Electric bikes have proven to be a fantastic method of transport for those who don’t want to commit to a car, which is not as eco-friendly and is a much costlier option. However, depending on where you are in the world, you might want to pay special attention to the local guidelines regarding electric bikes.
How does the state of Oregon declares what an electric bike is.
Oregon declares that an electric bike is a vehicle with two or three pedals and a motor that should not be any more powerful than 1000W. The maximum speed an electric bike should reach is 20 miles per hour, and this is a safety measure.
We want to make a transparent disclaimer here - although the industry of electric bikes classifies them into three different categories, where the third one includes bikes that can ride up to 28 miles per hour, the state of Oregon has set 20 miles per hour as a maximum. They have not been transparent with class three bikes, so make sure to ask around in the area where you live.
How powerful can my bike be? You are allowed to have a bike that has under 1000W of motor power, and you’re not allowed to modify your bike to go over this limit. Besides that, you shouldn’t go over 20 miles per hour with the said motor.
Do I need a license or insurance? There are no licenses or registrations in Oregon that you must get - you’re free to ride your bike without extra documentation.
Do I need to wear a helmet? Although there are no legal obligations for riders of any age, and helmets are not a must-do, it’s recommended you wear one in case of any trouble on the road.
Are there age restrictions to look out for? Unfortunately, you must be over 16 years to ride an electric bike safely and legally.
Can I ride on the road? In Oregon, electric bikes are classified as bikes, and the Oregon Vehicle Code states that you can take your e-bike on all paths, trails, and roads where regular bikes are allowed. However, you must avoid sidewalks to make space for pedestrians.
What about trails? Oregon Administrative Rules define motor vehicles as vehicles powered by an engine or a motor, and electric bikes would fall into this category. This is why you’ll be categorized as a car or a motorcycle when you’re visiting Oregon State Parks, so make sure you look for motor vehicle guidelines and signs.
Can I modify my bike? Aesthetically, yes, but you shouldn’t modify the bike’s speed or power to go over the previously stated maximum 1000W or 20 miles per hour.
Do bike riders need to obey all the traffic signs? Absolutely - any rules for regular bikes also apply for electric bikes. Stay safe!
Are there any forbidden stunts? Of course - you’re not allowed to do anything that endangers other people and vehicles on the road. So, for example, just like you shouldn’t grasp onto cars on the road while riding on your mechanical bike, you should follow the same rules with your electric model.
Electric bikes remain a gray area in law, which is why we suggest you do some more investigation in your local police station. Ask around and see whether there are any additional warnings to keep in mind, as the world of electric bikes seems to change very often. Stay safe and enjoy your rides!