Electric bikes are a grey area in the law, but their popularity has grown. You shouldn’t be discouraged from using them just because each state has its guidelines. Follow these rules and avoid all fines and taxes. Check out New York state electric bike laws.
How does the state of New York declares what an electric bike is.
The New York State electric bike laws define an electric bike as a bike that’s at most 36” wide, and it has an electric motor whose power’s no more than 750 W. The bike also needs to have a fully functional set of pedals.
The New York classification of electric bike talks about three different bike classes:
- class 1 - electric bikes that assist you on your rides, but only when you pedal, and the maximum speed you can reach is about 20 miles per hour
- class 2 - electric bikes assist you with motor power even when you’re not pedaling, but the maximum speed remains 20 miles per hour
- class 3 - electric bikes that reach up to 25 miles per hour and they provide assistance only when you’re pedaling, and these are NOT allowed in New York
How powerful can my bike be? First, you should make sure that your electric bike does not exceed the power of 750 W.
Do I need a license or insurance? New York does not require any special type of registration or license.
Do I need to wear a helmet? Helmets need to be worn by riders and passengers of all ages and genders - make sure you’re safe out there!
Are there age restrictions to look out for? All electric bike riders need to be older than 16 years. However, even when you turn 16, make sure you check the local guidelines and ensure that you’re following the rules of your district.
Can I ride on the road? You can use electric scooters and bikes on some streets and highways but stay on roads where the speed limit sits below 30 miles per hour. Avoid sidewalks and disrupt the traffic. Check whether your local authorities have created “no go” zones for e-bikes.
Can I modify my bike? You can add lights and water bottle holders and aesthetically modify the bike, but you should never change the bike’s capabilities, so it rides faster than the advised speed. The motor should also remain below the advised power limit.
Are there any forbidden stunts? Be very cautious when using motor power and assistance near pedestrians or in parks. This can be quite dangerous in the eyes of the government.
What about mountain bikes? Although mountain bikes may not be welcomed on trails made for non-motorized activities, you can always contact the local land management agency and make sure that you’re in the clear. Also, The New York State Office of Parks, Recreations & Historic Preservation has defined mountain bikes as unwelcome on motorized trails in the town.
The New York state electric bike laws define guidelines that you should follow to avoid fines and trouble. Still, you should consult the authorities for any additional information - you want to make sure nothing changes in the meantime.