are permitted on bike trails.
Massachusetts treats electric bikes as motorized bicycles only if the maximum speed of them doesn’t exceed 25mph. Riders in Massachusetts need to train for a license and register for their ebikes. According to electric bike laws by this state, riders need to wear helmets and those aged under 16 can’t take that ride.
In Montana, as long as there are two pedals and a motor on your ebike, you don’t need to worry if you can ride on bike paths. Just remember not to ride over 20mph, and also if you weigh more than 170 pounds, I am sorry but you are not allowed to ride.
In Nebraska, electric bikes are the same as bicycles, simple and easy.
9. New Mexico
The age of electric bike riders in New Mexico should be above 15. All riders need to get a license and insurance. Moreover, ebikes couldn’t be on public sidewalks. Then, whether ebikers can ride on bike paths or not is not decided by this state.
10. North Carolina
In this state, electric bikes are allowed on all kinds of roads like bike trails and city roads. And there is a speed limit of 25mph.
The output of electric bikes can’t be over 1000 watts and they are limited to a speed less than 20mph.
Electric bikes are allowed on public roads, but riders should meet some standards. They need to age more than 16. For the ebike itself, it should weigh less than 100 pounds, have pedals and less than 3 wheels, have a motor of less than 750 watts and finally can’t go over 20mph.
13. Rhode Island
In this state, riders should own valid driver’s licenses and age more than 16. Their ebikes can go with a max speed of 25mph.
14. South Carolina
Ebikes don’t share the same rules and regulations with mopeds, even though they are equipped with motors with an output of 750 watts.
Those are the 14 states that apply non-tiered classification. I believe such a comprehensive explanation can really help you guys while trying to pick an ebike.
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