By Swagtron News Where Can I Ride an eBike? 23 Jun Best Electric Bike of 2020, ebike, Electric Bike You can ride an electric bike anywhere your good pedals will take you! Well . . . theoretically. But the truth is – as we’ve mentioned before – that state laws vary greatly when it comes to where you can ride your eBike. And even within those states, some cities will have even different regulations and requirements. We’ll go over a handful of states so you can get an idea of how different states handle their eBike regulations. But first, let’s go over the classifications of electric bikes. eBike Categories As outlined in some of the state laws above, eBikes generally fall into three categories, and this is what laws are often based around. We go into discussions on these three electric bike “classes” here. But let’s go over them briefly again: The 3 electric bike Federal Categories. Type/Class 1 is classified as a pedal-assist eBike. You operate it by using the pedals to engage the motor. You can think of it as being just like a conventional bicycle except there’s a motor that detects when you’re pedaling and kicks in to help. The eBike might have a throttle-only option or it might not, depending on the model. This class generally has a max speed of 20 mph.Type/Class 2 has a motor controlled by a throttle. This type of eBike doesn’t require pedaling — just crank the motor and away you go! As with the type 1, a type 2 eBike typically has a top speed of 20 mph.Type/Class 3 is the fastest eBike available on the market. Its max. speed is faster, at 28 mph. Most states require you to wear a helmet when you operate it; some might even require a special license. It has a throttle, a motor and higher battery capacity. Selected U.S. states’ and their electric bike regulations Arizona In Arizona, state legislation grants an eBike rider the same rights as the operator of a regular bicycle, which essentially means Arizona eCycle owners can ride in the same places as a typical bicycle. New York In New York, Governor Cuomo introduced legislation in January that outlined specific laws pertaining to eBikes. It sets maximum speed limits of 20 mph for Class 1 and 2 eBikes and 25 mph for Class 3. It requires users to be age 16 and over (sorry, preteens), prohibits eBike use on sidewalks to help keep pedestrians upright (instead of scared and swiveling), and mandates the use of helmets while operating your eBike. Utah If you live in Utah (go Utes!), you won’t need a driver’s license to operate your eBike as long as the speed doesn’t exceed 20 mph (motor only) or 28 mph (motor and pedaling). You can also generally ride eBikes on trails in Utah, as long as those trails accommodate other motorized equipment, like a four-wheeler or side-by-side. If you’re not sure, check the rules and regulations for your local trail system. California California has eBike laws too, not surprisingly, and they generally say eBikers have the same legal rights and restrictions as ordinary bicyclists (yay!). It does set minimum age requirements — you have to be 16 to operate a Class 3 eBike, but Class 1 and Class 2 eCycles don’t have an age restriction. Also, be prepared to don a helmet if you’re sporting a Class 3, but helmets are only required for Class 1 and 2 eBikes if you’re under 18. Many bike paths in California are classified according to what eBikes are allowed on them, so consult your local trail system to figure out where you can ride yours. Texas In Texas, eBikes are allowed on all roadways as far right as is practical except when you’re making a left turn. eBikes are also allowed on bike paths and trails unless signs say otherwise. eBike Laws at the Federal Level In August 2019, the National Park Service announced a new eBike policy for national parks. It basically lets people ride eBikes anywhere traditional bicycles are allowed in national parks. The NPS enacted the policy because it believes in expanding recreational opportunities as more Americans use eBikes as a method for exploring the great outdoors. The organization encourages eBike riders to check the website of the national park they plan to visit to see if bicycle trails are available and where they can ride eBikes. Many national parks across the country are beginning to relax some COVID-19-related restrictions, such as Pinnacles National Park in central California, which is increasing recreational access. This means more bicycle and foot traffic, and that’s good news for avid eBikers in this region, perhaps looking to stave off the famous “Quarantine Fifteen.” (Go on, save yourself – it’s too late for us!) How To Find Your State’s eBike Laws If your state wasn’t listed above, you could scoure the Internet for the information. But we recommend going direct to the source – the government. Check the website of your state’s Bureau/Department of Motor Vehicles first. You might be able to find information there, not only about state laws, but also local municipalities. Larger cities such as NYC and San Fran will also have this info on the city/burrough/neighborhood websites.Next, visit your state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) website. You should be able to find the actual laws and ordinances associated with riding an electric bike. Fair warning: the laws will be written in “legalese,” which might was well be ancient runes for most of us.Still no luck? Just ask the local police. It’s better to talk to them now on the phone rather than after they’ve handed you a citation! Once you’ve determined where you can – and cannot – ride an eBike, browse through our available options to find the eBike that’s right for your lifestyle. It’s time to hit the road!