Urban Electric E-Bikes | Legal Information
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Legal Information

Classifications of electric transportation and the laws for riding

The Differences between an E-Bike, Moped, and Scooter


1. Electric bicycles have pedals and provide a form of exercise.


2. Mopeds in the USA usually require a driver’s license, insurance and registration, while ebikes do not.


3. While Mopeds and scooters can often travel on street bike lanes, they cannot travel on sidewalks and park in bicycle areas. An ebike can travel on bike lanes and paths and park in bicycle areas, as it is classified as a bicycle (please review your state and/or city regulation on the matter).


4. An electric bike, when configured as a mountain ebike, can travel off-road on trails. A moped cannot, as it is designed for city streets.

» Please check your local laws before riding an ebike. A great resource for laws can be found at http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/state-electric-bicycle-laws-a-legislative-primer.aspx

» If you live in Portland, Oregon, a good resource is https://bikeportland.org/2010/08/26/e-bikes-the-law-and-you-38493


» Federal Law notes an “E-Bike” can only go 20 MPH under motor power, and have a maximum of 750 Watts. Many states have state provisions that allow higher power and speed to encourage use of ebikes. While some of our models appear more as a scooter, due to their limitations and the fact that they have functioning pedals, they can in some places be considered an e-bicycle.


» Power and speed limits vary state to state. For example, riding in Montana allows you to have 2HP (about 1500 Watt motor) and ride up to 30 MPH (48km/h). Oregon allows you to ride up to 20 MPH (32 km/h) and have 1000 watt motor (these two example states vary from the federal limits). Please do your research and know the law. Ebikes legal in some states may be illegal in others. Please research before you buy.


» Many Ebicyclists have been stopped by police. You can be ticketed for riding illegally. Modifying your bike can be illegal. If stopped, be prepared to explain your bike and why it’s classified as a bicycle. Many people may mistake you for a scooter or moped. Ride safe, stay within the law and be respectful to other riders and drivers.


» Urban Electric is not responsible for misuse, illegal, or dangerous riding of any electric bike. We advocate safe practices and following the laws, as many are unfamiliar with or skeptical about the use of ebikes. Using an ebike needs to be a fun, inviting experience to encourage others to join the changing face of transportation.