U.S. Electric Bike Regulations
Whether your e-bike is an urban/street model, a Class-3 Speed Pedelec or a laid-back electric cruiser, you must abide by the rules of the road. The majority of U.S. states are a bit old-fashioned when it comes to electric bicycle class regulations, and you’ll have to do your research to find out when and how to ride legally. In some cities, electric bikes are completely illegal on public roadways. Until very recently, this was the case in New York City. But just last month the city government has lifted the ban, now recognizing ebikes with a maximum motor-propelled speed of 20 mph as a legitimate means of transport. Other cities and states either classify e-bikes as bicycles or mopeds, which often leads to confusion and unsafe riding conditions. As of 2018 only a handful of states have model e-bike regulations in place: California, Utah, Colorado, Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Washington and most recently Arizona (goes into effect Jan 1. 2019). In these model states, electric bikes fall into three distinct classes, which are outlined below.