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Laws regarding electric bikes vary depending on where you live. You may need to check your state laws before mounting up on your e-bike to avoid getting a ticket.

1. Are E-Bikes Legal?

E-bikes are legal to own and ride in many parts of the United States. However, some states have restrictions on the type of e-bike you can ride and where you can use it.

Not all states have laws explicitly covering e-bikes. Only 33 states legally define what an electric bike is. Other locations classify e-bikes as motorized vehicles in the same class as mopeds.

Of the states that define e-bikes, many places break down the definition into three classes. Classes 1 and 2 both max out their speed at 20 mph when the motor kicks in. The only difference between these classes is whether the rider must pedal for the motor to turn on. Class 1 requires pedaling, while class 2 bikes can run without the rider pedaling. Class 3 e-bikes reach 28 mph with help from the motor.

These classifications make it easier for states to distinguish which e-bikes have legal use and which models have restrictions. For example, in Tennessee and California, class 3 bikes cannot ride on bike paths, but local jurisdictions have the option to allow e-bikes on paths.

2. Do I Have to Wear a Helmet While Riding?

Whether the law requires you to wear a helmet and whether you should are two different questions. In some cases, state laws base their bike helmet laws on the bike classification system. For example, Michigan and Colorado require all under-18 riders of class 3 bikes to have helmets. On the other hand, in California, Tennessee and Ohio, all riders of class 3 bikes must wear helmets.

To be safe and legal, always wear a helmet wherever you ride. E-bikes move faster than regular bikes, and because you don't have to pedal on some models to reach those speeds, you may not realize how quickly you are riding. Getting into a collision at such speeds could be fatal. Wearing a helmet protects your head and your life.

Does the law require you to wear a helmet? The answer depends on where you live and the type of bike you ride. Should you wear a helmet when riding an electric bike? For optimal safety, the answer is always.

3. Is There an Age Limit for E-Bikes?

Age restrictions on electric bikes depend on where you live. Arizona, Wyoming and Idaho allow anyone of any age to ride e-bikes of all three classes. However, these states are exceptions. Other states prohibit young riders, especially from faster class 3 bikes.

Class 3 bikes have strict laws surrounding them because these bikes reach the fastest speeds. Those under 16 cannot ride these bikes in Washington, Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Connecticut and Illinois.

Utah requires anyone under 14 to have a parent's supervision if riding an e-bike, but it prohibits those under 8 years old from riding all electric bikes in any circumstances, even with parents nearby.

There is no upper age limit for electric bikes. Be sure you can safely handle the bike, because these bicycles weigh more than non-motorized bikes.


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