Electric Bike Laws And Regulations Across US States

Angela Poghosyan Author

Last updated on August 23rd, 2023

Angel Poghosyan
electric bike laws by state

As ebikes become increasingly popular, electric bike producers in the US face a complex challenge. The legal landscape is new and ambiguous, so ensuring compliance with safety standards, regulations, and environmental requirements is tough. 

That’s why we’ve created this legal guide on ebike laws to make this journey a bit easier for you. 

With all the different electric bike laws by state, we’ll help you understand the intricacies of laws governing the ebike industry in 2023. 

From safety standards, intellectual property protection, labeling requirements, and environmental regulations to business licenses, liability considerations, and state-specific laws, let’s tackle this issue once and for all.


Electric Bike Safety Standards and Regulations in the US

For both ebike riders and manufacturers in the US, ebike laws play a huge role. What is a street legal electric bike? What are the differences in electric bike laws by state? We’re here to answer all your burning questions.

As a producer of electric bikes, you have a great responsibility towards both riders and pedestrians. Your product has to be compliant with federal safety standards set by organizations like the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

So, let’s set the base for understanding what makes an electric bike legal.


Classification of Electric Bikes and Legal Definitions

There are 3 distinct classes of electric bikes in the United States. Each of these classes has its ebike speed limit, power output, and type of vehicle.

  • Class 1: Pedal-Assist Ebikes

According to US ebike laws, Class 1 ebikes are equipped with pedal-assist technology, which means that the motor provides support to the rider as they push the pedals. For this class of ebikes, this assistance is paused as soon as the speed of the bike reaches 20 mph (32 km/h).

Another specification for Class 1 ebikes is that throttle-assist is not allowed, unlike for classes 2 and 3.

Legal considerations: These bikes are usually allowed on bicycle paths, lanes, and other trails. In most US states, they are treated just like other bicycles. They don’t require any licensing or registration.

  • Class 2: Throttle-Activated Ebikes 

Class 2 ebikes are powered by throttles, meaning the rider simply needs to push a throttle to be pushed forward. The Class 2 electric bike speed limit is 20 mph (32 km/h), so the throttle must stop assisting the rider as soon as the bike reaches this speed.

Legal considerations: Usually, Class 2 ebikes are treated just like Class 1 ebikes, however, some jurisdictions may have additional restrictions. Please refer to your local laws and regulations to ensure your compliance.

  • Class 3: Advanced Pedal-Assist Ebikes

With the 3rd class of ebikes, both pedal and throttle assist are allowed. The difference here is that throttle assist can be activated up to the point where the bike reaches 28 mph (45 km/h). Nevertheless, this doesn’t apply to throttle assist tech on class 3 bikes, which are still limited to 20 mph (32 km/h).

Legal considerations: Due to their higher speed limit, Class 3 ebikes may face more strict regulations, including mandatory helmet laws or restrictions on certain paths.

Remember that these ebike laws will differ from state to state. For example, the max speed ebike laws in Idaho and Montana reach up to 30 mph instead of the usual 28 mph.

If you are starting to manufacture your own line of ebikes, it’s crucial that you understand these classifications, along with other electric bike regulations. Since you are reading this article, you are already on the right track.


Intellectual Property Protection for Ebike Innovations

Since ebikes are so popular these days, manufacturers are coming up with bigger and better things every day. If you’re one of the creative inventors who came up with a new design or tech for ebikes, it’s crucial that you protect its use and keep it to yourself.

So, what do ebike laws have to say about intellectual property protection? 

We highly recommend obtaining utility patents for your innovative solutions, be it designs or functionality. For example, patents will help protect your new battery technology, motor systems, or control algorithms. This way, you can stop copycats from profiting off of your genius.

You should also research a bit more about trademarks to protect your brand identity. 

Last but not least, you may also obtain copyrights to protect your user guides, software, manuals, etc.

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Legal Labeling Requirements for Electric Bikes

Just like with any other manufacturing requirement, electric bikes also have proper labeling regulations. You must be transparent with your consumers as to what class your ebike belongs to, what is its top speed, what is the power output, and more.

Making sure that you provide proper information to your users is key to gaining their trust and love. This way, they can absolutely know what they’re getting into. On another hand, you’ll also protect yourself from potential liability claims.

Last but not least, you should look at the big picture. If you overpromise and underdeliver, your reviews will be negative, so make sure that you stay true to your promises.


Environmental Regulations and Sustainability Compliance

Now that we’ve discussed classifications, labeling requirements, and IP protection for ebikes, let’s talk about another area of compliance. Electric bike regulations regarding sustainability are required for any modern-day ebike producer in the US.

In general, ebike producers have the responsibility to adopt eco-friendly practices such as using recyclable materials, reducing production waste, and employing energy-efficient processes. 

As an ebike producer, adopting such environmentally friendly practices will help appeal to eco-conscious consumers and help support a cleaner future.


Business Licenses and Legal Considerations for Ebike Producers

If you want to create a legitimate ebike production in the US, you must obtain an electric bike license for producers and get a permit. You have to comply with your local ebike laws, as well as state and federal regulations.

The license you require will be different depending on the size and location of your production. Some licenses to keep in mind are:

  • The general business license, 
  • State sales tax permit, and 
  • Local zoning permits. 

You must also keep in mind your local labor laws pertaining to minimum wage, overtime, workplace safety, and employee benefits.

We highly recommend speaking to an attorney in your local area to make sure that you comply with your local requirements.


Liability and Insurance Obligations for Electric Bike Manufacturers

Yet another obligation you will encounter as an ebike manufacturer in the US is product liability insurance. After all, accidents can always happen. So, to protect your brand from potential lawsuits, you must think about it all in advance.

Product liability insurance will provide coverage in case your users are ever injured due to a defect in your ebikes. At the end of the day, this insurance will give you peace of mind and protect your finances.

Before we start discussing electric bike laws by state, let’s talk about safety standards and government regulations. 


Ensuring Compliance with Electric Bike Safety Standards and Government Regulations

In this section, we’ll tell you all about electric bike regulations and how you can ensure your compliance with them. Do your users need a license to drive an electric bike? Are electric bikes street legal? Let’s jump right in and answer all possible questions you may have.

Safety standards and certification

One of the main sets of regulations you must follow as an ebike manufacturer are those set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). They cover everything from braking performance and reflectors to lighting and other such requirements.

Before you take your product to market, you’re required to obtain safety certifications that ensure your product is safe to use.

Licensing and street-legal requirements for ebikes

Will your users require licenses for riding your ebikes? This almost entirely depends on the classification of your bike

If you’ve created a Class 1 or Class 2 ebike, the speed limit of which is capped at 20 mph, then your user will likely not need a license to ride it. Plus, next time your customers ask you “can you ride an electric bike on the road,” your answer will be “yes.” These bikes are usually allowed on public roads, bike lanes, and basically anywhere else where you can ride a regular bike.

Class 3 ebikes have a different story. Since their max speed can go much higher, they might face additional restrictions in different states, such as Alaska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. This means that your customers would need to register their ebike and have a license to operate it.

As a manufacturer of ebikes in the US, your responsibility will be to ensure your ebike’s compatibility with legal requirements. For example, make sure that pedal-assist is capped at 20 mph for Class 1 ebikes and at 28 mph for Class 3 ebikes.

Electric bike helmet laws

Since ebikes can go pretty fast, does it mean that your users have to ride while wearing a helmet? When it comes to helmets, age is what matters the most. Although these laws differ between states, you still have the responsibility to communicate them to your users.

For example, in Montana and New Mexico, anyone under 18 must wear a helmet when riding ebikes. In states like Oklahoma and Oregon, this applies to anyone under 16. In many other states, no helmets are required.

Ebike age restrictions

In order to comply with legal labeling requirements, you must clearly communicate any age restrictions to your users. 

In many states like Arizona and Texas, there is no age restriction law for riding ebikes. However, in states like Idaho and Oklahoma, the legal age to ride an ebike is 16. Alternatively, state-level age restrictions can vary depending on the classification of the ebike, which is the law in California.

Lighting and reflector regulations

In almost all states, ebikes are required to have white front-lights, red tail-lights and reflectors to be considered safe. This is not only mandatory to comply with state-wide laws, but it will also improve the safety of your users, which is something you simply must care about.


Ebike Subsidies

With recent buzz around an electric bike subsidy, the future of ebike production is definitely looking up. What ebike subsidy are we talking about and what does it even mean? 

Well, the recent Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) initiative will offer around 30% of tax credit to those who purchase ebikes (capped at $1,500). 

Since ebikes are more sustainable modes of transport than, say, cars, this bill aims to do good for the environment, help people reduce their carbon footprint, and much more.

If this bill passes, it will obviously serve as an incentive for people to buy more and more ebikes, right? So, the moral of the story is that ebike producers stand to gain a lot.

That concludes all our general guidelines for an ebike producer such as you. Now, it’s time that we move on to dissecting ebike laws in some specific states. 

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Ebike Laws by States

Since the US does not operate under one jurisdiction, you must consider the laws of each state on your journey of ebike manufacturing. 

Whether you operate in Ohio or Virginia, understanding your state-specific laws will be your key to marketing your products accurately to your consumers.

Are ebikes legal in all states? What is the speed limit in each state? We’ve chosen 27 states, and we’re ready to tell you all about the specific electric bike laws by state you should know. Without further ado, let’s start this ride.


California Electric Bike Laws

California is very casual about ebikes. Essentially, ebikes are treated just like regular bicycles. This means that they require no registration, licensing, or insurance. If you ride your electric bike on the road, you simply need to follow the same rules as human-powered bike riders.

  • Age restrictions: Over 16 for Class 3 ebikes
  • Helmet requirement: Required for Class 3 ebikes, and required for people under 17 riding Class 1 and 2 ebikes

Ohio Electric Bike Laws

Ohio uses the 3-tiered classification for ebikes. Similarly to California, electric bikes are regulated the same way as regular bicycles.

  • Age restrictions: No restrictions for Class 1 and 2 ebikes. For Class 3 ebikes, the minimum age is 16.
  • Helmet requirement: Required only for Class 3 ebikes.

Florida Electric Bike Laws

Just like in California and Ohio, ebikes are treated like traditional bicycles. 

  • Age restrictions: Must be over 16 to ride an ebike.
  • Helmet requirement: No requirements.

Texas Electric Bike Laws

Texas laws use the 3-class definition for electric bikes. Overall, they are treated the same way as regular bicycles.

  • Age restrictions: Must be over 15 to ride a Class 3 ebike.
  • Helmet requirement: Required for all Class 3 ebike riders. Class 1 and 2 riders over the age of 17 may not wear helmets.

Illinois Electric Bike Laws

Electric bikes are regulated the same way as non-electric bicycles, so they don’t require registration or licensing.

  • Age restrictions: Must be over 16 to ride an ebike.
  • Helmet requirement: No helmet requirements.

Michigan Electric Bike Laws

Similar to most states, Michigan treats ebikes the same way as simple bicycles. No registration or licensing is required.

  • Age restrictions: Must be over 14 to ride Class 3 ebikes.
  • Helmet requirement: Class 3 ebike riders under 18 must wear helmets.

Utah Electric Bike Laws

There are no special ebike laws in Utah. They are treated the same way as regular bicycles without the need for registration or licenses.

  • Age restrictions: Must be over 16 years of age to ride Class 3 ebikes.
  • Helmet requirement: People under 18 riding an ebike must wear helmets.

Wisconsin Electric Bike Laws

The rules of the road apply to ebikes as they do to other vehicles. 

  • Age restrictions: Minimum age for riding a Class 3 ebike is 16 years of age.
  • Helmet requirement: No helmet laws apply.
  • Speed limit: Class 1 and 2 ebikes have a max speed limit of 20 mph. For Class 3 ebikes, the speed limit is 28 mph.

Maryland Electric Bike Laws

Ebike riders in Maryland must adhere to the same rules as regular bicycle riders. Keep in mind that ebikes are usually not allowed on sidewalks.

  • Age restrictions: Must be at least 16 years old to ride a Class 3 ebike, unless you are a passenger.
  • Helmet requirement: All ebike riders under the age of 16 must wear helmets at all times.

Virginia Electric Bike Laws

Virginia uses the same set of rules for ebikes as for regular bicycles. Something to keep in mind is that electric bikes may not be allowed on bike lanes and multi-use paths with regular bicycles.

  • Age restrictions: Must be at least 14 years old to ride a Class 3 ebike.
  • Helmet requirement: Helmets are required for all riders and passengers of Class 3 electric bikes.

Arizona Electric Bike Laws

If you are switching from a regular bicycle to an electric bike, you won’t experience any changes in laws. Local authorities may restrict ebike use on bike paths, but you must check with your local city rules for concrete information.

  • Age restrictions: No age restrictions for any class of ebikes.
  • Helmet requirement: No helmet requirements for any ebike classes.

Indiana Electric Bike Laws

In Indiana, no licensing or registration is required for ebikes. In general, they are treated the same way as regular human-powered bicycles. However, Class 3 ebikes may not ride on bike paths, trails, or multipurpose paths unless they are next to a highway.

  • Age restrictions: Unless you are a passenger, you must be at least 15 years old to ride a Class 3 ebike.
  • Helmet requirement: If you are under 18 or riding a Class 3 ebike, you are required to wear a helmet at all times.

Georgia Electric Bike Laws

No registration or licensing is required for ebikes in Georgia. As an ebike rider, you are subject to the same rules as regular bicycle riders. Nevertheless, local authorities may not allow you to ride on bike and shared lanes unless they are next to roadways or highways.

  • Age restrictions: You must be at least 15 years old to ride a Class 3 ebike unless you are a passenger.
  • Helmet requirement: All Class 3 electric bike riders are required to wear a helmet.

Nevada Electric Bike Laws

Similar to most states, ebikes are treated as regular bicycles in Nevada. No additional restrictions apply. 

While in states like Georgia you might not be allowed to ride on bike lanes, Nevada allows all classes of ebikes to be operated on any bike lanes, streets, highways, roads, and shared paths.

  • Age restrictions: No age restrictions apply to ebike riders of any class.
  • Helmet requirement: There are no helmet requirements for any class ebike rider of any age.

New Jersey Electric Bike Laws

Unlike most states, New Jersey classifies ebikes into 2 classes:

  • Class 1: Motor-powered vehicles that operate with pedal-assist and are capped at a max speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2: Throttle-powered vehicles that stop providing assistance when the vehicle reaches a speed of 20 mph.

When it comes to Class 3 ebikes, New Jersey defines it as a motorized vehicle similar to a moped. This means that they are not treated the same way as regular bicycles. As a motorized vehicle rider, you must have an operator’s license. Plus, your vehicle will be subject to registration and insurance requirements.

  • Age restrictions: Minimum age of 15 for motorized vehicle operators.
  • Helmet requirement: All ebike riders must wear helmets at all times.

Minnesota Electric Bike Laws

The state of Minnesota treats electric bikes the same way as it does regular bicycles. While other states might restrict this, Minnesota allows all ebikes to ride on bike lanes or shared paths wherever bicycles are allowed.

  • Age restrictions: The minimum age for any ebike rider is 15.
  • Helmet requirement: All ebike riders of any class must wear helmets at all times.

Idaho Electric Bike Laws

Ebikes are treated like regular bicycles in Idaho. You don’t need to worry about registration, licenses, or insurance. Ebikes are also allowed on bike lanes. Also, the speed limit for Class 1 and 2 ebikes is 20 mph and 28 mph for Class 3 ebikes.

  • Age restrictions: There are no specific age restrictions.
  • Helmet requirement: All ebike riders of any class under the age of 18 must wear helmets when riding.

Missouri Electric Bike Laws

The regulation for ebikes and regular bicycles in Missouri is the same. Regardless of the class of your ebike, you are allowed to ride on bike lanes and multi-use paths.

  • Age restrictions: People under 16 are not allowed to ride Class 3 ebikes unless they are a passenger.
  • Helmet requirement: All ebike riders regardless of age or class are required to wear helmets.

Washington Electric Bike Laws

Similar to most states, the state of Washington also treats ebikes like regular bicycles. If you’re riding a Class 1 or 2 ebike, you may ride on bike paths. However, this rule doesn’t apply to Class 3 ebike riders.

  • Age restrictions: People under 16 are not allowed to ride Class 3 ebikes unless they are a passenger.
  • Helmet requirement: There is no helmet requirement for ebike riders.

Maine Electric Bike Laws

The rules of the road for ebikes are the same as for regular bikes in Maine. One rule to keep in mind is that Class 3 electric bikes are not allowed on bike lanes unless they are within highways or roads.

  • Age restrictions: People under 16 are not allowed to ride Class 2 or Class 3 ebikes unless they are a passenger.
  • Helmet requirement: Every ebike rider under the age of 16 is required to wear a helmet at all times.

Oklahoma Electric Bike Laws

The state of Oklahoma regulates ebikes in the same manner as non-electric bikes. Class 1 and 2 bikes may ride on bike lanes, but Class 3 ebikes may not. Nevertheless, this rule doesn’t apply to bike lanes that are next to highways.

  • Age restrictions: People under 16 are not allowed to ride Class 3 ebikes unless they are a passenger.
  • Helmet requirement: All ebike operators under 18 are required to wear helmets.

Louisiana Electric Bike Laws

Louisiana, just like most other states, treats ebikes like regular human-operated bicycles. All 3 classes of ebikes can be ridden wherever regular bicycles are allowed, such as bike lanes and multi-purpose paths.

  • Age restrictions: Unless you are a passenger, you must be over 12 years old to ride a Class 3 electric bike.
  • Helmet requirement: All Class 3 electric bike operators are required to wear helmets.

New York Electric Bike Laws

New York is a state where ebike laws are somewhat unique. Although ebikes are treated the same way as regular bicycles, there is a variation in their classification of electric bikes. Classes 1 and 2 are the same as almost any other state, but Class 3 has a different definition.

To define a Class 3 ebike, the state of New York uses the following term

“Solely within a city having a population of one million or more, a bicycle with electric assist having an electric motor that may be used exclusively to propel such bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when such bicycle reaches a speed of twenty-five miles per hour.”

The state of New York does not permit the use of Class 3 ebikes that may accelerate up to 28 mph.

  • Age restrictions: The minimum age requirement for ebike riders in New York is 16.
  • Helmet requirement: All Class 3 electric bike operators are required to wear helmets. As for Class 1 and 2 riders who are working (such as delivery drivers), they must wear helmets while riding.

Alabama Electric Bike Laws

Alabama uses the 3-tiered class system for electric bikes. In fact, they do not require licensing, registration, or insurance. Ebikes can ride on bike lanes and multi-use paths unless local city governments decide against them.

  • Age restrictions: The minimum age requirement for Class 3 ebike riders is 16.
  • Helmet requirement: All Class 3 ebike riders must wear helmets. Additionally, anyone under the age of 16 must wear a helmet.

Tennessee Electric Bike Laws

Ebikes in Tennessee are not allowed to ride on sidewalks, and Class 3 ebikes cannot ride on bike paths. Nevertheless, Class 1 and 2 ebikes may ride on them.

  • Age restrictions: People under the age of 14 are not allowed to ride Class 3 ebikes. 
  • Helmet requirement: All Class 3 ebike riders are required to wear helmets at all times.

Colorado Electric Bike Laws

There are no special laws regarding ebikes in Colorado. They are treated in the same manner as non-electric bikes.

  • Age restrictions: People under the age of 16 are not allowed to ride Class 3 ebikes. 
  • Helmet requirement: Anyone under the age of 21 who is riding a Class 3 electric bike must wear a helmet.

Iowa Electric Bike Laws

Ebikes in Iowa are treated as regular non-electric bicycles. They don’t require registration, licensing, or insurance. All ebikes are also allowed on bike lanes and multi-use paths.

  • Age restrictions: People under the age of 16 are not allowed to ride Class 3 ebikes unless they are passengers. 
  • Helmet requirement: There are no helmet requirements in Iowa.

Conclusion

When starting your own ebike production, you have a huge task ahead of you. Creating an awesome piece of tech that beats your competition out of the water is not enough. You also need to consider the legal side of things and comply with all ebike laws that relate to you.

From safety standards and IP protection to labeling requirements and electric bike laws by state, you need to consider every regulation before jumping in.

In this legal guide for ebike producers in the US, we’ve covered all there is to know about ebike laws in the US, including state laws from California to New York.

As the ebike market continues to evolve, you have to stay proactive and dynamic to ensure compliance with regulations. 

That being said, we wish you the best of luck in your ebike manufacturing journey!

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