Do You Need a License to Ride an Electric Bike?

Do You Need a License to Ride an Electric Bike?

*Last updated 7/20/2023

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting out on the roads as soon as your eBike arrives. There are a few questions that come up in the midst of the excitement in regard to licensing, registration, insurance, and inspections required to ride!


Do eBikes Require a License?

eBike licensing requirements within the United States vary depending on the state you live in. States using the three-tiered classification system usually don’t require electric bikes to have registration, licensure, or insurance. As always, it is important that every rider is aware of their city or state's laws and regulations.


Why don't most states require licenses?

Most eBikes do not go fast enough to be considered motor vehicles, with speeds capping at 28mph for class 3 eBikes.

States that do require a license to ride an eBike include Alabama, Alaska, Missouri, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.To learn more about the licensing requirements in your state, visit People for Bikes! 


What's the Deal with Electric Bike Licenses, Insurance, and Inspections?

Within the lower 48 states, electric bike owners are not required to register their eBikes, and insurance is not needed unless they’re in the state of Idaho. Also, there are no regular inspections required for eBikes, as there are for many other motor vehicles.


Why require a license if you don’t need to register an eBike or have insurance?

Each state requiring a license to ride will have its own reasoning, but we can assume that they want to ensure that those riding eBikes on their roads are in full understanding of the laws and regulations that apply. 


Can I ride my eBike on the road? 

In short, yes! Most states have the same laws in place for eBikes as they do for standard bicycles and cars. Some state laws allow for eBikes to operate on sidewalks and bicycle paths whereas other states do not. These states include Arizona, Minnesota, Utah, and Washington. 


Are there any paths or trails that do not allow eBikes whatsoever?

Most states use a 3-class tier system to indicate which ‘level’ your eBike is at. In general, class 3 eBikes are more commonly restricted on bike paths and sidewalks as these eBikes can reach up to 28mph, making them better suited for road use.

State parks and local bicycle trails have varying regulations and requirements when it comes to eBikes. If you are curious as to whether your eBike is allowed on a specific trail, make sure to reach out to the regulator for more information!


What else do I need to know before taking my electric bike on new roads and trails?

All electric bike riders in the United States should educate themselves about the cycling laws in their area. If you are unsure of the regulations in your particular city or state, you can contact local law enforcement agencies for clarification.

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