Are Electric Bikes Street Legal?

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Updated March 8, 2023

If you’ve just purchased a new e-bike, you’re probably excited to hit the roads, but it’s important to understand first how the laws surrounding your new electric bike work. Street legal refers to a vehicle that meets all of the local and state legal requirements for use on public roads.


  • Most e-bikes are street legal, as long as the motor’s power is under 750 watts.
  • E-bike laws vary from state to state.
  • If you want to ride trails on an electric mountain bike, you will likely need to find a trail made specifically for e-bikes.

There’s a lot of intricacy and discussion around the legality of e-bikes. Some states have adopted laws that allow the lawful performance of these vehicles, while others restrict or prohibit their use. It’s important to check with your local authority ordinances first before taking your e-bike onto the sidewalk. In some areas, riding bicycles on sidewalks is not allowed, meaning you must adhere to strict regulations in order to stay within legal boundaries.

Let’s take a look at some definitions and how they relate to laws created for e-bike regulation.

What is an E-bike?

First, it’s important to spell out the exact definition of an electric bike. An e-bike is unlike a road motorcycle. It’s a bicycle fitted with an electric motor and rechargeable battery that assists riders in powering the wheels. This form of technical innovation has opened up new possibilities for road cyclists, allowing them to ride farther without tiring or even tackle hills with ease.

This is important because there are already many laws surrounding the use of things like mopeds, bicycles, and scooters. Simply put, an e-bike is a bicycle assisted by an electric motor either engaged by pedaling or by using a throttle. Moreover, when considering ebike locks, it’s important that you select a lock with the right security rating for your chosen e-bike.

Additionally, you may want to check out the differences between electric bikes vs scooters if you are thinking of getting a scooter instead.


For the purpose of this article, we are only covering road e-bikes and not mountain e-bikes, which are meant for trails.

What Does Street Legal Mean?

For the purpose of this article, we are only covering road e-bikes and not mountain e-bikes, which are meant for trails. There are a few things to consider when looking for long-range electric bikes, as well as ebikes for street usage. The speed limit of the bike, the bicycle lane that it can take, and its maximum speed are all important factors to consider. Different countries have different speed limits for electric bikes, so it is important to check with the local authorities before making a purchase.

There is a lot more controversy on the topic of using e-bikes on trails that we won’t cover here. To be on the safe side, it is also important to learn how different wattages affect electric bikes.

Knowing the Law in Your State

Every state has its own rules and regulations for electric bikes, but most areas do not consider them to be motor vehicles like cars and trucks. They often follow the laws and rules for traditional bicycles. They often follow the laws and rules for traditional bicycles. However, some states have registration requirements for electric bikes to ensure public safety and foster a strong bike community.

To get ta look at different powered bikes, you’ll want to read our Haibike Xduro review.

However, you should always look up the laws in your area to ensure you are following them. There are certain states that treat e-bikes as mopeds or motor vehicles, and thus have stricter laws. As such, you should also ensure you’re up to date with your e-bike maintenance schedule.

E-Bike Classification and Why It Matters

Some states are starting to define different classes of electric bikes. This classification system is important because it helps lawmakers differentiate between the myriad of different models and ensures a safer travel environment on the road. Each of the classes has a maximum motor power of 750 watts. The three classes are as follows:

  • Class 1: These e-bikes are pedal-assist only with a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour. They do not have throttles.
  • Class 2: These e-bikes are throttle-assisted with a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 3: These e-bikes are pedal-assist only, with a maximum assisted speed of 28 miles per hour. They do not have throttles.

STAT: Over 400,000 e-bikes were purchased in the USA in 2018, furthering the need for clear e-bike laws. (source)

States with an e-bike classification system are considered to have the most user-friendly and well-defined laws for street legality. If you are like a lot of people, you will want to go fast. And if you want to go faster than these classifications allow you may be wondering how to increase ebike speed. Just remember that if you do this it may affect the street legality of your ebike.


Are e-bikes allowed at professional races?

In general, no, e-bikes are not allowed at pro bike races. However, they are often permitted at more casual events like fundraisers and recreational rides.

Can you use an electric bike on the road?

Yes, you can typically use an electric bike on the road, as long as you’re following local and state laws and regulations.

What states are electric bikes legal?

Electric bikes are technically legal in all states, but every state varies in its own laws and regulations for their proper use. We recommend looking up your state’s regulations to ensure you are following them.

Are e-bikes legal in the US?

Yes, e-bikes are legal in the United States, as long as they are under 750 watts in power and follow all local laws.

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