Are Electric Bikes Legal in NYC, CA, or FL? Surprising Answer

Updated on December 30, 2020

Are electric bikes legal? The growing popularity of new transportation in the United States offers new challenges. People don’t know if electric bikes are road legal.  

Transportation like cars, bikes, motorcycles is all legal with limitations. Alternative forms of transportation are abundant. giving us the freedom to go wherever we wish in style.   

With newer vehicles such as electric bikes and other e-ridable. Introduces a grey area. Especially with the state, city rules, and uncommon regulations varying.

This causes a lot of confusion for consumers, retailers, and suppliers.  In this article, we give you some go points of reference.

When it comes to the legalities one can expect before purchasing an electric bike. Some of the pitfalls you might come across if you don’t do extra due diligence.  

Our goal is to make it easy for future e-bike riders to start their journey. Hoping you suffer under the least amount of stress and make zero mistakes being made.


Can electric bikes be used on the road?

Yes! As of now, the primary place for assisted bikes to be used is the traditional roads. Mostly being utilized in large cities like NYC or Miami. 

You can’t really go wrong with riding your e-bike on the road. As long as you can match traffic and follow all the necessary road rules.  With certain towns and areas in mind.

Make sure that there aren’t altered rules for your jurisdiction. Will cover some of those altered rules in key cities for the electric bike later on in the post.

Road rules change every year for most vehicles so it’s important to stay up to date on the laws.

Can you ride an electric bike on the sidewalk?

You can ride an electric bike on the sidewalk, but Legally, it varies by jurisdiction. Most states don’t allow it for safety reasons. Electric bikes are faster than traditional bikes.

Averaging top speeds of 20 mph. Moving at those speeds you’re bound to hit something. Sidewalks are fields with fire hydrants, light posts, curbs, and people.  

You’ll be swerving in around all sorts of incoming objects. It’s recommended that you ride in the designated bike lane. If you decide to ride on the sidewalk it’s at your own risk.

We hope you’ll have your spidey senses tingling.  Even in areas where it’s allowed some bike classes are prohibited.

For example, Class 1 being more accepted than Class 2 or 3 electric bikes. It operates at lower top speeds and doesn’t require a throttle. Normal bikes, don’t gather as much speed and are allowed.  However, laws are changing every day.

The black and white lines are now becoming grayer. Always make sure that you are following the laws to the best of your ability.

Check with your local ordinances and regulations for the exact answer in your state. In-conclusion, many cities have gone against having these forms of transportation ridden on the sidewalk.

Due to having pedestrians on the sidewalk and potential dangers presented to them.


Are electric bikes legal in national forests, lanes, paths, and trails?

With the popularity of electric bikes, more people are taking these e-rideables to different terrains. We all can agree on the reasons why as it’s fun and enjoyable.

Areas like bike paths, mountain bike trails, and national parks all have their own rules. From what we have actually seen and knowledge of the gray areas involved with this.

The ability to ride your e-bike on mountain trails and dirt roads are not yet widely acceptable or legal. Even with the use of electric mountain bikes, parks have their own rules on the matter.  

Many national park managers want to ensure the long-term health of their trails and grasslands. This is why rules on electric bikes are closely being examined.

Currently, classes 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes and electric mountain bicycles (eMTBs) are allowed on nearly 40 percent of trails on national forests.  

However, it is of utmost importance that these trails have their rules followed.

The e-bike community should up hail the rules so that way we can continue to use these places for our enjoyment.  

Yes, It is legal to ride in a bike lane. We recommend riders ride with protective gear specifically at night.

Are Electric Bikes Legal In NYC

Electric bikes have always been a bit of a secret weapon for delivery workers, and regular commuters. E-bikes help riders avoid New York City traffic. 

Over the past few years, this secret weapon has been under attack from lawmakers. This has led electric cyclists to foresee a future without e-bikes as common place.

In the past, New York City laws were unclear on the use of e-bikes. Some believed that pedal-assist bikes were only allowed. Others thought both pedal assist and throttle were street legal. 

This confusion leads to over 1,000 summonses for both e-bike and e-scooter riders. Many advocates for delivery workers felt police targeted electric bicyclists.

Now, there is a bit more clarity on the topic. Recently Governor Ander Cuomo vetoed a bill that would help legalize electric bikes.

The legislation was rejected, and Governor Cuomo wants to further continue conversations in the better part of 2020. 

As currently stands throttle-controlled e-bikes are banned. Class 1 pedal assist electric bikes are legal.

Are Electric Bikes Legal In California

Yes, electric bikes are legal in California. California laws and regulations on electric bikes are fairly similar to other states. California establishes a three-class system for electric bikes.

Each class varies in speed and level of pedal assist afforded to an electric motor.

 Low-speed throttle-assisted electric bikes are also allowed in California. Altering speed to enhance speed is illegal, especially if the changes are not noted with a label that specifies such info.

Also, a legal electric bike has a motor that should be 750 watts or lower. This information should be helpful to any tinkers out there looking to upgrade the bikes.

Are Electric Bikes Legal In Florida

Yes, electric bikes are legal in Florida. Florida is a bit more lenient on electric bike laws. As it follows in the path of states like Delaware, Iowa, and Nebraska.

They all define electric bikes with a broader definition of a “bicycle”. This non-dependent on class a system like we noted California does. 

There isn’t a special license or registration that needs to be obtained. Children under age 16 cannot ride an e-bike. For those looking for information in your state here’s a resource that may help.

Laws on electric bikes are tricky as micro mobility vehicles are new technologies.

So, laws are subject to change. Take New York as examples laws on e-bikes are fluid, keep this in mind as you purchase your next e-bike.

Do you need license for an electric bike?

Within the state, we live in (Florida), there is not a requirement to have a license, but the rider does have to be over the age of 16.

This is understandable since riding these vehicles could be very dangerous without a proper understanding of road rules.

For what we see in the future, the possibilities of this changing would be based on a city-state level of regulation.

Common changes are sure to come about in special locations like beaches, high foot traffic areas, sidewalks, and other areas. 


Are electric bikes considered motorized

 People everywhere are confused by this question. Honestly, there is a good reason for the confusion. Some believe the act of pedaling excludes electric bikes from being considered as “motorized”.

The exact definition differs by state. Some states can classify both gas or electric-powered bikes as motorized. Others as we mentioned define electric bikes with a broader definition of a “bicycle”.  

There no true simple answer, but in general electric bikes are not consider to be motorized in most states. Yet, laws differ from one state to the next.

It’s very important that you visit your state’s DMV website to find out which laws affect your area. Some states may have stricter laws regarding e-bikes than others.  

Typically laws restrict e-bikes to a maximum speed limit of 20-MPH. Additionally, the motor of an e-bike can have a maximum motor wattage of 750. All these restrictions are put in place to reduce the risk of accidents.  

Remember electric Bikes are still a new concept. Most municipalities don’t have a solid answer. Don’t get left behind, there are loads of good resources to stay in the know.

In Conclusion

To answer the question are electric bikes legal?

Yes – electric bikes are legal for the most part as laws are changing all throughout the United States for these forms of transportation.

As of now, they don’t require licensing, insurance can be parked anywhere bikes can be parked, and are great to ride around!

However, always remember that personal liability is the most important thing when it comes to taking on any decision for having an assisted bike.

Your safety is important and so is others’ safety around, so make sure you are making the best decisions for all parties involved and aren’t taking any unnecessary risks that could cost you big problems in the future.

Until next time, keep on riding friends!