Iowa State Electric Bike Laws

Electric bikes are a great way to live a healthier life while multitasking. Many people get these bikes because they want to ride to work and keep their wallets happy. Although e-bikes used to be a luxury many couldn't afford, we now see many budget choices on the market. Did you know that every state in the United States of America has its regulations regarding bike laws? Today we learn about the Iowa State electric bike laws.

How does the state of Iowa declares what an electric bike is.


Iowa defines electric bikes as regular bicycles. There are certain regulations and limits to this definition, though. Your bike’s motor should be under 750 watts of power, and you shouldn't ride any faster than 20 mph when you are using motor assistance. You also need to have fully operable pedals in case something happens, and you need to intervene.

  • class 1 electric bikes are bikes with a pedal-assist motor that cannot ride faster than 20 miles per hour
  • class 2 bikes are equipped with a throttle-activated motor that propels the bike, but you cannot propel it any faster than 20 miles per hour
  • class 3 bikes are models equipped with a motor providing assistance only when you're pedaling, similarly to class 1, but the upper speed limit is 28 miles per hour

How powerful can my bike be? If you want to ride safely and obey Iowa regulations, your electric bike must have a motor that doesn't exceed 750 watts of power.

Do I need a license or insurance? Many are happy to hear that Iowa does not require any special documents for electric bikes. Bikes such as these are not subject to registration, licensing, or insurance.

Do I need to wear a helmet? Helmets are not required by law and there are no fines you could encounter if you do not wear a helmet, but you must keep in mind that this is a safety measure that could save your life.

Are there age restrictions to look out for? There are restrictions only for class 3 bikes, as you must be over the age of 16 to operate one. There is no age limit on participating on an electric bike, and you can still be a passenger.

Can I ride on the road? In Iowa, you can use roadways, bike paths, as well as bike lanes.

Do I ride in the same direction as traffic? The Iowa State electric bike laws regulate driving on roadways, so you need to ride in the same direction as the rest of the traffic, and keep riding on the far right, if possible.

Do bike riders need to obey all the traffic signs? Electric bike owners need to obey traffic signs as much as other passengers in traffic. This is both for your safety and the safety of those around you.

What about electric mountain bikes? Electric bike laws by Iowa do not discuss electric bikes made for mountain biking. If you are wondering where to ride your mountain bike, it's best to be distanced from pedestrians. You can always visit some of the most famous trails such as the Grimes Gravel Loop, and the Grinnel Gravel Lake Loop.


Although electric bikes are a great way to live a healthier life, you still need to be very aware of all state regulations and traffic rules. Just because you are not in a car doesn't mean that you can ride a bike wherever and whenever you want to. Stay safe.


Want to learn more?

Check out these articles below