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Since bicycles are considered an essential form of transportation, we will remain open. Within the guidelines of social distancing and sanitation, we will continue offering full services and deliveries up to 25 miles. If you would like to stop in or have any questions, please call us at 330-275-5011.

Electric bicycles, or “e-bikes”, have become incredibly popular in the last several years. You’ve almost certainly seen one of them whizzing by you on the street, or maybe you’ve even taken one for a spin yourself. Thanks to the explosion in popularity of bike-share systems, e-bikes seem to be a trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

How Are E-Bikes Regulated?

Although low-speed e-bikes are about as safe and as fast as traditional bicycles, the legality of e-bikes is different from that of the conventional bike. In fact, electronic bicycle laws tend to vary from state to state.

Federal Level

The federal government defines e-bikes differently than electric scooters, which are regulated as motor vehicles. Federal law defines a low-speed electric bicycle as “A two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts, whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.”

This law allows an e-bike to be powered by just the motor (a “throttle-assist” e-bike) or by both motor and human power (what’s known as a “pedal-assist” e-bike). However, the maximum speed is only specified for throttle-assist e-bikes, not pedal-assist e-bikes. Federal law regulates the manufacturing and first sale of an e-bike, but the rest is up to the state to regulate.

State Level

State legislation regarding e-bikes usually focuses on how to classify them, deciding whether or not to classify e-bikes as mopeds or scooters. If the state decides to classify an e-bike as an electric scooter, then license, registration and other requirements are needed to operate the bicycle. However, some states such as Mississippi don’t define an electric bicycle at all.

E-bike laws in Ohio have created a three-tiered e-bike classification system. This system is meant to differentiate between e-bike models with different speeds.
• A Class 1 electric bicycle is defined as a bike with a motor that only provides assistance when the rider is pedaling, and stops when the bike reaches 20 mph.
• A Class 2 electric bicycle is a bike with a motor that doesn’t require pedaling, and stops assisting when the bike reaches 20 mph.
• A Class 3 electric bicycle is a bike with a motor that only provides assistance when the rider is pedaling, and stops when the bike reaches 28 mph. It’s also equipped with a speedometer.

E-bike laws in Ohio require riders and passengers of class 3 e-bikes to wear a helmet, regardless of age. Electronic bicycle laws in Connecticut are much stricter, requiring riders and passengers of all e-bike tiers to wear a helmet. E-bike laws in Ohio require the rider of a class 3 e-bike to be at least 16 or older, but the passenger may be under 16. As e-bikes continue to skyrocket in popularity in the US, electric bicycle laws will continue to define their role at the state level.