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Electric-assist bicycles can come in all shapes, sizes and flavors.
Electric-assist bicycles can come in all shapes, sizes and flavors.

Facts And Myths About The Legality Of E-Bikes

Austin, Texas author and blogger, Jeff Johnson debunks some of the myths about electric-assist E-bikes in this guest posting, starting with their legal status in the United States.

E-bikes are the latest in technological advancement for bicycles. They work and function just like manual bikes, but with an added boost of power. With that, they can go faster while maintaining efficiency, and they provide benefits that regular bicycles don’t.

E-bikes Explained

What are e-bikes, exactly? An e-bike is just like having a regular bicycle except when you’re done using it, it plugs into a wall outlet and charges much like a cell phone or electronic device. Within a few hours, you’ll be ready to go. According to LEED Electric Bike, many new e-bikes can be outfitted with high-tech features like a computer with adjustable settings, a motor and throttle, and a feature called a pedal assist. This means that as you’re cycling and want to go faster, you twist your throttle or turn on the pedal assist and the bike will give you a boost, making you go faster with less energy exerted on your part.

Myths And Facts

If you’re thinking about purchasing an e-bike or converting your current one, it’s good to know about the laws regarding them. Within the United States, motorized modes of transportation that generally require registration, insurance, and a license. As such, they’re monitored more closely. In the past, there’s been some gray area as to e-bikes legal status as vehicles, but current laws are more straightforward. Yet despite more clarified legislation, there are still people out there believing myths about e-bike’s legality. Let’s go through a few commonly held myths about e-bikes and the facts that dispel them.

Myth: E-bikes are illegal in the U.S.

Fact: Some of the following guidelines can be found at Electric-Bike’s website, which does a great job showcasing the current laws and regulations of e-bikes. E-bikes are perfectly legal as long as they follow three main guidelines:

? An e-bike has to have real working pedals.
? The top speed cannot go above 20 mph (not including speed the rider adds by pedaling.)
? The motor size cannot be more than 750 watts.

If you follow these three guidelines, it is perfectly legal to ride an e-bike in the United States. Following these guidelines protects a cyclist under federal law, however, as ElectricBike advises, it’s a good idea to double check your state and local laws for specific regulations regarding off-road trails.

Myth: E-bikes are classified as motorized vehicles

Fact: Though e-bikes have motors, they are not classified as motorized vehicles as long as they follow the three basic guidelines mentioned earlier. For cyclists, this means that there is no need for insurance, registration, or acquisition of a license.

Myth: E-bikes are bad for the environment

Fact: E-bikes use clean energy. They don’t use gasoline or fossil fuels. There is no contribution to smog, pollution, or any kind of detriment to the environment.

Myth: E-bikes are unsafe.

Fact: All cyclists operating either manual or e-bikes are required to wear helmets. There is nothing about e-bikes that renders them inherently less safe than their manual counterparts. Just as with regular bicycles, the cyclist has complete control over speed, direction, and overall safety.

Should You Get One?

With these myths cleared up, you may be wondering if an e-bike is worth the investment. Regular bicycles are great in and of themselves because they give you a chance to exercise a bit more. They can get you to a destination quickly while allowing for easy storage and less dependence on cars or public transit. Plus, you should consider the hours you’ll save on daily commutes along with the added benefit of arriving to your destination without being sweaty or tired. Since more energy is just a throttle twist away, you’ll never have to walk your bicycle again. If you commute often, a health nut, a bike enthusiast, or you simply enjoy cycling, purchasing or converting your bicycle into an e-bike is definitely a safe, sound investment.

Author bio: Jeff Johnson is an author and blogger. He enjoys spending his free time running, swimming, and discovering new bike trails. He lives in Austin, TX with his wife and son.

Posted By: Jeff Johnson [17-Apr-2017]