Electric Bicycles: What You Need to Know
Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, have become increasingly popular over the past few years and sales only continue to grow. Between 2020 and 2023, it is predicted that 130 million e-bikes will be sold. E-bikes are not your standard bicycle, so make sure to do your research before moving forward with your purchase.
What is an Electric Bicycle?
An e-bike, in short, is a bicycle that operates with the assistance of a motor. However, exactly what classifies an e-bike varies from state to state.
Rhode Island: A vehicle with a power output no greater than 1,491w, a maximum speed of 25 mph, and fully operable pedals.
Massachusetts: A motorized bicycle that has a maximum speed of 25 mph.
Class 1: A bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.
Class 2: A bicycle equipped with a throttle-actuated motor that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.
Class 3: A bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 28 mph.
As a general rule to remember, all e-bikes are subject to the same rules of the road that apply to vehicles. This means that those on e-bikes must adhere to speed limits, road signs and signals, traffic patterns, and more.
Rhode Island: License, registration, and insurance are not required to operate an e-bike. There is no law stating that riders must be of a certain age or that they must wear a helmet. There is no state law specifying whether e-bikes are permitted on bike paths.
Massachusetts: E-bikes must be registered, and riders are required to carry an operator’s license. However, there is no requirement for insurance. E-bikes can only be operated by a person aged 16 or older. When operating an e-bike, helmets are required for all riders regardless of age. E-bikes are not allowed on sidewalks or bike paths.
Connecticut: License, registration, and insurance are not required to operate an e-bike. Persons under the age of 16 may not operate a Class 3 e-bike. Helmets are required for all riders regardless of age. Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes can be restricted from bike paths by the town. Class 3 e-bikes are not permitted on any bike paths within the state.
Although e-bikes may seem expensive, many people believe the benefits they provide make the investment worthwhile.
- Versatility. Not only do they work seamlessly on paved roads, but they can also be ridden on forest paths, mountain passes, and more.
- Eco-friendly. Drastically low C02 emissions help reduce one’s carbon footprint.
- Informative. Unlike a standard bike, e-bikes come equipped with technology that provides navigation, travel data, and fitness tracking.
- Healthy. The electric motor helps users ride for longer and farther. It also assists those who might otherwise be unable to ride, such as those with medical conditions including joint pain or heart conditions.
While not inherently more dangerous, e-bikes do pose similar risks as standard bicycles. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, contact the team of personal injury attorneys at Rob Levine & Associates. We can help get you the compensation you deserve.