Where Do E-Bike Fall in Bicycling Law?

Just when you think bicycling law is making great strides, there comes another complication that confuses things not only in the eyes of the law but that of the public. This latest complication is the advent of e-bikes. In almost every way, an e-bike is the same as a regular bicycle. It simply has an electric motor that allows the bicycle to reach occasionally faster speeds, but never above 30 miles per hour.

Unfortunately, the addition of a motor complicates things. Is it a bicycle? Is it a moped? Does it use the bike lane or does it travel on regular roadways? In many cities, no one really knows and it creates dangerous situations for cyclists and complicated matters for law enforcement.

However, the classification of e-bikes varies not just on a state level, but on a city level. Some cities see them as mopeds and demand they are ridden as such while others classify them as bicycles. In many more cities, there are simply no rules at all for them. While e-bikes can be a great jumping in point for new cyclists, it becomes a not-so-great situation when the riders don’t know in what place they fit. If they travel on roads and get into an accident, what then? The driver may argue they shouldn’t have been there. The same can be said for if they use a bike lane.

The key is to know where your city stands before riding. Some cities make it simple while others without laws for them leave it up to the rider’s choice. If you have been in an accident on an e-bike and find the law being difficult, you should talk over your options with a lawyer. For those in the Los Angeles area, contact us today.

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