Electric bicycle laws

Electric bicycle laws

Canada, Europe and the United States have all passed legislation regarding electric bicycles. Most jurisdictions recognize these as distinct from existing moped and motorcycle classifications because they are more akin to bicycles than their heavier cousins.

Despite "National" laws defining electric bikes there is still confusion. In the United States and Canada, the national laws define what safety equipment is required for all electric bicycles, but it is up to States and Provinces to determine the legality of using electric bicycles on the roads.

Electric bicycles are known by several different names, including "Power-assisted bicycle" (Canada), "Power assisted cycle" (United Kingdom), or "electric bicycles" in most other places in the world.


New South Wales

In New South Wales, motor assisted pedal cycles with electric or petrol engines only need to be registered if the maximum engine output exceeds 200 watts. Riders of cycles exempt from registration must follow the same rules as for cycles without motors, and vehicles requiring registration (mopeds) are treated as motorcycles. [http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/registration/otherinformation/scootersminibikes.html]


A bicycle, which is designed to be propelled by human power using pedals, may have an electric or petrol powered motor attached provided the motor's maximum power output does not exceed 200 watts. [http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Motorcycles/RoadRulesRegulations/MiniatureMotorbikesAndMotorisedScooters.htm]


Since 2001, Canada's Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR) have defined Power Assisted bicycles (PABs). Power Assisted Bicycles (PABs) are defined as a unique vehicle, separate from a bicycle with an attached (electric only) motor. [http://www.tc.gc.ca/mediaroom/backgrounders/b01-R050.htm]

The Canada Gazette (official paper that publishes government regulations) clarifies that a motorcycle is not a power-assisted bicycle, and goes on to define limits on the weight, dimensions, speed, electric wattage output, and other properties of a power-assisted bicycle. [http://www.evco.ca/Canada_Gazette%20Part_II_SOR2001_117.pdf] For example, power-assisted-bicycles are limited to an electric motors of 500 W output and a maximum speeds of 32 km/h. Other safety requirements must also be met. [ [http://www.tc.gc.ca/mediaroom/releases/nat/2001/01_H050e.htm Canadian laws regarding electric bicycles or PABs passed on April 12, 2001.] ]

This vehicle can be imported and exported freely within Canada without the same restrictions placed on an automobile or a moped, although electric bicycles are not allowed in a few jurisdictions. In federal law, a moped is considered a "limited speed motorcycle", and is therefore not a PAB.


The Province of Alberta has recently passed progressive legislation that allows ebikes to be legal for street use in the province, providing they do not have assisted speeds higher than 35 km/h, or an electric motor producing in excess of 750 watts. [ [http://www.infratrans.gov.ab.ca/INFTRA_Content/docType45/Production/mcpage14.htm#Power%20bicycle Alberta Legislation, Dec 21/06] ]

British Columbia

See documentary: [http://cyclesantamonica.blogspot.com/2006/08/electric-bikes-vancouver.html Electric Bicycles in Vancouver]


Ontario is one of the last provinces in Canada to move toward legalizing power-assisted bicycles (PABs) for use on roads, even though they have been federally defined and completely legal in Canada since early 2001. In November 2005 "Bill 169" received royal ascent allowing the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to place any vehicle on road. On October 4 2006 the Minister of Transportation for Ontario Donna Cansfield announced the Pilot Project allowing PABs which meet the federal standards definition for operation on road. PAB riders must follow the rules and regulations of a regular bicycles, wear an approved bicycle helmet and be at least 16 years or older. There are still a number of legal considerations for operating any bicycle in Ontario. [ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pubs/cycling/cyclingskills.htm#law Ontario cycling document] ] [ [http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2006/10/04/c4982.html?lmatch=&lang=_e.html MTO press release Oct 4, 2006] ] [ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/index.html#power Ontario: more details] ] [ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/e-bike-faq.htm FAQs on Ontario pilot test] ]

Electric bicycles as mopeds in Ontario

The closest definition for a power-assisted bicycle (PAB) in Ontario's "Highway Traffic Act" (HTA) is the definition of a moped. Defined as a "motor-assisted bicycle," within section 1 of the HTA, it allows for electric mopeds by specifically stating it is a bicycle, "...that has an attached motor driven by electricity or having a piston displacement of not more than fifty cubic centimetres..." [ [http://www.canlii.org/on/laws/sta/h-8/20060718/whole.html#BK0 Ontario Highway Traffic Act quotation, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, 2006-07-18, http://www.canlii.ca Canlii.ca] , accessed October 21, 2006] ]

The "Ministry of Transportation of Ontario" (MTO), on the other hand, does not include "electric motor" in their definition and states that a "motor assisted bicycle" is [ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/index.html#motor New and Alternative Vehicles: Motor assisted bicycles (Mopeds), Minitry of Transportation of Ontario, accessed October 21, 2006] ] ::*is fitted with pedals that are operable at all times to propel the bicycle; :*weighs not more than 55 kilograms; :*has no hand or foot operated clutch or gearbox driven by the motor and transferring power to the driven wheel; :*has a piston displacement of not more that 50 cubic centimetres; and, :*does not attain a speed greater than 50 km/h on level ground within a distance of 2 km from a standing start.

Supporters wishing to argue that a PAB is not a moped may quote "Part XVI", "pilot projects", of the HTA which stipulates that the MTO can make "regulations to create ["their"] own scheme of rules" and that "a regulation made under this section may regulate the doing of anything or the use of any thing or prohibit the doing of anything or the using of any thing." [ [http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Statutes/English/90h08_e.htm#BK348 Highway Traffic Act,R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, http://www.elaws.gov.on.ca elaws, accessed October 21, 2006] ]

A counter argument, by purists that consider a PAB to be a moped, is that the "New Alternative Vehicles" webpage, published by the MTO, clearly stipulates that "this information update is to be used as a guide only. For official purposes, please refer to the Highway Traffic Act." [ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/index.html New and Alternative Vehicles: Motor assisted bicycles (Mopeds)", Minitry of Transportation of Ontario, accessed October 21, 2006] ] .

This inconsistency has been raised to the attention of the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa (EVCO) and is currently before the Provincial Offences Courts. [ [http://www.evco.ca/newsletter/EV_Circuit_0304_2006.pdf Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa (EVCO)] ] In Ontario, mopeds require , plating, and insurance. (HTA, section 7, and The Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act) Owner of such vehicles may, depending on their insurer, be required to show a safety certificate when insuring their vehicle. [ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/register.htm Ontario registration information] ]


Power assisted bicycles are classified in two categories in Saskatchewan. An "electric assist bicycle" is a 2 or 3 wheeled bicycle ("sic.": 3 wheeled bicycle) that uses pedals and a motor at the same time only. A "power cycle" uses either pedals and motor or motor only. Both must have engines with 500 watt power or less, and must not be able exceed 32 km/h (20 mph), i.e., electric motor cuts out at this speed or cycle is unable to go this fast on a level surface. The power cycle has to meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for a "power-assisted bicycle". The power cycle requires at least a learner's driving licence (class 7), and all of the other classes 1-5 may operate these also. The electric assist bicycle does not require a licence. Helmets are required for both. Both are treated as bicycles regarding rules of the road. Gas powered or assisted bicycles are classified as motorcycles regardless of engine size or if using pedals plus motor. Stickers identifying the bicycle's compliance with the Federal classification may be required for power cycles by some cities or municipalities. [ [http://www.sgi.sk.ca/sgi_pub/instructional/motorcycle.htm Saskatchewan Motorcycle Drivers Handbook 2007, available in pdf. See page 59.] ]


In Quebec power-assisted bicycles are often classified similarly to standard pedal bicycles. They do not have to meet the conditions defined within the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (they are not classed as "motor vehicles"), but they do have to comply with federal regulations that define Power Assisted Bicycles. The Quebec Highway Safety Code defines a power-assisted bicycle as a bicycle with an electric motor. PABs are permitted on the road in the province of Quebec.


See Documentary on [http://cyclesantamonica.blogspot.com/2006/08/electric-bikes-china.html Electric Bicycles in China] .

The "e-bicycle" was legally recognized as a non-mechanically operated vehicle in China. According to "TECHNOLOGY WATCH", this should help promote its widespread use. [http://www.creavis.com/files/200408_elements_e_VomMobiltelefonzumElektrofahrrad.pdf]

Electric bicycles were banned in some areas of Beijing from August 2002 to January 2006 due to concerns over environmental,safety and city image issues. Beijing has re-allowed use of approved electric bicycles as of Jan 4. 2006. See article [http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2006-01/01/content_508528.htm Beijing OKs electric bicycles to ease traffic] .

Some cities in China still ban electric bikes.

European Union

Electrically-assisted cycles are usually classified as either "pedelecs" or "e-bikes". Under European Union regulations adopted in the UK in June 2003, only power-assisted cycles meeting the pedelec classification are considered to be pedal cycles. The maximum power allowed in the European Union for (pedelec) electric bicycles is 250 W, with a maximum assisted speed of 25 km/h. [ [http://www.extraenergy.org/main.php?language=en&category=information&subcateg=39&id=384 EU definition for "pedelec" style electric-assist bicycle] ] . To meet the pedelec specification the electric motor must be activated by the rider's pedalling effort and the power must cut out completely whenever the rider stops pedalling. Control of the motor by pedalling is often the key difference between a pedelec and e-bike.

Earlier UK regulations required that the motor has an average power output limited to 200 W (250 W for tricycles and tandems) and weight limited to 40 kg (60 kg for tricycles and tandems). These regulations must come in-line with the EU regulations by (find deadline). For models sold before June 2003, e-bikes conforming to the speed, weight and power limits may also be considered pedal cycles. Electric bikes with higher power outputs, or those not meeting the "pedelec" definition are now treated as motorcycles and require a license.


A bicycle can have a 250 W electric motor providing the top speed is limited to 25 km/h. Also the motor can only assist as one pedals Fact|Sept 2007|date=September 2007.


See Electric Bicycle and Electric Scooter Public Charging Station [ [http://cyclesantamonica.blogspot.com/2006/08/ebike-public-charging.html Electric Bicycle and Electric Scooter Public Charging Station (Florance Italy)] ]

United Kingdom

See "Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Regulations 1983" [ [http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4512 Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Regulations 1983 (United Kingdom)] ] , and Summary of UK Legal requirements [ [http://www.powacycle.co.uk/Are-electric-bikes-legal.asp Summary of UK Legal requirements] ] .


[http://pedelec.com/taipei/lectures/pdf/Japan.pdf Regulations on electric bicycles in Japan]

New Zealand

Vehicles with motor output power of less than 300W are classified as "not a motor vehicle". Such electric bicycles must comply with the same rules as bicycles.

United States

In the United States of America, Congress has defined a low-speed electric bicycle as any bicycle or tricycle with fully operable pedals, an electric motor not exceeding 750 W of power and a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 miles per hour (32 km/h). An electric bike or trike that meets these limitations is regarded as a bicycle [ [http://www.extraenergy.org/main.php?language=en&category=information&subcateg=39&id=671 Public Law, Federal USA 107-319. http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ319.107] ] by Public Law . This Law defines electric bicycles only for the purpose of Consumer Product Safety and does not allow for their use on roads. It is a safety criteria that manufacturers should use in building electric bicycles, which helps protect manufacturers from the threat of lawsuits from within states that attempt to legislate more stringent safety requirements.

These are Federal regulations that put control of monitoring the safety of electric bicycles into the hands of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), which supersede any state law that is more stringent, but only regarding safety equipment required on electric bicycles and not regarding whether electric bicycles are street legal. The states still decide what vehicles are allowed to use the roads in their state.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that “Since [1998, when federal rules regulating equipment on these vehicles became effective] , 37 states have passed legislation allowing these vehicles to be driven on roads with posted speed limits of 35 miles per hour or lower.” [ [http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/scooter.pdf USA Dept of Energy report on law re PABs] ]

TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU what Specify that legal Ebikes, as defined above, are legal on urban bicycle trail systems getting any federal funding unless states or local entities have passed laws specifically dis-allowing electric assist bicycles. Under Federal Law, Ebikes are NOT considered motor vehicles unless the state or local entity has passed a law otherwise.

There is a misconception that when "motor vehicles" or "motorized vehicles" are disallowed by law or by signage, that this always means ebikes are illegal on trails. This is untrue in many states; these terms do not include "legal low power electric assist bicycles", and can only be banned by passing a specific state or local law. (See TEA-21 Federal DOT Law)

SAFETEA-LU is a 2005 Federal Re-authorization of the 1990s TEA-21, and renews the exclusion of legal ebikes from the classification of 'motor vehicles' from urban trail use unless a specific local ebike statute is passed. [ [http://www.house.gov/transportation_democrats/Bike%20Book%2006.pdf SAFETEA-LU is a 2005 Federal Re-authorization of the 1990s TEA-21] ]

"Motorized vehicles are not permitted on trails and pedestrian walkways EXCEPT FOR: maintenance purposes, motorized wheelchairs, and—when State or local regulations permit—snowmobiles and electric bicycles. Electric bicycles are defined for the purposes of this Act as a bicycle or tricycle with a low-powered electric motor weighing less than 100 pounds with a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 miles per hour." [The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, P.L.109-59 Available from the Government Printing Office or online at www.dot.gov. Title 23, United States Code. Available from the Government Printing Office or your local library system.] ]

There is some debate as to if and where the Auto lb|100|-1 rule applies. On the surface it appears to be valid on trails. Check your state and local laws for any recent changes.

As always, unsafe operation may be a specific illegal or civil matter to be handled by local courts.


"Motorized bicycle" means every bicycle with an automatic transmission and a motor which does not displace in excess of fifty cubic centimeters (50 cc); and (4) "Street or highway" means the entire width between property lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the use of the public, as a matter of right, for purposes of vehicular traffic.

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motorized bicycle upon interstate highways, limited access highways, or sidewalks. (c)(1)(A) It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motorized bicycle upon a public street or highway within this state unless the person has a certificate to operate such a vehicle. (B) Any person who has a motor-driven cycle license or motorcycle license or a Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D license shall qualify to operate a motorized bicycle and is not required to obtain a certificate from the Department of Arkansas State Police for the operation of a motorized bicycle. (2)(A)(i) All motorized bicycle certificates shall be issued by the Department of Arkansas State Police.

(ii) No certificate shall be issued to a person under ten (10) years of age. (B) Prior to being issued a certificate to operate a motorized bicycle, the applicant shall take and pass an examination pertaining to the rules of the road, a vision test, and a road test. (C)(i) The Department of Arkansas State Police shall charge a fee of two dollars ($2.00) for each certificate issued. (ii) The proceeds from these fees shall be deposited in the State Treasury as special revenues and credited to the Department of Arkansas State Police Fund

The Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act, A.C.A. §§ 27�19�601 � 621 (1987 & Cum. Supp. 1991), requires motorists to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance as proof of financial responsibility. See A.C.A. §§ 27�19�605 (1987) and 27�19�713 (Cum. Supp. 1991). The provisions of the act apply to "any vehicle of a type subject to registration under the motor vehicle laws of this state." A.C.A. § 27�19�601 (Cum. Supp. 1991).

A motorized bicycle is a "bicycle with an automatic transmission and a motor which does not displace in excess of fifty (50) cubic centimeters." A.C.A. § 27�20�101(3). As can be seen from the definition set out in § 27�20�101(2) for "motor�driven cycle," such an apparatus is distinctly different from a "motorized bicycle."

As long as the device has a motor which does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters and has an automatic transmission, it will be classified as a motorized bicycle and, accordingly, is not required to be registered with the Office of Driver Services. Similarly, because such a device is not "a vehicle of a type subject to registration," the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act requiring minimum liability insurance would also not be applicable to such "motorized bicycles." [ [Arkansas situation: The information is noted to have been prepared by Deputy Attorney General Elisabeth A. Walker] ]


Electric Bicycles are defined by the California Vehicle Code [ [http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d01/vc406.htm California Vehicle Code section 406(b)] ] [ [http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d12/vc24016.htm California Vehicle Code section 24016] ] [ [http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d12/vc24016.htm CVC 24016 "Motorized Bicycle Electric Motor: Safety and Equipment Requirements"] ] . In Summary, Electric Bicycles are basically, by law, to be operated like conventional bicycles in California. There are several exceptions to this. A person must be at least 16 years old, and anyone riding an electric bicycle must wear a bicycle helmet. The e-bikes must have an electric motor that has a power output less than 1,000 watts, is incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground, is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour, operates in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or ceases to function when the brakes are applied, or operates in a manner such that the motor is engaged through a switch or mechanism that, when released, will cause the electric motor to disengage or cease to function.

Driver's licenses, registration, insurance and license plate requirements do not apply. A motorized bicycle is not a motor vehicle. A motorized bicycle shall only be operated by a person 16 years of age or older. Drinking and driving laws apply. Additional laws or ordinances may apply to the use of electric bicycles by each city or county [ [http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d12/vc24016.htm California department of motorised vehicles] ]


Ebike definition in Colorado follows the HR 727 National Law: convert|20|mi/h|km/h|-1|abbr=on e-power and Convert|1|hp|kW|0|abbr=on max, 2 or 3 wheels, pedals that work.Legal low powered Ebikes are allowed on roads and bike lanes unless the city or county has passed laws to the contrary-none have to date. Bicycles and Ebikes are disallowed on certain high speed highways and all Interstates unless signed as "Allowed" in certain rural Interstate stretches where the Interstate is the ONLY means of travel. [ [http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/2006/comsched/06TLRCPersDevMemo.pdf Colorado memo about ebikes] ] Unless the locality has specifically passed laws making ebikes illegal on sidewalks or trails, Ebikes are legal. However most business and shopping districts do not allow riding bikes or ebikes on sidewalks. Boulder and a few other cities specifically dis-allow ebikes on their trail systems through legal statute.

There is a misconception that when "motor vehicles" or "motorized vehicles" are disallowed by law or by signage, this would make ebikes illegal on trails. This is untrue in Colorado. In Colorado and many other states, these terms do NOT include "legal low power electric assist bicycles", and can only be banned by passing a specific local law. [ [http://www.house.gov/transportation_democrats/Bike%20Book%2006.pdf TEA-21 Federal DOT Law] ]


Regulations [ [http://www.cga.ct.gov/2005/pub/Chap248.htm#Sec14-286.htm Complete Connecticut State Law Title 14 Section. 14-286 Through 14-289] ] appear to deal with Bicycles with "helper motors". No person shall ride a bicycle with a helper motor unless that person holds a valid motor vehicle operator's license. No person shall operate a bicycle with a helper motor at a rate of speed exceeding thirty miles per hour; nor shall any bicycle with a helper motor be operated on any sidewalk, limited access highway or turnpike. Driver's licence is required except if a special permit is obtained by havnig a doctor fill out a certificate and shows they are able to drive the bike with and without the motor assisting.

Bicycle includes all vehicles propelled by the person riding the same by foot or hand power or a helper motor; and (3) "helper motor" means a motor having a capacity of less than fifty cubic centimeters piston displacement, rated not more than two brake horsepower, capable of a maximum speed of no more than thirty miles per hour and equipped with automatic transmission. Local jurisdictions can pass law at variance with the state law.


"Bicycle" in [http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0316/SEC003.HTM&Title=-%3E2006-%3ECh0316-%3ESection%20003#0316.003section 316.003(2)] , Florida Statutes (2004). A bicycle is::" [e] very vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device...." [http://www.2dca.org/opinion/December%2014,%202005/2D04-4882.pdf]


"Bicycle" means every vehicle propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any vehicle generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels except a toy bicycle."Moped" means a device upon which a person may ride which has two or three wheels in contact with the ground, a motor havinga maximum power output capability measured at the motor outputshaft, in accordance with the Society of Automotive Engineers standards, of two horsepower (one thousand four hundred ninety-two watts) or less and, if it is a combustion engine, a maximumpiston or rotor displacement of 3.05 cubic inches (fifty cubiccentimeters) and which will propel the moped, unassisted, on alevel surface at a maximum speed no greater than thirty milesper hour; and a direct or automatic power drive system which requires no clutch or gear shift operation by the moped driverafter the drive system is engaged with the power unit.



* [http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2002/PDF/SE/SE0401.1.pdf An ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning motor vehicles.]


In 2006 a bill was passed that changed the definition of a bicycle to include a bicycle that has an electric motor of less than Convert|1|hp|kW|0|abbr=on. The new definition, found in Iowa Code section 321.1(40)c states:

"Bicycle" means either of the following: (1) A device having two wheels and having at least one saddle or seat for the use of a rider which is propelled by human power. (2) A device having two or three wheels with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (one horsepower), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden, is less than 20 miles per hour.Fact|2008-01|date=January 2008,


Electric bicycle fits under the definition of "moped" under Kentucky law. You don't need tag or insurance, but you need a driver's license. "Moped" means either a motorized bicycle whose frame design may include one (1) or more horizontal crossbars supporting a fuel tank so long as it also has pedals, or a motorized bicycle with a step-through type frame which may or may not have pedals rated no more than two (2) brake horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty (50) cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission not requiring clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged, and capable of a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour [ [http://www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/186-00/010.PDF Kentucky law: Sect. 186.010] ] [ [http://www.louisvillebicycleclub.org/jul97/kylaws.htm Kentucky cycling club law review] ] Helmets are required.


* [https://web01.dps.louisiana.gov/omv1.nsf/58c968bd569b099986256cdc000806eb/680299f3eb8beb3a862564ba00581b93?OpenDocument Louisiana Department of Public Safety - Mopeds, or Motorized Bicycles]


The legal definition/description of an electric bicycle is most closely described in the code as a "motorized scooter" in that it is powered by an electric motor and/or human power [ [http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/90-1.htm Massachusetts law] ] . It may be also be described as a "Motorized bicycle". However, that description does not include electric powered motor specifically. And it appears that the legal definition "Motorized Bicycle" and "Motorized Scooter" are in conflict. "Motorized bicycle" is a pedal bicycle which has a helper motor, or a non-pedal bicycle which has a motor, with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and which is capable of a maximum speed of no more than thirty miles per hour. A motorized bicycle shall not be operated upon any way, as defined in section one within the commonwealth by any person under sixteen years of age, nor at a speed in excess of twenty-five miles per hour. A motorized bicycle shall not be operated on any way by any person not possessing a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit. Every person operating a motorized bicycle upon a way shall have the right to use all public ways in the commonwealth except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted, and shall be subject to the traffic laws and regulations of the commonwealth and the regulations contained in this section, except that the motorized bicycle operator may keep to the right when passing a motor vehicle which is moving in the travel lane of the way, and the motorized bicycle operator shall signal by either hand his intention to stop or turn. Motorized bicycles may be operated on bicycle lanes adjacent to the various ways, but shall be excluded from off-street recreational bicycle paths. Every person operating a motorized bicycle or riding as a passenger on a motorized bicycle shall wear protective headgear conforming with such minimum standards of construction and performance as the registrar may prescribe, and no person operating a motorized bicycle shall permit any other person to ride a passenger on such motorized bicycle unless such passenger is wearing such protective headgear.


To legally operate a motorized bicycle or electric-assisted bicycle the operator must be licensed, the motorized bicycle/electric-assisted bicycle must be registered in one of the following definitions and meet the required safety equipment. If the operator or the motorized bicycle/electric- assisted bicycle does not meet all requirements, they will not be legal for street/highway use (including the sidewalk).To qualify as a "motorized bicycle" under state law they need to have motor of a piston displacement capacity of 50 cubic centimeters or less, maximum of two brake horsepower, maximum speed of not more than convert|30|mi/h|km/h|-1|abbr=on on a flat surface, fully operable pedals for human propulsion are not required, but may be a part of the machine.

To qualify as an "electric-assisted bicycle" under state law they need to have a seat and fully operable pedals for human propulsion, meet federal motor vehicle safety standards, an electric motor that has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts, maximum speed of not more than 20 mph (electric motor and human powercombined), disengages or ceases to function when the vehicle’s brakes are applied, two or three wheels

To operate a motorized/electric-assisted bicycle on the streets or highways a person musthave a valid driver’s license or a motorized bicycle permit. A person under the age of 16 operating a motorized/electric-assisted bicycle under a motorized bicycle permit is subject to restrictions of no passengers (a parent or guardian my ride if the motorized/electric assisted bicycle is equipped with a seat and footrests for a passenger), no night driving, driving on any highway marked as an interstate, must wear a helmet, foot rests for passengers (if designed for passenger(s). A motorized bicycle permit is available to persons of at least 15 years of age who have passed the motorized bicycle test or passed a motorized bicycle course. A motorized bicycle would need the same coverage as a motorcycle would in this state. An electric-assisted bicycle would not need coverage.

Operators are subject to driving rules and equipment requirements (if applicable) when operated on the public streets or highways (which includes the main traveled portion of the road, shoulder and sidewalk). This means that an operator could be cited for speeding, failure to signal, unsafe change of course, driving on the sidewalk, DWI (this would apply to anywhere in the state and not just the streets/highways), and all other driving rules contained within state law that would apply. They may also not ride more than two abreast and may not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. On a laned roadway, they must operate within a single lane.Fact|Sept 2007|date=September 2007


"A moped is a vehicle which looks and handles essentially like a bicycle and is propelled by a small engine which produces not more than 2 gross brake horsepower, has a displacement of not more than 50 cubic centimeters and is capable of a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on a flat surface with not more than 1 percent grade in any direction when the motor is engaged." [http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-486.html#NRS486Sec038 (NRS 486.038)]

"Any motorized vehicle which does not have the normal safety equipment such as lights and mirrors or is not built to federal vehicle standards is an off-highway vehicle and is restricted to off-road use only. This includes all-terrain vehicles, pocket bikes, motorized scooters and snowmobiles. There are no driver license or minimum age requirements for off-highway vehicles. City and county governments may designate small portions of public streets for access to or from off-road areas only." [http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-490.html (NRS Chapter 490)]

A Class C license (or higher) is required for the operation of a moped or "motorized bicycle" on public streets. Mopeds do not require insurance or registration. Mopeds must have the same safety equipment (lights, mirrors, etc.) as a motorcycle in order to be driven on any public street. Other vehicles with a small engine are considered off-road motor vehicles and may not be operated on public streets. [http://www.dmvnv.com/motorcycle.htm#Mopeds]

New Jersey

An electric bicycle is classified as an "Electric personal assistive mobility device" in New Jersey, defined as "a self-balancing non-tandem two wheeled device designed to transport one person which uses an electric propulsion system with average power of 750 watts (one horsepower), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a propulsion system while operated by a person weighing 170 pounds is less than 20 miles per hour. The device shall not be considered a motorized wheelchair, motorized bicycle, motorcycle, motorized scooter, motorized skateboard, vehicle or motor vehicle" Operators must obey all bicycle regulations, and be above 16 years of age or older, except for an operator with a mobility-related disability. [ [http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2000/Bills/AL01/430_.PDF C.39:4-14.10] ]

Motorized tricycles are not legal on public roadways and sidewalks in New Jersey, [ [http://moped2.org/laws/New-Jersey.htm New Jersey moped law] ] and motorized scooters are only permitted for riders with mobility-related disabilities. [ [http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2004/Bills/AL05/159_.PDF C.39:4-14.12] ]

New York

Electric motor assisted bicycles have been banned in the State of New York and are not permitted for on-road use. [ [http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmvfaqs.htm#motor New York state law] ] [ [http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmvfaqs.htm#motor New York State DMV's "Frequently Asked Questions" website] ] It appears the only known allowance of an electric bicycle is if it is an electric powered moped, at this time. There is a proposed bill to allow ebikes. As of January 2008, bill A189("Defines the term electric assisted bicycle") has been passed in the NY State Assembly and Bill S6898("Defines the term electric assisted bicycle") was sponsored by Senator Thomas Morahan and was submitted to the NY State Senate in February 2008 [ [http://www.senate.state.ny.us/senatehomepage.nsf/home?openform NY State Senate Website] ] The US Senate has recently passed bill SR1156 which defines a clear legal definition of what an electric bicycle is in the USA. This is now a new law (H.R.727), which has been signed by the president, and gives the Consumer Product safety Commission the responsibility for governing the safety of new production model electric bicycles, and will define a bicycle that has pedals capable of propeling the bicycle, and has an electric motor of no more than 750 watts, and a top speed with motor power only of 20 mph as a"bicycle"


A bicycle is defined as a vehicle thus it is governed by rules in the state of Ohio. There are rules for using a motorized bicycle in the state of Ohio. You can see the rules at http://www.bmv.ohio.gov/pdf_forms/HSY-7607.pdf


State law defines a "motorized pedalcycle" as a motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals, a motor rated at no more than 1.5 brake horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and a maximum design speed of no more than 25 miles per hour. [ [http://www.dotdevuat.state.pa.us/pdotforms/pub_45/section_ab.pdf Pennsylvania law] ] Subchapter J of Publication 45 spells out the vehicle requirements in full.

As of 2008 a standard class C license, proof of insurance, and registration (annual fee: $9.00) are required for operation of any motorized pedalcycle in Pennsylvania.

The definition was clearly written with gasoline-powered pedalcycles in mind. The requirement of an automatic transmission is troublesome for those who just want to add an electric-assist motor to a bicycle, for almost all bicycles have transmissions consisting of chains and manually shifted sprockets. The registration form asks for a VIN, making it difficult to register some foreign-made ebikes. The fine for riding an unregistered electric bike is approximately $160.00 per event as of 2007.


It appears Tennessee has not passed any legislation that applies to electric bicycles. Some people think the laws pertaining to a Motorized Bicycle should be used for an electric bicycle. However, a Motorized bicycle would be a gasoline powered device per state law as it is defined as "means a vehicle with two (2) or three (3) wheels, an automatic transmission, and a motor with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters (50cc) which produces no more than two (2) brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the vehicle at a maximum design speed of no more than thirty miles per hour (30 mph) on level ground." [Tennessee Code 55-8-101 http://michie.lexisnexis.com/tennessee/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp= ]

Motorized Bicycle: The motorized bicycle does not have to be registered nor does a certificate of title need to be obtained. An owner may register the vehicle under regulations issued by the Commissioner of Safety.
No endorsement is required on a driver license in order to operate a motorized bicycle, thus the motorized bicycle may be operated by anyone with a valid driver license. Goggles, windshields and other special equipment required for motorcycles and motor-driver cycles are not required for operation of a motorized bicycle. However, crash helmets are required regardless of operators age. Minors between the ages of 14 and 16 may apply for a restricted license to operate a motorized bicycle, just as they would to operate a motor-driver cycle. For instance, they must take a written test, vision tests and demonstrate their ability to operate the motorized bicycle. The license issued will be restricted to a motorized bicycle only. The license is valid only during daylight hours and within a seven-mile (11 km) radius of the driver's home. Applicants for any type of license less than eighteen (18) years old, must complete a Minor/Teen-age Affidavit and Cancellation form making the parent or legal guardian financially liable for the applicants action. [ [http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8 Electric Bicycles in Tennessee] ]


"Bicycles" and "Electric Bicycles" are legally defined in the Texas Transportation Code Chapter 551., titled "Operation of Bicycles, Mopeds, and Play Vehicles" in Subchapter A, B, C, and D. [ [http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/TN/content/pdf/tn.007.00.000551.00.pdf Texas Transportation Code Sec. 551] ] The following definition of electric bicycle was passed by the Texas legislature in 2001. "Electric bicycle" means a bicycle that is designed to be propelled by an electric motor, exclusively or in combination with the application of human power, cannot attain a speed of more than 20 miles per hour without the application of human power; and does not exceed a weight of 100 pounds. The department or a local authority may not prohibit the use of an electric bicycle [0] on a highway that is used primarily by motor vehicles. The department or a local authority may prohibit the use of an electric bicycle [0] on a highway used primarily by pedestrians.

"Medical Exemptions" are also a standard right in the State of Texas for motorcycles & even bicyclist through Texas's motorcycle helmet law (bicycle helmet laws from city oridances) is only required at 21 years old or younger to wear a helmet but that a medical exemption [ [http://www.ironhorsehelmets.com/StateTexas.htm Iron Horse Motorcycle Helmets Texas TX State Motorcycle Laws ] ] [ [http://usff.com/hldl/hlstatutes/texashl.html Texas Motorcycle Helmet Law ] ] [ [http://steelponies.net/helmet_law.htm Mandatory Helmet law ] ] [ [http://www.myrideweather.com/motorcycle_helmet_laws/TX.html Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws ] ] [ [http://www.helmets.org/exemption.htm Links to Bicycle Helmet Law Exemptions ] ] [http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/ftp/forms/msb.doc] written by certified licensed medical phyisican or licensed chiropractor are exempt from Texas's motorycle helmet law which as can be used for bicyclist if helmets are required can be exempt from wearing any helmet.


According to Utah Code (http://www.le.state.ut.us/~2002/bills/hbillamd/hb0171.pdf) (line 108) a motor-driven cycle means:

:every motorcycle and motor scooter, moped, electric assisted bicycle, motor assisted scooter, and every motorized bicycle having an engine with less than 150 cubic centimeters displacement or having a motor which produces not more than five horsepower.

Essentially, an electric bicycle is classified as a motor vehicle.


"Electric power-assisted bicycle" means a vehicle that travels on not more than three wheels in contactwith the ground and is equipped with (i) pedals that allow propulsion by human power and (ii) an electricmotor with an input of no more than 1,000 watts that reduces the pedal effort required of the rider. Forthe purposes of Chapter 8 of this title, an electric power-assisted bicycle shall be a vehicle whenoperated on a highway. [ [http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-100 Virginia Law] ]

Every person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assistedbicycle, moped, or an animal or driving an animal on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of thischapter and shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, unless thecontext of the provision clearly indicates otherwise.


"Electric-assisted bicycle" means a bicycle with two or three wheels, a saddle, fully operative pedals for human propulsion, and an electric motor. The electric-assisted bicycle's electric motor must have a power output of no more than one thousand watts, be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than twenty miles per hour on level ground, and be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device beyond twenty miles per hour. [ [http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.04.169 WASHINGTON STATE LAWS as of Jan 2005] ]

No person may drive either a two-wheeled or a three-wheeled motorcycle, or a motor-driven cycle unless such person has a valid driver's license specially endorsed by the director to enable the holder to drive such vehicles. No driver's license is required for operation of an electric-assisted bicycle if the operator is at least sixteen years of age. Persons under sixteen years of age may not operate an electric-assisted bicycle. Persons operating electric-assisted bicycles shall comply with all laws and regulations related to the use of bicycle helmets. Electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters may have access to highways of the state to the same extent as bicycles. Electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters may be operated on a multipurpose trail or bicycle lane, but local jurisdictions may restrict or otherwise limit the access of electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters, and state agencies may regulate the use of motorized foot scooters on facilities and properties under their jurisdiction and control.


See video documentary on [http://cyclesantamonica.blogspot.com/2006/08/ebikes-vietnam.html Electric Bicycles in Vietnam]


ee also

*Electric bicycles

External links

Advocacy and Peer Support resources

* [http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/electricbike/ Electric Cycle Consortium]
* [http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/lafreeowner/ LaFree Electric Bicycles community forum]
* [http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/electricbikeuk/ Electric Bicycles UK community forum]
* [http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/yashebike/ Dealers of YASH ebike community forum]
* [http://endless-sphere.com/forums/index.php?c=2 Endless Sphere Technology Electric Bicycle Community Forum] (all types, reviews, etc.)
* [http://www.pedelecs.co.uk UK Electric Bike Forum]

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