If you're ready to hit the road with your E-Bike, make sure you know all the rules and regulations first. Check out our guide to electric bike laws in California
POV: You’ve chosen electric. Your bike is purchased, customized, and charged. Now what? Before you take your bike full speed and weave through traffic, we suggest reviewing all the rules of the road to keep yourself and those around you safe. We’re based in Venice, so we are going to be walking through all the ins and outs of riding an electric bike in California. However, keep in mind these rules and regulations will vary from state to state and in other countries. Do your research and figure out what is and isn’t okay where you are so you can get the most out of your rides!
The California DMV defines an electric bike as fully equipped with pedals and an electric motor of less than 750W, established into three separate classes of bikes.
- Class 1: A low speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle equipped with a motor which provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when a speed of 20 mph is reached.
- Class 2: A low speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle equipped with a motor used exclusively to propel the bicycle and NOT capable of providing assistance when a speed of 20 mph is reached.
- Class 3: A low speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle equipped with a speedometer, and a motor which provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when a speed of 28 mph is reached.
California electric bike laws state that Class 1 and Class 2 bikes are allowed to be ridden anywhere regular bikes are allowed unless there is a sign that prohibits them specifically.
As outlined, Class 3 bikes are a beast and in their own separate category. This is for multiple reasons, but mainly because the speeds it reaches is significantly more. So if you want to push the pace, you gotta get in line with the rules.
To ride and operate a Class 3 electric bicycle you must:
- Must be 16 years old or older.
- Must wear a bicycle safety helmet.
- Must not transport passengers.
- May ride an electric bicycle in a bicycle lane if authorized by local authority or ordinance.
Keeping these things in mind is super important and will set you for enjoyable rides for yourself. Electric bike laws in California also state that electric bikes are exempt from the motor vehicle financial responsibility, drivers license and license plate requirements (CVC §24016).
Overall, the rules and guidelines for riding electric bikes in California are pretty straightforward! Take time to understand the dos and don'ts and you’ll be enjoying the ease and freedom of electric bikes anytime and anywhere!