California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that clarifies electric bike regulations and creates a model that other states could follow throughout the U.S.
Current electric bike laws in the U.S. can be confusing on a state by state basis.
This new California law clarifies that electric bikes will follow similar rules to a conventional bicycle.
The current “old” law regulates e-bikes as a moped which has registration, licensing, and insurance requirements.
The new law stipulates that there are 3 classes of electric bikes.
The following is an excerpt from the bill:
(a) An “electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.
(1) A “class 1 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(2) A “class 2 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(3) A “class 3 electric bicycle,” or “speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour, and equipped with a speedometer.
For Class 3, the rider must wear a helmet and be at least 16 years old.
Below is an infographic from People for Bikes on the new California law.
Here is link to a PDF of the graphic.
The new California law will take effect on January 1, 2016.
This law is a result of a lobbying effort from the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA) electric bike committee, PeopleForBikes (PFB), and the California Bicycle Coalition.
This is a big win because California is a large market for electric bikes and it has the potential to set a progressive transportation example for other states to follow.
Electric bikes offer a new transportation and recreation option to many people who may not consider riding a conventional bicycle. The clarification 0f these regulations will help the growth of this new form of transportation.
California is just the beginning as the BPSA and PFB will continue to lobby this type of e-bike regulations in other states in 2016.
People for Bikes put together this list with current e-bike regulations for U.S. states and the Canadian provinces.
Here is a link to the People for Bikes e-bike page with additional information e-bike regulations.
Stay tuned for more e-bike regulation updates.
P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!