Before the Covid-19 pandemic, I was 9 to 5 officials! Though my office was a short distance from home, I had decided to buy an electric bike. Because the E-bikes are eco-friendly and affordable. But before I purchased it, I wanted to know what I need to ride an e-bike. Specifically, like a motorcycle or other vehicle, do electric bikes need a license?
I found out that I don’t need a license to ride an electric bike in my state. However, in many countries or states, you need a license to ride them. Today, in this content, I would like to share my experiences and information about e-bikes through my writing. Hope this helps many people over the web.
Types Of Electric Bike (e-bike)
To know about the license of electric bikes, first, you need to recognize their type or classes. You don’t require licenses for all classes of electric bikes. E-bikes are divided into three classes. Below, I provide a detailed description of those.
Class 1: Pedal Assisted
Almost all countries consider pedal-assisted electric bikes as Class 1. These bikes have an electric motor that assists the rider. The motor provides power to the rear wheels, which requires much less power for the rider to ride the bike. You can control the amount of help the bikes have through the settings.
Different countries or states determine the speed of class-1 electric bikes according to their laws. In the United States, this type of bike allows a maximum speed of 20 miles or 32 kilometers per hour. Most European countries allow speeds of up to 15 miles per hour or 25 kilometers per hour. You can ride Class-1 e-bikes where normal biking is permitted.
Class 2: Throttle
You can use class 2 electric bikes, almost like motorcycles or scooters. This type of bike does not require any pedaling. You need to use the throttle to power the bike. The power or speed of the bike will vary depending on the increase or decrease in the throttle.
Many countries have banned such bikes altogether. There are some laws in China or the United States to restrict the use of these Class 2 bikes. Most European countries dis-allow the use of these bikes.
Class 3: Speed Pedelec
A Speed Pedelec bike is a lot like a Class 1 electric bike. The fundamental difference between the two bikes is speed. Class 3 electric bikes can give you speeds of up to 28 miles or 45 kilometers per hour.
Many countries consider these Speed Pedelec bikes as motorcycles. To ride this type of electric bike, you need to have a proper license.
Does Electric Bikes Need License?
The licensing process for electric bikes may vary by state. In 2002, the federal government of the United States recognized E-bikes. Electric bikes get defined by the law like-
“Pedal-powered two- or three-wheeled vehicles with an electric motor of 1 HP or less than 750 watts will get considered as an electric bike. Weighing 170 pounds, an operator can operate at a maximum speed of fewer than 20 miles per hour on a paved surface.”
However, different states in the United States follow different rules for licensing. I’m discussing electric bike licensing in several other countries, including the United States.
The licensing process for electric bikes is different in the United States. So a cyclist must first know the laws of a state to use them. States like Alaska or Alabama consider electric bikes to be mopeds. To ride e-bikes in these places, you must be over 14 years of age and need an M-Class license.
California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Colorado have the highest power limitations. You do not need a license to ride an e-bike here. Other states on the list are Kansas, Maryland, Georgia, Maryland, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Minnesota, Texas, Washington, etc.
You will need a license to use electric bikes in some states, such as North Dakota, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Missouri. These states do not have specific e-bike laws. Class 1 and Class 2 electric bikes in New Jersey and West Virginia do not require a license. However, to use a Class 3 electric bike in these states, you will need to register and need a driver’s license.
You can use electric bikes in all eight Canadian provinces. But when using e-bikes here, you need to keep in mind the local requirements. For example, in Prince Edward Island, you will need a moped inspection pass. You may have to use a helmet in a specific province. In addition, the motor of your e-bike should be 500 watts or less.
The rules for electric bikes in Russia are great and simple. Here your bike needs to use an electric motor with a capacity of 250 watts or less. If the speed of the bike is over 25 kilometers per hour, the motor should turn itself off automatically. You will not need a driving license or anything similar to ride an e-bike in Russia.
The law for registering electric bikes in China has changed. Now you don’t need a license to ride an electric bike here. Until 2006, e-bikes were banned in some areas of Beijing. The authorities have also removed that law.
They defined electric bikes with less than 200W electric motors as bicycles in Australia. You do not need any registration or license to ride an e-bike here. However, different states may make their individual laws regarding electric bikes. In Queensland and Victoria, you will need a license if the motor capacity exceeds 200 watts.
- United Kingdom
The UK is a little more supportive of e-bikes. However, a rider must be at least 14 years old to ride electric bikes here. Previously, there was a weight limit for riding these bikes. But the authorities have removed that law.
In Turkey, safety is of paramount importance when riding an electric bike. According to the rules, the speed of the bicycle should be below 25 kilometers per hour to avoid possible accidents. If the speed exceeds this, the motor should turn off automatically.
You can ride e-bikes in Norway with no major restrictions. Although there are some restrictions on construction, the rules are helpful for riders. Here you have to stay within the national rules by reducing the motor power.
You need to get a license to ride an electric bike in Switzerland. This license is binding only if the speed of the bike is 25 kilometers per hour. However, the advantage is that after getting the license, you can ride the bikes at a speed of 45 km/hr.
Electric bikes have relatively few restrictions in Finland. The motor power of your bike should be less than 250 watts here. You can ride a bike at a maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour. Electric bikes will not completely replace pedaling rather than it only helps you to ride an e-bike. And, here any biker doesn’t need to get a license.
You must be at least 15 years old to ride an e-bike in Denmark and you must wear a helmet. The country allows electric bikes that support motor pedals. The country allows electric bikes at speeds of up to 45 km/hr.
Why Do You Need A License To Ride An Electric Bike?
It depends on the jurisdiction. There are many countries where you don’t require a license to ride electric bikes, but in some places, the license is mandatory. A license proves whether your bike may fit to ride.
In addition, many places require a driver’s license to ride an electric bike. This is especially true in countries where there is no speed limit for e-bike riding. And you understand that if the motor power of an electric bike is good, its speed can be much higher.
Since the speed of an e-bike can be up to 45 kilometers per hour, you need a driver’s license to prove that you are fit to ride at this speed. Moreover, there is a provision for issuing driver’s licenses so that an unsuitable person does not cause harm to himself and others by causing accidents while using an e-bike.
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Problems If You Ride Electric Bike Without A License
For riding an electric bike without a license, you may face some problems. However, this does not apply everywhere. In places where licensing is mandatory, you must collect the required licenses.
Without a license, you can’t prove that your bike gets allowed on the road. Moreover, a driver’s license proves you are fit as a rider. So if you don’t have a license, you can admit harassment and even pay a fine.
As conscious citizens, we all need to abide by the law. If your state law requires an electric bike license, collect one without neglect. This will keep you hassle-free and safe.
Can Anyone Tour an Electric Bike?
No, not everyone can ride electric bikes. Almost all countries or states have specific laws on electric bikes. According to this law, only suitable people can ride electric bikes.
You must be over 14 years old to ride e-bikes in the United Kingdom or some states in the United States. So if your age is less than the prescribed age, you cannot ride an e-bike. If you are not 15 years old in Denmark, you will not get permission for e-bike riding.
Even overweight people cannot ride electric bikes. Most e-bikes can weigh up to 250-300 pounds. So if you weigh more than that, you cannot ride an electric bike. But now many companies have increased the weight limit of their electric bike to 550 pounds.
You will need a license to ride electric bikes in different places. So you can’t ride e-bikes in those places without a license. You must need an M-Class license to ride an electric bike in the United States, such as in Alaska or Alabama. You will also need a license to ride e-bikes in Switzerland.
3 Key Reasons You Need To Wear A Helmet When You Are Riding An Electric Bike
A helmet is a safety feature that ensures your safety. In many countries or states, wearing a helmet is mandatory for riding an electric bike. In addition, below are 3 key reasons you should wear a helmet while riding an e-bike.
Reason 1: Accident Propensity
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the use of electric bikes or scooters has increased the number of accidents by up to 70%. E-bikes have so far caused over 200,000 people to visit emergency rooms. Since 2017, about 71 people have died in electric bike accidents. That’s why you must wear a helmet for safety reasons.
Reason 2: Poor Visibility
A car driver usually searches both sides for cars or other large vehicles when turning. Here a tiny cyclist is almost invisible to the car driver due to low visibility. Therefore, the chances of an accident are much higher. A brightly colored helmet will make you more visible in this case.
Reason 3: Higher Chance Of Injury
One study found that there were 1769 injuries per billion vehicle miles, compared to 1,036 for pedal cyclists. The number of deaths in motorcycle accidents at equal distances is 114, while the number of deaths in e-bikes is 14. However, there is no reason to think that electric bikes are much safer. Another study found that e-bikes have a 2.6 times higher accident rate than motorcycles in the United States. In addition, the number of injuries caused by collisions with pedestrians is about 3.3 times higher. So you must wear a helmet to stay safe while riding an e-bike.
Can You Ride An Electric Bike Without A Helmet?
There are some countries or states where you can ride an electric bike without a helmet. But in places where wearing a helmet is mandatory, you must wear it. For example, in some Canadian provinces or Denmark, you must wear a helmet to ride an e-bike.
Riders of Class 3 e-bikes must wear helmets in New York, Louisiana, California, Virginia, and Dakota in the United States. Cyclists under the age of 12 must wear a helmet in Pennsylvania.
All e-bike riders under the age of 15 have to wear a helmet. In Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Alabama, Connecticut, and other states, people under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet.
If you are under 18 years old, you must wear a helmet in New Jersey. In Delaware, New Mexico, people under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding an electric bike.
You may or may not wear a helmet in places where there isn’t a general law. However, considering the safety, you must wear a helmet.
People consider electric bikes or e-bikes as eco-friendly worldwide. That is why many countries motivate people to ride these. However, considering safety, electric bikes need licenses in some countries or states.
If you are thinking of riding an electric bike, first make sure that there are e-bike laws in your state. If there is a license recommended, then you must collect the license. Regardless of age, for safety reasons, you need to wear a helmet when riding an electric bike.