You know the reason “why” - electric bikes are a fun and healthy way to adventure. And you know “how” - electric bikes are even easier to ride than traditional bikes. But as more and more people discover the benefits of electric bikes, another natural question arises: “Where can I ride an electric bike?”
Understanding where you can and should take your e-bike is important. You don’t want to run afoul of the law. You don’t want to get in an accident. And you want to enjoy your ride as much as possible. So today we are exploring the best places where you can safely and confidently ride an electric bike to satisfy all these requirements and more.
Bike lanes are a wonderful place to ride your electric bike. As more and more cities look to incentivize green transportation, bike lanes are becoming more prevalent in city planning. Keep an eye out on the side of the road for bike lanes designated with the symbol of a bike or bike rider. Roads with these bike lanes are wider specifically to allow the safe travel of bikes flowing in the same direction as traffic.
Don’t forget a helmet and bike bags to stay safe and keep your belongings secure while commuting in bike lanes. Reflective clothing and lights on your e-bike will also keep you noticeable and safer for the approaching cars behind you and at intersections. If you use the bike lane in the early morning or late evening, be sure you have headlights and taillights on your electric bike.
City Streets and Neighborhoods
Not all roads have bike lanes. Some people may wonder whether they can still use their e-bikes on these roads. The answer is yes, but it can be a little trickier. There is no space specifically for bikes so cars will naturally drive closer to the cyclist. This makes the safety precautions mentioned in the previous section extra important.
No matter the road you are traveling on, you must obey all speed limits and traffic regulations. If there is a stop sign or red light, you must stop. If you are riding in the road, you must yield to pedestrians just as a vehicle would. Neighborhoods will have frequent cars backing out of driveways and people walking their dogs, so be on the lookout for these obstacles as well. With proper attention, you can ride your e-bike on any road even if there is no bike lane.
Many park paths that are open to traditional bicycles are also open to e-bikes provided that you follow some basic guidelines. Class I and Class II e-bikes are typically allowed wherever bikes are allowed. Note that a Class II e-bike must have operable pedals and a limit on the pedal-assist of 20 mph. By configuring the controls of any Himiway e-bike, you will easily meet this requirement. This means that the motor provides no additional power above 20 mph. You are free to use manual pedal power to go faster than this, but it is not recommended unless you are on a street or in a bike lane. Park paths are designed for more recreational use and will have walkers, joggers, and pets on leashes.
Mountain Bike Trails
Mountain biking trails are an exciting place to take your e-bike. E-bikes like the Cobra and Cobra Pro are perfect for mountain trails due to their suspensions and fat tires. Yield to any hikers or runners using the trail. Most states do not allow bikes with more than 750W of motor power though so you will want to check your local and state guidelines. It is recommended that you wear a helmet on mountain bike trails due to all the steep inclines and tight turns near trees or boulders.
Most states do not require you to register your e-bike nor do they require a specific license to operate an e-bike. Insurance is typically not required except for New Mexico, and the minimum age to ride an e-bike is between 14 and 16, depending on the state. Aside from these limitations, you can ride your e-bike on most mountain bike trails and bike paths unless it is otherwise expressly prohibited.
Places You Cannot Ride an Electric Bike
We’ve covered most of the places where you CAN ride an electric bike. But now let’s shift our focus to those places where you CAN NOT ride an electric bike.
You cannot take your electric bike on any highways (sometimes called the freeway). This is because e-bikes are not considered street legal motorized vehicles and do not meet the definition of acceptable vehicles for highways in the United States. This would be very dangerous, and you should not attempt it under any circumstances.
Most city sidewalks do not allow the use of traditional bikes, and therefore, do not allow e-bikes either. This is because there are too many pedestrians walking on sidewalks where the risk of injury to you or the walker is much higher than in the street. If you find that you need to travel by sidewalk, it is best practice to get off your e-bike and walk alongside it until you reach a more appropriate location.
You cannot ride your e-bike on any land marked as private property. It is your responsibility to seek the owner’s permission before traveling across private land.
You cannot use your e-bike on any trails or paths marked with a “non-motorized vehicles only” sign. Because e-bikes have a motor, they are not allowed on such paths, and you may be subject to a fine if you take your e-bike down that type of path.
Now you have a good understanding of where you can ride your electric bike. These tips and information will offer the safest riding experience for you and your friends or family. As with all government regulations, this information is subject to change based on new laws getting passed each day. Please check with your local authorities as the rules will vary city by city and state by state on where to e-bike safely and legally.