When electric bikes first came onto the market, they were typically treated like standard bicycles. Then, many states and municipalities started implementing new regulations, some of which were quite restrictive. Gradually, the law is coming around again and treating electric bikes more freely as their value has become increasingly obvious. However, this state of legal flux has caused many riders to wonder: what exactly are the laws where I live?

The Difficulty With Figuring Out State E-Bike Laws

In the United States, there are typically three levels of lawmaking: federal, state and local. On the one hand, this allows state and local governments to implement laws in their jurisdictions that are specifically tailored to local citizens’ needs. On the other hand, it creates a confusing mess of different laws from different governing bodies. This is especially pronounced in new areas of the law such as e-bike regulation.

Every state has its own rules about electric bikes, where they can go and who can use them. For example, in California, electric bikes are defined in three classes based on top speed and whether they have pedal-assist mode or a throttle. This impacts which riders need to wear a helmet and what types of bike paths the e-bike can use. However, in Arkansas, e-bikes are essentially treated just like standard bicycles.

Where To Look Up State Laws

The good news is that you can typically look up your local state’s laws quite easily. Most state governments are taking the emergence of electric bike popularity seriously. Many provide resources like fact sheets to make understanding the law easy. If you check your state’s website, you can likely find e-bike laws quickly.

Additionally, there are helpful third-party resources. For example, People for Bikes has a collection of PDFs describing all 50 states’ laws. Of course, these resources may not always be up to date, so it is a good idea to check the most recent information for your state of residence. However, if you are planning a multi-state electric bike trip, for example, this is a great resource for a fast reference.

Figuring Out Local Regulations

There is another layer of complexity beyond the 50 states. Many cities and other municipalities have their own regulations. This is especially common in tourist destinations. Huntington Beach disallowed electric bikes on its popular beach path for some time before reversing course in 2021, for example.

The best thing to check local regulations is to simply type “[city] e-bike laws” into your favorite search engine. Even if the local government’s website is not very helpful, there will often be at least a news article describing any rule changes. Additionally, you should always pay attention to signs and marked lanes, especially when you are somewhere unfamiliar.

Get the Right Electric Bike for Your Needs

Once you have all the laws figured out (which becomes easy once you get started), you will want a comfortable, performant and compliant electric bike to ride. E-Lux Electric Bike has a model that can suit your needs. Check out our catalog today then schedule a test ride to give one a try.

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March 16, 2022 — admin